Livia Gluchowska: Seminars, Supporting Her Students and Women’s BJJ in Australia


“We want to show everyone we can all be strong, individual women, but also support each other and succeed together. We are competitive, but we have each other’s backs at all times, which is a big part of our success as a team.”


Imagine a young tennis player, or a surfer, winning a world championship in their respective sports. While they may not become household names just yet, it’s safe to assume they would gain sponsorships and entry into special support programs to further their competitive futures.


If I were to ask you how many BJJ world champions there are currently in Australia, could you answer me? Forget answering accurately, could you even ball park it?


The truth is we have a number of world champions, at a number of belt levels and the majority of which are women.


Unfortunately, the most recognition they’ll receive is a few likes on social media and the odd article in the local newspaper, and that’s if they’re lucky.


Absolute MMA St Kilda is stepping up to take the initiative by helping their champions progress to the next level.


Multiple time IBJJF world champion Livia Gluchowska has come up with the idea of a Super Seminar, where her students will have the chance to teach their knowledge; helping them generate support and recognition, while giving them the experience and tools to fund their own future.


“The idea 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…”


Livia herself has won multiple medals at IBJJF world championships, including gold both as a blue belt and as a brown belt, silver as a purple belt and gold as a purple belt in the nogi world championships.


“…The idea of the Super Seminar is to show off the individuality of each of the women who’ll be teaching. Highlighting their achievements, rewarding the hard work and giving them opportunities I never had at those belt levels.”


The seminar was not only designed to help promote her students, but to also raise funds and further their competitive achievements at this year’s nogi world’s event.


A coach raising funds for a student’s competition fees isn’t a completely unique idea. However, hosting a seminar to promote them and give them the experience they need to one day host seminars of their own – an important revenue source for professional BJJ athletes – is definitely a beneficial idea that will set them up for their future.


The Super Seminar features instruction from three of Australia’s most successful female athletes: Maryanne Mullahy (Black Belt), Shantelle Thompson (Brown Belt) and, of course, Livia Gluchowska (Black Belt).


Following them will be three blue belts, who even though have achieved much competitive success, are not yet well known by the Australian BJJ public.


“There are 3 blue belts who will be instructors and each one of them is technical and tough as nails. The level of our blue belts is insane and they are much better than I was when I was a blue belt.”




Pippa Shaw is a 2016 No Gi World Champion (blue, lightweight).


“Pippa is one of the strongest and athletic 60kg women I have every met and has been one of my main training partners in no gi/ADCC classes. Her leg locks and submission-based game is extremely dangerous and she is an incredible competitor.”







Chisaki Akiyama is 2017 World Championships rooster-weight silver medalist (gi).

 “Chi is tiny, but insanely technical – her need for knowledge of the smallest details is never satisfied and that’s why she is becoming a force to be reckoned with. She is becoming a well-rounded BJJ fighter and is comfortable not only with her flexible guard, but also speed passing and a very submission oriented game. Chi has travelled the world with me this year as a fabulous training partners and an assistant when I’m teaching.”




Sarah Chapman is the 2016 World No Gi bronze medalist, New York Pro Champion and a multiple-time Pan Pacific Champion.

 “Sarah Chapman is known for her incredible spider-lasso guard and pressure passing. Sarah is a technique encyclopedia who will never miss a single step. She is one of my main training partners with the most positive and science-based attitudes towards BJJ I have ever seen.”



It’s amazing to think how so much talent can be generated from a single Aussie pool, posing the question – is this a team of outliers, or do they have a formula for success?


“I think many of us have learnt how to train hard, let go of our egos as much as possible and we started believing that we could make waves internationally. We are no different to women in Brazil or USA and there is no reason why we can’t all be successful at the black belt level. I think having access to great coaches as well as all the material available on YouTube, anything is possible.”


In and outside of the gym, Livia regards her students as part of her team. As a coach, she is there to offer guidance and their progress is her priority. Although, for her, the relationship they share, helping each other as a team, is more important than a hierarchal one where rank reigns supreme.


“The group of women who make up the team are all amazing humans. They are all intelligent women who are inclusive, encourage one another and have each other’s backs. We laugh and joke a lot, but we also train very hard. We drill outside of class times, record every technique and discuss techniques in group chats on social media. We roll hard when we have to, we don’t sit out of rolls and we fix the mistakes straight after our rolls. We try to problem solve, because I know that when I fix my mistake, the girls have to get better and when they find an answer, I need a new counter, which makes us all grow. We have very little ego with each other, but enough to keep us competitive and wanting to improve.”


For her student’s to progress to the next level and take Australia to the next echelon of elite competition, it’s the finer measures that need to be considered in regards to training.


“I think it’s paramount that students learn how to learn, how to analyze their rolls and how to ask questions. If something doesn’t work, there is usually a reason, for which there is a good answer. The need to always learn and never be satisfied.”


Developing a superior athlete comes down to the micro level of the individual, just as much as the supportive team on the macro level, however, both the individual and the team must work in benefit of each other.


“…developing a supportive culture and a community feel at the academy assures member retention and satisfaction. We strive to make everyone feel welcome and included and I absolutely love spending time at my club with my friends. I learn quicker and compete better as a happy athlete, after all even though it’s an individual sport, you really can’t do it alone.”


The Super Seminar held at Absolute MMA St Kilda on Aug 6th 2017 will commence at 12:30pm and will be followed by an open mat at 3pm.


“The seminar is designed to be accessible to everyone – men, women and children and at only $30, you can’t afford to miss it. Each woman will show one of their favourite moves – there will be gi, no gi and wresting techniques. There will be some more advanced moves for an advanced BJJ fighter as well as things that even first-timers will be able to understand and repeat. We want to encourage community participation and make it a family day for everyone.”

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