Rumors, Conspiracy Theories, and General B.S.!

The past few months here at MAVR have been one heck of a ride! We reviewed Peterson, Clugston, LaTourrette, Dill, and not only did they each earn low scores on our grading scale, but along with those reviews various opinions about us surfaced all over the internet! And just so everyone knows, I, nor any of us at MAVR, personally have anything against these guys! Yet theories keep surfacing that imply we do. Was Peterson uncooperative in my opinion in regards to voluntarily partipating in our reviews(supplying tapes to us)? Yes. Numerous emails sent to SCARS went unanswered for over a year! Good thing I wasn't a customer! Were those unanswered emails a basis for us giving them a low grade on our reviews? No. Heck, I even personally contacted Tim Larkin of SCARS and told him I would let a different reviewer grade other tapes of his if he wanted to send some. How much fairer can we be? Most of the time we go out of our way to work with various video instructors. The thing many video instructors fail to see is that there have been countless people we've done reviews on that were uncooperative and didn't send tapes, yet quite a few of them got good reviews. So sending, or not sending tapes, has nothing to do with whether or not someone gets a good review!

We have no hidden agendas or reasons for giving certain people bad reviews. We simply call them as we see them. It's that simple! Maybe some of you don't agree with our opinion about certain videos, that's fine. We simply offer our assesment. Some people seem to take what we do way too seriously! I guess it's because:

1. Some video instructors make a darn good living at it.
2. Our review hurts their egos, and their fans, due to time and money they've invested.
3. Some video instructors are worried about the financial repurcussions of a bad review.

Yet a review source such as ours is much needed! The magazines are loaded each month with countless ads saying: "Buy my tapes, they're the best ones". Yet 95% of these same people won't offer a refund policy. How's a person to know what's a good buy and what isn't? Should we all go take out a $60,000 to $90,000 loan to buy every tape on the market so we each can figure out?

Personally, I think certain video instructors would rather us, and our reviews, just quietly go away and disappear. We probably keep them up late at night. Well, maybe that's not such a bad thing! The claims some make, which is a basis for people buying their tapes, might cause someone to lose their life someday if they're wrong. Yet to me it seems the millions per year a couple of them put in their pocket, makes it easy for them to overlook this possibility.

Everyone needs to understand one basic concept, which seems to be the basis for everyone ordering all these different fighting systems. There is no 100% unbeatable fighting system, just like there is no "one human being" on the planet that's consistently unbeatable. If there was an unbeatable fighting system, the Navy certainly wouldn't have phased out the fighting system they were using. Maybe we need to take Vunak, Shaw, Clugston, Peterson, the Gracies, and others who have in the past implied they were unbeatable, throw them all in a room, lock the door, and check back in 10 minutes to see who's left standing? Will that tell us? Personally I don't think so. Every individual has peaks and valleys in their training, people will age, and one day be past their "prime". So how will we ever know? I don't think we will! People for years thought the Gracie's were unbeatable, and now look at things! Let me give you my favorite quote about this sort of topic: "There are no superior martial arts, only superior martial artists". The ongoing discussion of whose got the best system, and whose tapes are the best, will probably go on til the end of time. I'm coming up on my 20th yr in the martial arts, and if there's one thing I've learned it's this: "The fighting system that works for you, might not work for someone else" Actually that sounds alot like the quote from above, doesn't it?

As Chuck Norris said in one of his books, regarding someone evaluating various martial arts:

" a person should take stock of his or her physical condition and limitations. A person who is short and powerfully built with a low center of gravity would do well to investigate judo. Males or females who are already limber or want to become more flexible might find one of the Korean styles - such as taekwondo or hapkido - of interest. Someone with fast hands and good coordination who is not adverse to a hard workout should look into Japanese karate styles, such as gojo-ryu or shotokan karate. A slightly built person who is not very strong may find jujitsu or aikido appealing because these styles turn an opponent's strength against him. An older person would do well to consider tai chi, one of the most ancient of the martial arts, which is still practiced daily by millions of elderly people in China."

Let me give you another personal example. I personally know some 3rd and 4th degree TKD'ers here in the Texas area that are truly "world class". There aren't many TKD'ers I've met that I would say that about, but those 3, out of hundreds I've sparred with, I would. And just so everyone knows, TKD was an art I practiced for years and I was quite good at, and I could hold my own against quite a few black belts. I went years putting off my black belt test and was known as a "career brown belt", meaning a person that was way past the time they should've tested for black. OK, the point I'm making here is this, these 3 guys I'm thinking of were full-contact and tournament sparring champions in our state. Probably partly because they'd pretty much done TKD since birth. They had a sense of timing that was almost "inhuman", and they could literally hit most anyone before they saw it coming, really! I would bet that 99.9% of the public wouldn't stand a chance against these guys. They could seriously land some shots when the wanted too. You could start to move a pinky, one inch, and these guys would have already nailed you. It was as if they knew what technique you were going to throw, before you did, and I'm not talking about telegraphing ones technique either!

