2017 Australian Girls In Gi Camp

Uncategorized • Feb 18, 2017
@ Fiona Gumboots

@ Fiona Gumboots

This year marked my 5th AGIG Camp and what a pleasure has it been involved yet again. I returned as a coach, joined by Jess Fraser, Esther Tavares-Tutida, Hope Douglass and Demi Butler as well as amazing assistant coaches in Van Do, Kirsty Mather, Jessica Dobbs, Patricia VanderMeer and Robyn Jordan. The AGIG community keeps on growing – this year there were 130 participants ranging from beginner white belts to very experienced black belts.


@ Fiona Gumboots

@ Fiona Gumboots

@ Fiona Gumboots

@ Fiona Gumboots

@ Fiona Gumboots

Since the theme of the camp was ‘playfulness’, I decided to teach a small part of my spider guard system. Spider guard is something I started to experiment with as a white belt, but never really used it in competition until the end of my purple belt days. It has taken me years to develop the skill and confidence to use it effectively and now it’s a big part of my game. I use it to sweep, submit, recover guard and transition to other guards.

@ Fiona Gumboots

@ Fiona Gumboots

@ Fiona Gumboots

@ Fiona Gumboots

@ Fiona Gumboots

@ Fiona Gumboots

My teaching style is always quite reliant on details and technique. Being a small female, I can never really rely on strength to power through moves, so I pay attention to the tinniest details that make a difference between the technique working and failing. I always teach things that work for me at competitions at the highest level.

The best part of my day? Photo with 130 women pelvic thrusting. Why, you ask? Because why the hell not!

@ Fiona Gumboots

@ Fiona Gumboots

I was so thrilled to teach 13 private lessons at camp as well. It was a pleasure to see so many ladies interested in my style and technique and most importantly thinking about the direction and progression of their own BJJ. I am not a particularly fast learner, so if I can master a skill and perform it at a world class event, then anyone can. With enough smart training and repetition anything is learnable.

I was so lucky to have my friend and training partner Chi with me all weekend. She was not only my ‘dummy’ for the seminar and privates, but also brought me food, coffee and lollies for the entire 4 days!

I absolutely loved learning from the other coaches this year. We all have our individual touches to similar techniques and we are all successful in our own rights. It was great to see individual spins, creativity and different personalities come through. I also had many fun rolls. The lower belts picked up the techniques learnt quickly and tried to execute them during sparring. I also loved rolling with black belt Van and brown belt Jessica – I literally could not wipe the smile off my face, as it’s not often I get to have such high level,  beautiful technical exchanges with people similar to my weight.

coaches 2

The vibe this year was very positive and encouraging and I am damn proud to be a part of such wonderful community. Jess Fraser has yet again outdone herself and is an example of what can be achieved with a little bit of imagination and will-power.

During the 4 week camp, I took the Saturday off to compete at the Melbourne Open Abu Dhabi Pro Trials. Unfortunately there was only one open weight ticket on offer, but it was a good hit out and a nice start to the year. In my weight division I hit a nice spider lasso sweep taught by Abmar Barbosa and a deep half pass to S mount to a cutting arm bar (which I didn’t finish). In my open weight I lost by a take down, but played a very offensive guard with a few sweep and sub attempts. Congrats to Lachie, Ben and Demi to winning their well reserved tickets to the World Pro.

@ Joshua Stebbings

@ Joshua Stebbings

@ Macofoto

@ Macofoto

abu dhabi pro

I am skipping the Sydney Open and Australian Pro Trials this year, because I will be going directly to Abu Dhabi with the help of Pony Grappling Gear. I am beyond grateful and excited for such an awesome opportunity and will be joined by some of my favourite people from around the world.

Don’t forget to check out AGIG Camp photo gallery at Gumboots Photography.

2016 was fabulous, but 2017 is looking even better already!

competition , friends , Jiu Jitsu , review , team , Uncategorized • Jan 6, 2017

Time is going so fast and I still can’t believe it was 17 years ago I was worried about the Y2K bug!

I have such an exciting year ahead with loads of fun opportunities just around the corner. I will be teaching at the 2017 AGIG camp in 3 weeks, to which you can still buy a ticket here. There will be over 100 women from Australia and all around the world, so you’d be crazy to miss it.


Many comps are planned for the first half of the year including some fun international assignments. I am also organising a seminar tour in Korea and I literally can’t wait to get over there.

My knee rehab is going great, training is in full force, I’m getting strong from lifting and I am feeling more and more confident in my BJJ.

Over the very short Xmas break I’ve had time to sit down and reflect on 2016 and make some goals for 2017. In short, I am proud of myself in how far I’ve come in the last year on a personal and professional level. I pushed my limits this year so much that I thought I would fail many times. But instead I got stronger.

