Imagine you have finally arrived at the World Championships, a day you have been training for your entire life. You are about to compete against the top women in your sport, but you have the odds stacked against you. You are competing with a dislocated rib and a reaction to the pain meds you have taken caused you to spike a fever. You haven't been able to train for weeks because of your injury. Oh, and that fever has kept you up all night.
Now imagine that you are only 14 years old. Would you have had the fortitude to not only compete but to win the title as a 14-year-old against the top adults your sport has to offer? Dominyka Obelenyta did just that and has continued to achieve great things into her early adulthood.
Born in Lithuania, Dominyka moved to the United States at the age of six. Her parents wanted her to be able to defend herself against potential bullies in her new homeland so they signed her up for Jiu Jitsu. After a few years of training, and moving again, Dominyka found herself training with some legends of BJJ. People like JT Torres, Emily Kwok, and Marcelo Garcia are just a few of the amazing partners and coaches Doninyka had growing up. These partners and coaches, along with a constant push from her parents led to the incredible achievements she made as a teenager, competing against and beating the best adult women in BJJ again and again and earning her black belt from Marcelo at the age of 19.
However, the constant pressure of competing and pushing from her parents caused Dominyka to have a love-hate relationship with the sport she had become so dominant in. It also caused her to not speak to her parent s for 3 years. But the systems that she used to become so dominant are the same ones that have helped her to overcome the negative aspects of being a young champion and have helped her understand the circumstances, surroundings, and relationships in her life.
Now a recent graduate from NYCs Columbia University with degrees in Sociology and Visual Arts, Dominyka has a love for instructing BJJ, creating art, and once again training BJJ. She has made amends with her parents and is living in the moment. Dominyka has also become an advocate for equal pay for women competitors in BJJ and created a platform for women to bond, train, and grow as humans, all in a camp setting called Rag Doll Camps.