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
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.
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.
how that will break out:
80 = "0" stars = Poor
81 = .25 stars
82 = .50 stars = Poor
83 = .75 stars = Poor
84 = 1 star = Poor
= 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
92 = 3 stars = Good
93 = 3.25 stars = Good
94 = 3.5 stars = Good
= 3.75 stars = Good
96 = 4 stars = Excellent
97 = 4.25 stars = Excellent
= 4.5 stars = Excellent
99 = 4.75 stars = Excellent
100 = 5 stars = Excellent
point on our old 20 point scale is equal to ¼ of a star on our new 5 star scale.
please realize the following:
80-85 = Poor
86-90 = Fair
91-95 = Good
Hopefully that will clear up any and all confusion, once-and-for-all!
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
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
"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
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!
ONLY REVIEW SITE THAT HAS MADE A COMMITTMENT TO DO THIS! REMEMBER THAT!
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.
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
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
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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