Company: Panther Productions
Tape Name: Chuck Norris Private Lesson: Lean and Mean Workout
Tape Cost: Tape Cost: $49.95 (I got my copy for $25.00 at a BIG NAME video store)
Length of Tape/Time: 1 hr 38 min
Number of Moves/Techniques: 30+
Return Policy: None - you buy it, you're stuck with it!
Experiences in dealing with this company: Poor
The Instructor: Chuck Norris
Company's Address: 1010 Calle Negocio, San Clemente, California 92673
Company's Phone Number: 1-800-332-4442
Web Page: Century purchased Panther's entire library

Primary Grading Criteria:

1. Production/Tape Quality: 10
2. Instructors demonstrated skill level: 10
3. Comprehension Score/Immediate Understanding: 10
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'd recommend this product: 8
7. Wasted Time (The higher the number, the less "fluff"/repetition): 8
8. Playback Score/Watching it over-and-over again: 8
9. Would I purchase more of this company's products: 8
10. Overall grade based on cost vs. value: 8

Grand Total: 86% (1.5 Stars = FAIR)

Secondary Grading Criteria:

1. Beginners benefit: Fair
2. Intermediate benefit: Fair
3. Advanced benefit: Poor
4. Time to benefit: ?
5. The need to buy additional tapes to understand this one: None

Written Summary:

If there was ever anything Chuck Norris did that he should be ashamed of, in my opinion it's this video. This videos title - Chuck Norris Private Lesson: Lean and Mean Workout - should be changed to Chuck Norris Beginner Kickboxing Aerobics: Slow and Boring.

Even Panther's ad, in their own catalog, I feel is somewhat "off the mark" in regards to the contents of this tape. Panther's ad describes this tape as: "At last a martial arts training video by six time world karate champion Chuck Norris. Get ready as superstar Chuck Norris personally takes you through 60 minutes of the ultimate in martial arts instruction." Sounds like to me, based on that description, even an intermediate or advanced TKD student could expect to be exposed to a wealth of techniques they'd never seen before, and should get one hell of workout too, right? Come on Panther wake up and put a more detailed and accurate summary about this tape in your catalog! You guys are WAY OFF THE MARK! Now if Panther had said something like: "Get ready as Chuck Norris takes you through an aerobic kickboxing program", I might not be so upset. To me this wasn't "the ultimate in martial arts instruction", it might be "the ultimate in aerobic kickboxing", but that wasn't the description given, or why I bought this tape.

I bought this video several years ago, when I was a brown belt, hoping for a "Private Lesson" that would take my advanced TKD skills to new heights. Wrong, wrong, wrong! What a person gets here is a half assed BEGINNER karate workout, with a little self defense thrown in, done in an aerobic format. If there was EVER a reason why someone would want to only buy videos with a refund policy, this tape is a prime example. Don't get me wrong, I love Chuck's movies, and his contributions to the arts, but this video left a bad taste in my mouth, and because of that, I'll never buy another Chuck Norris instructional video. HEAR THAT all you video companies? Now listen close and I'll explain why.

