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Wowee, 2017 was an exciting year!

black belt , camp , competition , ebi , friends , gi , grading , IBJJF , injury , Jiu Jitsu , korea , Lachie , no gi , physiotherapy , review , seminar , team , World Championships , wrestling • Jan 25, 2018

2017 went past like lightning! I can’t believe we are at the end on January of 2018 already and the new season is in full swing.

The past year was perhaps the most jam-packed and exciting year of my life. It was a year of many firsts both professionally and personally. I learnt so much about myself, my friends and who really matters to me in my life. I grew up a lot, started standing up for myself and took some risks, whilst really enjoying my life to the fullest.

2017 is the year Lachie asked me to marry him in Fiji. We have finally booked a date for our wedding for the first week of 2019 in a gorgeous venue in Port Arlington. I’m looking forward to this day already and can’t wait to share it with family and friends.19755877_10154541699562461_1583299297_n 19691447_10154541700537461_157624448_n

Mid-year, I finally put my big girl pants on, resigned from my job and started my own business Physio Lab Melbourne. It took me a little while to get going and learn the tricks of the trade of running my own business, but I am loving working for myself and being Lachie’s employer. I mainly treat combat sports athletes, which is my passion and something I can relate to.Social-Media-02

I took on the job of kid’s coach at Absolute MMA St Kilda, on top of my women’s class and 1:1 privates. In 2018 I will also be teaching a lunch time no gi class, which I’m really looking forward to.kids 2

In 2017, I taught my first international seminars in Korea. I had over 50 people for each day and taught via a translator, which was an experience. Since then, I have been teaching regular seminars around Australia and am looking forward to many more in 2018. I was most proud of organising the Super Seminar where 6 Absolute MMA women who medalled at World Championships taught their favourite techniques. We had over 80 people in attendance and raised money to attend No Gi Worlds. IMG_2330 Super Seminar 1

Right after No Gi Worlds, I received an e-mail from the Victorian Government congratulating me on the silver medal and advising that I have been nominated as a board member for the Professional Boxing and Combat Sports Board of Victoria. This is a huge honour and it will be a wonderful experience and a fantastic challenge. After an interview, a lengthy application process, and pending final government approval, I will be a board member for 2018.

BJJ wise, 2017 was a huge year. It wasn’t all roses and gold medals, but it was the most intense year ever, full of growth and learning. I have never enjoyed being on the mats more and competing proved more joyful every time.

I started wresting 2-3 times a week, attended a Wrestling Camp at the Australian Institute of Sport, but wasn’t able to compete yet, because my knee was not up to scratch post ACL tear at the start of 2017. Doing a wrestling comp is one of my goals for 2018, and I’m super excited about it.

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My first big comp for the year was the ADCC Trials in Japan. Winning the trials has been a massive goal of mine for 3 years. In 2015, I came second to Rikako Yuasa, so I spent the next 1.5 years training my leg locks and wrestling. I definitely improved a lot, but not enough to win myself a ticket to ADCC finals. Yet again, I lost to Rikako at the Asia/Oceania trials and was devastated not to join Lachie and Craig in Finland.adcc rikako 1

Next up was the Abu Dhabi World Pro, where I won a bronze medal as a brown belt and became the first Aussie woman to medal at brown/black division. I gained a lot of confidence and finally got to mix it with the best females in the world.ad 6

Upon my return to Australia and just 3 weeks before Worlds, Lachie surprised me with a black belt. I will never forget this day and all the people that turned up to celebrate with me. I feel like my journey is just beginning as I’m starting to grow into my belt.18198679_10155361379293474_4075446445520613286_n

In April, I flew to Poland for 3 days to have another shot at the ADCC Trials. I lost the first round and came home with shattered dreams yet again.IMG_4343

However, I had to re-focus quickly as World Championships were only 2 weeks away, where I would debut my black belt. I lost my first round by 2 points, which was my first World Championship first round exit.

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Macofoto

I returned to LA only a month later, after getting an invite from Eddie Bravo to compete on the first female EBI. I spent 6 weeks bulking to 56kgs and specific training arm bars and back control, as well as focusing on no points, submission only game. My BJJ improved so much through this process and I became a much better grappler in every way. I was devastated to lose my first round in overtime to the eventual winner. I am looking forward to having another go at EBI, but closer to my normal weight at 115lbs.

