Asian Open 2016 and Japan fun.

Uncategorized • Oct 2, 2016

Lachie and I planned our Japan trip a few months ago. The aim was to compete as Asian Open and have a little 3.5 day holiday after, which I was most excited about. Even though I travel a lot, I can’t remember last time I had an actual break and alone time with Lachie.

After we booked our flights, the first ADCC Trials were announced for the same weekend in Kazakstan. Of course these trials were only for men, as women get half the trials and even less weight divisions to compete in, which is unbelievably frustrating. We decided that Lachie would go to Kazakstan whilst I would compete at Asian Open, and then we would meet in Japan for our holiday as planned.

I met up with my international travel companion Margot, otherwise known as Goat, and Chi, otherwise known as Porcini or Pelican or Horse in Tokyo. We checked in to our cute apartment in Shibuya near Koreatown, explored our surroundings and bought all the possible snacks from the local shops.

16-margot 16-smol 16-sashimi

The next day Margot was up first. She showed beautiful, mature BJJ and smashed her division. Demi also won easily and became an Asian Champion. I was absolutely stoked for the girls.

As Chi was cutting weight and I really needed to move after sitting on my butt for 11 hours during the flight, we went to drill and flow roll at MeWe Jiu Jitsu at night. Everyone was so welcoming, accommodating and just lovely.


Whilst drilling, I found out that both Lachie and Craig won the ADCC Trials, which nearly made me cry from happiness. These two put in so much hard work day in, day out and adding in ADCC specific sessions to our training schedule is clearly paying off.


Inspired, I went to sleep and woke up fresh and ready to go the next day. I wasn’t on until later in the afternoon, so I coached Absolute girls for the 1st half of the day. It was a pleasure watching Chi and Lauren compete at their first big international competition and do so well. Loz earned herself a bronze medal in the process too!


Unfortunately, I only had 1 fight in my weight division, which I won 18-0 after a couple of near subs from top and bottom positions. I decided to enter open weight, but my journey stopped in the semi-final. I won my first fight by submission and lost the semi in the final minute after being up on points from a choke I didn’t see coming from 50/50. I was very annoyed at that mistake, but I can be fairly certain I won’t let it happen ever again.

@Ken Sawada

@Ken Sawada

@ Eternal Photo Art

@ Eternal Photo Art






Absolute MMA female team won 2nd overall female team, which is quite an achievement from such a small team. Sharing the happiness with my teammates was my favourite part of the day.


After a good feed at night, we said our goodbyes and I met Lachie at Tokyo station the next afternoon. 16-post-comp16-bullet

We then caught a bullet train to Kyoto. I absolutely loved exploring the old, pretty town, the temples and shrines and the many different restaurants. Some highlights include catching the ‘Romantic Train’ and a 2 hr boat down a river in Arashiyama, hiking up to see the Kiyomizu Temple, visiting the iconic Red Gates at Fushimi Inari and walking around old Gion and visiting the famous Ichikiri Tea House.

romantic-trainara-boat araorigami16-dera-panoichiriki gion-4 gion-3 gion-116-templered-gates-2kyored-gates

Our time in Kyoto was short and we had to make our way back to Tokyo. Lachie treated me to Robot Restaurant for my birthday, which was completely whacky and weird and exactly what I wanted it to be. We explored so many areas of Tokyo and ate at so many mouth watering places that my little heart was bursting with happiness.

16-robot16-food-1 16-naboke mochi-2 mince16-food-2mochimatcha-desert 16-naboke-216-fish

Lachie also got me a wrestling singlet for my birthday, which means I will just have to do a wrestling competition, which I am weirdly happy about!


I wanted to have 4 days off exercise, but of course I couldn’t help myself when the offer came up to train with 2 x black belt World Champion Rikako Yuasa at Paraestra. It was such a great experience to not only roll with Rikako but also with her many coloured belts, including an amazing brown belt Yuki. Everyone was small, technical and super friendly. I was also one of the biggest girls at the gym, which does not happen too often!rikako-2 rikako-1

This trip was everything and more I wished for. Losing the open weight was the kick in the arse I needed, rolling with the girls at Paraestra has given me so many new ideas to work on and I am completely inspired to bring my game to next level. It was wonderful to spend some time with Lachie, celebrate his win and spend some time together for my birthday.


I am in love with Japan, its people, the culture, food, their whiskey and their BJJ. Can’t wait to go back!


Nourissh – more than just meals

Uncategorized • Sep 5, 2016

Nourissh logoI am thrilled to announced that I have recently teamed up with and became an ambassador for Nourissh.

Nourissh was founded in 2015 by Amanda Campbell, who discovered that eating wholesome and healthy food helped her not only recover from serious health issues, but to feel better than ever before. The aim of Nourissh is to create an easy (and tasty) way for everybody to get the benefits of carefully planned, nutrient dense meals. The team now spend their time sourcing quality ingredients, hosting workshops and refining their mouthwatering menus.

Nourissh meals are preservative and gluten free and made only from ethically sourced ingredients from local, or organic farms. The lunches and dinners are nutritionally balanced, fresh, healthy, and most importantly they are absolutely delicious.

nourrsih boxes

How does it work, you ask?

Every Sunday, I receive a delivery of 5 dinners, which are all vacuum sealed to make sure they stay fresh as long as possible. You can choose your menu to be either paleo or wholefoods and you can even mix and match. Both menus are always gluten and preservative free (the paleo menu is also grain and dairy free.) Vegetarian and Vegan options are launching in a few months. The menu changes each week, and after 6 weeks I have not had a repeat of a meal yet.

nourissh menu 2 nourissh menu

But is it tasty?

When I first tried my Nourissh meal, it blew all my expectations. Delicious is an understatement. The meals are restaurant grade and they make me feel energised, nourished (see what I did there?) and full. I actually can’t wait to get home from training, because I love my dinners so much, I just want to eat them all.

nourissh duck

Are the serving sizes enough?

For those who don’t know me, you mightn’t be aware of how much I love food and how much I’m capable of eating. Well, I have been sharing my meals with Lachie, and we just cook additional veggies or brown rice, and it’s easily enough to make us both full. The dinners are between 400-600 calories, which is perfect to replenish what our bodies need after a hard day’s training and work.

