It’s always super exciting to teach these seminars, the intensity is always through the roof; I find myself flipping from smiling to cringing throughout the seminar. Thank you to all our amazing students who trained with such high level of intensity yet with so much care and respect for each other. Arakan has never been a competition style (hopefully never will be) so it’s our way of creating some exciting moments for our students whilst creating an environment where they can learn and grow as practitioners.
My name is Michael 'Bulldog' Comarmond. I am 22 years old and I am an Arakan Martial Art student from Sydney. My primary Instructor is Instructor Carlos Ortega and I am loyal to all my Sydney instructors as I, along with all my fellow students, have the privilege to train under all of them. Instructor Jack Germain, Instructor Scott Sperring, 3rd Degree Senior Jayson Osbourne and 3rd Degree Senior Richard Burkett and my Instructor, Instructor Carlos Ortega.
I live out in St Clair Western Sydney and travel to the Eastern Suburbs where the Sydney training bases are; Sydney Boys High School, Centennial Park, Bondi Beach etc.
To train Arakan as it has had a major impact on my life and its definitely worth the trip. I have been training for just over a year and a half and my journey has rocked me left right and centre but keeps me on track through a lot of bad times in my life and continually adds more spark to the good times. I have never trained any martial art prior to Arakan (unless you count Dad's Bruce Lee and Jean Claude Van Damme films and all the rest). Having been shown all this at such a young age was the influence me and my twin brother (Training Instructor Jake Comarmond) had as our "play".
But to the point... I have been to 2 legion seminars throughout the duration of my training. On both occasions I participated under 3rd Degree Senior Instructor Richard Burkett at the 3 way Legion Seminar and recently passed, a Legion Seminar against 3rd Degree Senior Instructor Josh Grimsey. Having been invited by Richy one Thursday night after my private lesson with Carlos, my brother Jake comes walking over and tells me "Oi! You're on Richy's legion". My guts had dropped as I was so excited, then later finding out it was the 3 way legion knowing I had to step it up as I had only been training 8 months prior to my first legion. I picked up 2 privates with Carlos and Richy in the one night in Bondi just to be sharp. After enduring a gruesome seminar and a fatigue like no other, I saw the meaning of legion. Speed. Agility. Awareness. Technique. Control and Raw Animal.
Rambling a little bit but now to the point. My experience at this years Legion Seminar was one of a kind and never to be forgotten. Thinking having a bit more experience under my belt and having my instructors Carlos, Jack, Scott and my brothers Jake and Daniel Cortese (debutant of legion this year) on my side that we would get through it a bit easier. We were wrong. Dead wrong. Going up against so many brilliant instructors who you have felt pummel you at passed seminars crank it up to 11 and wipe the floor with you on the battlefield was gruesome but still managed to keep a smile on my face. This struck Chief Instructor Rob's attention enough for Rob to pause the seminar and snap a photo of me next to my twin brother smiling. Touching moment on the battlefield as it is not normal to smile about getting flipped like a rag doll but Arakan just had that effect to keep you humble to the guy who has made mince meat out of you and allows you to do the same come time he or she has to feed you.
Overall Legion Seminar is a real test of what level your Arakan has reached seeing as we are not given drills and must spa off our opponents feed. This is the real test of how you respond to contact, how well you are able to execute the technique, how well it is controlled but still fierce and how well you are able to be humble to being at war with you fellow students and instructors. Legion and Arakan have taught me to always prepare for the worst whether it is on the battlefield or everyday life, to be aware that things may happen unexpectedly but to also be calm and collective throughout. And most importantly, have fun.
Huge thank you to Arakan Martial Art, Chief Instructor Rob, All my Sydney Instructors Carlos, Jack, Scott, Jayson and Richy. And all of the Gold Coast and Melbourne community. We all are blessed with the same gift through Arakan which links us all as family as we continue to spread this gift and build our community. Thank you again to Arakan Martial Art for a lifelong commitment and a beautiful journey to come.
Michael 'Bulldog' Comarmond.
When Josh Cheeseman invited me join his two-way legion against Jonathan Hampson’s legion I was very excited, mainly because it was such an honor to be chosen but also because I had never been to a legion before and I knew that It would be different to any previous seminars I had been to. I had an idea of what would happen at legion however I wouldn’t really know until the day itself, but despite not knowing what I was really in for I did know it would be an excellent opportunity for learning and that it would definitely be something that would push my threshold higher.
I flew up to the gold coast on the Friday night before with some of the Melbourne instructors. At my hotel that night I tried to get as much sleep as possible which is a difficult task when you’re already feeling fired up. I got up early after a semi-decent night’s sleep and grabbed some food before setting of for Robina. Once there I met some of Josh’s other students and waited for josh to call us in for a warm up. After the warmup we lined up in two lines in complete silence, I felt a big calm before the storm vibe in those moments of silence. When Josh called us over we ran in, dropped our stuff and lined up as quickly as possible. We were lined up facing the other team and Rob greeted us, we had another quick warm up and then we got straight into it. We started off with a few rounds of boxing, which I really enjoyed because it really raises that competitive feeling it the air. The next part was working grabs, one team would feed while the other did the Arakan and then they would alternate. The feed was any kind of grab so there were grabs from everywhere, headlocks, bear hugs, takedowns and full nelsons to name a few. In these rounds it was tough not to tense up when being grabbed because the pressure was quite high so I had to make a very conscious effort to stay relaxed and keep that dead weight because it was so much more tiring and much harder to deal with grabs when I tensed up. After that were rounds of hook punches then straight punches and then any punch, in these rounds punches came flying from almost every direction, on angles that I was not always used to and it was a really great learning moment to have to problem solve protecting yourself and fighting people of all shapes and sizes on all these different angles. Next we had feeds of one person grabbing and one punching, rounds like this really tested out how much was in my sub-conscious because I didn’t have time to think and I didn’t know what the next feed was going to be or where it was going to come from. We transitioned into rounds of pads and kick shields calling out combos and multiple kicks. We finished off with rounds of feeding anything, which was definitely the most intense part of the legion as each round became a complete melee and I just had to try and keep my intensity and energy as high as possible despite heavy fatigue and when it was all said and done I was completely spent. I gave It my all during those few hours and was ecstatic when my side came away with the victory.
Overall it was a very intense but rewarding experience. I really want to give a big thank you to my instructor Josh Cheeseman for giving me this opportunity and to all the Melbourne instructors who have given me the skill set I needed to take part in this awesome experience, I also want to say a big thank you to my teammates for their great energy and to Jonathan Hampson and his legion for giving us such fantastic competition and great feeding and just a giant thank you to Chief Instructor Robert Kyaw because without him none of this amazing learning would be possible. I would definitely recommend to everyone that if you ever have the amazing opportunity to be invited to a legion you should take it as it is just a fantastic learning experience and a great way to push your threshold physically and mentally in a controlled environment.