I started Arakan just interested in the discipline of keeping fit and learning this fantastic skill at the same time. This appealed to my rational mind and it made sense that this could actually be applied in a real life situation.
I have been training for over 5 years and like some students starting out I had to find a balance with regularity of training with cost and other commitments. What I didn’t expect was that as I trained but I became more empowered, decisive and a leader in my business.
Arakan, I came to realise, was the missing link. My professional progression was not just down to hard work and time I was putting in the office but the hard work and time in the park. This development meant that as my means increased I was able train more and ultimately reinvest back into myself by way of Arakan.
I was pretty oblivious to the grading system and told belts weren’t really a thing. I was just content in learning such a great art from my inspirational trainers Mark Boulton and Josh Cheeseman. Little did I know what I was being guided towards and before I knew it I was on the Yellow Belt Journey…
Once I started yellow seminars I was hooked. The intensity pushed me on so many levels, physically, mentally, emotionally as well as learning new aspects of the same techniques from Rob. It really ignited me to work towards something, not that it’s about getting the belt but it gave some drive and validation that I was progressing and developing into a better Arakan student now too.
I felt like I did everything I could in the lead up to the grading, it was a little rushed and I had little exposure to Rob but I was confident. I was there early and Rob came up to the gate, opened it and jokingly pronounced “I am the gate keeper”. Shortly after, it was on. Sure enough, not long after the gate was closed and my grading was stopped half way through. It felt a little unexpected but I trusted Rob's judgement that it was a really good lesson but not a grading. I was deflated but even more disappointed that I let my trainers down more than anything. I had failed at something I had worked so hard towards and it felt more personal than any other failure.
My second attempt, seeking redemption. This time it was different, still just as hard but I was more mentally prepared. A formality in the way of where I needed to be. I focused on my breathing and went hard call by call. It was a close one right at the end but it got done and what a relief.
This journey has been one of the most challenging but rewarding things I have ever done and this is just the beginning. They say this is where the real Arakan starts and under Josh Cheeseman's guidance along with many others I can’t wait for the years to come.
Chris Walsh, Student 5 years