I’ve never been to Paul-E-Palooza. And sadly I never had the pleasure of training under its legendary namesake, the late Paul Gomez. But in its first two years, Paul-E-Palooza reportedly sold out months in advance and raised thousands of dollars for Mr. Gomez’s children. That didn’t surprise me, because the instructor line-up features just about every awesome trainer I’ve come to highly respect. They all revere Paul Gomez, so this year I chucked all my excuses and bought a ticket. I’m ready, eager, and rarin’ to haul my behind up to Garrettsville, Ohio next month to partake of the Paul-E power.
However, rumor has it now that the whole event is in danger of cancellation. To put it delicately, that would suck. So, here are the top ten reasons why I think you (yes you; I’m looking at you right now) should drop what you’re doing and immediately buy a ticket (or two or three) to drink yo’self some Paul-Aid:
- Over 20 top-notch, real-deal self-defense instructors from around the country will be magically assembled in one place for an entire weekend.
- You can have all that (see above) in the palm of your hand for a mere, measly, modest, paltry 300 bucks.
- William Aprill is one of the organizers, and his sense of humor alone is worth the trip. Get ready for comedy hour.*
- The guys and gals gather ’round a cozy camp fire and swap old Gomez stories (the narration and performance of which may or may not allegedly increase in extravagance as tasty beverages are imbibed).
- If you’re not up for hotels, you can camp right there on the grounds of the range. If you’re not the outdoorsy type, you can crash at a hotel a short drive away.
- You get twenty-odd hours of practical handgun, long gun, knife, empty-hand, and basic medical training without the lame-as-hell egos, testosterone, and macho bad-ass pretentiousness (okay maybe just a little of the testosterone).
- After-dusk low-light pistol training from Chuck Haggard. I mean, I’m just saying.
- I’ll get to actually talk to you instead of passing notes through cyberspace.
- As of March of this year, Ohio recognizes valid handgun permits from all other states.
- It’s for a great cause: Paul’s little kids, who lost their dad way, way too soon. I know from experience how much that sucks, but at least I was grown when it happened to me.
P.S. This year’s theme is “Every tool is a weapon… if you hold it right.” That’s a classic Aprillism if I ever heard one.