Now, some people say grappling is the ultimate art. I agree that in some situations it can be. But I will say this, these 3 TKD guys, with their ability to hit almost anyone before they see it coming, combined with an uncanny (world class) sense of timing, would probably destroy many grapplers out there. Does that make TKD a superior art? No! It certainly makes it superior for those 3 guys, but there are tons of TKD'ers, that no matter how long they train, will never be able to contend with those 3. But hey, there may be some world class grapplers that could give them a hard time, I haven't personally seen them. However they would have to have an even more ungodly sense of timing, than those 3 have, but hey, someone might have it!

So by now I'm sure all the people who started this controversy about us are thinking I have a preference for TKD'ers. Actually I don't! I quit that art years ago. For me, it was destroying my body, and wasn't the right art for me, no matter how hard I tried. And just so everyone knows why I feel I can say that, I wasn't a "wash out" that never amounted to anything and gave up. I had a unbelievably fast side kick, an even more ungodly backfist, that most blackbelts (except for the "3") couldn't see coming. While I was a blue belt, I was able to take (3) one inch pine boards, put them behind each other, have someone hold them head high, and EASILY break them with a side kick. At brown belt level, which I stayed at for years, my kicks got extremely fast and even more powerful. At my peak as a brown belt, if someone had held 4 or 5 boards, I have no doubt I could've easily gone through them. So do I favor TKD? No! Do I love it? No! Working to develop that much speed and power, as an adult, messed up my body. Unlike some schools (ATA) that have a person do a couple dozen kicks per class and that's it, I was doing hundreds of kicks each day. Do I hate TKD for that, no, do i love it, no, but I do have an appreciation for people who are good at it. So does TKD mess up everyone? No! Could it mess up some, especially adults, who do hundreds of kicks, day after day, just so they can be contenders? I think so. Even with all that said, I'm actually rather indifferent right now in my view of TKD. For some people, especially adults who start late in life, they'll never get close to giving any of the "3" a run for their money, and REALLY trying too could mess up their bodies. But for some adults, they won't have any problems, and it's the art for them!

So what happend to me? I ended up changing to Kenpo. I liked the speed of my backfist, I wanted to make it and my other hand techniques even faster. Along the way I decided to combine my hand speed with Jujitsu (grappling), and now I feel that the combination of the 2 have helped me arrive at a unique "fighting style" I feel very comfortable with. But is that the one I'd recommend for everyone? No. Each person, in my opinion, who is really committed to the MA, needs to constantly search and find the "right art", or what they feel works best for them. Just because something works for one's teacher, doesn't mean it will work well for their student, or be good for their body. So what do I personally practice now? Anything that I feel will work for me! I still use my backfist (favorite weapon) and I've incorporated in my own training: uppercuts and hooks (many TKD styles don't teach these), all other punches, open hand techniques, blocks (most hard style blocks I probably wouldn't really use, but I believe they help me maintain hand speed), knees, elbows, low line kicks (which are easier on my back), grappling, and street fighting techniques/defenses.

OK, so where is all this going now that you have my life history and opinions on things? Right back to the main topic of Rumors, Conspiracy Theories, and BS.

I have no preference for certain arts, therefore it doesn't effect how I grade certain tapes. I've got a 3rd in Kenpo, a 2nd in Jujitsu, brown in TKD, and now do you want to hear something even more surprising? I just joined a health club that teaches Shaolin Kung Fu, and due to the membership level I joined at, classes are free. So does that mean I might try that. Probably! Why not? I'm not prejudiced. I'm very open minded and alot different than many people think. Everyone on these forums tries to guess about me, and figure out who I am and what I'm about. Well if that's what floats your boat, keep guessing, you'll be doing it for a long time! You can try to make me sound as complicated as you want, but really I'm 1000x simplier than that. I'm a very opened minded individual, and unlike many black belts in this area that I know, who would never think about taking another art and having to put on a white belt again, that doesn't bother me. I really don't have an ego! Why not? Because I think it gets in the way of ones training. I'm not going to allow my ego, or the ranks I hold, to preclude me from an opportunity to possibly learn more stuff. Well why's that? Because I'm on a never ending quest to find out what personally works for me! And anyone that truly feels that they are on such a quest, can't honestly be on one, (IMHO), if they are close minded and allow their egos or preconceived notions to get in the way.

