Company: Panda Productions
Tape Name: Danger Zones
Tape Cost: $24.95
Length of Tape/Time: 1 hr 40 min
Number of Moves/Techniques: Concepts
Return Policy: Money Back Guarantee!
Experiences in dealing with this company: Excellent
The Instructor: Lauren Hofbauer
Company's Address: PO BOX 2426, Petoskey, MI., 49770
Company's Phone Number: 1-616-348-7973
Web Page:

Primary Grading Criteria:

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

Grand Total: 92% (Good = 3.00 Stars )

Secondary Grading Criteria:

1. Beginners benefit: Good
2. Intermediate benefit: Good
3. Advanced benefit: Good
4. Time to benefit: May take awhile!
5. The need to buy additional tapes to understand this one: None

Written Summary:

Here's another tape by Mr. Hofbauer that would be good for BEGINNERS. Like the recommendation we gave on Mr. Hofbauer's previous tape, intermediate and advanced students may need something a bit more detailed.

This tape teaches a person how to deal with, what Mr. Hofbauer refers to as the 3 ranges of attack. He defines these as: Long, Mid, and Close. I found this a bit conflicting with my own personal belief of fighting ranges, like others I know, I recognize 4 ranges, and define them as: Kicking, Punching, Trapping (or knees and elbows), and Grappling. OK, so we call them different things, I don't have a big problem with that. My problem is that "Grappling" or "Ground" was completely left out and NO REFERENCE was made at all, in this video, about dealing with that. If a person is tackled, before they can deftly get off a perfectly timed and targeted technique, what are they to do? Is there time for a student of Hofbauer's to say when that happens: "Hey, Mr. Hofbauer, what should I do next?" I guess this could start a debate of traditional TKD'ers vs. Grapplers, and how each feel what they do is better than the other? OK, so let's not go there. Still, I had to think for a minute why was the ground left out. Maybe it's because Hofbauer comes from a TKD background, and he only teaches what he knows, believes, or was taught by his instructor. Maybe it's because this is an early 90's production, and many people back then that were traditional TKD'ers, felt you could 100% of the time prevent yourself from going to the ground, so why study that. Or maybe he refers to the "Close" range as Grappling and Trapping, and just doesn't make a distinction about that, nor shows how to deal with it on this video. Who knows?

The video covered:

1. Overview of the Ranges
2. Strike Points - vital areas of the body (nothing most martial artists don't already know)
3. Long Range - weapons to use (all the different kicks)
4. Mid Range - weapons to use (long range punches)
5. Close Range - weapons to use (short punches, knees, and elbows)
6. Stalls & Holds - the most interesting section of the tape!
7. Blocking Workshop Part 1 - interesting
8. Blocking Workshop Part 2 - combining blocks and # 2, 3, 4 together

Throughout the video Mr. Hofbauer discusses sparring vs street fighting, and how one should recognize, create, and work various ranges. Mr. Hofbauer does a fairly good job of this, but again, I felt the information provided was BASIC, and was more for the beginning student. Intermediate students would find some value, advanced students, less value.

Mr. Hofbauer refers to the tape as "a tape of concepts, not techniques". I somewhat disagree with that statement. Although concepts do come across, they are not explained well enough, in my opinion, that a person could get REALLY GOOD at working the ranges. In fact, at different points in the tape, I felt this tape was more technique oriented than concepts. Mr. Hofbauer gives demonstration after demonstration on how to do different things, but it isn't until the end of the tape he starts explaining it better, as he did in the Blocking Workshop Part 2 section.

Along the way we get to see Mr. Hofbauer show how to get into the various ranges, again this is done at more of a beginner level. Mr. Hofbauer left out one very important thing I felt should be discussed when one is working the ranges, specifically how to work BACK AND FORTH. And let's key in on BACK AND FORTH. Mr. Hofbauer has a tendency to always go forward, and many times straight down the middle at an opponent. I have 2 problems with that. First, when in the street, and you've got the ability to step to the side of an opponent at 45 degrees, wouldn't that be safer than always going "right down the middle" at him, where you're open to techniques from both hands? I felt this is something he should of emphasized as a preference if available, buy didn't. Second, other than one split-second brief example, out of dozens, he kept emphasizing that one should keep moving forward! Meaning, he didn't spend any time on this tape going over how one could work from "Close" range, back to "Mid", or "Long", and in and out of each. Nor did he show how a person whose in close, can shuffle back, and while doing so, fire a side kick or some other technique, if they needed to retreat.

