June 23rd 2016
Name – Livia Gluchowska
Weight – 53.5kg (117 Pounds)
Team – Absolute MMA & Conditioning
Where are you from ?
I’m from Melbourne, Australia.
How long have you been training ?
I’ve been training Jiu Jitsu for about 6.5 years. Prior to that I represented Poland and Australia in rhythmic gymnastics and also spent 6 years racing bikes on the velodrome as a track sprinter.
How did you get in to Jiu Jitsu ?
I retired from competitive bike racing and decided to go to university to get a degree and start my career. I knew my focus had to change and I could not dedicate so much time to high level sports.
6 months into my studies, I tried BJJ at a club I was doing fitness kickboxing and I was hooked. At the same time I also met my now partner Lachlan Giles, who was already an accomplished brown belt and very passionate about jiu jitsu. I then went on a holiday to Brazil and got sick of drinking, so instead I went to a BJJ class in Rio.
I have never looked back since then. I love training, competing and traveling. I had my first competition 3 months after taking up the sport and have loved every minute of it so far.
What was the defining moment for you when you knew you wanted to become a fighter ?
I enjoy training and the process of learning new skills. Being an athlete all my life and competitive in nature, I knew there was no better way to test myself than to compete. I love the adrenaline, the feeling of being completely in the moment, but more than that I love how much I learn every time I fight, win or lose.
Were your family and friends supportive when you decided to enter the world of Jiu Jitsu ?
My family is always supportive of my pursuits. Even though they hate to see me get hurt or lose, they always give me all their love and support when I compete. This means the world to me and I love sharing good and bad moments with them.
What is your current record ?
I am a 3 x World Champion – 2016 Brown Belt Gi, 2013 Purple Belt No Gi, 2013 Blue Belt Gi.
I’m a silver medallist at the 2015 World Championships (purple, gi), ADCC Asia/Oceania Trials and 2014 Brazilian Nationals (purple, gi).
I am also an Asian Champion, 11 x Pan Pacific Champion, and 5 x Australian Champion.
What is your favorite submission ?
I love triangles and foot locks.
Who is your biggest inspiration ?
My biggest inspiration is my partner and coach Lachlan Giles. He is a fantastic coach – extremely technical, analytical and hard-working. His attention to detail and focus on technique is second to none. He is also patient, kind and intelligent in his approach.
On a personal level, he never has a bad word to say about anyone, he is supportive and brings the best in people.
On top of that not only does he compete at the highest level and coaches the Absolute MMA South Yarra team, but he is also completing his PhD in physiotherapy research and is the physiotherapist to the Australian Judo Team.
What team do you train with ?
Absolute MMA & Conditioning, South Yarra in Melbourne Australia.
What does being a fighter mean to you ?
Firstly it’s fun – I have a ball training and competing and learning new skills. I get to hang out with my mates every day and go through the ups and the downs together.
I am passionate about BJJ and training. I love what I gain out of it as a person and as an athlete. Fighting let’s me improve myself as a person and I think that’s the most important thing.
Secondly I get to do what I love every single day. That’s quite rare for adults in this world, but I get to actually live my dream.
Being a fighter means I get to challenge myself often, get out of my comfort zone and prove to myself just what’s possible when I put my heart and soul into it.
What weight do you fight at ?
Usually light feather 53.5kgs in a gi. This year I dropped to rooster for the World Championships to 48.5 kgs in a gi.
what do you think separates you from other fighters In your division ?
I think I have years and years of experience at competing at an elite level. I’m a good competitor – the big stage brings out the best in me.
Besides that I know how to train hard. I grew up in Poland, where gymnastics training was insanely hard. I am not especially gifted physically, but I do know how to push myself to the limit.
I also take my competing as professionally as I can and make sure I have the best support system around me.
Finally, I aim to improve every time I train. Although I do train to win the major competitions, I mainly train to get better at a particular skill and that will never change. Process always comes before the results and it shows in my training. I am always trying new things and seek good execution.
If you could have one dream fight who would it be against ?
Michelle Nicolini – and I got to fight her at the Abu Dhabi Pro this year! She destroyed me, but it was such an honour to tap hands with my idol on the biggest stage in the world.
