Monday, November 28, 2016

What's in Your Gear Bag?

I had to empty out my gear bag in order to sew on some new patches.  My gear bag is a repurposed softball/baseball bag, and it's perfect for Arnis gear.

I collect patches (sort of), and they end up on my gear bag instead of my uniform (I'm one of those people who thinks covering your gi in patches makes you look like a NASCAR driver... yeah, no thanks).  Each patch usually represents something or some place that's I've trained, or a group I have not trained with but admire, and in two cases, is not actually for martial arts at all. Here's one side of my bag:

The patches are, from left to right:
The other side, again, from left to right (skipping patches I've already mentioned):

  • Hidden Sword Martial Arts patch - you can't see it well here, but you'll see it in other photos.  It's the "old" logo of my teacher's school.
  • American Karate Tae Kwon Do (AKATO) organization patch - the logo of AKATO, an organization I am a member of, and where I study kobudo and other non-Arnis subjects
  • Kansas City Chiefs patch - best team on earth, win or lose
  • Arnis International patch - lead by Bruce Chiu, my original Modern Arnis organization and always in my heart
  • DAV patch - the patch representing the German Arnis Federation
  • Tipperary Ju Jitsu - I hope to visit them someday and train there!  Another "sister" school of my original teachers
The end of my bag has the logo of my teacher David Jones (Jones Protective Arts).  You can see it in the shot below (the long rectangular white patch).

I am always looking for cool patches of people, organizations, or places I admire for my bag.  I'm kind of a patch junkie, in fact, but hey, at least it's just on the gear bag, right?  My ambition is to cover up the bag maker logo with plenty o'patches.

Being a softball bag, my gear bag has a pocket where I can keep my sticks (and our kamagong bolo, when I'm carrying it around).  It can actually hold 5 pairs pretty easily, but I usually only carry two or three pairs of sticks at any given time.  Here you can see the Hidden Sword patch really clearly.

Like all gear bags, mine accumulates junk in it, and I have to clean it out on occasion. I did that recently, and here's what I consider my "essentials" for my gear bag:

Again, from left to right, sorta-clockwise-ish:
  • Rattan sticks.  Sometimes I'll have my bahi with me, or on rare occasion, my white waxwoods.
  • Two pairs of gloves  - the blue/white are light bag gloves.  The red pair I wear when I'm stick or weapon sparring, or if I'm feeding a LOT of disarms and I don't want my hands torn up.
  • Electrical tape - for impromptu stick repair.  This roll is red, of course.
  • Mat shoes and socks - in Arnis, I like to wear shoes, because I've seen a toe broken once when a disarm hit someone's foot.  No thanks to broken toes.  My shoes are actually just regular athletic shoes I got on sale at a discount store (no reason to spend tons of money on this stuff).
  • Palmstick (dulo-dulo).  Made by my friend Jeff Hornung, it's made of cocobolo wood and it feels so heavenly in the hand!
  • Training knives - one single sided, one double sided
  • Nunchaku - I usually have the kobudo weapon I'm currently studying in my bag with me.  If I took this picture six months ago, those would have been a pair of tonfa instead.
  • First Aid baggie - band-aids, antacids, paper tape, and odds and ends for the bumps and bruises and cuts we get when we're doing what we do.
  • Rolled up magazine - used to demonstrate the principle of improvised weapons.
  • My belt, the Modern Arnis style black belt with the red edge.  My belt is plain with no embroidery, and I like it that way.
I have a little pocket in the bag with a little cash in it and some business cards for MCA and for MAPA.

My bag will also, sometimes, have an extra pair of pants and a t-shirt, to change into after training if we're going out to eat.  Or I'll have my gi jacket folded up in there, or I'll shove my tonfa in there if I'm going to kobudo or I'm practicing away from home.  I'll have an extra pair of socks if I know I'm going to be working hard and sweating hard and I want to have fresh, dry feet.

So that's what I carry with me day in, day out, as I go to or teach classes or seminars or whatever.  I'll tote my bo with me as needed (even my stick bag isn't big enough for that bad boy).

So what do YOU keep in your gear bag?  Do you have a patch addiction like I do?  What's essential to keep with you as you train?  Let us know in the comments!