You may know her as Grumpy BJJ Girl (her IG handle), or from her frequent appearances on the podium at the biggest events in jiu-jitsu...but her name is Maria Malyjasiak and she's the Polish juggernaut whose been tearing up the women's black belt division.
Born and raised in Poland, Maria began her martial arts journey in Judo, becoming a 2x Poland National Champion before turning to BJJ. Since then she has competed in and won medals at some of the most prestigious grappling events in the world, including a silver medal in the acclaimed ADCC Championship.
Now in her fourth year as a black belt, Maria seems to have hit her stride, and is at the top of division in almost every event she enters. Just recently she won the 2021 IBJJF Gi and No Gi Pan Championship, and took second at No-Gi Worlds. She also has a few golds and silvers in the absolute divisions.
To say the least, Maria is a hard working BJJ star in the prime of her career. We caught up with her to gain some insight into her rise to success in the sport of jiu-jitsu.
You started your martial arts journey in Judo. What made you make the switch to BJJ?
Free travel to Abu Dhabi! Haha seriously! Back in 2010 I heard about Abu Dhabi World Pro Trials being held in my country and that I could win a trip to Abu Dhabi.
I thought to myself, I have only won medals and diplomas in Judo, why not try my luck in BJJ? I already know some people who did BJJ, because they were my teammates in the National Grappling Team, so it wasn’t something completely new to me.
I decided to compete in this event, so I found a BJJ gym two months before so I could learn some rules ( which did not happen probably until I was a purple belt), won my ticket to Abu Dhabi and trained BJJ only ever since. (laughs)
How did your time in Judo help you reach the success you have had to this day?
It was definitely essential at the beginning of my journey. I was able to take down my opponents and work on passing their guard, which was my main game up until brown belt.
The fact that I started as a teenager helped me to learn to be disciplined and confident. As embarrassing as it is, I was wearing my judo brown belt to BJJ classes until that first competition. I was very confident and I did believe in myself a lot.
You have been performing very well lately, with multiple podium finishes in the biggest events. What do you credit your recent success to?
Hard work, on and off the mats, the best coach and team, discipline, and believing that I can.
We saw you recently take home gold at the No-Gi Pan Championship and second at No-Gi Worlds. Is an ADCC gold medal in your sights?
I am definitely planning on competing at European ADCC trials next year. I would like to give myself a chance of adding one more ADCC medal to my collection.
What’s been your favorite HYPERFLY product lately?
My favorite product lately has been the supreme rashguard, I have five of them! My all time favorite product is the Pro Comp Gi! It is my competition armor. I cant wait for the next edition!
What advice would you give to a female competitor who wants to find success in her competition career?
- BELIEVE YOU CAN.
- Put yourself first.
- Make sure you have a schedule and that you follow it. That's the only way to succeed.
If you struggle with believing, write your goal in the present tense on your mirror, for example “2021 World Champion”. You will keep reading it and it will happen.
Be sure to follow Maria on Instagram here!