Most memorable experiences of  2016 include:

  • Competing at Abu Dhabi World Pro in a mixed brown/black division for the first time.
  • Fighting my idols in Abu Dhabi and Macao.
  • Having enormous amount of discipline and drive to cut to rooster weight for Worlds.
  • Winning brown belt Worlds a week after tearing my LCL of the knee.
  • Winning Asian Open and learning from my open weight loss.
  • Overcoming many panic attacks due to a torn ACL.
  • Becoming the first Australian to win at Copa Podio, 3 weeks after tearing my ACL.
  • Growing my women’s class at Absolute MMA, coaching and teaching privates.
  • Watching 3 of my teammates become World Champions this year.
  • Being there for Lachie as he graduated from his PhD and became a doctor.
  • Seeing the blue belt female team spam the podium at No Gi Worlds – 3 light weight ladies from Absolute won gold, silver and bronze in the same division.
  • Getting more confident at leg locks, heel hooks and leg entanglements, and as a result developing my no gi game far beyond what I thought would be possible for me.
  • Learning and loving wrestling.
  • Having the closest group of friends I have ever had at Absolute South Yarra – I just could not ask for a better team.

Jude Abadi 1IMG_9299gi winliv michelle 116-medalsimageimage image image image image image image image

As nice and important as it is to reflect on the past, I am way more excited about the future. I have loads of projects on the go and am diving straight into 2017 full of plans, hope and happiness.

I am also looking for sponsorship opportunities for 2017 – if you would like to be part of my team and be on this journey together, shoot me a message.

If you would like to host me for a seminar, I am also available throughout the year.

Happy New Year everyone… hope 2017 will be your best yet.


Copa Podio feels…

competition , injury , Jiu Jitsu • Nov 13, 2016

I have written about my whirlwind trip to Brazil to compete at Copa Podio for FloGrappling, which you can read here.

I thought I would elaborate on the behind the scenes stuff as well as my emotions and all the mental prep in the lead up to the fight.

When I got the call up for Copa Podio, it came as a big surprise. In fact a few months ago some ladies from Australia were meant to have a competition to select the ‘Kangaroos’ female representative. The competition was supposed to be between myself, 2 of my teammates, 1 training partner and a purple belt, with us all ranging in weight between 50 and 85kgs. None of this made sense, so I’m glad it never went ahead!

In the end my Absolute MMA teammate Maryanne Mullahy was selected to fight Ida Floisvik, but for some reason their fight got moved to January 2017, so in came Emilia Tuukkanen of Finland and I. I was given 4 weeks notice and really wasn’t looking forward to asking my work for more time off for BJJ, especially when I have already planned to go to No Gi Worlds in November and have just come back from Asian Open in Japan. Fortunately my work is wonderful and cleared my schedule straight away.


As exciting as it felt to be selected to compete on such a big stage, it felt heavy with responsibility and no amount of reassurance from anyone else helped me feel any different. It’s one thing competing at the Worlds at the same time as 7 other matches, but another to fight in front of audience, live broadcast on Brazilian TV and a live stream across the world. I wanted to put on a show and make sure I did a good job representing myself, my club and my country. To ease the burden  I jumped deep into preparations where I left no stone unturned. I needed to be aware of Emilia’s game, so Lachie and I studied it together. We then shifted focus to my BJJ including my strengths and weaknesses.

Just when I started to feel confident, I tore my ACL during competition rounds. It hurt as it popped, but I was mainly crying from realising what I have just done to myself. ACL reconstruction means surgery, 12 months of rehab, a hamstring graft, time off work and added expense. In an instant I thought my dreams of competing at Copa Podio and No Gi Worlds were shattered. I had a goal of winning two brown belt World Titles in one year and I was fairly certain that wasn’t going to happen.


I was in denial for a little while because after 3-4 days my knee felt pretty good. Even when I was getting my knee examined at the sports doctor’s surgery, I still hoped that the MRI wasn’t correct and my ACL was intact, which of course was not the case. When my physician advised me that if I could jump, squat and change directions without a problem I could possibly go to Brazil, I was shocked. However I needed to give myself a week to make a decision based on how my knee would handle drilling and heavier weights. I also had an Australian competitor as a replacement ready to take my place if needed be, which was a very tough conversation for me to have.


With two weeks to go I drilled and specific trained and my knee was ok. It didn’t feel right, but with changing my game I had a feeling I would be just fine. In my final week at home, I had a few panic attacks. First one happened when Lachie called me out to do our usual Wednesday night competition rounds. I started shaking, was pretty close to tears and literally wanted to run out of the gym. However, the deal was that if I couldn’t get through that at training, I wouldn’t go to Brazil. So I took a deep breath and tapped hands. I survived, felt good and my knee didn’t combust. My knee only ‘gave way’ during my one and only team competition training before I left. It made me feel sick to the bone, but at least I knew which positions I needed to avoid when fighting. During the final few days, I still wanted nothing to do with leg locks, so of course Lachie and the boys specific trained with me all scenarios imaginable where I could get knee barred, ankle locked or toe holded. There were many panic taps and a lot of fear but by the time I boarded the plane I was very confident in my defences.

I will be forever thankful for the help from my teammates who pushed me to my limit without injuring me further, the constant encouragement from Lachie and my sports psych Anthony, who always tells me like it is and provides me with the tools to get my mental well-being just right.


