Dress for success

Published on 6 April 2024 at 21:53

Dress for Success


EDC? Yeah you know me

The whole concept of EDC is very in vogue these days, and being martial artists, we should be thinking about what we carry.  Almost more important is keeping the concept of how to train with what we're carrying in mind.  Just as importantly, we should ask ourselves:  Do we need to change what or how we carry based on our training?


I think it's easiest to look at this problem from the practicality POV first.  Are you 100 pounds, and you want to carry a full sized Sig?  Can you think of nothing cooler than toting around a Kerambit?  Have you always wanted to carry a balisong? 

Each of these have their own issues and limitations, and I'm obviously over simplifying, but it's to make a point. 

  • If you have a relatively small frame, then a smaller pistol may be in order.  That said, if you want to proceed anyhow, then it becomes a factor of making sure you are looking at the right clothes, belt, and holster.  There are only like a million different holsters these days, and gun belts have never been easier to find.
  • If you are a Kerambit fanboy, you'll need to source a good trainer and sheath, given the fact that their odd shape doesn't lend itself to easy concealment.
  • If the butterfly knife has your heart, you're most likely going to need some training to get it in the fight while being attacked.


I love it when a plan comes together

When it comes to optimizing your EDC. I recommend a well thought out, intentional approach.  I'm going to examine knives, but the same concepts can be used for just about anything.

What is it that you Need?

I want a knife that draws and opens reliably.  I'm not comfortable carrying a fixed blade, so I'm looking at a folder.  I want a frame lock given that they are generally more durable than liner locks.

How will you train with it?

I'll need a knife that has a trainer available.  You may be able to get away with a generic training knife, but it's best to find a 1:1 copy.  That way you can minimize the amount of training artifact, meaning training that's close but not quite perfect when it comes to deployment and capabilities of your real knife.

How will you carry it?

I'll probably carry it in a pocket, though I may use my waist band for shorts or sweats.

What did I end up with?

It's no secret.  I am a Kershaw Wave fanboy.  That said, I'll use the knife in the picture as an example, because I made some modifications SPECIFICALLY to address it's short comings.

The Spyderco Yojimbo 2 is a bad ass looking knife.  The name is great (Yojimbo... Get it?), the blade shape and handle shape are pretty cool, and it's pretty big.  If I get into a knife fight I want as much knife as I can.  Thing is, with it's G10 scales it feels like a toy compared to that chonky blade giving it an odd feel in the hand.  Further, from the factory it has no wave feature, making draws slow for me.  I train with an Emerson wave trainer, so I'm way faster with that than using the spider eye, and I don't want to train a second draw / blade access motion. 

So What did I fix?

I replaced those G10 scales with these badass copper ones I found giving it a heft and durability it was lacking.  It's still a liner lock, but whatever.  No one makes a fix for that.  Then I found another company that makes a wave that can be added to the eye and lock-tited that in place.  As for training, the Wave will be fine.  They do make a trainer for the Yojimbo 2, but it's almost $200 and the blade isn't as sparring safe as the Emerson E-Train (And we even modify those to be safer, something you couldn't do with the Spyderco.)  Plus, if I wanted to make it similar to my primary weapon, I'd have to get another pair of scales, and the wave thing, and that would push a trainer way above 300 bucks.  That's a no from me, dog.


Clothes make the man or woman

So what will you put your EDC in?  Pants, shorts, skirts, Kilts?  No matter what you get you'll want to consider some specific things.

  • Pockets.  Ladies you'll need to look at stuff that's both cute as well as practical (I'm specifically thinking about the crap pockets you have to put up with).  Also, they make Yoga pants and shorts with pockets.  The shorts can be a good solution if you want to wear a dress or kilt.
  • These days, not all jeans are created equal.  Many companies sell jeans with stretch, and if you're going to want to protect yourself you'll want some flexibility. 
  • Off body carry?  Purse, Fanny pack (European Man Bag), backpack?  I recommend against carrying a firearm in your bag.  There are always exceptions, but those are on you

More clothing considerations

If you're going to carry a pistol, the first question is Inside Waistband or out?  Inside is more concealable so we'll assume that.  If you go IWB (Inside Waist Band) you're going to want to go a couple inches bigger and pair it with a good belt.  You're also going to want to look at where on you you're carrying.  Appendix?  I hear the Phlster is the go to appendix holster.  Are you going to tuck your shirt?  There's a holster style for that (Hybrids like the Crossbreeds).

No matter the holster, your shirts shouldn't be too tight from now on.  If you're carrying field artillery like the Desert Eagle point 5-oh, you may consider a cover garment. 

Are you going running?  There are some good belly band style holsters out that help hide small pistols while you are exercising, often being able also hold a spare mag, your keys, or other things.

And I would walk a thousand miles

Footwear.  I look at shoes like tools.  I have a pair for different activities.  I almost NEVER wear flip-flops because I can't imagine fighting in them and my shoes tend toward durable and practical.


But what's it all mean?

The thing is, what and how you EDC is 100% based on your likes, dislikes, and tolerances for compromise.  Anymore, I never carry that spyderco.  It's one of my favorite knives by a huge margin, but I seldom carry it.  Instead I carry a model of Kershaw Emerson that's no longer available.  I have a few heavy gun belts I rotate through.  I have a couple holsters I love, and a few on my to buy list just to see if I like them better.  I don't tuck my shirts in often, I don't tend to wear tight fitting shirts (Partly cuz I'm chubby, but also because concealed means concealed, and I'm still on the lookout for a pair of sandals I love as much as I did my Chacos that died last summer.

You'll have to examine what you want your tools to do.  See what tools will work for you and you'll be able to train with.  See how best to carry those tools, and then make the concessions needed to make everyone all play well together.


If you're having a particular problem, reach out or comment below.  I'll do my best to help, and maybe someone else here might see your comment and have an idea for you.


Until then, thanks for reading and I can't wait to train with you.



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