Holy shit. How has another year passed? It seems that just a minute ago, I was sitting under the sun at the beach, eating acai in paradise in Brazil writing about what a good year 2013 was. In fact, I was sure that 2013 was pretty much impossible to top. So I didn’t win another World Title in 2014, but god damn, I had a ball.
- We started 2014 with a bang with new friends and our adopted family in Brazil.
- We settled in Sao Paulo and trained at Alliance for 5 months, where we met the most professional, friendly, determined and hard working team. Training under Fabio Gurgel was a dream come true and 6 months later, I am still consolidating all the things I’ve learnt.
- I have never trained harder or pushed my limits more in training. It took us a little while to adapt to be able to do 2 classes a day plus extra drilling, and I loved every minute. Sometimes I actually cried from exhaustion, but getting smashed each day was a humbling and a motivating experience.
- We travelled all over Brazil to train with our idols such as Michelle Nicolini, Cicero Costha, the Miyaos, Leandro Lo, Luiza Monteiro, Mario Reis, Monique Elias and Rico Vieira.
- We also taught some BJJ (but saying we, I mean Lachie) in Sao Paulo as well as up north of Brazil on 2 square metres of mats in the middle of nowhere. Yes, we taught in Portuguese. No we couldn’t actually speak it.
- We competed on average every 2 weeks – I won a few titles, got my ass severely kicked in some competitions, disappointingly lost the final at the Brasileiros, but mostly held my own a lot of the time. I met so many incredible souls in the process; from my team mates, to my competitors, to the referees and each and every one of them was kind, helpful and friendly to us gringos.
- We saw sights so amazing that I never imagined they even existed, we walked through sand dunes for 8 hours with no other soul around us, we got chased by a bull down south of Brazil, we tasted at least 10 new fruit, we danced very bad samba at carnival, we ate too many tapioca pancakes, we swam with dolphins, and watched way too many TV shows in between training sessions due to pure exhaustion and inability to do anything else but lie down.
- We spend our pre-Worlds training camp at Marcelo Garcia’s academy in NYC, which was pretty much another one of my dreams come true. We lived off $5 burritos in Brooklyn, turned somewhat hipster for the 3 weeks we were there and in all, we walked more than ever before. Apart from the sand dunes. Because no one should walk that far.
- I got heart broken after losing my quarter-final at the Worlds. It sucked balls in fact. But I did get over it and it motivated me even more to keep on improving and learning.
- Upon our return to our beautiful Melbourne, I got my dream job at the Melbourne Physiotherapy, Fitness and Pilates Group, where I work as a physiotherapist and a pilates instructor. I love the space, the team, the freedom, flexibility and support my work gives me.
- I was appointed the Head Physiotherapist for the Caulfield Grammarians Football Club for the last half of the season, which I really enjoyed.
- I turned 30 and it was fabulous!
- Lachie and I won 4 golds each at the Pan Pacific Championships.
- We then both competed at BOA Super 8. I did not win, which I still kick myself for a little, but I had so much fun and I really believe it was one of the best fights of my life. It was a nice reminder that you can still kick goals and be a winner, without actually winning a fight.
- I was involved in filming a fantastic and inspirational video by Koray Kilicli, which is an add that doesn’t advertise anything, apart from pure movement and being completely in the moment. I could re-watch it a 100 times!
- One of the biggest life changing events happened 2 months ago. Lachie opened his own BJJ Academy, which was in the planning for the last 2 years. It happened very quickly and I count my blessings every day to have great training partners, such a friendly atmosphere, an incredible coach and fantastic business partners. I love the location, I love being there and not a single day feels like work. Check out Absolute MMA & Conditioning South Yarra (more on it in my next blog).
- I got to go to Japan with my beautiful friend Jo Vlahovich, where we experienced a new culture and totally fell in love with the people and the country. At the Asian Open, I won my weight division, got third in absolute and got to see Jo smash her way to a silver. I had so many good moments with my team mates and other Aussies.
- Seeing Lachie win ADCC Trials in Korea was one of my happiest moments of the year. I don’t know anyone who works harder and is more humble, yet keeps his head down and always pushes forward. He is my true inspirations and I wish I could see him fight in Manaus, Brazil in August. He also kicked butt at the Australian Grand Prix and I can’t wait to see him in action at the next BOA Super 8.
- I got to work at the Australian Institute of Sport as a physiotherapist for the Combat Centre. This was my professional career dream and it somehow came true. Working with such an incredible team of people, not only taught me just how much can be done in one day, but also motivated me further to start my masters or a PhD in the next year. I also completed a couple of professional development sports physio courses and got to sit in on a few surgeries.
- Lachie and I finally found a new pad close to our new gym, which we love. We moved out just before the New Year, with the help of my wonderful family (who housed us for the last 6 months). We even got what I call ‘adult’ furniture, and I now feel a little grown up.
- I finished the year ranked # 2 in the World in no gi and #4 in a gi (purple belt, light feather) and #1 in Australia in both gi and no gi (purple belt, open weight).
So that was my 2014 in a short review. So many dreams became reality and so much hard work actually paid off. Parts were tough and hard and incredibly exhausting, but when you are passionate about each and every minute of your day, no work actually feels like work. I am looking forward to 2015 so, so much. Bring it on 🙂
Sounds like such a dream year!!! On ya Liv, 2015 is going to be hard to top, but I’m looking forward to hearing how you do it!
I should make it a goal to top 2014! Thanks Eric, I always appreciate your comments 🙂
A brilliant year- congratulations.
Also an excellent review.