I think events and pressure situations, such as an Arakan Martial Art grading are good for us, as they give us an understanding of what we are capable of when we put our entire energy into something. For me this opportunity came with the series of Green belt gradings I did through-out 2017 and the final one this year. In the past I felt like I have dealt with pressure situations like a grading quite well, but throughout this journey of doing Green, it has really opened up a lot of doors for me personally. It is funny but true that the more I train the more I realise I have to learn, whilst completely backing my ability, in the big picture I really do feel like a beginner. Over the years I have had snippets of feeling what its like to have time slow down whilst training and everything seems to fit perfectly, some experts call this being in the “Zone". I think because of having these moments, if I don’t find that space, everything else feels so far off from that experience.
Before each grading I felt more pressure on myself than ever before, I am not sure if it was a form of anxiety or what it was but it was different than anything else I have felt. I never worried about failing, but more so worried about being able to tap into the “Zone” I needed to find, where everything was in the perfect spot for that moment. There was one grading last year where, I literally felt like my lungs were restricted, ropes were tying me down and nothing was going the way I needed it to. I was giving it my all but the harder I tried, the tighter my lungs got and the tighter those ropes pulled on me. Then, BAM the moment I have always wondered what it would feel like. “Relax there, Jayson we will call it a day”. I had failed my second Green grading. It was the weirdest feeling (my palms are sweating just thinking about it), in that moment every part of me was so relieved that I could just lay down. I knew that something was missing, from the first moment when Rob said “Faster Jay” and I thought, “shit, this is as fast as I can go”. I believe that experience has taught me a lot to be a better teacher and student, thank you Rob, for being honest with me, and helping me prepare for the next gradings. I still apologise to my wife for having to put up with me that weekend.
In the end after a few gradings Rob told me I had passed. It actually, doesn’t feel like its that big of a deal. I am not sure why the feeling is so different to other gradings, but I think I am really starting to get to a point where training is now a lifestyle and truly to just gain any more knowledge about Arakan is enough for me. I look at the preparation for the grading and the performance in the gradings as a new minimum level for me to train at, and live life with that little bit more discipline.
Thank you to Chief Instructor Robert Kyaw and 2nd Degree Senior Instructor Josh Grimsey for both putting me through my paces in the gradings and giving me memories I will take to my grave.