Shared meal

Shared meal

1/2 a serve of almond crusted lamb cutlet

1/2 a serve of almond crusted lamb cutlet


Apart from the incredible taste, my favourite thing about Nourissh is how easy it is. I usually don’t come home until 10 pm and last thing I want to do is shop, cook and clean. Having Nourissh meals in my fridge means I don’t go to the supermarket after training when I’m starving and buy unnecessary snacks. We simply put our dinner in the oven for 15 minutes or in a microwave for 3-5 minutes. The bamboo boxes which the meals come in are recyclable and we heat up our meals in them, which means there is no washing up to do. I am so time poor already, so saving a good 45 minutes of each day is a real blessing.  I can concentrate on training and working more and my recovery is way better.

nourissh boxes 2

How can you get Nourissh in your fridge?

Easy! Visit and get started. There is no contracts and for my blog/social media readers the team at Nourissh have offered $25 off your first box. Just type LIVIA in the coupon code. You will not regret it!

Happy eating!


ONE FC Grappling Challenge, Macao

competition , Jiu Jitsu • Aug 21, 2016

ONE FC announced that they will hold a grappling competition on the same day as the MMA event ‘Heros of the World’ in Macao only 3 weeks ago. I noticed that the prize money on offer was the same for men and women, which unfortunately is still really rare in the jiu jitsu world. Additionally, the organisers were putting everyone up in a hotel for a night in Macao, therefore offloading some of the travel costs. When Lachie and Craig decided to compete, I asked my work if they would give me a day off on Saturday and after they agreed, I booked my flights.

I entered the Elite division, which was for women with 5 + years of grappling experience and black belts. I knew that my idol Michelle Nicolini would be fighting in the same division, but I never back away from a challenge. In my opinion, the more experience I can get fighting the absolute best in the world, the better. It was only a couple of years ago, when I first attended Michelle’s seminar as a blue belt.

michlle 2012

Our flights were brutal. We left Friday lunch and got to Hong Kong lat at night. When we checked into the hotel, I had a minor panic attack. For those who don’t know, I get pretty claustrophobic. In fact, it took me years to get over it when training and competing, but I still hate small, confided spaces. Our tiny room had no windows and a small double bed and that was enough to make me freak out and run outside. Since it was nearly midnight and we really needed to get to sleep, I had no choice but to take a deep breath and go back inside.

HK hotelflight

After a terrible night’s sleep, we got up early and sailed on a ferry to Macao. We went straight to the competition venue, which was the impressive Venetian Hotel. I felt like I was in Vegas with all the shops, bright lights, canals, gondolas, chandeliers and masses of people, who mainly were there to shop, gamble and eat.

The boys were up first. Mikael unfortunately lost first round by toe hold, Lachie lost a very questionable ref’s decision and Craig fought his way to a third place in the stacked Elite heavyweight division.

Photo @AFG

Photo @AFG

I had a three person division. First up was Angela Lee and I. Angela is a young MMA phenom, and ONE FC Champion. I pulled guard quickly, but made some mistakes and had to turtle. Angela tried to guillotine me, but after months of doing our ADCC submission specific training, I am pretty used to being in bad spots and didn’t panic. I got out of a submission threat and quickly regained my composure and set up single x. I swept and attacked her foot, but as a response Angela grabbed my leg and reaped hard, which caused her to get disqualified. It’s not a good feeling to win that way, as I really wanted to dominate and show good BJJ.

Photo @ Lee Li

Photo @ Lee Li

Photo @ Lee Li

Photo @ Lee Li

Angela then fought Michelle, and lost by toe hold, which meant Michelle and I were set for a final. I still pinch myself that I got to compete against my idol. 3.5 years ago when I was a blue belt Michelle autographed my belt for me and now I got to tap hands with her in a competition. It was such an honour knowing that I would be fighting my favourite BJJ fighter in the final, however I had to be careful not to be as start struck as I was in Abu Dhabi World Pro and make myself believe I deserved to be there.

warm up

I pulled guard quickly and we spent some time grip fighting. I defended a few toe hold attempts and then locked in a kimura trap from bottom half guard. I transitioned to an arm bar set up, but it was sloppy and I never controlled Michelle’s posture, so she escaped without a problem. As I spun back to recover guard, I was caught in a tight toe hold and tapped.

It wasn’t my greatest show of jiu jitsu, but the experience alone is worth more than any medals. I am proud of the work I put in and I know that I am always improving. However, I have such a long way to go to hang with the best, let alone to be competitive at the highest level, but I guess that’s what gets me to training every day and strive to be better than yesterday. Step by step, I will try to close the gap and be the best I can be.

Photo @ Patricio Reyes

Photo @ Patricio Reyes

Photo @ Patricio Reyes

Photo @ Patricio Reyes

Photo @ Lee Li

Photo @ Lee Li

Photo @ Lee Li

Photo @ Lee Li

Photo @ AFG

Photo @ AFG

Photo @ Patricio Reyes

Photo @ Patricio Reyes

Photo @ Lee Li

Photo @ Lee Li

Photo @ Patricio Reyes

Photo @ Patricio Reyes

Photo @ AFG

Photo @ AFG

Photo @ Lee Li

Photo @ Lee Li

liv craig money

I received $US1500 for my efforts, which will go towards paying for my flights to Hong Kong and for flights to No Gi Worlds.

We spend the rest of the day having a look around the casinos, eating some delicious local cuisine and watching ONE FC. Exhausted, we went to sleep early and woke up at 5.30 am the next day to catch the ferry back to Hong Kong, then boarded the plane back to Australia. We landed at about 11pm on Sunday night, and I was back at work at 8am on Monday morning.

duck duck liv food 1gondoloas canalone fc eiffel towerpack

In all, it was a fantastic weekend, but extremely exhausting. It was totally worth the long travel though, and we will be back for future ONE Grappling events. The organisers made us feel welcome, everyone had a great time and the prize money on offer was a major drawcard. On a personal level, I loved fighting the best athletes on the planet, and it can only make me a better, stronger and a smarter athlete.

Photo @ AGF

Photo @ AGF

A tribute to ‘Jits n Tits’

Uncategorized • Aug 12, 2016
Photo @ Hannah Gorman

Photo @ Hannah Gorman

Every couple of months I get an uneasy feeling of guilt creeping in to my system. I feel guilty for indulging in so much BJJ every single day – training twice a day, 6 days a week takes a toll on my body, my time with family and the energy I can give my friends. Travelling for comps is not cheap either, especially when there is barely any prize money on offer. So my brain often floods with doubt whether I’m doing the right thing or if I should spend my time and money on more productive things such as buying a house or starting my masters degree or a PhD.