Back to the review business, we don't claim to be "the final authority" everyone should look up too for all the answers, and we don't claim to know everything. And should you ever hear someone say "they know everything", or imply they do, run. There are probably thousands of fighting systems out there, and no one has enough time in their life to thoroughly study or get to know them all. All we are here at MAVR are several martial artists, that have been involved in numerous arts, had real life experiences, and based on that, we pop in a tape and grade it. That's it, that's how simple all this is, REALLY!

One of the common things I keep reading on various message boards is: "We'll who are these guys, what's their experience, and why don't they give their names?" These are common things certain people seem to say so they can re-route what's said about their videos and try to bring the focus back on us. Rather a silly thing to do if you ask me.

So let's look at some of those things.

Does a person really need to be a master in every martial art to pop in a tape and tell if they concepts look sound or not? Yet this is what some postings on the internet about us seem to imply? If you're a somewhat advanced martial artist, and someone shows you a knife defense technique that you feel has an unusally high risk of getting a person cut, that you wouldn't even want to try using, what rank, or level of real life experience, does it require for you to make an assesment that you wouldn't use it?

But just so our critics have a small glimpse of what I've been through, here's a few questions for them. How many of you have actually faced an assilant who had a knife? I have, in high school, for not giving a black guy my lunch money, I ended up getting cut over it, and the outcome could've been a lot worse. Whose been face down on the ground beaten with baseball bats and ax handles, by 4 guys at once, not knowing if you're going to make it? I have, at a back road illegal late night "street racing" party one friday night while still in high school, why, for looking at another guys girl. Whose ever gone to a concert, and after parking your car a mile away in the cheap parking, gets rolled by a bunch of black guys wanting your money? I did, while in high school again, me and my friend took one heck of a beating. Whose ever walked into their house when a burgular was in it? I have, I opened the door, there he was, I slammed the door, and ran to a neighbors, why wait to see if he had a gun, I didn't have one. Whose ever faced an assailant with a knife, twice in their life? I have, 14 yrs ago while in college, at a fraternity party, a visitor that became unruly, he pulled out a knife, I used my MA training, trapped the knife hand, and ended up beating the guy so bad that the cops were looking for me the next day. Whose ever worked as a security guard and actually had to apprehend people? I did, while in college, I was a security guard for 3 yrs. Whose ever been in the rocky mountains, walking down the side of a stream at night, only to have what you thought was a log in the water stand up, within 5 feet of you, growl, then realize it was a bear that could've ripped your heart out? I have, and still have the scar from a 4 foot barbed wire fence I jumped over to get away from him. Whose ever been in a motorcycle wreck that should've by all rights killed them? I have. Whose been in a car, and hit a concrete pillar head on, under a bridge at 50+ mph? I have, on Central Expressway in Dallas, I fell asleep at the wheel because while in High School I had a job that lasted until 3AM in the morning, and still had to get up each day at 6AM to make it across town for class. Whose got countless other stories of fights and horrible hard luck things they've been through? I do! So what "real life experiences" do you really want to know about Mr. Clugston? And what exactly meets your requirements to make someo ne qualified enough to review your material? Do we all need to have been officially trained by Harena masters (Roman gladiators) to decide whether or not your stuff will work for us? Were you trained by a Harena master? If so, I'd like to meet a modern day Harena master, PLEASE! Can you provide documentation that chronologically shows each masters lineage, all the way back to Roman times? Or is this Harena stuff something you stumbled across and said: "Hmm, no one else is claiming to teach their stuff, and no one can dispute it, so I'll assume the role of Harena expert." And if you were trained by a Harena master (LOL), just what weapons did the Harena face? Did you learn your firearm disarms from them? Enough poking fun at the Clug! The point I'm making is this, if people want to say I don't have any real life experiences, or my reviewers don't, go right ahead and do so. Mr. Clugston you've got no idea about the ignorance and arrogance of those assumptions!

As for our names, if someone really wanted to figure out who a couple of us are, it's really not that hard. A couple of us post on several forums with our real names. Our preference though, is to remain anonymous. There are many reasons for that.

