Company: Century/Panther Vintage
Tape Name: Vee Jitsu Arnis Te - Green Belt Techniques
Tape Cost: $10 for each of the 10 tapes
Length of Tape/Time: 50 minutes (varies)
Number of Moves/Techniques: Varies
Return Policy: Defective only, no satisfaction guarantee
Experiences in dealing with this company: Great
The Instructor: Frank Galante
Company's Address: 1000 Century Blvd, Midwest, OK, 73110
Company's Phone Number: 1-800-626-2787
Web Page: http://www.centurymartialarts.com/accessories/media
Primary Grading Criteria:
1. Production/Tape Quality: 80
2. Instructors demonstrated skill level: 50
3. Comprehension Score/Immediate Understanding: 50
4. Degree to which this will make someone a better Martial Artist: 50
5. Score on delivery vs hype: 50
6. Degree to which we would recommend this product: 50
7. Wasted Time ( The higher the number,the less " fluff" /repetition ): 80
8. Playback Score/Watching it over-and-over again: 50
9. Would I purchase more of this company's products: 50
10. Overall grade based on cost vs. value: 50
Grand Total: 56% (Fair-to-Good = 2.75 out of 5 stars)
Secondary Grading Criteria:
1. Beginners benefit: Good
2. Intermediate benefit: Fair
3. Advanced benefit: Fair
4. Time to benefit: Immediate, or a few weeks
5. The need to buy additional tapes to understand this one: None
I just don't know what to think of this Galante material. Some of it's good, most of it I personally wouldn't use. Out of respect for Professor Vee, and other quality Vee instructors like David James, I almost feel compelled to be a little forgiving, regarding the grade and review I give it. But in good conscience I can't do that, because about 80% of the Galante techniques and material shown I didn't care for.
You can definitely see a Professor Vee type influence throughout this tape, yet Galante has made this system of his a little different, and adds his own twist to things, compared to what I've seen from other Vee instructors. Galante used at times an excessive amount of backhand/forehand slaps to the face as his initial-and-continuing weapon of choice. And please keep in mind the word "excessive" when I say that! I am not against the use of that to somewhat shock or stun an opponent, in fact I use it, but I don't think it should constantly be the primary entry weapon, or follow-up. Do a couple of them if you must, to soften up an opponent, but then quickly transition into 5-15 power shots, such as a mixture of elbows, knees, hammerfists, all of which were practically non-existent in Galante's material (compared to James'). Also missing were low kicks to the legs, for entry (vs Galante's slaps) into an opponents range, which is often seen in James' material. Personally, I think low kicks are an outstanding entry technique, anyone can do them, they don't take years to develop, and most opponents would likely not suspect that, or be able to defend it well. I've liked the low kicks I've seen in James' material, as I've often felt they are good for that, or as a softening technique to immediately address "what if" situations. Also, the James low kicks/attacks, are often used to open up an opponents base, to facilitate off-balancing and a take-down, or for pushing into the knee with your foot to takedown an opponent. The only leg/kicking we see from Galante are follow-up front kicks to the stomach, after his slaps, or other open hand techniques.
Like the previous Galante tape we reviewed, everything seemed too regimented and structured, almost like robotic/planned responses, that require you to consistently respond a certain way. I'm not a big fan of robotic/planned responses, as there is the potential in the street for things not-to-go as planned! I didn't see the freestyle flow that exists on David James' tapes, of working up-and-down an opponents body with an infinite number of strikes. That I feel is important to teach, as it helps one grasp "concepts", so a student doesn't have to think about their responses, or is mentally stuck regurgatating planned ones. I think a person needs to be taken to a higher plane, which is a concept based level that leads to unconscious reaction, and facilitates freestyle flow! There's a big difference in training a student so that they know how to respond against a planned-static-attack versus a freestyle-dynamic-attack that might change as you respond to it. No where did I see Galante making that distinction, nor addressing concepts, nor "what-if your attacker doesn't stand still", nor showing an endless combination of strikes as an example to work from, nor addressing "what-if things don't go as planned". These are areas in which James' tends to shine on nearly every one of his tapes!