I expressed these feelings to my sports psychologist last time we caught up and we did an interesting exercise. I had to write down the things that jiu jitsu has given me. Once I started writing, I couldn’t stop. This sports has and continues to give me so much.Recently I looked at the list again and I wasn’t surprised to remind myself that the medals, awards and trophies all scraped in last. Sure, my experiences of winning a major titles and sharing those moments with my teammates are indecribable and I will value them forever, but that’s not what gives me satisfaction each and every day on the mats.

What I value most is the friendships and close bonds I make with my teammates. When we opened Absolute South Yarra 1.5 years ago, Lachie and I knew what culture we wanted within a club and worked hard to make it a reality. We’ve figured that if we are going to spend 5 hours a day or more at a gym, we may as well try to make it the best 5 hours in our days.

When we first started, I was the only female training regulary. This was nothing new to me and I wasn’t bothered by it as I have some incredible male training partners, who became some of my best friends. But as more and more women started coming (and staying), I finally started to understand what it feels like to be a part of a group comprised of intelligent, strong and unique women who truly support each other.

When we opened the business, I was entrusted with a task of teaching a Ladies Only Class once a week. I was quite nervous to start off with, but slowly Friday nights become my favourite nights of the week. Not only because I get to teach and share my passion for BJJ with other women, but because these women teach me more that I ever thought possible.

1st ever Women's class

The ladies of Absolute South Yarra and the many regular visitors from other clubs have called our group ‘Jits n Tits‘ and it stuck. It warms my heart and makes me smile to see such an inclusive and accepting group of women. They make sure beginners never feel left out and that everyone is always invited to social events. The girls have learnt to work hard, drill, train, support each other, roll hard, aim to continually improve, but without the jealousy. I am so lucky to call my students my friends and my training partners. I am lucky that I get to experience first hand how good it is to have a women who have my back. And I have theirs, at all times. It is an amazing feeling to see my students learn a new skill, then pull it off, to see them compete, and to get to travel together. Win or lose, we don’t care, because we have each other for support.

However, competing isn’t for everyone and that’s never our only focus.  For most, training is less to dowith jiu jitsu and more to do with life.  Being a part of such a positive group may give someone an hour out of their stressful life. It may make them realise just what they are capable of. It may make them smile again. It may make them know that they have a group that truly cares. We all come from very different walks of life and we all have something to add to the group, and jiu jitsu is just a small part of it.




To Jits n Tits:

Thanks for making me realise just how much you all mean to me, as people, friends and teammates and that there is nowhere else I would rather be. Medals don’t mean much compared to our friendships and our crazy. Each and every one of you means the world to me and I am so glad I finally get to see what a group of tough, kind and smart women can do for each other. Thanks for teaching me how to be a better person and for every time you’ve fed me brownies.

Most importantly though, thank you for making me have no doubts in my mind that my BJJ journey is worth having.


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image image imageimage image image image image

Becoming a Brown Belt World Champion 2016

Jiu Jitsu • Jun 21, 2016
gi win

Just over a week ago one of my dreams became a reality. I became a brown belt World Champion – a task that even a year ago seemed laughable to me. It took a lot of hard work, and that win meant so much to me on a personal level.

Many of you have asked me and wondered why I chose to do rooster weight. I think it’s important for me to write about it as honestly as I can, and describe the weight cut and it’s implications both physically and mentally.


I had toyed around with the idea in my head for a few months. Over the last year I increased my training (2 hard sessions per day) and since I have a very active job as a physio, which makes my energy expenditure rather large. I have been walking around under my light feather fight weight for a year, without much effort. That’s whilst eating pizza couple of times a week and desert pretty much every night. So I thought that with cutting out the extras from my diet, I could lose a few kilos. I also wanted to test out the rooster weight division for when I eventually compete as a black belt. On a personal level, I wanted to prove to myself that I can do it. I wanted to be disciplined in all areas of my preparation for Worlds and I wanted to know just what I’m capable of mentally.

I am not a dietician, so I needed help and guidance from someone who really knew their stuff. I sit at a very low percentage normally, so I wanted to make sure it wouldn’t be detrimental to my health.  I consulted with a GP, I talked about it with Lachie, my parents and my sports psychologist Anthony Klarica. I then started working with Reid Reale from Combat Sports Nutrition (who is a BJJ black belt and an Australian Institute of Sport Dietitian and a PhD Candidate). After some calculations of calorie and nutrient requirements and a DEXA scan from the team at DEXA Melbourne to see exactly how much body fat I could lose, we decided that I could possibly make that weight.


The cut was complicated by the fact that I competed at Abu Dhabi Pro 6 weeks before the Worlds. The lowest weight division in Abu Dhabi was 55kgs, so I spent a few months trying to bulk up. As soon as the competition was over, my 5.5 week journey to 47kg began.

Reid wrote a very detailed and personally tailored diet plan for me. I was to weigh myself each morning and we planned to adjust the diet as we went, depending on how my body responded. As predicted, I lost the weight and hit every weight goal for about 3 weeks. However, I got to 50kg and then my body would have none of it. I got to a very low body fat percentage and my metabolism slowed, which made the cut extremely difficult.


Everyone enjoying burgers and I’m crying over a side of jalepenos

Lean and strong at the start of the cut

Lean and strong at the start of the cut

Mentally it felt good to be so committed to something and initially I really enjoyed the process. It made me focused, ready and I loved experimenting with different low calorie recipes. I made some delicious lunches and dinners and I maintained a high volume of food. However, slowly my attention turned to always thinking about my next meal and dreaming of things like toast and butter, which I never normally eat. I started getting a little shorter with people, it was harder to focus at work and it slowly became difficult to get out of 1st gear at training. It also became harder to give attention to others and be social. But I knew that this would happen, so I stayed focused and knew it was only temporary.


Lachie and I left for New York 2.5 weeks before the Worlds. We met Demi, Margot and Jess in Brooklyn. Myself and the girls trained at Marcelo Garcia’s and Lachie trained at Unity.

The 2 week ‘camp’ was probably the hardest thing I have ever done in my life.

We are not normal

We are not normal


Always so good to see Jess again!

Thats how Demi rolls... wet gi acting as a jacket. Whatever goes in NYC, right?!