Who has been your toughest fight to date ?
That would be Michelle Nicolini!
Other than that it has been every Worlds final I have been in. The pressure that is required to rise to the occasion and perform is enormous.
What is your mindset going in to a fight ?
I just want to execute my plan, whatever that may be. I have different goals for different fights. Locally I may try a new skill and don’t mind if I lose the match doing it.
At the big competitions I usually seek the first grip and again, I want to execute whatever my coach and I decided on. I like being intelligent in my approach to strategy.
Mentally, I always want to be first – in grip fighting and in thought process. I fight with everything I have, I want to have exciting fights and leave everything on the mats.
What do you want to be remembered for at the end of your career ?
I want to be remembered as a technical, well-rounded, fierce and an exciting fighter. And also as a nice person!
What has been your biggest accomplishment in the sport so far ?
Winning brown belt World Championship would have to on top of the list of my achievements.
Who has been most influential to you in your career ?
My partner Lachlan Giles. I have inherited a lot of his game and approach to training and competing. He is well-rounded, always aims to improve and is a fantastic role model.
Who do you feel has had the biggest impact on the sport and why ?
I love and support the females who have paved the road for my generation of fighters. Michelle Nicolini, Luanna Alzuguir , Mackenzie Dern and Luiza Monteiro are all massive role models to me.
I also love learning from Fabio Gurgel, Michael Langhi, Cobrinha, Mendes and Marcelo Garcia.
How would you describe your fighting style ?
Technical, fast and aggressive.
What drives or motivates you ?
The desire to improve my game. I also have a lot of fun training and I love being at the gym.
BJJ gives me such a great outlet and makes me a much better person and I want to do it for as long as I can.
I also enjoy winning and there is nothing quite like the feeling of winning a major competition. I want to feel that again and again.
What is something people might not know about you ?
I work full-time as a physiotherapist.
I represented Poland and Australia as a rhythmic gymnast.
I raced bikes as a track sprinter for 6 years.
I used to be 10-15 kg heavier and squatted 120 kg when I was a cyclist.
My father is an actor and I grew up in theaters and on movie sets. I was featured in a few movies and commercials when I was younger.
We immigrated from Poland to Australia in 1996.
I love science and nerdiness and evidence-based everything.
I’m a part-owner of our gym Absolute MMA & Conditioning South Yarra.
I’m the first Australian (female or male) to win a brown belt gi World Title.
what do you enjoy doing in your free time ?
I like eating and resting mainly.
What advice can you give to young other young fighters ?
Have fun, learn from every experience and most of all just enjoy the process.
Know that success doesn’t come easily (to most)… a lot of people have no idea of the amount of work and sacrifice that is required to reach the top.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years
I would like to have a black belt and I want to be competitive at the World stage.
I also want to keep inspiring a new crop of females coming through and see the retention and participation rates going up.
I love seeing my team at Absolute grow and I want to see us get more results at the big championships – this year we had 3 ladies win god medals from the 1 club! We can only go higher from here.
What do you think the biggest challenges are for women in Jiu Jitsu ?
I think many women are too anxious to start. Many can’t find the club with the right atmosphere or other ladies around, which can be very intimidating. My advice would be to seek out an academy that fosters women’s jiu jitsu.
I also think more women will stay competitive at an elite level when there is equal pay and we get the same coverage as the men. It’s all heading in the right direction, but it is not easy not getting the same opportunities as men.
Who is your favorite fighter ?
Lachaln Giles, Michelle Nicolini, Mackenzie Dern, Marcelo Garcia, Michael Langhi, Lucas Lepri, Mendes… so many to list! My inspiration comes from everywhere.
Is there anyone you want to thank or give a shout out to ?
I want to thank my coach and partner Lachlan Giles for everything he does for me.
My club Absolute MMA & Conditioning is second to none. I have amazing training partners, coaches, facilities and support.
My sponsors MA1 Apparel, Musashi, DEXA Melbourne and 34s Core Tactics are all amazing. Reid Reale of Combat Sports Nutrition.
My work Melbourne Physiotherapy, Fitness and Pilates Group for always giving me time off work for competitions and supporting my sporting dreams.
My family, who are my everything.