One video instructor, on a forum, made it sound like he'd like to have our addresses and phone numbers. Why? So he, or some other guy who flips out over our review can post it on their forum when we hurt their feelings with a bad review. What if someone got pissed about our review, posted our names, addresses, and phone numbers, and encouraged all their fans to bug and pester us? Is that fair to us? Do you really think Siskel and Ebert give out their personal addresses and phone numbers to everyone, and say call us at home?

Everyone needs to realize a couple of things:

1. Many martial artists have egos. Part of this I feel is due to the many years they've spent and sacrificed in their training.

2. Many seem to have huge tempers, due to the things they say to, and about us, that they can't seem to control. Again I feel part of this due to the personal investment of time and money they made in their art.

3. Many are quite skilled.

We have, believe it or not, received death threats from unreturnable email addresses. I suspected, when I started the reviews, that with egos, tempers, and skilled martial arts instructors, providing our real identities could be a problem. Thank God, I foresaw this possibility and decided not too.

There are some really sick people out there, and unfortunately some of them are martial artists. Now whether or not these people who have made threats are video instructors, or fans, or are serious, who knows? But to put things in perspective, about our reasons for our anonymity, when was the last time you heard of Siskel or Ebert getting a death threat, due to a movie review they did? I never heard of them getting one. And they probably never did.

But we're dealing with a totally different crowd than them, and the rules need to be different for the sake of ourselves and our families.

Our reviews are bound to piss some folks off. Especially certain fans and video instructors. If our reviews don't piss some folks off, then we're not doing our job. I guess if we said everyone's videos were great, especially the Peterson's, LaTourrettes, Dills, and Clugstons of the world, everyone would love us. Personally, I wouldn't feel comfortable if everyone loved us. That would mean we were doing something very wrong. Instead of grading tapes, we'd be no better than Black Belt Magazine, we'd be advertising tapes.

The problem is this, combine egos, tempers, skilled martial artists, and rubbing someone the wrong way via a review, and that for some reasons seems to create hostility. How would the rest of you handle it, especially if you had families, and knew if you were to remain honest to yourself, you had to outright say on certain videos they sucked? Would you give out your personal address and phone number to everyone? Anonymity seems to be the easiest route. Some of us are older, have had numerous years of various martial artists, and aren't looking forward to stepping out in our yards a couple times per week, with death matches waiting. And although I'm somewhat kidding about the death matches, I hope you can understand where I'm coming from. Certain people really do seem to get VERY pissed off when an art they've spent alot of time training in gets a bad review.

I don't want some sicko tracking me or my reviewers down, as various emails we receive imply. There are ALOT more sickos out there than many of you realize, our reviews for some reason seem to attract them like a magnet, piss many of them off, and they feel they must reply and retaliate. Can you believe that happens just because someone voices their opinon? Wow, I didn't know we were thought of so highly that people felt they had to send death threats?

All we're trying to do is give the public additional information on which they can base their buying decisions. We don't claim to be the know-it-alls like some video instructors do. We're simply martial artists, usually very advanced in several arts, that like you, should be able to pop in a tape and rather quickly decide whether or not a tape is good. Again, we simply offer our opinion, take it or leave it.

Next, we've been invited by a couple of video instructors to come visit them in person, to see what they're about? So why don't we go visit some of these people? Well, there's numerous reasons for that, but I'll tell you the main one, because we grade tapes, we're not here to do reviews on in-person seminars/camps, etc. The thing many video instructors don't get is that many of their ads imply all one needs to kick ass is their tapes. So, we grade tapes! If having to see these people in person is what it takes to effectively use their systems/techniques, then I think they really need to re-evaluate what they say a person can accomplish just by buying their tapes! Some video instructors might really be great in-person, but I bet 90% of tape buyers don't go see the instructors in person that they buy tapes from.

The next accusation that has been made is that all we're about is getting free tapes. Free tapes is not what we're about! We've received, and reviewed, tapes on "Martial Arts for Paraplegics", "Rape Awareness", and other topics, arts and systems, that some of our reviewers personally have no interest in studying or learning. A rape tape isn't something I'd go out and buy, and neither is a paraplegic tape. I have little use for those type of tapes, but since the rest of the public might, we review them anyway. Our moto is that we'll review any tape received in which our reviewers feel they can can make an assesment. Up to now, we've left out reviews of things like "dim mak", "tai-chi", "various chinese arts", and some other internal arts. But soon, you'll very likely see us reviewing those. I'm actively working on lining us up reviewers for that stuff. And why would I do that? Because I want our website to be a complete review site for ALL martial arts videos, no matter what my personal preference is, or the preference of our other reviewers. Ask yourselves this, "Why in the world would I review stuff I have no interest in if all I, or we, were about was free tapes?" If that's all I was interested in, then the only thing you guy might see reviews on is grappling. I'd leave out Shotokan, Goju-Shorei, Kung Fu San Soo, Silat, Pananandata, Wing Chun, JKD, and tons of other things that I personally have no interest in. But have we left those out? NO, we reviewed each and every one.