Thats how Demi rolls… wet gi acting as a jacket. Whatever goes in NYC, right?!

Whilst I was training a lot and slowly cutting calories, my weight wouldn’t change. This was very stressful to me, as I sometimes wondered if I would make weight. I was so lucky to have Reid to chat to and reassure me to stick with the plan – as we changed my diet closer to competition, the weight would come off. I just had to trust the science.

Perhaps the hardest thing for me to stomach was how my personality changed and how it affected the people around me. I am usually a little selfish and focused on myself at Worlds camps, but this time, I was not the nicest person to be around to say the least. Lachie was an amazing partner and even though he hated to see me like that, he supported my choice without judgement, and I will be forever grateful for that. I just wish I got to be a better person for my lovely friends who stayed with me in NYC. It was a constant struggle to; a) not eat more whilst in starvation mode and, b) generally not be a horrible human being.

Training gradually got more and more difficult. I had very little energy, but had to keep the rolling up and was determined to never skip a session. My central nervous system was suppressed, so it was extremely hard to roll hard and feel myself. Again, I was aware that this would happen, so I only panicked occasionally, knowing that my Worlds prep does not happen 2 weeks before the fight, but a year out. In reality, I was ready weeks out from Worlds.

I have to give special thanks to so many amazing training partners. As I was getting lighter and had less strength, most people noticed it and matched the intensity whilst rolling. Jess, as always, was a wonderful and a supportive training buddy. She tore her bicep and was unable to compete at Worlds herself, but gave me her time regardless. Margot – the BJJ technician often flowed rolled with me when I couldn’t do much more. MG’s wonderful black belt in Megan Nevill was great to train with – she could have just smashed me every roll, but chose not to, and I will always treasure that. All the other girls at Marcelo’s – thank you for being so lovely and considerate even when I was at my lowest.

marcelo no gi marcelo gi marcelo and liv

Whilst I still had the energy, we got to do some fun things in NYC too. Lachie took me to see The Book of Mormon, which was the funniest musical I’ve ever seen.

times square book of mormon

I explored Central Park and went on countless walks around hipster Brooklyn listening to bad rap pumping out of the SUVs driving past and watching kids play basketball on the streets. I might have shopped just a little too much – as I couldn’t taste or try different foods and restaurants, I spent the money on coffee, shoes and active wear instead.

coffee brooklyn

All was on track until 1.5 weeks before the comp day, when I tore my lateral collateral ligament of the knee in training. Right there and then I thought my Worlds were over. I still cringe at the sound it made as it happened. I cried like a baby on the mats, but I was lucky to have the support of Jess, Demi and Margot who Ubered me home so Lachie could have a look at the damage. We didn’t think the knee was totally loose, and with enough luck I would recover in time to compete. I found it difficult to walk for about 3 days, so training was out of the question. Of course, I had to keep burning calories, so I bought a gym membership and whilst others did BJJ, I sat on a hand bike, bike and later on treadmill for an hour, 2 to 3 times a day. I have never hated life more than at that time. I had no idea if I would compete, I didn’t know if I would make weight, and on top of that sitting on a hand bike is possibly the most boring exercise known to planet earth.

Did I think of moving up a weight class at that stage? Of course I did. But I am stubborn and I have committed to following the plan through and through, and there was no way I was going to let 5 weeks of dieting go to waste.

5 days after the injury I drilled a little with Lachie to test out the knee. I cried standing up from closed guard, I cried when I just couldn’t make myself shoot a double leg as my knee felt unstable, I cried when I couldn’t triangle and I cried because I felt sorry for myself. Basically I was a big mess.

Drilling at Unity and hiding my sadness

Drilling at Unity and hiding my sadness

But each day, the pain subsided and the knee felt a little more stable and I thought with enough luck I would be ok. I kept drilling and sitting on that damn bike, and then 5 days out of fight day I flow rolled and managed to stay in one piece. There was still hope.

The weight was still not really coming off and I kept getting weaker and more annoying to be around. I remember I cried when I smelled chicken in a chicken shop… because I REALLY, REALLY wanted some fried chicken. I would also sneak into the kitchen to ‘gorge’ on chilies, kimchi and jalepenos. I sometimes felt guilty for having too much chewing gum as all calories counted at that stage. I also missed a train simply because I had no energy to keep up with normal walking pace. It was a sad, sad week.

Weight was not coming off and there was not much left to lose

Weight was not coming off, but I really didn’t have much left to lose


We flew to Los Angeles 4 days before my fight and I was super excited for a change of scenery and also because I knew I only had 4 days until I could eat! Longbeach was a breath of fresh air and it was great to catch up with our Absolute teammates and stay in a super spacious loft. Finally, with 4 days to go, Reid changed my diet and I started to see the weight drop off as planned.

2 days worth of food - thanks Musashi!

2 days worth of food – thanks Musashi!

We trained at open mats hosted by The Jiu Jitsu League (Atos) each night, where I had my first real rolls and my knee help up relatively ok. Again, I was touched by how considerate some people were with me and rolled lightly and allowed me to build my confidence. Special mention goes to one of my idols Luiza Monteiro, who didn’t put any pressure on me where she had every right to, and encouraged me in every way possible.

On Friday, I watched my teammate Demi Butler win her first well deserved World Title in purple belt. Demi had a tough year but she went out there and showed the world just how good she really is. She is a beast in training and I cried happy tears with her as her hand was raised. 5 minutes later, Shantelle Thompson (another Absolute teammate), also won gold. She competed beautifully and it was her second World Title! I was totally inspired by these ladies and couldn’t wait for my own turn.

@ Macofoto

You did it Champ! @ Macofoto

The night before my comp day, I was allowed to eat a taco. And a snickers. And peanut butter. And so with the second mini snickers, my personality started to come back. I smiled. I wanted to fight. I was so ready to go.

After a late night consult with Reid, it was decided that I would do a 45 minute sweat session to dehydrate a little (no more than 1 kg), just so I could afford to eat more in the morning for breakfast. I will never forget the faces of my teammates as I run up and down the stairs and did hip escapes in a sauna suit.

As I went to bed that night, I was so damn proud of myself because I did it. I knew I would make weight. I knew I would compete despite my injury. And I also knew that not many people could get in the way of my dream the next day.

Here are some photos of me the night before the competition. I am extremely lean, but not dehydrated, not pumped and not photoshopped.

