Over 250 Arakan Warriors in one place, training hard in beautiful surroundings with the best intentions and energy for each other, how does it get any better than this? Thank you to all of our amazing members for the most magnificent day! I am forever grateful to have the privilege to share Arakan with you all.
WARRIOR DAY – MEMBER STORIES
After having spent several months training intensely and rigorously with my coach Jordan, the idea of doing a seminar was only natural. So when Jordan approached me about Warrior Day in Queensland, I jumped at the opportunity, regardless of my level of inexperience in Arakan.
What drew me to the opportunity was not just my passion for the martial art itself, but the fact that I would get to experience it, with and around some of the best in the business.
The day came and despite the early start, it was a pleasant drive in and the weather was perfect... minor nerves aside... I was pretty pumped!
There was an Arakan family the size of a small school waiting at the base, as we all lined up to get our warrior day t-shirts. It struck me at this point that I had no idea what to expect or what was going to happen to me, but that just made me more determined.
Everyone seemed extremely friendly and was open to talk, but when the instructors told us to get moving there was a sense of focus that just fell over the whole school.
Out stepped a man of small stature but incredible presence, into the circle of students. This was Chief Instructor Robert Kyaw, who is softly spoken but commands incredible respect from everyone... and after a brief display of his skills on opponents twice his size, it’s very easy to understand why.
We were organised into groups and the day began, firstly with basic drills on the pads, being fed from several instructors. The next stage was awareness development and suddenly the atmosphere got more intense with people from the crowd randomly bumping you and then eventually this led to using learned techniques to fend off multiple attackers. At this point I was already realising how much I didn't know, watching children half my age and size pull out combinations I couldn't even follow. This just made me more eager to get involved and the more attention I paid the more I started to pick up bits and pieces.
There was a lot of action that took place on the day and everyone was so involved, with skill sets ranging from youngsters to elderly, all of which were enjoying themselves equally. All this aside, the real serious action started when the instructors took the opportunity to attack some of the students as groups to test their resilience and defensive abilities when under (no chance level) pressure. I happened to receive this surprise group attack twice and one time involved the Chief instructor himself. I was caught by such surprise that I was taken down almost immediately and what followed was a seemingly endless eternity of blows (not lethal) that gave me a new perspective of what it would be like in a real life situation. While this was happening (and I’m glad the instructors didn’t hold back) during my adrenaline infused state, I could hear some very clear and assertive instructions...they were "DONT STOP" & "KEEP SWINGING"... so that’s exactly what I did... and it was all over ( I loved it).
The day concluded and dripping in sweat and covered in dirt, but pumped as hell and smiling I limped my way over to the sausage sizzle and enjoyed a chat with some of the other students who shared their experiences. All in all the day was epic, It gave me exactly what I wanted... A real, raw and immersive self defence experience and some confidence to take away (as well as some bruises and a rolled ankle)... but I wouldn't have had it any other way.
What a day!
Matthew Theodorou – Melbourne Student
Well do I begin this story? So many feelings and things to say.
Absolutely amazing and mind blowing was the experience myself and two children had when we were all fortunate to attend Warrior Day 2016.
Killing two birds with one stone as they say .A good reason to fly from Sydney to visit friends up in The Gold Coast we signed up for Warrior Day and it was to be highlight of our trip. Excited and very nervous we arrived way before arrival time seeing women, men and children of all ages arriving some confident and super excited and some like us nervous of what to expect.
After a wee while all 200+ of us charged and got started. My husband watching us from the side line for the whole 3 hours.
To see so many passionate and caring instructors helping and guiding us was such a wonderful feeling. Feeling comfortable with the uncomfortable is a feeling I can’t explain. It was truly mind blowing to see how far this art can be pushed and at the same time finessed to seem so graceful. The power it has over the mind and body is such a strong contradiction.
I am very grateful for this experience for being able to share it with my two children Charlotte 11 and Samuel 8. Our journey has only just begun but glad we have taken this step together. It is just a shame we hadn’t started it sooner. However I feel proud as a parent that I have given them a beginning into a set of skills they will have for life. Warrior Day 2017 here we come.
