Major Announcement

We're rapidly approaching our 200th review. Funny to look back and realize we began "The Reviews" a little over a year ago. Starting out, we knew this would be a difficult task, and we'd probably catch some flack from certain tape companies, video authors, and readers of our page. Guess what? We did. But it was a very minor amount. Each week I get 5-10 emails, most telling me how great our page is, or how they just bought this tape, or that one, and agree with our review of it. And occassionally I may get one negative email every other week or so. 1 out of 20 not liking us is not too bad if you ask me! I can live with that.

And in the beginning we caught some flack from a few tape companies that said they didn't want to participate in our reviews, and some even said "who are you to review us, we don't need to be reviewed". And you know what's funny, most of these companies, I've found, are discussed on various forums or newsgroups, and are badmouthed by purchasers of their products. Hmmm, I guess we were somewhat right in the beginning when we said "companies with worthwhile products, that feel their stuff is good, should have no problem sending us a tape or two for review purposes". What I can't understand is this. Reviewers of paperback books, and major motion pictures, get either FREE BOOKS, for review purposes, or FREE PRESS PASSES, to attend movies. Why can't martial arts instructional tape companies do the same? Well, we have a surprise coming for many of these uncooperative companies. We now have a decent sized staff of reviewers. A couple of them have HUGE tape collections, and guess what? They own some of the tapes of these companies whose product I hear "slammed" on various forums and newsgroups. Sometime this year, you'll get to hear some reviews of these products. I don't know about you, but I can't wait!

Looking back at when I first started this project (the reviews), I was completely new to this, and hadn't up to that point, watched very many martial arts instructional videos. I had spent 18 years in the martial arts, and hadn't bought more than 6 martial arts videos during that time. So in the beginning I told everyone, "don't look at our grades like school grades". Still, even after stating that, there seems to be some confusion, various opinions and accusations made, about how and why we grade tapes the way we do. Let me set the record straight. Our goal is to provide you, the reader, honest and accurate reviews. Our secondary goal is to help promote companies who have really good tapes. We think there is nothing wrong with promoting companies that appear to consistently produce a high quality product.

If some company consistently produces REALLY good tapes, they deserve special recognition to help separate them from alot of the garbage out there. There's no reason why a gigantic tape conglomerate should be allowed to put out garbage, and because of sheer size, dollars, influence, etc., bury some smaller guy whose putting out excellent stuff. Can we all agree on that?

Our goal is much like everyone's in the martial arts, "constant improvement". Therefore, beginning immediately there will be:

1. A new 3 tier grading system.

Some people seem to understand and like the grading system we currently have. So guess what? We're keeping it (1st tier). Some didn't. So guess what? We're adding to it? We will publicly state, on all future tapes, whether we feel that tape is EXCELLENT, GOOD, FAIR, or POOR (2nd tier). Next, we're going to start using the popular 5 star system used in movie reviews (3rd tier). You'll see all 3 tiers used on every review, from here on out, so there will be no confusion as to what our grading system means.

Here's how that will break out:

80 = "0" stars = Poor
81 = .25 stars = Poor
82 = .50 stars = Poor
83 = .75 stars = Poor
84 = 1 star = Poor
85 = 1.25 stars = Poor
86 = 1.5 stars = Fair
87 = 1.75 stars = Fair
88 = 2 stars = Fair
89 = 2.25 stars = Fair
90 = 2.5 stars = Fair
91 = 2.75 stars = Good
92 = 3 stars = Good
93 = 3.25 stars = Good
94 = 3.5 stars = Good
95 = 3.75 stars = Good
96 = 4 stars = Excellent
97 = 4.25 stars = Excellent
98 = 4.5 stars = Excellent
99 = 4.75 stars = Excellent
100 = 5 stars = Excellent

Each point on our old 20 point scale is equal to ¼ of a star on our new 5 star scale.

Also, please realize the following:

80-85 = Poor
86-90 = Fair
91-95 = Good
96-100 = Excellent

Hopefully that will clear up any and all confusion, once-and-for-all!

2. Grade Revisions

You know how you see you're first horror flick, or sci-fi movie, and think it's the best one ever. Then after seeing several hundred, or years later, you look back, watch it again and say "that wasn't that great, it's actually kind of cheezy". It happens to all of us. Well, after seeing hundreds of videos, we're beginning to feel the same away. Therefore, throughout this year we will be going back, as we can, and revising our older reviews. Those tapes that are revised will have 4 scores.

a. Original percentage
b. Excellent, Good, Fair and Poor (revised or new)
c. 5 star score (revised or new)
d. Revised percentage (revised only)

Those that we go back and look at, and decide that no revision is required, will keep "a", will have "b" and "c" added from above, and won't have "d". That way you'll can tell what's been revised and what hasn't.