IMG_9299 IMG_9300 IMG_9302IMG_9305IMG_9301

I have prepared myself to possibly feel terrible on the day AND I knew that I might have to sweat some weight off if  woke up overweight. But I also knew that I only had 2 fights and I have trained in way worse conditions. I was ready to perform at my best, but feeling the worst. That’s what I trained to do for all these weeks.

I woke up super early because of jetlag, but felt great. I put my tracksuit on and went for a slow jog on the beach followed by an espresso. My body felt loose and my mind was sharp. I was focused and happy. I was scarily light (woke up 47kg and went down to 46.7kg later in the day), but with some carbs in me, I felt unbelievably strong for that size.


I made weight easily and as soon as I got into the bullpen, it was game on. To wake up my central nervous system, I was slapping my cheeks hard and listening to loud music on my headphones. I was pretty aware of talking to myself, perhaps even out loud, but I couldn’t have cared less if anyone was listening or not. No one will ever know just what it took to get to there and no one could have possibly known how much I wanted that title. I wasn’t really nervous, but I was pumped and just wanted to fight. For the first time, I believed in me and backed myself 100% and it did not matter to me if anyone else did.

My first round started well with a clean guard pull. I played spider guard and looked for a sweep or a triangle. After a minute or so, I shot for a triangle, but couldn’t cut the angle to finish it as my knee hurt, so I switched to an arm-bar from inside the triangle set up and got a quick tap.

@ Luke Burnham

@ Luke Burnham

@ Luke Burnham

@ Luke Burnham

I felt like I had gas for days, so I was ready for my final as soon as I walked off the mats.

Lachie and I eating souls together before the final. Photo @ Luke Burnham.

Lachie and I eating souls together before the final.
Photo @ Luke Burnham.

We shook hands and double guard pulled. I quickly started attacking a foot lock, gaining 2 advantages after a few attempts at submissions. I contemplated coming up for 2 points, but I really wanted to finish. I decided to trust what I know and after a couple of minutes of grip fighting, I eventually adjusted my opponents foot under my armpit and won by a straight ankle lock – my signature ‘dolphin’ move.

final tap

@ Luke Burnham

win back

@Luke Burnham

Liv win final

@Mike Anderson

Liv win


The feeling of happiness, relief and personal achievement that I felt in that moment is hard to put into words. This World Title was the hardest of them all, due to the preparation, the injury and the mental battle with the weight cut. I celebrated big and wore my heart on my sleeve.

gi win

@Mike Anderson

Hugging Lachie after my win was the best feeling in the world. We are a team and the medal is as much his as it is mine. He has been there every step of the way and sharing the moment with him was priceless.

Livia 4

@Luke Burnham

Livia 6


podium liv

3 gold medalists from Absolute MMA - a remarkable achievement!

3 gold medalists from Absolute MMA – a remarkable achievement!


After the medal presentation and letting my family and Reid know that I made weight and won, it was time to eat. We drove to In n Out Burgers, and I ordered pretty much everything. The scariest thing was that nothing tasted like anything but sugar and salt. And it was delicious, yet terrible at the same time.


After everyone was done competing, we drove to Compton to Hawkins House of Burgers, which was an interesting experience in itself. I should have stopped eating then, but I needed a Ruby’s Diner Reece’s Pieces shake as it’s my tradition after winning Worlds. It’s fair to say I felt ill, bloated and my stomach was in all sorts of pain. But it was so worth it!

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For the next 2 days Lachie and I stayed in Koreatown, hung out, relaxed and ate some amazing food. We felt so gross that we ended up training at Cobrinha’s – it is always such a pleasure to visit the academy and catch up with everyone.IMG_3333IMG_3312 IMG_3323

I was 3 kgs heavier the next day and my face looked less gaunt. Within 2 days of eating, I was back to my normal light feather weight. It took me 3-4 days for my stomach not to ache every time I ate, and it was interesting to see my joints swell up in the first 2 days after the win.

I know I had a lot of people worried about me and my health in the past few weeks, which is fair enough. What I did was very extreme and I would encourage anyone thinking about cutting weight to consult a doctor and a dietician.

To answer some of your questions:

  1. I do not have an eating disorder.
  2. I do not have body dysmorphia.
  3.  I didn’t enjoy the way I looked being so lean.
  4.  I didn’t like not having the energy for life during the cut.
  5. I am back to my normal weight now.
  6. I still love and enjoy food and training.
  7. I didn’t get sick during or after the weight cut.
  8. I am wholeheartedly happy.

Would I do it again?

Probably not, or at least not anytime soon.

Was it worth it?

It was, in every possible way.

I stand by that, even if I didn’t happen to win gold. The cut allowed me to get data on how my body responds to different foods and diet and from there I will be able to extrapolate what’s the best way to do it in the future, should the need arise.

Most importantly, the process has taught me what I’m made of. The amount of discipline and self-belief I needed to get there was huge. I had to get out of my comfort zone and dig very deep both physically and mentally. It has made me care less about the opinions of others and highlighted the importance of a good team around me.

It has taught me that I am a tough woman and a fierce competitor, and that despite various obstacles, I can put myself in the ‘zone’ and do my job. Finally, it allowed me to experience the joy of winning a World Championship, and nothing and no one can ever take that away from me.

Abu Dhabi World Pro 2016

Uncategorized • May 8, 2016

Even though I only got back 2 weeks ago, it feels like a lifetime! I am so focused on Worlds that it’s hard to look back, but when I do, I have nothing but smiles and great memories from this year’s World Pro.

I decided to leave a few days earlier than everyone to get some good training in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. My travel companion Margot kept me company the whole time – whether it was training, bolo-ing, joking around, shopping, eating and riding magic carpets.


magic carpet

We were lucky enough to train at Nougeira’s team in Dubai and catch a couple of sessions  coached by Leo Vieira. I got to roll with some great black belts and sharpen up my game with drills. We met so many friendly and wonderful people there, but special thanks go to Eric Ramsey for looking after us, taking us around Dubai and driving us to Abu Dhabi.nougerasdubai

My favourite training was a competition session with Mackenzie Dern, Braulio and Davi Ramos. I feel pretty lucky to have shared the mats with these legends, let alone to have trained with them.

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When Lachie and the rest of the team arrived I had another fantastic training session, rolling with Lachie and Tingy and work-shopping some ideas with the lovely MG crew.