@JiuJitsuMag

@JiuJitsuMag

Katie Hibbert and I made a trip to LA for the UAE Grand Slam in September. I had 4 great fights, but lost the fight for a bronze medal. Although I am not beating the best black belt women in the world, I am also not getting smashed, which is comforting. I came home and worked hard on the mistakes I made – both technically and strategically. LA lasso

I then secured myself a trip to Fight To Win Pro in USA by winning the Aus Sub Only Championship in Sydney. It was a fun comp, and I got to fight new ladies, in the no gi open weight division. I postponed the USA trip to 2018, as I was completely exhausted from too much travel.

I won my first black belt title at Pan Pacific Championships, but was most proud of my female team – all the girls from Absolute MMA that entered won a medal, which was a great accomplishment!Pan Pacs 2017

In November, Chisaki and I flew to Bali for Jiu Jitsu Escaped Camp in Uluwatu. It was 5 days of pure luxury and bliss. We learnt from Bruno Malfacine and Gezary Matuda, trained, rested, and explored Bali. It was just perfect in every way. Bali 6

Finally, the last competition of the season was the No Gi World Championships in Anaheim. I witnessed Lachie winning a bronze medal and becoming the first Aussie male to medal at No Gi Worlds as a black belt. Chi won a bronze medal at blue belt, and I followed up by winning a silver medal in my first No Gi Worlds as a black belt. Not bad, but the emptiness from not winning gold, meant that I went home more determined than ever. I already improved 10-fold from this loss, and I now see a black belt gold within my reach. wolrds 9
I put my body through a lot during the year and right around the time of Worlds I got shingles. It was extremely painful, and unfortunately with FTW Pro and Europeans coming up, I could only rest for 3 days, which was not ideal. I will certainly try to listen a bit more to my body in 2018 and strive for a better life/work/training balance.

I have so many goals to accomplish in 2018. There is big things to achieve in my BJJ career, but also professionally as a physio, business owner and a coach. I’m learning how to manage my time better and make sure I get enough rest, so that I can be more functional and productive when it actually matters.

I have done so much growing as a person, but I’m looking forward to maturing more and becoming a better human being. I can definitely say that I am living my life to the fullest and appreciate the shit out of every minute. Thank you to all of you for being a part of it!

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2018 No Gi World Championships, Anaheim

black belt , competition , friends , IBJJF , Jiu Jitsu , Lachie , no gi , team , World Championships • Jan 11, 2018
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I have been looking forward to my first No Gi Worlds at black belt for a long time. Last time I competed at No Gi Worlds was in 2013, when I won it as a fresh purple belt. I didn’t compete at brown last year, because of a torn ACL.

Since Lachie and Craig have qualified for ADCC in 2015, we, at Absolute St Kilda, have focused a lot on no gi and wrestling, and as a result over the last two years I went from feeling like a fish out of water in no gi, to absolutely loving it. I enjoy the speed, the scrambles, the physicality of it all, and I finally started to get the hang of the different grips and controls required for no gi.

We had a large team from Absolute MMA and I was stoked to compete amongst my black belt teammates and training partners in Lachie, Kit and Craig.

My training partners Chi and Sarah, joined Lachie and I for a week in LA. We trained at Brea Jiu Jitsu for a few days and thank Trumpet Dan for his hospitality and a place to roll and drill. Make sure you check them out if you are ever in the area, there is usually plenty of talent on the mats!

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I realised one of my childhood dreams when we went to Disneyland. It was such a fun day out and somehow we all survived even though most of us were cutting a little bit of weight!

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My cut wasn’t hard, as I usually walk around 52-53kg, but I did stop eating dessert for 4 weeks or so, which is always sad. For those who don’t know me, I am known to eat like a tub of ice-cream every night, because I loooove desert which will probably give me diabetes one day.

