The GATHERING Looms ...
it's been a pretty busy week this week - at least in my household. Melissa and I are pulling together to complete the last tasks in the lead-up to the 2010 Will-MAchado BJJ GATHERING. A lot goes on behind-the-scenes to bring an event like this into being; and although, it's hard work, the fruits are certainly worthwhile. We are closing in on 300 entries so far - and are expecting a lot more this weekend. The cut-off for our new online entry system is 0800 thursday morning (September 9th).
I spoke to Rigan Machado two days ago and he is excited about making yet another trip downunder. He will be conducting his GAME-KILLER seminars at Dominance Academy in Richmond on the Sunday following the competition - a 10:00 am start for blue belts and higher - a 12:30pm start for white belts, finishing at 2:30pm. We are all very much looking forward to it.
I myself have two operations in the last five weeks but am making a strong recovery. I did some Tabata-style training this week and seem to be holding up. I am doing rehab work and am looking forward to increasing my level of mat-activity over the next month.
On another personal front, my eldest son Ronin, has just left hospital after a 20 week stay. He is doing very well and getting fitter in preparation for another open heart surgery in two to three weeks time; when he will go a valve replacement, that he needs, due to an infection he caught whilst in hospital. Thanks to all those people who sent us their best wishes; your thoughts were much appreciated.
I'm really looking forward to this years Gathering and the chance to catch up with the many friends I have made over the past 25 years of spreading BJJ throughout Australia and New Zealand. This year is my 23rd anniversary of BJJ practice. Back when I started, no-one thought (myself included) that this art would enjoy the growth and evolution it has. Back in '87, when I was the first and only non-brazilian training in Rio, I remember thinking 'no-one will want to practise this art' - how wrong I was! For me, back then, it was a purely personal decision that drove me to the mat. I fell in love with the art and immediately recognised how amazing it was - but I was still living in a martial arts landscape almost wholly inhabited by stand-up fighters. It was a battle; a real fight, to bring about awareness and build interest in BJJ - and although I had no money, no plan and no idea how I would convince others to take up this wonderful style of training, I pushed on and have never once regretted doing so.
So here we are, 23 years on - and the 2010 Gathering is growing in leaps and bounds. Old friends and new friends alike, I'll see you there.
PIC: With good friends Renzo GRacie and Renato Magno back in Rio - late 80's.