Thanks to Rob and all the wonderful instructors for making us feel comfortable with the uncomfortable.
Nicole Williams – Sydney Student
I only started the training because of an incident at night near a car park outside of my work and I was not sure of the entirety of my wants/needs or how I would benefit from the ladies group class. What I absolutely knew at that time was 'I immediately required basic self-defence skills' to be able to navigate through the after effect.
For weeks I've attended the Saturday morning Ladies Only Class with Instructor Josh Oppatt and I look forward to it. Additionally, I have trained privately with Sabrina for 6 weeks (she has been very good). The bi-weekly sessions have made a noticeable difference and increased my overall physical fitness levels and focus and I've received a lot of pertinent tips. I'm not the strongest person and I think I lack any impact force in forward strikes and anything to do with my left arm (haha-ask Sabrina). I've also tried to be open to really listen to any feedback given to me to improve my technique to better use the Arakan Martial Art that I've been taught.
During the initial M3 training I became intrigued about the extent of the Arakan community, wanting to get a wider view of Arakan Martial Art and its techniques, see higher levels application of the art, along with understanding why the instructors and students are so passionate about it. I've always sensed that there is a level of secrecy surrounding it - which was baffling - it generates an emotional response causing a level of frustration in me yet at the same time intriguing me to learn more.
Honestly, I would not have put myself forward to attend this year’s Warrior Day if the office girl didn't call me up and directly invite me to attend (I'm very pleased I got that call). It's that exact experience that gave me enough insight to evaluate what I've been learning.
By attending Warrior Day I felt I got a glimpse of the bigger picture and spent some time as a spectator, observing participants and teachers. There's so much more to learn. Watching a front cross-over moving Hammer was inspiring.
It dawned on me after last Saturday that I have learnt a few incredibly good Arakan teachings from my group lessons. Josh you have successfully taught me (and all the ladies group) a series of moves that when put into real practice enabled me to have awareness of my position in relation to others. Eg.: in the mix of Warrior Day an instructor did a takedown move from behind me and took me onto the ground in a horizontal bear-hug (he had awesome technique and execution as it didn't hurt me & no part of me was scraped along the grass: Kudos to his skill level) surprisingly, I knew how to get my body up & away without being blinded to more dangers. I am astonished with how much self-defence you have actually taught me. Don't misinterpret this as I'm profoundly aware I'm not highly skilled at it.
On a personal note I realised (after watching some girls at Warrior Day) that I don't have that pure aggression to dive-in and attack (even in a structured environment) but I definitely have learnt and was able to apply on the day more techniques than some of the other participants that I engaged with. Excluding of course many many students and especially those incredible students that tore up the grounds as they were fighting-off multiple instructors at once. WOW.
I'm satisfied that I could do the amount of strikes and blocks in my basic Arakan repertoire. I was very grateful that the team of instructors have managed to teach me self-defence skills. Even if my cognitive process is not fully tuned-in to applying moves with the quickest efficiency and for the correct scenarios. (I think whilst in a free sparing drill I applied a Back Fist, Hammer Fist and knee to a female, hmmm).
To my Instructor Josh Oppatt, if you haven't received any positive feedback today I'd like to share some with you.
You are an exceptional Arakan MA Instructor - who is making a difference to many people’s lives - your group classes are lead-well and each lesson is interesting and constructive and your openness is valued.
I haven't previously trained in any martial arts and probably lack knowledge of student conduct as I bounce in and from class (in my usual playful manner).
You are an adaptable and considerate instructor. You have my upmost admiration and respect even if I bounce off forgetting the hand-shake ritual at the end of class, no disrespect is intended.
Thank you sincerely for all the good that you do, every week. It must be challenging to teach combat to females. After witnessing the male rumbles at Warrior Day my eyes are opened wider now. I even watched a male student use a 'break-the-pinky-finger' technique to try to get out of an on-the-ground-grapple from an instructor. I happily noted to myself that this was a technique that you taught me in group to force a release from a tight-hold.
Michelle Fergusson – Gold Coast Student