For years I'd always looked at Panther Productions catalog, and other MA catalogs, wondering why Chuck hadn't done any instructional videos. Everywhere I looked for his stuff, I kept running into Danny Lane's stuff instead. I had long wished Chuck would do a series of tapes. And now, with him just turning 59, I'm beginning to doubt we'll ever see that from him. Anyway, when I first heard of this tape coming out, I was overwhelmed with excitement. I thought, "Maybe he's just going to do this one, and cram it full of stuff". We'll he did cram it full of stuff, mainly girls running around in spandex outfits, who he has to spend a majority of the time correcting and explaining the BASICS too. And towards the end of this tape Norris makes reference to things he'll show in "future tapes", yet 5 yrs later, since this tape first came out, I haven't seen any new instructional videos from him yet, have you? I wonder why, could it be because this tape didn't sell as well as he'd hoped for? Anyway this tape wasn't at all what I was expecting! And you know what really made this tape a sore spot with me? Everywhere I looked, Panther's catalog, the video store, etc., nowhere was there any real explanation of what was on this tape. So in essence I had to keep my fingers crossed, purchase it, and hope it was what I thought a "Private Lesson" from Chuck Norris should be. We'll we've all heard the saying "You can't judge a book by it's cover", but shouldn't you be able to do so with a video. Well nowhere could I find this tape to do that, in fact, after going to numerous video stores I had to special order it, and wait a month for it to come in. Well with this tape you can "Judge a book by it's cover", you just have to see the back cover first. On it you get to see a couple of pictures of Chuck, one with a roomful of the girls he trains. But by the time I'd noticed that, I'd already pre-paid for the tape, had no chance of a refund because it was a special order, so I took it home. I wish I could've gotten a refund. This tape is absolutely, without a doubt, one of the most disappointing martial arts instructional video I've ever bought! It came nowhere close to providing on tape what I was expecting and had hoped for.

So what's on the tape? OK, I get home, put the tape in, and have to endure 60 minutes of hearing Chuck say things like "Smash, Blast, Shatter". That's right, GrandMaster Chuck Norris uses these terms to tell the girls which specific techniques to use, versus terms most of us are accustomed too. Needless to say I found the terminology used odd and annoying. In this tape Chuck takes one through the BASICS, and when I say BASICS I mean B-A-S-I-C-S, then assorted drills from which to work the BASICS, followed by a 22 minute AEROBIC workout. Along the way he shows the girls things like how to make a fist correctly, how to properly align their footsies for each type of kick, so they don't hurt their little piggies, how to do their kicks holding onto a chair for balance so they don't fall down, along with a endless barage of other BASIC things that put me to sleep. Wow, what a "Lean and Mean Private Lesson", huh? And Panther says this tape is "the ultimate in martial arts instruction?" Now look at Panther's description of this tape again, and compare it to mine. Whose description is more accurate and gives more detail? See why I'm so pissed? Panther's description was the only thing I could find anywhere, that took a stab at describing what was on Chuck's tape. Plus if you combine Panther's description, with Norris' title, in my opinion BOTH were "off the mark" in accurately describing this tapes contents! How much harder does a person have to try and research the contents of a tape, before they buy it? I even went to several video stores, hoping to find this tape as a rental!

The best part of this tape to me was the end, where in the last 3-5 minutes we get to see Chuck, at then age 54, with Benny Urquidez, get busy on the focus pads and kicking shields. At the time of this video Chuck could pack an EXTREMELY fast and powerful, kick or punch, with enough force in each to practically rip "The Jets" arms out of their sockets. Yet even more amazing is Norris' flexibility, not only do we get to see him do several head high kicks, but while witnessing them one starts to wonder if he has some magical gift that allows him to defy Old Man Time. While viewing this tape I couldn't help but also think about how many young martial artists lack the ability Chuck demonstrates at age 54. I'm sure he can still make quite a few dedicated TKD enthusiasts look like they've got A LONG WAY to go. This last section of the tape quickly put to rest my doubts as to whether or not at age 54, Norris still had enough left in him, to do alot of the kicks we see in Walker Texas Ranger, without the assistance of a martial arts stunt double, but again this tape was done 5 yrs ago.

Anyway, if you've ever seen ads for this tape, and started to say to yourself, like I did, "I'm an advanced TKD student, will Chuck Norris' video provide me alot of benefit, and take my TKD to new heights?", in my opinion the answer is not only NO, but HELL NO! The only people this video might benefit are maybe your sister, wife, girlfriend, or someone else of the FEMALE persuasion, with little to no martial arts knowledge whatsoever, and that can put up with countless commands of "Smash, Blast, Shatter". If anyone has an interest in buying this tape, PLEASE LET ME KNOW, you can have my copy for next to nothing!

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