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I was so excited to compete this year. As a new brown belt in a brown/black division, I didn’t feel much pressure, but my goals were to be tenacious and aggressive and give it my all. I entered open weight, knowing that if my first round was going to be too large or dangerous I would scratch. I drew a seasoned black belt who passed and choked me easily, but I came away uninjured and inspired. It was a wonderful feeling sharing the warm up mats with my idols and also with fellow Aussie brown belts Hope and Kate. We all improved a lot in the last few years and Aussie BJJ is going from strength to strength.

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The next day I was ready to fight my weight division. I was a little more nervous, which is great as I fight better that way. Again, I drew a Bazilian black belt and I knew if I beat her I would get to fight my favourite BJJ fighter Michelle Nicolini. That was a massive motivator to go out hard and leave everything on the mats!

I pulled spider guard, eventually working my way to a half guard with a good underhook ready to sweep. I came up with a single leg but couldn’t finish so I retracted back to single x. From there I tried hard to get foot locks, to no avail and finally went to 50/50. With a minute to go I wanted a sub or sweep, but nothing close eventuated. I felt in control the whole time and I think I did more, however I was still surprised when the decision went to me. I got used to losing ref’s decisions, so understandably I was very happy to have a win at such a big stage.

Photo by Jude Abadi

Photo by Jude Abadi

I achieved my goal of winning my first fight and as predicted my quarter final round was against Michelle. I was probably a little too star struck, but feel very fortunate to have had this experience so early in my brown belt career.

Michelle played her famous shin on shin guard and I never got the grips I wanted, which resulted in me getting triangled.

I am convinced next time I will do better and as always I have learnt so much from the experience.

Here is a highlight of the under 55kgs brown/black division from Abu Dhabi.

I am back home now, and all focus is on Worlds. We leave for NYC in 1.5 weeks and I have never felt more driven as I am now. I am training hard 2 x a day with full intensity, I’m resting well and my diet is on point thanks to Reid Reale from Combat Sports Nutrition.


I cannot wait to compete at the Mundials… I’m pumped and ready.

As usual thank you to my sponsors:

MA1 Apparel

Absolute MMA


DEXA Melbourne

Combat Sports Nutrition

34s Core Tactics


Where did the first 4 months of 2016 go?

Uncategorized • Apr 10, 2016

2016 is flying by so fast that I have not had time to update my blog. Between working as a physio, teaching pilates, teaching BJJ classes, privates, running the business and training 2 x day, I don’t have much energy for anything else.


Right now I am right in my competition preparation. Abu Dhabi Pro is just 2 weeks away, where I will be competing with the best black belts in the world and many of my idols! I’m so excited to have an opportunity like that so early into my brown belt.

After Abu Dhabi, I will be home for 3 weeks, then we are off to NYC for the Worlds camp. We booked a cute place in Brooklyn, so it should be good fun exploring the area as well as training hard. Can’t believe it’s nearly World Championships time again, but I seriously can’t wait to compete with brown belts this year.

The competition year started off for me with the Abu Dhabi Pro Trials. Absolute MMA sponsored 10 athletes to go up to Sydney, which is an amazing recognition for the competitors. Absolute won 5 of the 15 packages available (Lachie, Craig, Ben, Demi & Nikki), as well as the best team award. I didn’t have a great competition myself. I think I fought well in under 61kgs open, but lost a ref’s decision in the crucial match, despite numerous sub attempts. I also lost the open weight final, but at least improved on some of my previous mistakes. You win some, you lose some, that’s the way it always goes in sport. I learnt a lot in the process though, which is the most important thing for me. In the end, I am going to Abu Dhabi anyway and I’m stoked about that.

Photo by Macofoto

Photo by Macofoto

Photo by Macofoto

Photo by Macofoto

Photo by Macofoto

Photo by Macofoto

Photo by Macofoto

Photo by Macofoto

Photo by Richard Whetton

Photo by Richard Whetton

Abu Dhabi absolute

In training, we have been doing a bit of ADCC style rounds with heel hooks and leg locks, so I couldn’t wait to jump in to the Grappling Industries Sub Only to test out my game in no gi. I had 7 matches in the open and my weight division and won all but one by subs. I am LOVING no gi at the moment and really enjoying learning heel hooks – it changes the game completely.

adcc training GI 2016 GI podium 2016

In addition to our advanced ADCC sessions, I have been wrestling 2 x a week, and I’m finally starting to feel more comfortable on my feet. I find it improves not only my stand up, but also my scrambles, grip fighting, aggressiveness and spatial awareness.

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In early March, Lachie and I were thrilled to be involved with HeartKids BJJ Super Hero Throwdown and help to raise money for the Heart Kids Foundation, which is dedicated to providing support to families of children with heart disease. It was a lot of fun, and I loved dressing up as Rey from Star Wars and taking on the Raptor. That was the only time that Lachie let me beat him up! Gotta take what I can get I guess.

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At Easter I hosted an advanced girls’ training camp that saw some of Australia’s best females all rolling together. We trained 2 x day and hang out. I got to have many tough and technical rolls with women of different styles and weight divisions. Many thanks to my crazy and super technical friend Margot and Hope (and Mia) for coming to Melbourne from interstate. I love that we can compete against each other as well as being good friends and great training partners. In my eyes, that’s how we will continue to shine on the international stage.

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Playing Bumdrums on Demi

Playing Bumdrums on Demi

I competed at Synergy Pro in Adelaide yesterday. Synergy Pro are one of the few competitions that put on equal prize money for men and women, so I decided to take a day off work, fly to Adelaide and support the shit out of the guys who support us. I had two exciting and tough matches, but since there was no one in my weight we only had open weight. I won the No Gi final by an ankle lock and lost the Gi final by a choke in the last 19 seconds after being up on points. Lesson learnt… Don’t stop till the buzzer goes, and conversely keep fighting till the end. I’m so glad to have all these competitions to make mistakes, try new moves and to gain more and more experience with every fight.


I have so many more exciting things happening this year. After the Worlds, I have been invited to compete at the Copa Podio selection tournament for the women from Australia. 5 of us were chosen, which is an amazing opportunity. Unfortunately for me it’s an open weight format, so at 51kgs it will be a very difficult job as I will have to give up 30-35kgs. However, I am so happy for both Lachie and Craig to be picked to represent Australia to fight the ‘Vikings’ in Norway.

copa podioIn September, Lachie and I are off to Japan to compete at the Asian Open. This is my favourite competition to date, so I’m really looking forward to it.

