Two weeks ago an eighteen strong contingent from New Zealand landed in Melbourne for the 13th annual Will/Machado BJJ competition “The Gathering” with clubs GroundControl Auckland, GroundControl Hamilton & GroundControl Cambridge along with our friends from Submission Martial Arts Takapuna, GSW Martial Arts Wellington and the Christchurch Academy of Combat represented. It was my first time in Melbourne and although I haven’t competed in many tournaments I immediately felt like this event was going to be something special. A heap of us rocked up at the event location the night before and helped lay the mats down and there was already a great vibe around.
The competition itself was really well run and matches came thick and fast during the day. Some divisions were merged in the age categories so I was matched up with a lighter opponent in the final which I won by an advantage and took out the Gold. I also competed in the open weight tournament which had five competitors in it and after losing my semi-final on points I won the Bronze medal match up by arm bar submission. For me, the matches had a certain feel to them that was refreshingly unique and some new friends were made on the day. The awards ceremony was very cool with John announcing the winners of every division and sixteen of our party were awarded their medals including our two junior competitors James and Glenn Craven which was a joy to witness. Pretty sure the day ended ahead of schedule too (which is pretty unusual in my experience) and this is testament to the planning, organization and execution of the event by John and Melissa.
One thing that really struck me about The Gathering was the care that had obviously been put into the details. There was some very nicely produced merchandise and the whole experience just felt great value. I really enjoyed the day and felt pretty proud to see all the NZ team competing. Need to start saving my pennies for 2014.