@ Hannah Gorman

@ Hannah Gorman



I had a lot of time to think on my 40 hour journey to Brazil and came to the realization that the enormous pressure I was feeling is a total privilege of an emotion. I felt grateful that I had the opportunity to do what I was doing, with so many people behind me. It took an incredible amount of courage to get myself ready mentally and physically.

During media day when I was giving an interview, it occurred to me that I perform best under pressure. I have been on big stages before, not only in BJJ, but also when I raced bikes on the velodrome in front of thousands of people and as a rhythmic gymnast as I learnt to perform around the world from the age of 7. I have competed with serious injuries and fought in 4 World Championships finals. This was my playground.image

@ FloGrappling

@ FloGrappling

The day before Copa Podio, I went to visit my second family at Alliance Sao Paulo whom I have missed so much. Michael Langhi, who is my BJJ idol, would be coaching in my corner and even volunteered to study my opponent’s game. Together we formulated a game plan for my fight. I was there when Michael tore his ACL 2 months before Mundials, so his words of advice and encouragement were comforting and meant the world to me.


During the weigh-ins I looked around me and realised what an honour it was to be there. I was surrounded with world’s best heavy weights and people I have looked up to since I was a white belt. Now I was going to be fighting amongst them, on the same show. Right there and then I made a decision to do this for myself and forget everyone else watching me.

@ FloGrappling

@ FloGrappling

@ FloGrappling

@ FloGrappling

@ FloGrappling

@ FloGrappling

I woke up early due to jet lag, but I didn’t really care how I was feeling. I had no doubt in my mind that my fatigue and knee pain would be forgotten as soon as stepped on the stage. We got to the venue 7 hours before I was due to compete and I even managed a nap an hour before my fight. However as soon as I put my headphones on, it was game on. If I wanted to win, I needed to keep my focus for the entire 8 minutes.imageimageimage

Walking out on the mat holding Australian flag was a feeling I won’t forget in a hurry. I enjoyed every second. We tapped hands and it was finally time. I pulled guard quickly and as per Michael’s instructions played spider guard. I desperately wanted a sub, but couldn’t quite get there. I had many opportunities to come up for a sweep which I didn’t take because my knee wouldn’t handle more than a couple of minutes on top and there was no way I could risk it giving way on me during the fight. I eventually managed to sweep, but just when I tried to settle into my passing rhythm, I found myself in an arm bar. It was never really on, but as soon as I managed to get out of it, Emilia was attacking my leg. I quietly thanked Lachie for trying to rip my legs off every day from that exact position. I was able to get into a smash pass position and nearly get the pass, but Emilia turtled. I am not quite sure why I let go of the harness and went back to guard, but I think I freaked out because of possible leg attacks. I still cringe when I watch all the mistakes I make in the final 2 minutes of the fight. Although I wasn’t the most happy with my jiu jitsu that night, I was very proud of myself for doing what I had to to win, for changing my game and for not losing the plot entirely with stress.

When I finally heard the bell to signify the end of the match, I was flooded with relief. I stayed safe. My knee was a little sore, but it was ok. I was ridiculously happy that I won. 


@ Copa Podio

@ Copa Podio

@ Copa Podio

@ Copa Podio

@ Copa Podio


@ Copa Podio

@ Copa Podio

@ Copa Podio

Absolute MMA - my team's support is second to none

Absolute MMA – my team’s support is second to none

Straight after walking off the mat, Emilia and I high-fived and congratulated each other on leaving it all on the mats and putting on a good show. Emilia is a lovely human with beautiful BJJ and I was so glad to be sharing those moments with her.

image imageimageimageimage

We finished the night off with some well deserved drinks and it was a pleasure having a laugh with our competitors. Emilia, Ben, Tommy and I caught a few rays of sunshine the next day lazing by the pool and eating acai. It was the perfect ending to my short time in Sao Paulo!

image imageimage imageimage

I made the heart breaking decision to sit out of No Gi Worlds and get my knee well enough to handle the 2017 season. My year of competition comes to an end now and I am back at the gym learning new skills, developing a new game and getting bloody strong. My knee is holding up sometimes, but also gives me a lot of trouble if I get ahead of myself and revert back to playing my normal style of passing. It’s scary and upsetting, but I am really looking forward to turning it into a positive and expanding my BJJ like never before.

Bring on 2017!

ACL rupture & 3 week rehab journey to Copa Podio

competition , injury , Jiu Jitsu , Uncategorized • Nov 1, 2016

3.5 weeks ago I completely tore my anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) of the knee during training. Last weekend (3 weeks after the injury) I competed at Copa Podio in Brazil without an ACL and won the fight (more on that later).

Initially we thought it was a partial ACL tear, but later a sports physician confirmed it was a complete rupture, which broke my heart.

I have documented the emotional roller-coaster that was the last couple of weeks by mumbling quite a bit on video and also recorded a small portion of my ACL rehab program, strengthening and sports specific drills, which helped me be as physically ready as I could have been given the circumstances.


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 www.nourissh.com 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.


imageimage image image image image image

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!

IMG_3304 IMG_9413IMG_3326

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.

mackenzie braulio

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.

lach liv MG dubai training

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.

agig girlshope

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