The Hype: Part 2

Part 1 of this topic covered the "whys". After I was done with it, I started thinking of the "whos" and what was each ones basis for involvement.

So whose at fault regarding all this? Well, in my opinion, this is really a 3-party problem that involves the magazines, the video instructors, and us as consumers. I believe that all 3 parties are guilty here, and changing things will first have to come from the the magazines, or the problem will never go away. And here's why:

1. Magazines - They're in business to make money. As consumers we hope that the information and stories they provide are objective and unbiased. However, some of these magazines don't even write their own stories. They allow "freelance authors", who could possibly have biases to certain parties, contribute whatever story they want too, and they'll even pay them for doing so. It seems BIG ADVERTISERS don't have a problem getting articles published endorsing them, even though I'm constantly reading on the internet that what many of these same video instructors teach is very controversial, and often questioned by the masses. As I've said before in other writings, when was the last time you saw a MA magazine do a real investigative article on someone, or EVER say someone was a phoney? I've never seen it! In fact, they seem to look the other way in regards to the outlandish claims some of their advertisers make. I've seen everything from becoming a "Black Belt Ninja through a Home Course" to "Learn how to kick butt by simply watching 2 hrs of my tapes". The magazines are a big part of the problem, in my opinion. They embrace any advertiser with open arms that spends big money with them, and they allow them to say almost anything they want to in their ads. Why don't the magazines moderate these ads? Heck, they don't have to say NO to these guys advertising dollars, but at least make sure they don't run ads saying "I'll make you a REAL ninja black belt through the mail" or "Buy my tapes and I guarantee you'll never lose another fight, ever!". The responsibility for a life possibly lost someday, due to someone trusting these ads, buying some tapes, and trying to use what was promised, is equally shared between the magazines and video instructors (IMHO). And why's that? Because not only do the magazines continue to run the ads without moderating them, but they further endorse and add credibility to the claims these advertisers make by running articles that support them. My solution: They don't have to stop the ads, but at least tone them done a little, and moderate the claims they make.

2. Video Instructors - This could be a whole separate article by itself. They too want money, and quite often it seems lots of it. Many of the ads they run read like "get rich quick schemes", and the wording used sounds like a professional writer, or people who specifically write ads for direct mail pieces, did it for them. They use testimonials, claims that often can't be verified, and promise so many things, that by the time you're done reading it you feel stupid if you don't order their stuff. Why do they do that? Because they're salesmen! And very good ones I might add. Many seem willing to say almost anything if it will help them sell one more tape this month. My advice: If a fighting system is REALLY good, you'll hear about in other places besides these big ads. Why do they need to try so hard to cram down our throats what they offer, spending $1000 per page each month on big ads that are more enticing than cable tv infomercials. If what they teach is as good as they say it is, why isn't word of mouth good enough! Don't be SOLD based on an ad, use the internet to get the opinions of others, go to forums, newsgroups, chats, talk to friends, etc. Remember, 95% of these guys offer NO UNCONDITIONAL REFUNDS. Several put conditions on their refunds saying they want you to keep training journals that show you practiced the techniques for 30-90 days, or they want you to write them detailed letters explaining what part of their training did you feel "wouldn't work" (how many of you will actually question a "master"?), others say I'll refund your money if you ever lose a fight (yeah, but what good will a couple of bucks do your next of kin?). I think many of them hope that if you don't like their tape, you won't go through the hassle of providing them all that, and that helps keep their returns very low. I know I wouldn't go through all that!

3. Consumers - I can understand consumers wanting to try something new, or looking for something different, or easier, than what they're doing now. But we as consumers need to wise up. Nothing will work 100% of the time, nor can anything that comes close to being highly effective be learned in 2 hrs, and effectively used everytime from then on. I compare many tapes I now own to the garage full of exercises gadgets I have. I'm as guilty as anyone. I'll watch an informercial for an exercise gadget, buy it, swear to my wife I'll use it, get it, use it a couple of weeks, and out it goes in the garage collecting dust with a huge pile of other exercise gadgets. Well guess what, I got a closet full of tapes that I now feel the same way about. Like my tapes, buying those exercise gadgets make me feel good at the time, because I'm making an effort to better myself. But the funny thing is I do it with my wallet, not with physical effort, which is what it really takes to make either work. And the sad thing is I keep hoping that the next exercise gadget I buy will be easier, and make me want to stick with it longer, than the previous one did. As I said before none of the exercise equipment that I've bought has ever been used for more than a week or two. Why? That part I haven't figured out. I know for me it's not a problem with working out. I've been a martial artist for 20 yrs and working out isn't a problem. I suspect the problem is I get easily bored with a gadget, it's newness wears off, the thrill goes away, it becomes mundane work that I have to do by myself, and that's about when I put it away. Anyway, the point I'm trying to make is that the purchase of some tapes isn't going to make you a better martial artist or fighter, just like buying exercise equipment, by itself, isn't going to make you any better physically. It takes applying what's taught, which takes work, effort, and consistentcy. And with some of the tapes I've received, that's even harder to pull off than it is with exercise equipment. Some tapes aren't very well produced, are really slow, some just show you techniques, and no way of how to practice them or get better at them. And if you don't have someone you can practice them with, there's a very good chance many of those tapes might end up like my exercise equipment, off somewhere collecting dust. The part I think we as consumers are guilty of is we want an easy way to get things done, or an easier way than before, to learn or get better at something. Well folks, out of 400 tapes, I haven't seen many that accomplish that. In fact, there's only one that right now comes to mind and gets close to accomlishing that. OK, so which one? If you want to buy just one tape, that I personally feel is the quickest, easiest and best street fighting system I've ever seen on ONE tape, go buy Paul Vunak's Street Safe 1 from TRS. Even though I don't agree with some of the things said in Vunak's TRS ad, I still feel Vunak's tape will provide a person one of the fastest learned self defense systems around. Now let me add one disclaimer: I think Vunak's stuff is very effective, but not 100% effective. His stuff may only be 80% street effective. If you're someone that strives for an even higher percentage of effectiveness, you're going to have to really train with someone, learn other techniques, or consider buying other tapes. OK, now I set myself up again, which other tapes? I'd start next with Vee Jujitsu, without a doubt. So why don't we list Street Safe ahead of Vee Jujitsu on our Top 10? Because the Vee Tapes are much more thorough, and as a whole, they are a extremely comprehensive fighting system. The Street Safe tapes have only 8 techniques total, a couple of the techniques I have a problem with, but still, it's the best ONE tape I've seen. And that's my personal opinion, not all of MAVR's. For some situations it very likely might not be enough. However it does offer some really cool techniques that many people, especially intermediate to advanced martial artists, can learn quickly, and it should be very effective for them.

© 1997-2016 Martial Arts Video Reviews. All Rights Reserved.