Maria Rich is a 5th Dan in Karate and World champion Karate fighter. The first World Champion Australia was to produce. She has been training in Karate since she was eight years old and by the age of twelve was training five nights per week while other children were playing. Even as a child she took her karate seriously, traveling regularly on weeknights as far as Geelong to train from Moonee Ponds where she grew up.
As a teenager she often defeated the boys in semi-contact championships and won numerous non-contact divisions until reaching the legal age for full contact fighting. At fifteen years of age she became one of the youngest people to gain a Kyokushin Black Belt completing all of the forty fights at the end of a grueling five-hour grading. Maria debuted into full contact placing second in the South Australian State Championships and followed that with a second place in the National championships. She then went on to win the interstate championships in '92 and fought undefeated through'93 with wins in the Victorian, South Australian and New South Wales championships and finished the year by defeating the National Champion to win the Australian Kyokushin Full Contact Championships. She remains undefeated in Australia having won five National Championships since then plus the New Zealand International Tournament of 1996.
In 1996 Maria traveled to New York to compete in the First Women's World Tournament where she was penalized for an alleged face punch and finished in 6th place. The following year she fought in the World weight Category tournament in Tokyo Japan and was crowned World Champion. Maria added to her long list of successes by dropping the weight to win in the middle weight division at the 1999 Nationals. Maria is a founding partner of the Fighting Arts Fitness Centre where she teaches other successful fighters .
The Gibilisco name is well known throughout the Martial Arts community with her and her sister both continuously taking the trophies. Maria's teaching ability and knowledge of both Karate and Self Defense techniques has lead her to become a role model to both men and women who are striving to achieve a dream of only half of what Maria has already achieved. As well as being ranked number one in the world after winning the ‘97 world tournament she has been decorated with prestigious awards such as the Blitz hall of fame award '95 and '97. Maria has appeared in magazines and newspapers such as Blitz magazine and Inside Sport, as well as radio, pay TV and television performing feats of strength and technique such as breaking a baseball bat with her shin. A feat she incredibly performs with both lower and upper roundhouse kicks and doubled to break two at a time with a single kick