Here's a run down of what was shown on this tape:
Front Choke Defense
Lapel Grab Defenses (4 different ones shown)
Techniques 1-6 (similar to one-steps in TKD)
Humanizing Techniques (palm strengthening/desensitizing exercising)
Defense Against Front Kick
Short Katas (15 total and very brief)
One is left to assume, that at the time these tapes were made, Galante had 4 belt levels: Yellow, Green, Brown and Black. Being this is the 2nd tape, which puts someone half-way to black, I must confess that I'm concerned about the requirements and standards he's set for ranking in this Vee Jitsu Arnis Te system of his. Meaning, I don't see enough material on these first two tapes, quantity or quality wise, to think that just because someone could mimic it, they are really halfway to being a quality Vee blackbelt. David James' tapes, along with the late Moses Powell's Vee influenced style/tapes, I'm beginning to think offer more street-effective and devastating techniques than Galante's.
Just to set the record straight, Galante is talented, don't doubt that for a second. But I got the feeling it was more of a "everything has to go by-the-book" type talent. Also, his Vee style seemed to lack a bit of the overwhelming and devastating brutality we've seen on James' and Powell's tapes. I got more of a softer, maybe kung fu-ish type feel about his Vee style. I have yet to see him present techniques that I felt would consistently destroy the biggest-and-baddest opponents one might run into. Missing were the flurry of James' type power-shots, and in their place were alot of softer style strikes.
There is another concern I had in this series, and it relates to Galante's use of locks/submissions. In a couple of instances on this tape, I felt Galante was somewhat fumbling around, trying to get his own correct hand positioning, to apply locks on his opponent. It was something I would say someone has to have a keen eye for, and/or experience, to notice. What do I mean? The transitioning hand movement one has to apply, in order to get the lock. I felt at times as if Galante lacked the speed, or smooth flow, that someone like James has. I have no doubt that is something Galante won't appreciate hearing, yet I rewinded twice to make sure I saw that and wasn't imagining it. If I saw that, and I'm providing an honest review, shouldn't I mention it?!
I'm also a little disturbed again by the prominent use of Professor Vee's image, shown on the cover of most tape boxes in this series. Go here to Galante's website and you'll see what I mean. My concern, Professor Vee's image is shown, which implies in my mind that you can expect a good dose of the Professor actually performing the techniques on the tapes in this series. Like the previous tape, the Professor is shown for a couple of seconds with Galante at the beginning of the tape, and again at the end. Yet on every single technique shown it's 100% Galante and his students, and no Professor Vee doing any of the techniques. It's as if Galante got Professor Vee to film some sort of 10 second intro-and-exit on each tape, ant that's it. I don't get it! Personally, I think Galante or Century need to re-do the boxes and advertising on this series, as I think it's somewhat misleading, and change every cover to Galante's picture, if the Professor doesn't show at least a technique or two on each tape. You're getting 100% Galante demonstrating the techniques on these first (2) tapes, 0% Professor showing them, yet the Professor's image is shown on most of the boxes, to help promote and sell Galante's series? This kind of reminds me of a similar thing Panther did years ago, when they promoted the Chuck Norris style UFAF tapes, showing Chuck Norris in their advertising, yet you actually ended up getting Danny Lane doing all the techniques, and no Norris! In fact, if you go to the Century website and read their description of this series it says "Starring Grandmaster Professor Visitacion". Yet I think it's again important to stress that Professor Vee did not show even (1) technique, on either of the first 2 tapes we've reviewed in this series so far! At least on a couple of the James tapes I've seen in the past, the Professor did show some techniques! Sorry, but I think it's a bit misleading to consumers, because the Professor was not "starring" in either of the first 2 tapes, yet his picture is plastered on many of the boxes, and no clarification is provided on either of these first (2) tapes stating "only Galante shows techniques"!
In closing, this tape seems to prove that not-all-Vee-influenced-styles are "exactly" alike. Especially if you compare this tape to James' 40-or-so tapes, Powell's ESPY-TV tapes, or even Saladino's tapes (a former Galante student we see in this series). In these first two tapes, I felt at times I saw similiarties, but those were often overshadowed by regimented responses, missing powerful strikes that we see from other Vee stylists - often replaced with softer and less devastating strikes, and fumbling around for correct hand positioning on locks.
For all the reasons stated, I'm going to grade this tape more harshly than the previous one. Why wasn't the first one graded just as harshly? It was the first tape in a 10 tape series, and I feel at times you can somewhat cut a video instructor a little slack, if the first tape is meant to show just the basics. However, after the first tape in a series, a system/art should be taking shape, and one should start seeing that. Especially if there are only 4 tapes, that provide the main techniques up to black belt. Like I said earlier, this tape would in theory put a person 50% of the way to that.
Bottomline, out of dozens of things Galante showed on this tape, I only saw a couple that I really liked.
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