No one, I repeat NO ONE, is really doing what we are. The magazines haven't really done it because it conflicts with advertising interests. And out of a couple of people that are doing reviews, they aren't doing them to the extent we are. Unlike some video instructors, I can take it when you guys say you don't like me, our reviewers opinions, or MAVR. The thing that bothers me are the assinine conspiracy theories video instructors and fans conjure up, to defend themselves, when they don't like our reviews. If people want to say our opinion is wrong, they can go right ahead, but why come up with these BS theories as to why we do this?

As I mentioned before, unlike some video instructors, I don't have an ego, and I really don't care if people like me or MAVR. We simply offer our opinion, take it or leave it. As these reviews come out, there are going to be a few egos bruised. Hey, I'm sorry but we can't help that. It's bound to happen, especially in the martial arts world with egos as big as they are. I can understand these egos getting hurt, especially when certain video instructors put out huge ads in magazines implying their system is the one to put all others to shame. Unlike what some people say about us, and what some video instructors imply about themselves, we don't claim to be know-it-alls. Heck, if certain video instructors want to go around saying their system is "the system" to put all others to shame, that's fine. But doesn't someone have the right to evaluate that? And if so, who should it be, one of their people?

Back to us wanting free tapes. Currently I have over 400 tapes that I've received. I could never in a 1000 years really go through, study and practice what's shown on each, nor implement in my own training what each offers. Maybe someone could! Quite frankly, I'm running out of room to store all these tapes. Heck, I'm seriously thinking about throwing away, or giving away some of them. Since I'm the one that gets all the tapes from various companies, I'll probably end up giving some of them to my reviewers, just for having the gonads to do this and put up with the abuse that comes with it. Who in the world needs 400+ tapes? 100 to 200 is plenty for me, and probably that number is a little high. Yet each week more tapes keep showing up. Last week 25 new ones showed up. So this BS some video instructors say about us wanting free tapes is exactly that, it's BS. I already have more tapes than I'll ever need, and if free tapes was all we were about, I would of quit the reviews about 6 months ago when I had about 250 tapes. Yet we keep forging ahead, and doing reviews, even while having to put up with unfounded accusations.

The thing people don't understand is that for us, this really is a labor of love. Watching a video, making an outline and notes, writing a rough draft, revising it countless times, and getting to the final draft, for each review, takes hours. Sometimes 3-5 hrs per tape. I don't know what most people's time is worth, but I know several of our reviewers make at least $20/hr. Multiply that times a 3-5 hr review, and that's $60-$100 of our time put into each of these reviews. And I haven't even mentioned the $100 each month I've personally spent sending tapes to our reviewers. See, all the tapes come in to me, and then I ship them out to our reviewers. Actually, one thing that has been said about us, JUST ONE, is right. I am looking at ways I can recoup the $100 a month I'm spending on shipping tapes to my reviewers. And why shouldn't I? But I will tell you this, I will think twice before I do something that puts us in a bind or compromises our ability to due an objective review. Very soon, we'll be announcing something in this regard. Anyway, it would be easier on my time, and the same money for me to buy tapes, if that's all we wanted. I could save hours I spend each night answering emails, and take the $100 a month I'm spending on postage, and each month buy Panthers 6 tapes for $99, versus doing these reviews to get tapes. I personally, everynight, am on the computer 2-4 hrs. That time is spent answering dozens of emails each day, about which tapes would we recommend on _______, or which system is the best one, etc., etc., etc. Rarely do I go to bed before midnight. People have it all WRONG, really! Free tapes isn't enough of a payment to do all this and put up with the criticism. We really do it to help the martial arts community, by at least providing ONE SOURCE of unbiased information people can refer to before making their buying decisions. And why do we do this? Because we ourselves have been burned, dozens of times, reading full page ads in magazines, purchasing tapes only to find out they weren't anywhere close to providing what the ads said they would, and then being stuck with them because 95% of the industry offers NO REFUNDS. That folks, is really the main reason we do this. If it was free tapes, as said before, I would of personally stopped this months ago when I hit about 250 tapes, just so I could get to sleep before midnight each night. Free tapes doesn't pay for our professional time spent doing the reviews, time away from training, time away from our families, or for our personal time that we could be spending relaxing and doing something else more fun. Many of the tapes we've reviewed have really been a "chore" to do. Some are slow, and the content so confusing, that it makes watching them and doing a review A REAL JOB. So if people want to continue conjuring up dillusional conspiracy theories about us, I guess they can, but the free tape theory is BS. We do it because no one else has and the MA community desperately needs it.