I have no doubt that Bill Lewis, who has a grappling tape review site, and who from the beginning has publicly slandered us, is going to be the first one that complains about our new grading system. I can't forsee how or why, but I'm sure he'll do it. He has made some outlandish comments about our grading system in the past, and he'll probably do so again. Since we've been online, he's made sure that he makes himself an almost "daily thorn in our side". I wish there were some internet anti-stalking laws. If anyone out there personally knows Bill Lewis, please tell him to leave us alone. I just don't understand what's going on in his head. Personally, I like some things about Bill's review site, and I've personally written him to tell him so. Yet he continually attacks us. I don't know why, but he frequently makes unfounded accusations about us publicly on various forums and newsgroups, and in emails he writes to his readers, which we often receive copies of. Often I end up being dragged into these discussions, in an effort to defend our website. The last one of these outbursts that he started, came from him about a week ago on an NHB forum. It lasted for almost 3 days. I don't think anyone should have to be subjected to the amount of public scorn and ridicule he has subjected us too. I sure wish there were laws against that. Personally, I don't think Bill wants any review competition on the internet, and he's trying to run us off. Me, I'm all for competition. It helps keep me, and my reviewers, on our toes. If Bill would just look at our website, he'd realize that 90% of what we do is different from his stuff, which puzzles me even more as to why he's often doing and saying things to harm us. I don't feel I'm in competition with Bill. But I sure don't appreciate being constantly lied about publicly. I'm sure if Bill does say anything about this announcement of ours, based on the kinds of things I've seen him say before, it'll be something to the effect, "here they go again with another confusing grading system". He might even come up with some outrageous conspiracy theory, as he often does, as to why we're doing this. I bet we'll hear from Bill very soon. It's not in his nature to be quiet and leave us alone.

Here's my message to you Bill.

"Hey Bill, if you like stars so much, now we've got stars, ooookaaaay? Now please leave us alone. Stop badmouthing us and making up stories on various forums and newsgroups about us. And if you don't understand our new grading system, forget all the other scores and remarks on each of our reviews, just pay attention to the stars. Can you do that? We're very busy now, we're taking on a huge task here doing new reviews, and re-doing old ones. We're trying to offer our readers some variety, and we don't have time for your non-sense. As to why we're doing this, many of our readers that we polled liked our early grading system, others have been asking for stars. We wanted to satisfy both, so now we have stars. And, if you see a review that doesn't have stars on it yet, it means it hasn't been upgraded to our new grading plan."

Now I know someone out there is going to complain. It doesn't matter what we do in life, there's always going to be complainers. To everyone, all I can say is this. Be happy that we are going to this much trouble and effort to revise things. It's going to take alot of time and effort on our part to re-do our reviews. I've yet to see any review site that goes back, and after doing hundreds of reviews, does the right thing, and re-evaluates their grades!


There are other sites that think a good grade, they gave an early tape they reviewed, is as valid today as it was when they first gave it. I disagree. Think back to your first horror or sci-fi movie. One of the first "R rated" scary movies I ever saw in a movie theater, that totally scared the "you know what" out of me, was "The Exorcist". I saw it when it first came out. Everyone said it was one of the scariest movies ever made. There were newspaper reports of some people being so frightened that they had heart attacks in the theater. Recommendations quickly came saying that if you had heart problems, don't go see it. I was so young and naive, when it came out, that I thought it might literally kill me just to watch it. I had no idea what a heart attack was, but in the back of my mind I kept wondering if I was going to have one. Anyway, I rented it this past Halloween, just to try and scare myself into the Halloween spirit, and couldn't stop laughing my butt off. It didn't scare me at all. I'm sure if we all take a minute to think about it, we can all find TV or Movie examples that don't have the impact on us today they originally did. Think about some older TV series, black and white dracula films, or other horror and sci-fi flicks, whose special effects now seem "cheezy" by todays standards. People change, and so do their expectations, attitudes, opinions, and even more importantly, what stirs them deep down inside. We realize that. Unlike some other sites, we're willing to go back, revise our grades, and do something about it.

Our committment to you is to be the BEST review site on the net. And we've made these changes because we're serious about that, period, end of story.

3. The Articles

We're going to be adding a new articles section to MAVR. This will periodically give our opinion about certain types of tapes, topics, production concerns, etc. It's going to be HOT and will definitely STIR THINGS UP!

4. The Interviews

A little late announcement, but I do feel it warrants further explanation. As I mentioned earlier, those companies, and video authors, whose stuff is REALLY good, deserve special recogntion. Some smaller companies out there offer some GREAT stuff, however it's hard for them to be as well publicized and recognized as the HUGE conglomerates. If a little guy can produce a tape that's 10X better than some of the huge conglomerates stuff, don't you want to know who they are, and more about them? Thus, we're doing interviews with some of these guys so you can get to know them better. So if you see an interview, take notice, it's someone WE REALLY LIKE!

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