Lachie was up first and set the tone for the Aussies. It’s hard to describe the happiness I felt for him, as he qualified for semi-finals the following day and secured himself a medal. He absolutely smashed his first 2 matches and it was so nice to quietly celebrate together – medal at worlds was a long time coming for Lachie and he finally did it!worlds 21

Chi looked amazing in her fights and won a bronze medal. Not many people can win two World Championships medals in one year, but Chi did it in style. Watch out for this girl, she has a very bright future ahead of her!worlds 10

Sarah, Kit, Mikael, Tim, Craig, Lachie Warne, Cooper, Dan and Raph from Absolute MMA all did great and were an inspiration to watch. Everyone is getting better and closer to a podium finish and I’m proud to be their teammate. Other Aussies did amazing too and brought home a few medals!

Absolute MMA

Team Absolute MMA

I drew Sofia Amarante, a woman I have looked up to for a very long time, in my first round. Sofia has won black belt world titles, had a kid, and is still competing all over the world. I had to switch the fan-girling off when I stepped on the mats though. I managed to win by only 2 advantages. Can’t say it was my best performance, but I did what I had to, stayed safe and followed a plan that Lachie and I worked on. I was ecstatic to qualify for my first black belt worlds final the next day.

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That night Lachie and I couldn’t stop smiling. We each guaranteed ourselves a medal and to do it together meant the world to us. Lachie became the first Aussie black belt male to bring home a medal from No Gi Worlds, which is a huge achievement. It was so hard to sleep with the excitement and going over our game plans.

The next day, Lachie was up first in his semi-final against AJ Azagarm. AJ got an early take down and then defended Lachie’s sweep, takedown and sub attempts for 9 minutes, winning by 2 points (and 5 advantages down).

I faced a 2 x World No Gi Champ Pati Fontes. Hearing my name called out on the centre mat for a black belt final was an unbelievable feeling. I have been in 4 Worlds finals before that, so I knew the drill, but this was special. A couple of years ago, I didn’t even dream of being a competitive black belt, and now I was competing at the World Championship final…

worlds no gi 2 Purchase your prints and licensed downloads from this event - www.mikecalimbas.com/BJJ Purchase your prints and licensed downloads from this event - www.mikecalimbas.com/BJJ

I knew Pati has a great half guard, but I love half guard passing, so it suited me. Pati pulled and after a while got an undertook and forced the fight into ‘dog fight’ position. I was trying to drive her shoulder to the mat to free my leg, however I leaned into her a fraction too much, which ended up in me getting swept. As we landed in my half guard, I locked on a kimura grip. I was pretty happy in that position and took my time adjusting grips. In hindsight I should have let go as soon as Pati started to get passed my hips, as she started to set up an arm-bar. By the time I came up to defend, it was too late and I tapped quickly.Purchase your prints and licensed downloads from this event - www.mikecalimbas.com/BJJworlds no gi 3worlds 14 Purchase your prints and licensed downloads from this event - www.mikecalimbas.com/BJJworlds no gi 8worlds 2017 ng1 Purchase your prints and licensed downloads from this event - www.mikecalimbas.com/BJJ

It’s hard to describe how disappointed and underwhelmed I felt at that moment. I knew I had a good shot at winning the World Title and it felt a little like a wasted opportunity. In the end though, I composed myself quickly. I made a mental note of the mistakes I made during this fight and congratulated my opponent, who did a much better job than me that day. I’ve had my black belt for 6 months and I have a lot to learn. I grieved my loss, but my sadness didn’t last too long. I was proud of that, because 3 years ago I would have been a broken woman for months.  I put a smile on my face to collect my medal and celebrate with Lachie and the team.

Purchase your prints and licensed downloads from this event - www.mikecalimbas.com/BJJworlds podiumworlds 19Taking a step back and getting some perspective is always a good idea and in the end Lachie and I were coming home as black belt medallists, which is huge for Australia, for our club and for us.
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It’s unbelievable what a loss can do to your BJJ. I had a list of mistakes I needed to fix and I worked hard in the last month to fix them. My half guard passing entries and controls are way better now. In fact, I wasn’t even aware of some really bad habits till after I reviewed myself on film.  I adjusted the ‘dog fight’ position with my wrestling coach. I also changed my kimura strategy from half guard.