On a personal level, I am really enjoying working on a lot more balance in my training. I’m having many more light rolling days, analysing more videos, visualising and specific training rather than hard rolls every session. I am really watching my fatigue levels and pick my days. When I’m fresh, I go hard and fight for each point. When I’m exhausted I flow roll, practice speed and movement and I always make sure I dedicate a couple of days to specifically training just one position over and over again. This is making my BJJ journey a lot more fun.specific training

Besides that I am loving coaching and teaching privates. It really makes me think about jiu jitsu in a more and more technical way, but also forces me to be more clear, simple and logical in my explanations.


So next stop is Abu Dhabi, where I plan to train a lot and compete with everything I have. I want to be tenacious, aggressive and assertive and I can’t wait for the challenge. With such great coaches and team behind me, it will be that little bit easier.



2016 AGIG CAMP – a coach’s perspective

Uncategorized • Jan 24, 2016

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If you have been living under a rock you wouldn’t be aware that last weekend a jiu jitsu camp happened. Jess Fraser from Australian Girls In Gi organised 135 women to train, roll, learn and hang together for 3 whole days. It was a mammoth task and as far as I’m aware it’s by far the biggest event of it’s kind in the world.

A few months ago Jess approached me with an offer of a teaching position at the camp. I was a little sceptical at first, as in the past it was the likes of a black belt World Champion Sophia Mcdermott who taught, but I slowly warmed up to the idea. And I’m glad I did.

The coaching team comprised of Australian home grown black and brown belt women. Maryanne Mullahy is my team mate, a multiple time World Champion and one of the nicest people you will ever meet. Esther Tavares-Tutida is Australia’s 2nd female black belt, a mother of 3, my training partner and one of my favourite people ever. Hope Douglass is a brown belt, who is a pioneer for women’s BJJ in Sydney and a wonderful teacher. Jess Fraser needs to introduction, she is just badass. And then there was me. We all agreed to teach different parts of our game to both beginners and advanced women.

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During the introduction speeches, I didn’t quite expect how proud I would feel of myself, of us, and especially of Jess. Just 5 years ago, Jess, I and maybe 3 others used to get together to roll on yoga mats, in a dingy yoga studio, because it was a neutral space. We were all blue belts, and not very good ones at that. The first camp that Jess organised was taught by a purple belt and had 30 ladies, which we thought was incredible.

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Fast forward 5 years and my competitors have become some of my best friends. I have no words to how much I look up to the women I got to teach with. Putting aside the 6 World Titles and 10 World Championship medals we share between us, these ladies are simply amazing. Each has a different story, various achievements, careers, and paths we took to get to where we are. So when I sat alongside these legends and realised that 2.5 years ago, I was just another blue belt, I felt freaking proud of myself and of us. I certainly didn’t have to look far for inspiration last weekend…

I kicked off the camp off by teaching my favourite guard – single x, x guard and it’s variations. Even though I prefer passing, I think everyone should know single x – it’s basic, simple and very high percentage. It was certainly a challenge to cater for so many women, all of different experience and skill level. Whilst not wanting to bore the advanced girls, I couldn’t make things too complicated for more novice participants. Those who know my teaching style, know that I pay a great amount of attention to details. I am a perfectionist, but even more so, being 52kg I cannot afford to rely on size or strength, so I have to get the details right for things to work. Over the last year, I have grown to really enjoy teaching and it was a pleasure to see people grasp the concept at the end of the session. I am forever thankful to Jess for entrusting me to share some of my knowledge during her camp.


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It was also fantastic to see the other coaches’ styles, games and details over the weekend. What a wonderful way to showcase the Aussie women to the world.

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I didn’t sit out of a single roll for the 3 days and I’m so excited for the future of Australian women. So many up and coming blue belts and teenagers, whom will be kicking my butt sooner than later.

Apart from lots and lots of BJJ, I enjoyed socialising, making new and diverse friends and letting loose on the dance floor. I met ladies who will go on to become World Champions and women who taught me more than I ever imagined about balance, peace and pure joy of training.

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In all, the camp was such a positive and empowering experience. Australia is so far removed from the rest of the world that I think we cannot afford to not stick together. Proof is in the pudding – just look at the coaching team. We all train together at times and support the shit out of one another and get results on the international stage.

I think Jess deserves a giant medal. And lots of recognition.  And copious amounts of wine.

I am so proud of you!

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Check out the preview to Darran Petty’s AGIG Camp documentary:

If you would like to learn more of my tricks, come to a Women’s Only Class each friday at Absolute South Yarra. All affiliations welcome!


The beautiful photos are by Fiona Gumboots. You can purchase your own copies here.

Special thanks to AGIG Camp sponsors:

Grappling Industries

Jess Fraser

Atlas Brand

GRRRL Clothing

2015 and it’s unforgettable moments

Uncategorized • Jan 1, 2016

2015 was a busy and a fabulous year… can’t believe it’s already over.

Photo by Richard Whetton

Photo by Richard Whetton

The biggest surprise happened to me only 2 weeks ago, when Lachie awarded me my brown belt. I feel like I literally just started BJJ and not so long ago brown belt had a magic ring to it. Now it’s my reality and I can’t wait for the challenge.

This belt is the first coming from Lachie, which means the world to me. I know he has high expectations and it’s an amazing feeling that the Raptor thinks I’m worthy of a poo coloured belt. I don’t often think about belts or stripes when training, as it’s never been my motivating factor or a goal, so it took me by surprise how emotional I got and how much it meant to me as he tied the belt around my waist.

2016 getting brown

It has been a little over a year since opening doors to Absolute South Yarra and what a journey it has been. I love and value every single member – the community we are creating is what Lachie and I have always wanted. The training is hard, we have so many technical and accomplished fighters, the competition squad is the strongest in Australia, but most of all, it feels like family. I am personally super proud of having around 20 ladies training regularly, compared to just me this time last year. (PS. Come back to Australia Laura, we miss you!)

2016 absolute sth yarra 2016 absolute

When I had to look for inspiration this year, I didn’t have to go far. Lachie has had major breakthroughs and led the team like a boss. Competing at his first ADCC, beating Edwin Najmi, competing at EBI and arm barring Rani Yahya are just a few of his accomplishments. What’s worth mentioning is that Lachie not only trains and coaches full time, but is also writing his PhD, presents at conferences, does physiotherapy research and works as a physio for the Australian Judo Team.

