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:

  1. Over 20 top-notch, real-deal self-defense instructors from around the country will be magically assembled in one place for an entire weekend.
  2. You can have all that (see above) in the palm of your hand for a mere, measly, modest, paltry 300 bucks.
  3. William Aprill is one of the organizers, and his sense of humor alone is worth the trip. Get ready for comedy hour.*
  4. 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).
  5. 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.
  6. 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).
  7. After-dusk low-light pistol training from Chuck Haggard. I mean, I’m just saying.
  8. I’ll get to actually talk to you instead of passing notes through cyberspace.
  9. As of March of this year, Ohio recognizes valid handgun permits from all other states.
  10. 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.

Hope to see some of you there.

pep3P.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.

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