Next, it seems some companies say they are offended about working with us due to our request for free tapes. We'll I'll address that one too.

The main reason we ask individuals and companies to donate tapes is because we can't afford to buy EVERY SINGLE TAPE on the market. It's been estimated that over 2000 MA instructional videos are on the market. One very big company told me they think the actual number is closer to 3000.

If the average tape costs $30, then that would mean a person would have to come up with $60,000 to $90,000 of their own money, just to do a comprehensive set of reviews of all tapes for the public. I don't know about the rest of you, but I don't ever see that happening. Personally, I don't feel anyone would spend that much of their own money, to do reviews of many arts they might not personally have an interest in. This is why we try to get various MA video companies to donate tapes to this cause. We want our website to be a comprehesive review site, and we can't afford to do that entirely on our own. Without companies donating tapes to this cause, we'd be like a couple of the other review sites out there that do just 10-30 reviews, mainly of stuff they themselves purchase. Heck, by getting tapes donated to us we've been able to bring the public reviews on systems that we probably wouldn't have been able to otherwise.

Think about this. Reviewers of books get free books sent to them for reviews, movie critics get free movie passes, why shouldn't we get free videos? Is it because certain video instructors say we're not qualified? Who is qualified then? Does it have to be a biasedfan of theirs? Does the reviewer of a movie need to have been an actor or director, or studio exec., to provide an accurate movie review? Does a book reviewer need to have been a top selling author to do an accurate review of a book?

Heck, having companies send us free tapes is actually cheaper than what many other companies have to do to get their books or movies reviewed. A movie ticket around here costs $8.00, and books can cost $20-$30. Even though MA tapes are sold for $20-$70 each, we all know that a blank tape, if caught on sale, can be obtained for $1.00 each. All it takes for a company, since they have reproduction rights to a tape, is for them to put their stuff on a cheap $1.00 blank tape and spend another buck on postage, drop it in the mail and send it. $2.00 is really all it takes per tape. Heck, we've even been more than fair by offering at our website to pay a buck or two for the tape, and the postage expense, if someonewants to make a big deal out of us getting "free tapes".

To sum everything up, we need tapes donated to us or there's no way we, or anyone else, could attempt to provide a comprehensive review site. As for it costing video companies money to send us free tape, in my opinion, I think we've been even more than fair about offering to compensate companies, $1 for the postage of each tape & $1 for each tape!

Next, we've been asked: "How can you rate this combat system without using it in combat?"

Actually a very good question. There is no absolute way. Not even Clugston, or Jerry Peterson, no matter what they say, can guarantee their stuff will work 100% of the time, for all people, all ages, in all situations. We merely offer our opinion, based upon our experiences and training, and the things we see in each video instructors tape. Maybe in person these video instructors are more thorough, but we're not grading that, we're grading tapes.

The "combat" question from above, in my opinion, is no different than asking: How do you know certain peoples "kill" techniques will really kill someone? And how do you know they'll work for you? Where and how do you get to personally try them? How do you know that while doing an arm bar or leg lock, you, not your teacher, can really destroy someones joint?

The only way any of these questions could be answered would be by setting up actual scientific trials. You'd have to get a very diverse group of peole, all different ages, different sexes, along with different heights and weights. Next, you'd have to combine that mix with a complete mix of backgrounds for each: military, law enforcement, martial arts, bodybuilders, no background, etc. Next, you'd have to take that total mix, and have those people face real assailants bare handed, with real knives, real guns with real bullets, etc., to see real outcomes. Guess what, it ain't gonna happen. There isn't a video instructor in the world that could get that legally set up, and neither can we. So opinions, like ours, and their's, will continue.

Thus, the next best thing is to have people with real life experiences, and martial arts backgrounds, do reviews and provide their opinions of all this various material.

No one knows what will really work for everyone, and unlike some video instructors, we don't claim to either. People only know what has worked for them in the past, or what they suspect might work, or what they hope or heard (hopefully truthfully) worked for their instructor. But again, this doesn't guarantee it will work for them and everyone else, which is something many video instructors fail to point out.

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