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I don’t need to take classes I’ll just buy pepper spray

There is evil in this world, and there are those who want to serve that evil to the good people in this world.  Martial Artist are not afraid, for we prepare, we train and we anticipate.  So we walk tall and confident.  We walk into a room knowing that if trouble comes, we can handle ourselves.  We are not bullies, nor paranoid.  We live our lives unafraid, and no one’s victim.  

Martial Artist train hard, spend hundreds if not thousands of hours training over and over.  We get bruised and sometimes break our bones, yet we keep coming back.  No matter how hard it is, it does not compare to the difficulties of explaining to someone else how important it is to learn how to protect themselves.  
Unfortunately people do not take their personal safety seriously.  Many people live their lives in this buble of ignorance safe from the evil of this world.  Just like all bubles it does not take much to burst it.  When told that they should at least learn something to protect themselves they just don’t have the time.  Or its just not a priority.  Many times I get the question what type of pepper spray should I purchase, what type of knife is legal or what type of weapon I can carry that is legal.  
Education is key.  The problem with just purchasing a pepper spray or walking around with a knife is that it creates a false sense of security.  Many people think that once I walk around with a pepper spray I’ll be safer.  Pepper spray is intended for good people to use it against bad ones.  Unfortunately bad people can use it too.  In reality any weapon can be used against you.  So training is still neccessary to use them.  How fast can you pull and deploy that weapon.  Do you practice how to pull it out?  Have you tried deploying it in different scenarios? So buying pepper spray is not enough.  To think that your safe because your walking around pepper spray or any other type of weapon is just plain ignorant.  I wish I could say that its better than nothing, but that is not the case.  Weapons in the uneducated person can be more of a danger to you than your assailant.  Have you ever been pepper sprayed?  As someone who has, getting pepper sprayed hurts to the point where it is debilitating paralyzing effect.  Are you ready to keep fighting while under influenced of pepper spray?  
Your personal safety is your responsibility.  Are you ready to trust a piece of device to protect you?  Or your kids?  I know I am just a crazy martial artist, but when it comes to my family I’m a freekin lunatic.  
 

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THIGH PADS NECESSARY OR NOT?

I have heard many times that the GSBA board should outlaw THIGH PADS.  I have heard both sides of the argument and it actually extends further than just thigh pads but hockey gloves.  So let me first what are the arguments. 

For (Outlawing Thigh Pads & Hockey Gloves)
When fighting, the fear of pain or injury sets a mind set of self preservation. As a result a person would be more apt to be more cautious and if they do get hit at a certain spot they will be protective of that one spot. Their whole fight plan changes because of the injury and the need to protect the injured area. I quote Mike Tyson, “Everyone has a game plan until they get punched in the face.”  Extra thick padding negates that mentality of self-preservation, they don’t have the fear of injury thus creating a false sense of security thinking that the kamikaze style is the way to fight, but in reality it is not. In a real life situation you would not have extra padding. Thus tournaments should make it illegal to wear hockey or thick gloves and thigh pads. Just the standard body armor and helmet. 
Against:
The argument against the outlawing of Hockey Gloves and hockey thigh pads does not refute the above arguments. In fact I personally agree with it. As a practitioner I do not likes to wear a lot of armors. I think the more armor you wear the slower you become. So you become nothing but an oak tree, a stationary target.  Unfortunately that point of view cannot  be afforded here in the United States. 
Our society is a society that is ready to file a lawsuit on anyone irregardless of its merit. The whole suing McDonalds because the person didn’t know the coffee was hot is just a long list of frivolous lawsuit clogging up our courts. As a former member of the Global Stick and Blade Alliance USA board of directors as well as WEKAF USA we had to think about the good of the entire organization not just the tournament. Hypothetically, if the directors were to create a rule banning thigh pads and hockey gloves to be worn during matches, that opens up the organization for possible lawsuit. Imagine if a fighter got hurt because we banned thigh pads, and that same person is unable to work due to injury, that fighter has the right to sue the organization for income loss and medical expenses as well any other expenses incured. Then the organization might have to fold due to the lawsuit and believe me the organization does NOT have a lot of money. What the organization can do to limit it’s exposure is set a minimum guidelines and discourage competitors from adding on from the minimum. To say they cannot wear a particular protective gear is too dangerous for the organization. 
So at this point I’ll let you decide what you think should be done, talk to your regional director and or national director and tell them as a member of GSBA USA in good standing I believe we should…

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The real opponent

We all have it, our very own pre fight ritual. What ever we all need to be able to get us to the place where the warrior meets the ring. But when you prepare yourself I encourage you to consider what or who are your preparing for.  I know there isn’t anyway for your to know who you would be facing in the ring at least not till they call your name.  

Sometimes your biggest opponent isn’t the guy in front of you. It’s that person inside of you that ones that wants to quit in the middle of the third round and your hurting all over and you just don’t have any more gas in the tank. That same voice that’s get louder and louder as you get tireder and tireder. When you ask yourself is this last mile worth it. Is 99% good enough? 

That’s when you find the warrior in you. It is when you say to that voice, I will not be mediocre, I will not settle for good enough and if I go down, then let me go down swinging.