Every year, the second weekend of September sees the Will-Machado Australasian BJJ family come together in Melbourne for The Gathering. It’s a not to be missed event with the Saturday devoted to the Australasian champs, and the Sunday to Rigan Machado’s seminars.
With this years event dedicated to the memory of black belt Troy Flugge who had passed away barely a week earlier, it had a special feel to it.
This year saw a solid contingent of Kiwis attend the comp with some fantastic results. Errol Watson and Travis Browne – GC Hamilton coaches attending for their first time,both came away with silver, Carleen Pearce and Jeremey Gibbons both put in gutsy performances to come away with bronze and Coach Mike Fooks took out the gold in his division, winning the the gold medal match with an armbar from guard. Andrew Craven while not medalling this year demonstrated again his competitive jiu jitsu in both the weight class and open divisions.
Mike attributes his win to having a clear game plan and focusing on his guard game over the last few months. “It’s probably been the most focused I’ve been on executing a specific game plan – in particular getting it to ground quickly, trusting in my guard to be ok if I didn’t end up on top.”
New Zealand as a whole punched above it’s weight with further medals coming from the team at Submission Martial Arts, the Hamilton clubs, GSW and Academy of Combat.
Even better was the chance to spend time on the mat on Sunday with BJJ Legend Rigan Machado. Rigan once again delivered pure gold in his Sunday seminars. In fact so good was the seminar material Will-Machado purple belt Leyla Okyay was able to take one of the techniques and win gold at the panpacs the following week!
The seminars are also a great place to catch up with old friends and opponents, and in particular it was fantastic to catch up with black belt Ken Dunstan who gave GC so much support in our early days.
Medals, new techniques and catching up with old friends, more than enough reason to reserve the date for next year now!