Gear Acquisition Syndrome
What is it?
Gear Acquisition Syndrome or GAS for short, is when people buy a lot of items related to what they like to do. I first came across this term when I first started to get into photography. It is more about people who routinely buy new cameras, lenses and accessories. I have owned a few cameras, but I haven't owned a lot and nor do I have that many lenses and accessories. The term can also be applied to martial arts enthusiasts and martial artists.
GAS in martial arts is when the people who are new to the martial arts. Go out and buy things they don't really need. Chinese martial arts are pretty low cost when it comes to starting up. There generally aren't any uniforms or equipment. Some people buy books and often with material they don't really understand. Some buy a uniform like Tai Chi suites, martial arts-esque clothing and training equipment. This can include bag mitts and focus pads etc. And then there are those who buy weapons, wooden or metal.
What do I think?
First of all, I have been here and so I can be one who can put their hand up and own up. Why did I do it, because I was really getting into martial arts. Photographers do GAS because they may think a better camera makes them a better photographer. Well that is nonsense, because it is about skill. Just like in the same way a new cooker doesn't make you a better cook.
In Chinese martial arts, weapons come at the end, so it is a bit premature if you're going out to buy weapons and you haven't finished your basic training and your hand forms. It should be your teacher who should advise when it is the right time to buy and what to buy. Buying the wrong weapons can be bad for your development and may cause injury. Weight, length and the style of the weapon all matter. Just because something looks like its right, it might not be. I can say from experience, that it might not be. Ideally, ask people who have a rounded knowledge of weapons in relation to the art that you do. Just because somebody who owns many, it doesn't make them an expert. But also don't ask people who own poor examples. It's all about quality and not quantity. Choosing the right equipment and how to maintain them is something I will cover in another blog article.
Gear Acquisition Syndrome Vs Minimalism
It all comes down to what you want to do. Are you an all rounder, a collector or a me too type. At some point, you will most likely concentrate on a certain aspect of the art. So do you need a collection of weapons that you don't need or ever use? I have over the years, sold a few items because they don't suit my style. Weapons in martial arts is like cars. You want something that your feel comfortable using and suits the way you drive. Unfortunately, martial arts shops are very rare these days and you should really try before you buy.
The matter of too much or too little is subjective. It depends if I need them. My sister thinks I have too many and after watching a spring cleaning guru on TV, thinks I should give them away. I need what I have, at least for now. My advice for intermediate students would be to have at least good quality wooden swords and possibly a metal one. Wooden swords are hard to come by. Cheap wooden swords break easily and are false economy. Tigersden make the best and are the best wooden swords money can buy.
Thank you very much for reading my blog.