My next challenge is a re-match against Pati at Fight To Win Pro in Sacramento on January 12th. It’s a no-gi sub only fight which allows heel-hooks, which is down right my alley. I am pumped to get another opportunity to fight Pati and do much better this time. I am confident in my leg lock game and will be as aggressive as I can!pati

Photo credits:

  • Mike Calimbas
  • Mike Anderson
  • Kenny Jewel
  • Giovanni Sacco
  • IBJJF

Seminars and Team Work

gi , Jiu Jitsu , no gi , seminar , team , World Championships • Sep 29, 2017
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I have been flat out with training, work and teaching seminars for the last couple of months. I have also finally officially launched my new physiotherapy business Physio Lab Melbourne, but more on that later.

A few weeks ago we held the Super Seminar of which I am still insanely proud of.

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The idea for the seminar came about when I was warming down after training with the girls and asking Sarah Chapman some technical questions about her spider lasso sweeps. Sarah has been a blue belt for 8 months, but her BJJ knowledge is incredibly deep and she has the competition results to prove it. I looked around the gym and counted the world titles we hold between the women at Absolute MMA… there are 6 medalists, who hold 9 world titles and no less than 17 medals from World Championships between us. It hit me that it’s a remarkable achievement to come out of one club in Melbourne and it’s extremely rare.

The idea of the Super Seminar was to show off the individuality of each of the women who taught. Highlighting their achievements, rewarding the hard work and giving them opportunities I never had at lower belt levels. We had myself and and fellow black belt Maryanne Mullahy kick off the event, followed by brown belt Shantelle Thompson and our talented blue belts Pippa Shaw, Sarah Chapman and Chisaki Akiyama. It was a fundraising event to get the girls to No Gi Worlds in December and the community support we received was incredible. We had over 80 people on the mat – men, women and children who came from all over Victoria and even as far as NSW and New Zealand.

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Thank you to everyone who supported the Super Seminar!

My next adventure was teaching a seminar in Echuca at Whickam’s Martial Arts Centre, which is about a 4 hour drive from Melbourne. I was so grateful to have Sarah and Mel come for a road trip with me and to assist with teaching. I had a fantastic time showing some of my spider guard and single x basics and had some very technical rolls. I can’t wait to visit Echuca again soon.

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I was lucky enough to travel to Brisbane and teach a seminar on my ‘Headquarters Passing System’ at Infinity North Lakes.  Lachie and I were so well looked after and enjoyed every bit of the QLD sun.

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Right before ADCC Finals, Lachie and Craig Jones taught a Heel Hook Seminar. All money raised went to Australian Cancer Research Foundation and at $30 per head you would be kicking yourself if you missed it…especially after Craig’s epic performance at ADCC! It was such a positive and a fun day with so many different academies and affiliations present and training together.

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I am so proud to be a part of Absolute MMA and my team. I am constantly inspired by my coaches and teammates, not only by their fabulous BJJ but by their never ending support and love and friendship.

I am available for seminars and privates throughout the year. If you would like to host me please contact me via the blog or email me at livia.gluchowska@gmail.com

EBI 12 – The First Female Only Card

competition , ebi , injury , Jiu Jitsu , no gi , Uncategorized • Aug 17, 2017
@JiuJitsuMag

Competing at EBI was an incredible experience despite my loss. It was an absolute honour to be invited to the first female only card and compete amongst 15 other badass women.

The EBI prep was quite brutal on the body. As soon as I got back from Worlds, I trained no gi every day, twice a day. The leg entanglements hurt my shoulders when I bridged off them, and the overtime rounds specific training pretty much killed my arms, neck and back. A lot of the training took place with our ADCC team of purple-black belt guys who certainly didn’t go easy on me. It’s fair to say my body was thankful when it was time to taper and get ready to compete.

Absolute EBI

I flew in to LA on Friday and met good friend Erin Herle at my hotel. Erin was kind enough to drive me around for the day and keep me company. Originally she was one of the first fighters to be invited, but a persistent knee infection meant she had to withdraw from the competition.20864147_10154666171582461_744108399_n

We spent the day playing basketball (as you do) and generally being loud and obnoxious. It was a perfect way for me to move around a little, but not waste my energy on being too nervous.

