I have been teaching Filipino martial arts and combative methods full-time these past two or three years through my group Bayani Warrior (www.bayaniwarrior.com). In that time, I’ve trained people from every walk of life: stay-at-home moms, college kids, police detectives, art museum managers, doctors, MMA fighters, guys with multiple black belts, etc. The one thing that these individuals all have in common is that they wish to walk as a warrior and live a warrior lifestyle in their everyday lives, and all of my students have is a deep desire to learn real-world, combative weaponry. As a result, a lot of students begin to ask what kind of combative tools they should own or carry. This often leads us into the discussion on Everyday Carry, or EDC for short. For those who don’t know what an EDC is, an EDC is simply the system in which you choose to carry whatever everyday tools (flashlights, phone) or weapons (knife, firearm, pepper spray, etc.) on your person everyday. Everyone’s EDC is slightly different and they vary depending on an individual’s needs, as well as other factors such as climate, dress-style, etc.
The one thing I emphasize to my students is to be discrete and innocuous when it comes to their method of EDC. While there are a lot of people out there who wish to live the warrior lifestyle, there are a lot of people who go to such extremes as investing in high quality tactical gear for EDC. There are a lot of people wearing BDU pants, tactical bags with MOLLE, and other items that scream “tactical”. While I love this type of gear and use it in my personal training, I do not recommend going all-out tactical everyday, especially if you are a civilian.
A recent situation that reflects this is the “copycat” shooter of the Aurora, CO shooting massacre. From other reports, it appears that the man was simply a concerned, prepared citizen who was simply being prepared in case another shooting occurred. However, due to his appearance, he drew too much attention to himself. His EDC bag (a very popular choice for tactical operators) possessed items that were legal to carry in his homestate. However, his appearance caused authorities to focus their attention on him. This is a great example why being too “tactical” can draw unnecessary attention to yourself and land you in a great deal of trouble, even if the contents of your EDC are legal to own and carry in your state. As a civilian, the last thing you want to do is to draw unnecessary attention to oneself. Even if you are a law-abiding citizen, and even if the items you possess are legal in your city or state, you may be stopped and questioned for what you are carrying on your person simply due to your appearance.
While wearing BDU’s and carrying MOLLE bags may make you feel more tactical and even feel cooler, the reality is that if you want to be a civilian sheepdog, then you need to look like a sheep. Know your laws. Know what you can and cannot carry in your respective state, and dress and carry accordingly.
Always make sure to maintain your sheepdog skills (first aid, martial arts, combatives, shooting, etc.) but also blend in with the Sheep. Forgo the BDUs and wear jeans or khakis instead. Forgo the tactical MOLLE bag and wear a messenger bag or JanSport backpack. Forgo the tactical boots and wear sneakers.
While it’s important to be a sheepdog, it’s just as important to move amongst and blend in with the Sheep. Doing so will put you in a better position to respond if danger strikes, as well as to stay out of trouble.
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