In addtion to those concerns, Mr. Hofbauer did only a couple of takedowns. Thus affirming my opinion that grappling is something he either doesn't know, doesn't teach, doesn't believe in, or doesn't feel is an important topic for this type of tape. Maybe he feels this is more advanced, however, since he didn't point that out, I felt he meant this was how everyone should fight/spar.

What did I like? A couple of things. Mr. Hofbauer's section on "Stalls & Holds" was very good, in fact, I'd define that section of the tape as excellent. However, one or two excellent sections, and several that are OK, don't make the whole tape excellent in my opinion. So what was in the "Stalls & Holds" section? All the sneaky stuff a TKD or "kick-punch" practitioneer would want to know. Meaning, how to trick a person, set them up, distract them, keep them from easily recognizing what technique you were about to use, etc. There were 10 of these that were quite good, including several that I'd never seen before. If you want a tape for JUST THAT kind of stuff, several of those techniques would definitely make this tape worth owning in my opinion. However if you ask me if I'd buy a tape just because one section is fanatasitc, I'd say NO!

Next, his "Blocking Workshops 1 & 2" were very good. Mr. Hofbauer emphasizes the importance of hard style blocking vs. soft style (open handed traps, slaps, etc). He explains very well how hard style blocks should be only used at Long Ranges, but at Close Range, where you have less distance and time to react to a technique, the soft block would be a quicker and better choice. Hofbauer provided the best explanation and demonstration of this I've ever seen. I've yet to see anyone emphasize that on tape, explain things, and give demonstrations as thoroughly as Hofbauer did. This I felt was an excellent thing to point out for beginning and intermediate students, who may not have SEEN a demonstration or HEARD an explanation as to when and why each should be used. And last, in "Workshop 2", Hofbauer shows various drills, some with a partner, on how to work the ranges, and tie everything together he previously talked about throughout the tape. The drills were OK, but I was able to think of dozens that weren't shown.

So now you know what I liked and what I didn't. Now let's discuss what I would've liked to have seen, or seen done better.

Although a tape, and training on a topic such as this is very important, I feel many people sometimes leave out the important things that actually help you develop certain skills. Even though the concepts are important to understand, you've got to practice them in such a way that they become a part of you. For instance, Mr. Hofbauer, while discussing sparring in various parts throughout the tape, didn't really state clearly how a person could develop the use of going in and out of ranges. Again, this goes back to something I mentioned in a previous review, in which I stated that you've got to sometimes break thing downs microscopically. Although Mr. Hofbauer makes a great effort of showing things, he was only OK at explaining things, and below average on showing a good variety of drills that would develop them. I don't think a person could become a "range master" based on the things he showed. A person would still have to do too much thinking, versus being able to just react.

The thing really lacking on this tape, as mentioned previously, were A WHOLE LOT OF DETAILED DRILLS that would not only help one develop an ability to work ranges while sparring, but also on the street. This gets into another debate I don't hear people often discuss, that probably should be titled: Sparring vs. Learning. By that I mean this. Many times when I see people spar, especially in classes, they do so all out. Meaning, I try to hit you, you try to hit me, we both try to keep from getting hit, and we don't really work on developing, or taking our skills to a higher level. Many students and teachers unfortunately treat classroom sparring like tournament sparring, thus hampering everyones development. At fault, in my opinion, is the teacher. For example, a better way to build ones sparring ability would be to have one guy do nothing but block, and another do whatever he wanted, or just one certain type of technique, or only 2 techniques. Or, how about putting 2 hula hoops on the floor, have each guy step inside one, and spar against each other without stepping outside of their hoops. Then vary the distance every few minutes (close, mid, long) and/or what techniques each guy could use. There's all kinds of variations of sparring and partner drills a person could do to get good at working ranges, no need to go into all of them here, but clearly, this video didn't show those. Although the video was informative, showed techniques and concepts, it didn't give a person enough ideas on how to get really good at working ranges. There were some ideas, but definitely not enough!

Although this was a good tape, and other than some things that were lacking, I found no major flaws with what was shown. Personally, I feel Tony Blauer's Range Rover tape more thoroughly covers the topic of ranges than does this tape. If however, this topic interests you, or if you're a beginner, it might be an OK tape.

Click here to go to reviews 301-400

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