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The next day, all the other fighters started arriving at the hotel so Erin and I met up with Kristina Barlaan and continued on with our crazy. There was plenty of laughter, sun-baking and terrible dancing to go with Kristina’s lovely signing.

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The brackets came out that night. I felt so well prepared that I did not really care who I would fight first. I was happy with my bracket and went to sleep calm and relaxed that night.20839472_10154666176457461_1501234704_n 20815147_10154666173147461_1289301815_n 20840127_10154666181642461_1062717074_n

I worked extremely hard at bulking up in the last 2 months by being disciplined with eating more and often, lifting and taking creatine. It was pleasing to see that I was nearly on weight after a full dinner and breakfast and that I wouldn’t be too teeny on the night.20863994_10154666177047461_799763628_n 20814889_10154666177207461_64860686_n

We got driven to the venue and went through the rules meeting before it was time to warm up. Seeing the Orpheum Theatre and the whole production team setting up made it all feel very real. Although my nerves were at check, I won’t lie and say I felt no pressure. I am aware that the pressure I feel is what I put on myself, and I know it is actually a privilege of an emotion. However it doesn’t make it any easier.  I wanted to perform well. I wasn’t there to make up the numbers nor did I considered myself an underdog. I have trained EBI/ADCC rules for a while and have good knowledge of leg locks. I also wanted to represent my club Absolute well and follow in the footsteps of Lachie and Craig who both made it to the semis at EBI. I wanted to make my club and the Aussie community proud. So many people gave up their time to help me prepare and I wanted to fight well as though to say thank you. I knew my family, friends, teammates and my competitors would be watching and I wanted to put on a show. These are all the things I had to block out when I put the headphones on to warm up. I needed to do all of it for me.

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I was so grateful to have some top people in my corner – Al, Erin and Jason. Since no Aussies were able to come with me to LA, it made it all a little bit easier to know that someone had my back.

I stood on the platform listening to Bruce Buffer announce my name and I knew there was nowhere else I would rather be. Eddie asked if we were ready and we tapped hands. I pulled quickly and ended up in closed guard. After trying hard to work my Williams guard, but failing to set up a triangle, I opened to try to enter to a leg entanglement and aim to finish the fight quickly. Erin was doing a great job keeping her hips low and making it difficult for me to attack her legs, but I found an opening for a kimura. In fact, during the fight I did have a few kimura attempts of which none I finished. I will be working hard on this in training to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Probably 3 minutes into the fight, something happened to my breathing. I’m unsure if it was a massive adrenaline dump, but I could not control my heart rate or my breathing rate for the life of me. This made me panic and as a result I made some terrible choices like going to turtle to catch my breath… I somehow managed to recover and get on top and pass Erin’s guard, but again couldn’t find a sub or in fact, I couldn’t even think very clearly. I eventually saw an opening for a heel hook, but when we rolled off the mats it was way too loose and I lost the position. The last minute of the match was a blur as I tried attacking the kimura again and then nearly got arm barred in the last 10 second of the fight.

I re-focused quickly and chose the arm bar for the overtime rounds. Erin escaped my attempt and I escaped hers. Next overtime round saw Erin start from the back where she eventually subbed me. I tried to hold off as much as I could to buy some time and had 1 minute 30 sec to sub her. I started from the arm bar and as I tried to wind up my hand, I didn’t control Erin’s posture and I got stacked. In a split second, my hand slipped from my hip and I lost the arm completely. And that was it.

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Erin went on to win the whole thing in a very impressive manner. She showed a lot of good jiu jitsu and amazing control and maturity.

The girls and I watched majority of the fights backstage. Most of us were supporting each other and really enjoyed the night together. I heard Talita coach me during my fight and we managed to turn our losses into smiles by the end of the show.

