Company: Niltiak Multimedia Systems
CD Name: Kenpo Karate Tutor
Tape Cost: $65.00
Length of CD: ? (no way to time it)
Number of Moves/Techniques: too many to count
Return Policy: I don't think they offer one, but after watching this CD, they should!
Experiences in dealing with this company: Fair
The Instructors: David Thibodeau
Company's Address: 66 Carpenter Rd., Coventry, CT., 06238
Company's Phone Number: 1-860-742-8034
Web Page:
E-mail: ?

Primary Grading Criteria:

1. Production/Tape Quality: 8
2. Instructors demonstrated skill level: 9
3. Comprehension Score/Immediate Understaning: 8
4. Degree to which this will make someone a better Martial Artist: 8
5. Score on delivery vs. Hype: 8
6. Degree to which we would recommend this product: 8
7. Wasted time (The higher the number, the less "fluff"/repetition: 10
8. Playback Score/Watching it over and over again: 9
9. Would I purchase more of this company's product: 8
10. Overall grade based on cost vs. value: 10

Grand Total: 86% (1.5 stars = Fair)

Secondary Grading Criteria Series:

1. Beginners benefit: Fair
2. Intermediate benefit: Fair
3. Advanced benefit: Fair
4. Time to benefit: depends on if you can see what's being taught
5. The need to buy additional tapes to understand this one: None

Written Summary:

Sometimes the cover of a product gives away the value of what's inside. Remember the Chuck Norris instructional video I reviewed some time ago? I should've known bettter, especially when I saw that this product was copyrighted in 1995. If I were a guessing man, that probably means the product was developed in 1994, prior to Windows 95. Surely technology has changed since then, and if so, then so should this CD. This product was VERY HARD to watch. The picture/playback was very grainy in places, and that makes trying to reproduce the intricacies of what's being taught, virtually impossible. Although the concept of this CD is great, and so are the the playback features included, such as: Video Zoom, Video Speed Control, Frame by Frame Viewing, Freeze Frame....what does having all those cool features matter if you still can't precisely see what the guy is doing. The heart of these guys (Niltiak), seemed to be in the right place. The playback design, and interaction features are excellent, but again what does it matter if you can't clearly tell, 100% of the time, exactly what a guy is doing (hand position, foot position, etc). You can tell these guys put alot of thought into this product, the way they added some really cool stuff, such as, on your computer screen, next to where the video portion plays, is a nice little written step by step guide of what's going on. However I found that in many places it wasn't detailed enough to make up for the flaws in poor playback/production quality. The best way to understand what I'm trying to describe is like this, put your favorite martial arts instructional video in your vcr and try to watch it with with one or two pairs of panty hose on your head. That's the graininess, playback quality, I'm talking about.

This CD shows Mr. Thibodeau's version of Kenpo rank requirements from yellow belt to black belt. The reason I point that out is many Kenpo teachers seems to have different rank requirements, from one teacher to the next. This CD shows:

1. Punches: 33
2. Kicks: 34
3. Stances: 13
4. Foot Manuevers: 20
5. Blocks: 18
6. Self Defense Techniques: 96
7. Forms: 11

A person gets a ton of content, and some really cool play features as mentioned above. The problem is when you're watching the CD, you can't clearly see what a person is doing, like you can on video. On certain self defense techniques and forms, I couldn't tell if the person demonstrating had his hand open or closed. And when you try to use the Zoom-In feature, to see if it helps, you get large distorted pixels that make it even harder to figure out exactly what a persons hand is doing. Maybe this is something everyone should just expect when purchasing instructional CD's. And for those who ask, no, it wasn't my machine. I have a 400 Intel Pentium with 160 MB of RAM (32MB stick and a 128MB stick of SDRAM), 4 GIG HD, SVGA monitor, WIN 98, and ran this on a 32X CD-ROM. This seems to exceed the minimum requirements of: Windows 3.1 or higher, 2X CD ROM minimum, VGA supported. I guess I should've looked at Niltiak's minimum requirements and picked up on the idea that it might elude to the playback quality of this product.

In closing, I would not recommend this product to anyone, and Niltiak should in my opinion do 2 things for anyone considering it. Offer a money back guarantee to anyone wanting to try it, and strongly think about re-doing it so a person can really see what's being taught.

PS: I actually purchased this CD from Niltiak, with my own money, because for almost 2 yrs now they had refused to send us a review copy. Well guess what? Now I know why!

If there is one thing I've found to be consistent while doing the reviews over the last 24 months, it's this. Companies with poor products typically don't send tapes to us. And I believe more than ever it's because they know there's a strong chance we will expose their product for what it really is. Their biggest fear is a bad review effecting sales of their product, and subsequently their bank account. Martial arts instructors know that the martial arts community spends millions a year on videos, and some will do anything to get their hands on a share of that pie. Some, who once started out in the arts as a hobby, now treat it like a business, and as such, we as consumers need to treat it as a business right back. Remember the saying "buyer beware"? Those who have outstanding products RARELY hesitate to have us review their material. They see the value in the free advertising a review will give them, and they know that because their product is GOOD, it will inevitably help them sell more of it! They could care less about spending a couple of bucks to send us a free tape. They know a good review will pay for itself 1000's of times over, compared to the cost of a free tape. Remember all this when you're thinking about buying something we haven't reviewed! This little theory of mine has held true sooooo many times, I couldn't even begin to count how many. Yet I suspect consumers are still allowing themselves to be swayed by big ads and outrageous claims. People, don't allow yourselves to be sold, do some research before you make a purchase, that way you don't end up wasting money on a product you're unhappy with.

Speaking of which, I'd like to take this opportunity to send a personal message to Nitliak regarding the $65 I spent on this product:

"Hey Niltiak, can I get my $65 back, or are you going to keep exchanging products like this for peoples hard earned money?"

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