2016 boa

I had some massive ups and downs this year. I finally won a trip to Abu Dhabi, only to lose my first fight on the big stage. From there I flew to Japan to compete at the ADCC Trials in Tokyo. The excitement of beating a black belt rooster 2014 World Champion was quickly squashed by the disappointment of losing to Rikako Yuasa (2015 black belt World Champion) in the final.

I won a silver medal at the World Championships, which was extremely bitter sweet for me. I fought well and dominated first 3 rounds, and then made a lot of mistakes in the final, which resulted in me getting choked. I have fought Thamires many times in Brazil and each time there was nothing separating us. Coming second has fuelled my fire even more though, and I feel like I have come a long way in the last 6 months.

2016 worlds lose 2016 worlds

I finished the year off winning 4 gold medals at Pan Pacific Championships, winning all my fights by submission and 3 golds at the Melbourne Open. I made mistakes, but I took risks and tried new things I’ve been working hard on.

I overcame a few injuries this year and managed to stay somewhat sane. It’s crazy to think I competed with a hand fracture at the Abu Dhabi Trials, Abu Dhabi Pro, ADCC Trials and Worlds, only taking my splint off as I stepped on the mats. I’m happy to say I am now healthy, strong and ready to kick butt.

Professionally, I have enjoyed being a physio, teaching pilates and treating combat sports athletes. Teaching BJJ has been an amazing personal journey for me, as it took me a little while to believe in my skill and knowledge. I absolutely love coaching our women’s squad as well as mixed classes and I find it extremely rewarding.

2016 coaching

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To top it off I got to do fun things such as make a fool of myself translating live at the UFC Melbourne, training with Joanna Jedrzejczyk, doing a few photo shoots and having a camera follow Lachie and I around for a documentary due to be released mid -year!

2016 musashi photoshoot

2016 is already promising to be an adventurous, competition jam-packed year. I am so excited to see our club develop further and to start competing at brown belt, where things get a little more serious.

Thank you to my sponsors who supported me this year – MA1 Apparel, Musashi and Core Tactics.

Thanks to every single person who made this year as fantastic as it was. I am very lucky to have family, friends and business partners who are honest, smart, fun and keep me in check.

Bring on 2016!

Photo by Richard Whetton

Photo by Richard Whetton

IBJJF Melbourne Open and my pure exhaustion

Uncategorized • Dec 6, 2015

Last weekend I competed at my last comp for the year – the IBJJF Melbourne Open. It only happens every second year, so I was looking forward to it. As usual, the entries for purple females were low, but at least I was going to get to fight some new faces.

Photo by Richard Whetton

Photo by Richard Whetton

I was sitting 1 kg over my fight weight for light feather, and in an effort to sit a little bit above my whopping body fat percentage of 8.5, I entered feather weight. It was nice not worrying about my weight or being any leaner than necessary. Unfortunately for my competitor Tish, who is usually closer to rooster weight, I was a lot heavier than her.

I won our fight by a quick ankle lock.

FullSizeRender (16)Open weight gi wasn’t my best performance. Although I won my two matches, I was lazy in the final and content with just winning – an attitude which doesn’t sit well with me. Obviously credit to my super tough opponents (especially Mary, who is a new purple belt and a beast) but on a personal level, my fire just wasn’t there. It’s interesting to fight that way, as I am aware that not every competition will be perfect and not every time I will be able to replicate the same internal drive. I promised myself I would go in with a different head space for no gi.

Photo by Richard Whetton

Photo by Richard Whetton

Photo by Richard Whetton

Photo by Richard Whetton

Photo by Richard Whetton

Photo by Richard Whetton

Photo by Richard Whetton

Photo by Richard Whetton


Photo by Richard Whetton

FullSizeRender (17)I fought light weight in my no gi match, due to lack of competitors. Mary is tough and strong (and lovely), so I was looking forward to another fight with her. I swept, passed and mounted, but couldn’t set up a sub. Mary recovered guard in the last minute, but eventually got DQ-ed for a reap from 50/50, which is a crappy way for me to win a fight.

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I was the only competitor who entered open weight no gi, so I didn’t get to fight for a chance at a 4th gold medal.

I ended up with 3 golds and one default gold. I wasn’t proud of an awful lot from my performance, apart from finally pulling off a Leandro Lo sweep I have been drilling for ages and a no gi pass inspired by Marcelo Garcia.

X guard sweep

Lachie did great in gi, but he also didn’t have the best competition in no gi. I think cutting weight and focusing on sub-only EBI rules has changed his strategy a little and made him perhaps less sharp for IBJJF rules. It’s great to have him as a role model though and see how he gets over hurdles like these. He is now on a whole new level of readiness and aggressiveness for EBI, which is awesome to see.

I was also extremely proud of my teammates. Nikki won 3 golds in blue belt and Sarah, who is one of the most diligent students I know, smashed her white belt division and won the whole thing. To top it off Maromba/Absolute won the team gi and no gi trophies!

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During the last week I had the pleasure of training with Sophia McDermott, who inspired more than I could have imagined. She is precise, strong, flexible, and has very purposeful BJJ. Her game is very similar to mine (of course I lack the lethal arm-bars), but she is just much better. To top it off, she is a beautiful person and I admire her ability to bring the best in everyone around her.

This caps off my competition season for the year and I am truly and totally exhausted. From more work hours, to teaching, training, seminars and no days off, I feel mentally and physically spent.  I took the weekend off and thought hard about what I need to do to step it up a notch in BJJ. The answer is A LOT. I am making a drilling and specific training plan, as there are many holes I need to fill in my game, not only knowledge but also execution wise. Knowing just how much I am lacking in so many areas makes me super excited for the next few months.

The best thing is that I am surrounded by wonderful teammates who put in the mat time with me, and push me to my limits. My club Absolute South Yarra is my second home and my team are my family.  When we opened doors a year ago, I really had no idea on the wonderful journey Lachie were about to embark on. The community everyone is creating has so far exceeded my expectations and I am so proud of how far we have come as a club.

Purple Belt Dream Team plus a few)

Purple Belt Dream Team plus a few)

Lachie is now in San Diego to finalise his prep for EBI in a week’s time. He trained so hard for this, gradually cut close to 10kgs and his BJJ is looking better than ever. Can’t wait to watch the event!

You can get our new Velachieraptor rashies made by our sponsor MA1 here!