I started Arakan 3 years ago after deciding that I needed fitness (was sick of the gym) and also wanted to learn to fight/defend myself, being a smaller bloke in the height category. So began my journey. The first year was a nice and slow understanding of the craft. I wanted to dedicate myself to turning up and creating a new routine and I didn’t want to do what most people do, go hard, feel like they have achieved something and then quit.
I was doing a private with Riley and then decided that it would be great to do a group class, so joined Jono’s level one I did. I started to become more martial and shifted my focus to becoming better every day. I felt like I was beginning to understand Arakan a wee bit more and was thrilled. I will never forget the feeling of being dropped in a class demo and knowing that this stuff works.
The next week at my level 2 lookup, I was welcomed with another reminder that Arakan works extremely well when I found myself pealing myself of the floor from another demo. Both of which were great learning moments. Then once I found out I was invited to do the Yellow Belt training I was excited to continue the journey of learning.
So we started our course in Broadbeach, and it was great to have the challenge of brain gymnastics. Knowing the strikes is one thing, being about to put them all together, judge distances, timings and multiple attackers is another kettle of fish. When I found out my date to grad was June 28th, I was a little nervous and realised I had an amount of work and dedication ahead of me.
After going through the course I was ready to start putting it together or rather, try to put it together. I have many a memory of doing the wrong call, linking the wrong step or loading the wrong side. But continue you must if you really want to learn. And so I did. I started getting closer to my grading date, I picked up a half hour lesson with Serpz, and did as much Arakan as I could. At the same time I was rehearsing for a show at the Gold Coast Art Centre that finished on June 24. I can certainly say I didn’t have much free time and my body was always recovering from one session or another. Although I didn’t have a choice, I was loving every moment. 10 days before my grading a close friend/mentor of mine passed away which doesn’t help your focus. I really had to leave my problems at the door before training and focus on the moment as each one happened.
The funeral happened, the show finished, and my grading day was upon me. I went up with Rob smiling and super excited. I felt ready and made sure to listen and live each moment. It was an intense session as it’s meant to be. I had to pull out the drive after I thought it was all gone so to speak. It wasn’t until the very end when I heard ‘That’s your grading” till it was done. I was perplexed as to whether or not I had passed until Josh said “Congratulations”. I went through a second of denial until I saw Rob’s face and then I was ecstatic! I passed the first step.
I am loving this lifelong connection Arakan has given me. I feel more in touch spiritually, physically and cognitively. I am hooked and love the family feel within the club. My personal thanks goes to Riley Delanoue, Nathan Hinga, Andrew Serpell, Scott Morisset, Ben Ho, Richy Burkett, Josh Oppatt and every instructor that has somehow contributed to my improvement. I also want to thank every other member I have trained with as without them I wouldn’t be able to improve. Thanks Rob for sharing Arakan. Now to be a beginner in the next step!