I've always considered myself fairly tough and independent, but I've been in some unpleasant situations which I've tried to talk myself out of with little or no result. It's taken me a little while to realise it, but the unfortunate consequence of such occurrences is that my confidence in my strength has become incredibly fragile - something that is difficult for me to admit to myself, let alone others.
When I encountered Arakan Martial Art at an expo I was immediately drawn to it, and the physical power it represented. My first lesson I definitely learned some cool moves but I also gained unexpected insight into the kind of benefits Arakan could have on my life as a whole.
While I am learning how to defend myself against multiple attackers, I am also learning more about myself and gaining skills that I can apply to other aspects of my life. Whilst learning how to fight is certainly a valuable skill (not to mention incredibly fun), for me the most intoxicating aspect of Arakan is the power that it gives me—not physically, but mentally. It builds confidence and humility simultaneously, teaching that control of self is power over others, but that power is best used to further develop the self. It also means that if I do have another unfortunate confrontation occur, I am better equipped to assess the situation, remain calm, and stand my ground without compromising my safety.
The training makes me feel fierce, whilst at the same time humbling me and enabling me to work on my weaknesses. I do still occasionally have moments where I feel particularly fragile, but the support from my instructors and reminders of how far I've already come fuel my determination to push through it and come out on top. Any Arakan student will tell you that it is about so much more than fighting, and confidence plays such a huge role. I'm still working on mine, but with the constant encouragement from instructors and such a supportive community I already feel like I've become much stronger.
Arakan has become a valuable tool in regaining my confidence, but more than that it's become a way of life. I owe a lot to the dedication of my instructor, Riley, who seems to know how I'm feeling before I know it myself, and uses it to bring out my best with constant support and encouragement. I'm also thankful to Josh and the other Melbourne instructors for all the lessons they share with me, and to Rob for creating such an inspiring community. Arakan is truly unique, and it really does change lives.