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Unfortunately I hurt my back badly during the fight, but I didn’t it realise until I walked off the stage. In the end I don’t think it contributed to my loss as I’m not even sure at what stage of the fight I got injured. The pain only hit me as soon as the adrenaline wore off and it was excruciating. I haven’t experienced anything like it before and even though I treat patients with acute disc bulges every day, it was super scary. Thank you to Erin, Kristina, Al and Dawna who looked after me, got me off the floor and even dressed me. Flying home was absolute hell, but I’m happy to say that after 2.5 weeks of rest and a whole lot of back rehab I am back to rolling this week relatively pain free. It is so good to train again and I have been focusing on fixing the many mistakes I made at EBI.

Understandably I was sad to lose first round and not show my best form. I was well prepared and ready and I know I have a lot more to give. At least I know I left it all on the mats that night, but the only way forward is to improve more and do much better next time.

I’m very grateful to have been invited by Eddie – the whole experience was incredible. I can’t wait to be back on the show in the near future in a more comfortable weight at 115lbs. EBI is such an amazing production and I am stoked they are now supporting female fighters and offering the same prize money as they do for men. Make sure you tune in to UFC Fight Pass and support the next show.

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ADCC Trials and dealing with a loss

competition , Jiu Jitsu , team • Mar 19, 2017

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One of my goals of my BJJ career is to qualify and compete at the ADCC Worlds. It is the most prestigious grappling championship in the world which happens every 2 years. For women there is only an under and over 60 kg weight class, and only 8 women from around the world are chosen per division. There are 4 trials around the world – European, North American, South American and Asia/Oceanian.

Lachie and Craig have already qualified at the end of 2016 in Kazakhstan, which certainly didn’t happen by luck. 18 months ago we started an ADCC advanced invite only class at Absolute MMA, where we specific train scenarios that may come up during the competition. We focus heavily on leg locks, heel hooks, wrestling, submissions and strategic training. The sessions are hard but it’s a good feeling to know the best in the country are all training under one roof. I also train wrestling around 3 x a week now and my knee is handling it beautifully. I went from not knowing anything about leg entanglements to absolutely loving heel hooks, wrestling and no gi in general. It changed my game completely and I’m only getting started.

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Absolute MMA had a massive team going to Japan and we all felt confident. I tried to bulk up as much as I could so I would walk around a little closer to 60kg, but in the end I still had to give up 7kgs. Weirdly, I only had a division of 3. One of the women was my teammate Pippa. The other was Rikako Yuasa who is a 2 x black belt world champion with beautiful jiu jitsu. I faced Rikako 2 years ago and knew what to expect.

Weighing in and keeping my feet warm

Weighing in and keeping my feet warm

It was a long day and after waiting for about 6 hours, my first opponent was Pippa. It’s not a good feeling fighting your teammate at such an important event, where I knew that I would not be playing around. I pulled guard and fought a very strategic game without taking any risks. I had quite a few leg attacks and submission attempts during the fight, but ended up winning the fight only by a sweep.

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I had about an hour before the final and a solid game plan. I felt good and was ready to go. We slapped hands and Rikako pulled guard quickly, giving up a point. I entered into a  leg lock position but I rushed it, allowing my opponent to come on top in my single x. From there instead of slowing things down, I let the fight happen without much control from my end. I recovered guard and entered into another leg entanglement which I didn’t control well. Eventually Rikako passed my guard straight into an arm bar which I started to defend. Just as I was about to bridge, she switched to the other side and I tapped quickly. It was a really nice transition and a beautiful sub… just wish it wasn’t done on me. In the end I lost to a better person and I learnt a ton. I made many mistakes and I rushed a lot, which gave me a lot to think about. I know I will improve out of sight after this experience and my dream of fighting at the ADCC finals is still alive. I will keep trying until I get there!

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It was great to have so many of my teammates there. Massive congrats to Kit Dale who won his division. We now have 3 people from Absolute MMA St Kilda who qualified for ADCC!
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Many people have asked me if I’m ok after this loss, which surprised me a little. Yes, I’m ok. I hate losing more than anyone, but BJJ is just a game. I lost this one, but there are many to come. A loss will never define me as a person. A loss simply makes me sad for the day, but hungrier to get back to training and to try harder to be better next time.

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As I walked around Tokyo on my last day, I’ve made a training plan for the next few months to lift my BJJ to another level. Can’t wait for the next chapter.

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