So I went to the 2010 Gathering. That's the Will-Machado Nationals, held in Melbourne every September. It was my second Gathering, and my fourth competition in all.
I had two fights, one in my weight division. Well, actually, they combined three divisions, so I fought at over 74kg, while I weighed in at about 68. But there was only one other woman. The second fight was the absolute and it was against the same woman.
I won both fights by submission. One armbar and one from pressure (I had her back and flattened her out, and while I was going for an arm, she tapped). What made me happy were several things. I felt I had time. I had the initiative pretty much all the time and was racking up points and advantages. While I couldn't finish a couple of the chokes I tried for, I went straight for something else. I had a bit of a game plan and I followed it. The attacks from closed guard which lead off an arm drag worked perfectly.
I had lots of team mates to cheer me on, which was fantastic. They sounded very excited :-) I hope someone took some pictures.
A couple of strangers came up to me after and said they enjoyed watching and it was very technical. Someone said it was good to see that at white belt level, rather than the usual ripping and smashing.
My instructor watched and said a few nice things afterwards. But the nicest thing he said was that I'm now a blue belt. Woooohoooo! It still hasn't quite sunk in, to be honest.
On Sunday, Rigan Machado ran a couple of seminars, one for coloured belts and one for white belts. So I borrowed a blue belt and went to the morning seminar. I've never seen so many black belts in one room! It was awesome. The seminar was great and I was lucky to score a super nice black belt guy to drill with.
So all in all, a weekend I won't forget in a hurry.