"Normal is an illusion. What is normal for the spider is chaos for the fly."
It is human nature, know as Illusory Superiority, to judge what we do as the right way and what others do as being some how "wrong" or that we are better at things than others.
I recently read some comments about pictures of a group that free play with rapiers and wear only masks and gloves, otherwise only wearing t-shirts and normal movement gear. One of the women was only wearing a cropped sports top.
The responses first of all suggested that they were "mad" to be training like this, as it hurts enough when wearing more protection. I'll come back to this shortly...
Then the comments went on to the fact that the school may have used models for the photos (!?) and then not thought it through enough to put them in plastrons etc....(!?)
These might have been jokes.... though I do not believe they were... and I could not but read a slight air of something in the nature of their remarks. Ultimately though what is wrong with doing free-play like this? They are in no greater danger than someone padded up like the Michellin Man. I would argue that two valuable lessons are learn't from this kind of work.
One... Don't get hit, yes it will be more uncomfortable when you get hit and you feel more vulnerable, both with will encourage them to not get hit.
Two... attackers will hit less hard partly because they don't need to as hit will be felt easier and because they won't won't over do the hits on their unprotected training partners. At the end of the day how hard would you need to drive a thrust with a sharp rapier point into someone?
More, it suggested an issue with those that made the comments, they could not look beyond what they saw as the "way", they were secure in what they did and could not look beyond it, questioning the mindset of those that did things differently.
We all need to be aware of how we view what others do when we compare it to ourselves. I try to look at others training and understand what I do or don't like about it. If I find it to be not to my taste or ideas then I try to rationally understand why, not just rely on my first emotional response and then use try to justify it.
At the end of it all however, if it works for you that's fine, it doesn't affect me and it doesn't make your way better or worse and it does not make you good or bad, right or wrong. Where it does matter is if one claims to be doing something particular when you aren't but otherwise the choice is yours.
We need to be careful that we don't allow our preconceptions to make our judgements for us and then end up using our intellect to justify a decision we have already made. Keeping an open mind to the new and the different.
Remember what is normal to you is an illusion.