Company: Bushindo University
Tape Name: Combat Ninjutsu
Tape Cost: $39.95
Length of Tape/Time: about 60 minutes
Number of Moves/Techniques: Tons
Return Policy: NA
Experiences in dealing with this company: NA
The Instructor: Richard Von Donk
Company's Address: P.O. Box 296, Middletown, CA 95461
Company's Phone Number: 1-800-348-6822
Web Page: http://www.ninjutsu.com
Primary Grading Criteria:
1. Production/Tape Quality: 1
2. Instructors demonstrated skill level: 1
3. Comprehension Score/Immediate Understanding: 1
4. Degree to which this will make someone a better Martial Artist: 1
5. Score on delivery vs hype: 1
6. Degree to which we would recommend this product: 1
7. Wasted Time ( The higher the number,the less " fluff" /repetition ): 1
8. Playback Score/Watching it over-and-over again: 1
9. Would I purchase more of this company's products: 1
10. Overall grade based on cost vs. value: 1
Grand Total: 10% (Poor)
Secondary Grading Criteria:
1. Beginners benefit: Poor
2. Intermediate benefit: Poor
3. Advanced benefit: Poor
4. Time to benefit: Little-to-no benefit, so who cares!
5. The need to buy additional tapes to understand this one: None
Lets start off by working from this videos self-description:
"COMBAT NINJUTSU - This Award Winning Video is all about getting it done fast, quick and powerfully! Cut to the chase and learn master level blackbelt skills that are so totally devastating and so damaging they should only be used against a bigger, faster, or more powerful adversary than yourself. When applied these techniques can break bones, rip apart muscles, dislocate bones, smash faces, and destroy an attacker with a single blow - whether they are unarmed or armed. This is rock and roll Ninjutsu with hundreds of different approaches to get it done quick. Defenses against pushes, grabs, punches, kicks, sticks and knives. Unsolicited testimonials say “Awesome, the best”. The World Head of Family Sokeship Council awarded this video the Top International Video of 1999. 1hr #AB400 $39.95"
The description sounds pretty impressive, doesn't it, but don't all self-descriptions?
I found this dvd to be more a demonstration of techniques than it was instructional. Yet in the above description you'll see it clearly says one will "learn master level blackbelt skills" from it. I don't feel the average practitioneer will learn much of anything from this dvd. In my opinion, the case cover and above ad imply "lets cut through the BS and teach you some street defense you can learn-and-use quickly". Great concept, one we're fans of, but it failed to deliver.
Specifics? The whole dvd is about dealing with typical self-defense situations: punches, kicks, grabs, some ground techniques, stick and knife attacks. A whole lot is covered in 60 minutes. However, 90% of the techniques shown on this dvd are done at 100 mph, and then its on to the next one! Often no attempt is made to break-down the cool stuff you just saw. My opinion, most of the dvd is useless from an instructional standpoint!
Compare it to watching an Aikido or Daito-Ryu demonstration for the first time, where bodies are falling down with the simpliest of movements, and thinking to yourself "Wow, that looks cool, but what the hell did he do to that guy?". Picture this dvd being like that, where one thing after another is shown, but no explaination of each techniques intricacies are provided, instead its on to the next technique, and that's the cyle throughout the whole dvd! That's what I'm saying happened through about 90% of this dvd. Alot of it actually looked kind of cool, like a mixture of Daito-Ryu, Small Circle type - Finger locks, Aikido, numerous legal and illegal Judo/Jujitsu moves, some Sambo type leg locks thrown-in, combatives, and more. But would anyone "learn master level black belt skills" from just this dvd? Unless you've had a pretty healthy amount of exposure in the styles mentioned, I think not!
I think this lack of breaking-down the techniques was either a gross oversight on Von Donks part, or, its meant to set-the-hook and reel-you-in so you order the other dvd series packages that are sold. Just take a peek at the 48 page Ninjutsu catalog . Yes, 48 pages of things to spend money on, and his site boasts "400 learning items", you can of course buy! I can't help but wonder how much those 400 items would in-total cost someone ;-) You can go have a look here: www.ninjitsu.com ! However, if someone doesn't want to buy everything he has, and maybe just try (1) dvd, this one seems to be an obvious choice due to its title/description. I can't help but wonder if by design Von Donk said: "Hmmm, lets make sure this dvd shows them so much cool stuff that they feel they gotta order my other stuff to understand this stuff", or more bluntly maybe its " I'll reel-them-in for $40 and hopefully that'll make them want to spend $400 or $4000 (400 items @ maybe $10 or more each?)!".
Again, my main problem with this is someone plunking down $40, and 90% of the stuff you watch has no value! Compare it to someone taping a PGA tournament of lets say Tiger Woods playing golf, and then creating an ad that says "Watch this dvd of Tiger hitting golf balls and afterwards you'll be able to hit them just as straight-and-far". Get my drift? Everything on this dvd was just way too fast, often shown only once at lighting speed, mostly not explained, then it's on to the next technique!
In a Nutshell - This is mostly a demonstration type dvd. Nothing is hardly explained in detail, thus it doesn't stand-on-its-own and have any value-on-its-own. Meaning, this one dvd by itself doesn't have hardly any instructional/educational value that I can see. More like entertainment value or additional marketing/promotional value for Von Donk's other dvds! I think Von Donk ought to relabel this as a "demo" dvd and sell it for no more than $5. Due to this, its $40 pricetag, and its somewhat misleading ad saying one will "learn master level blackbelt skills" from this dvd, I have to grade accordingly. So let's take our best possible score of 100%, subtract the 90% that's useless, and give this one the 10% grade it deserves!
Note to Mr. Von Donk - If you'd like us to reconsider the value of your material, send us the other stuff, maybe your entire $300-$400 Black Belt series of dvds, and we'll have another look.
In the meantime, can someone lift the lid for me while I toss this where it belongs?