Meet Livia Gluchowska, the Polish-Australian grappler who has achieved world champion status in gi and no gi. Currently a blackbelt she recently competed in Eddie Bravo’s EBI all women’s card. She is also fond of Fight Chix and our new JiuJitsu Junkie Tank!
When did you start training in jiujitsu and what led you to the martial arts? I started in 2010 after retiring from a competitive sprint cycling career. I decided to go to university and get a degree as being an athlete wasn’t going to pay my bills. By that stage I have been an elite athlete for 18 years (a gymnast for 12, cyclist for 6) and I promised myself to not do any more competitive sports as the training and competition tended to take over my life. However I needed something to do to keep fit, so my brother took my to his local martial arts club to try kickboxing. I found the classes a little boring and after 2 weeks of shadow boxing, I decided to try BJJ instead. I met my now finance and coach Lachlan around the same time and I was absolutely hooked after the first BJJ class. I competed 3 months after I started training and had absolutely no idea what I was doing. However I stuck at it, and here we are now.
Did you have a preference, Gi or NoGi? I used to like gi a lot more than no gi, but that was mainly because I simply trained in the gi more and was much more comfortable with my technique and skill level. Nowadays, I have no preference. I train gi and no gi every day as well as wrestling. Since we have 3 of my teammates qualified for ADCC from our club Absolute MMA St Kilda, we have been training no gi submission grappling rules a lot lately and I have fallen in love with the intricacies of the leg lock game. My aim in BJJ is to be well rounded and good at all aspects of the game – gi and no gi equally.
How has training effected your life in a physical, mental and spiritual way? I have been an athlete from a very young age. There was nothing quite as tough as being a gymnast in Eastern Europe in the late 80s and 90s and then sprint cyclist under the Australian National Team coach, so I am no stranger to extremely hard work. However, I am now a little older and wiser and I’m finally doing this sport for me and for the pure joy of learning, training and competing. Although I’m slightly more battered and broken than I was 10 years ago, I am also fitter and stronger than ever. I manage to train 3-4 hrs a day and full time work. Weight cuts and gains for various weight divisions in competition have taught me a lot about what my body and mind are capable of. BJJ is my stress relief and my place to call home. My best friends are men and women from my academy and my happiness has a lot to do with the BJJ community I get to spend time with every day. I am also a much more wiser, patient and a settled person. Jiu Jitsu has taught me how to deal with stressful situations and how to deal with extreme pressures that I may face in every day life. In all, I like myself a lot more than I did years ago and that’s something I am very proud of.
Who do you look up to—who are your heroes? I look up to a few people who are mainly my family and friends. My fiancé Lachlan is an amazing human being who is self driven, intelligent, kind and fair. My ‘girl crew’ at Absolute MMA (JitsnTits) are a bunch of incredible, supportive, funny and welcoming women, who are not only my training partners but have become my best friends and I look up to each and every one of them for various reasons. My family because they show me unconditional love and always have my back. I have many BJJ role models (such as Fabio Gurgel, Michelle Nicolini, Michael Langhi, Luiza Mointeiro and many more) whom I admire and try to learn from. However, I am careful not to always idolise people just because they have a black belt or are good at a sport. ‘Hero’ is a very strong word and I find inspiration everywhere in life and most often in the most simple things.
Describe a challenging situation you have faced in your life and how you overcame it. One of the hardest thing in my life was moving to Australia when I was 12. We left behind all that I knew in Poland and started a new life in Melbourne without speaking English, without friends or extended family. It was a lonely and hard time in my life.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years? In 5 years time I will be wrapping up my competitive career and I will hopefully have a black belt World Championship medal to my name. I want to keep developing my students and teammates and especially the women’s team, whom will be kicking my butt anytime now. My new physiotherapist business Physio Lab Melbourne will be thriving and our academy will keep on growing. I would like to own a house with Lachie and think about starting a family. Most of all I want to keep enjoying every minute of my life, like I am now.
Take us through a typical training week. How do you balance life, work, relationships and training etc. I usually train 2 x a day Monday to Friday. On Saturdays I drill and specific train and I wrestle on Sundays. My BJJ training includes gi, no gi and wrestling, as well as ADCC/EBI style advanced competition sessions. I am not amazing at resting, but I don’t roll hard every single session, because my body can’t take it and breaks. When I’m exhausted I drill and specific train and pick smaller training partners. I am lucky that my fiancé is also my coach, business partner and a colleague. We usually don’t come home until 10pm, but at least we are on the same schedules. We are both physiotherapists and are starting our own business which will run out of our gym Absolute MMA St Kilda. We have learnt how to work and train together over the years and try to laugh a lot when things get tough. At the moment I work full time as a physiotherapist, I coach the women’s classes, teach privates and seminars, study a little on the side and train, which gets exhausting, but since I love what I do, it doesn’t often feel like work.
What does your diet and exercise look like outside of jiujitsu training? I do a rehab/prehab strengthening circuit 2-3 times a week outside of my normal training. My diet really depends on what competitions I’m preparing for. If I’m not cutting or bulking, I eat loads of healthy food with a treat on most days and loads of coffee. When I’m cutting, I follow my dietician’s orders. I definitely love food and eat what my heart and stomach desires for the majority of the year. FAVORITES: Food: steak, ice cream, sushi, chocolate, coffee Music: anything apart from heavy metal or trance/dance Book: Shantaram, The Power Of One Submission: Changes all the time, but at the moment it’s heel hooks
Tell us how you found out about Fight Chix and what you think of the brand or your favorite item on the site. I first heard of Fight Chix when reading review of no gi shorts that everyone loved and have followed the brand ever since. I recently competed at EBI 12 and Fight Chix were one of the amazing sponsors who supported the first female only card. I am absolutely in love with the Jiu Jitsu Junkie Tank Top.
Facebook: Livia Gluchowska