Company: I.K.K.I.
Tape Name: Beginning Basics (Tape 13)
Tape Cost: $29.95
Length of Tape: 1 hour 5 minutes
Number of Moves/Techniques: about 44
Return Policy: damage and defects
Experiences in dealing with this company: Excellent
The Instructors: Steve Spry
Company's Address: 6731 Westminster Blvd, Ste 101-B Westminster, CA, 92683
Company's Phone Number: 1-800-954-7779
Web Page:!/merchandise
E-mail: makua@stevespry

Primary Grading Criteria:

1. Production/Tape Quality: 10
2. Instructors demonstrated skill level: 9
3. Comprehension Score/Immediate Understaning: 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 it over and over again: 10
9. Would I purchase more of this company's product: 9
10. Overall grade based on cost vs. value: 10

Grand Total: 94% (3.5 stars = Good)

Secondary Grading Criteria Series:

1. Beginners benefit: Good
2. Intermediate benefit: Excellent
3. Advanced benefit: Excellent
4. Time to benefit: immediate on most
5. The need to buy additional tapes to understand this one: None

Written Summary:

This series, consisting of 39 tapes, was originally produced by Panther Productions. Steve Spry, as I understand it, bought out the rights to the series from Panther, a few years back. This tape series takes a person through the various rank requirements of American Kenpo from white belt to 3rd degree black. After each level of requirements, a person can be video tested if they want. Each belt comes with 3 main tapes which are: a self defense tape, a kata tape, and a testing tape (showing what you need to tape yourself doing). Throughout this series are some other tapes, such as this one on "Beginning Basics".

A couple of personal opinions I want to interject before I get into the heart of this review. First off, if you can find a dojo, always make that your first choice, as far as instruction goes. I've yet to see any video series that can take a person who has "zero" knowledge of how to properly do kicks and punches, and make them REALLY look like black belt material. A person needs someone to guide them, show them what they're doing right or wrong, and push them beyond what they think they can't do. In my opinion, training-by-video should not be a substitute for dojo training, it should be a supplement to it. Second, let's discuss teaching a complete neophtye the basics, solely by video.

Learning the basics, in my opinion, and getting them down well, is the hardest part of a persons training. There are so many intricacies of what one should concentrate on, especially when doing complicated things like kicks. I don't think there will ever be a video that goes into enough depth to fully explain this well-enough to a beginner, so that he can solely by video training, end up kicking like a Bill Wallace. The only way a person can get the basics down VERY WELL, in my opinion, is by being in a dojo. In no way am I trying to fault Mr. Spry, but there were 44 different things covered on this video, 2 of which I think a person could litereally create 2 whole separate videos on. One of those being how to properly do a side kick, and the second, how to properly do a roundhouse kick. There are so many things that need to be pointed out on those 2 kicks, yet I've never seen a beginning video by anyone tackle that as well as I think it should be. So in my opinion, this video would be best suited for someone who has had some prior martial arts training, in a formal training environement.

I also felt missing, on a tape about "basics", were the various exercises and drills a person should do to develop the basics. Meaning, a complete beginner needs some sort of daily workout routine that takes them through: situps, pushups, squats, stretches, 10 reps of every block and punch, and 10 reps of every kick. Repetition is EXTREMELY important, in my opinion, to help develop power, speed, timing, and technique. And the only way a person develops all that is by doing certain techniques over and over again, each and every day, or at the minimum every other day. Nowhere was it mentioned or suggested that a person do that! If a complete beginner were to try and follow what's on these tapes, hoping to become a a real black belt, where and how would they get the repetition necessary so they really looked the part? These are just a few of the thoughts I couldn't get out of my mind while watching this tape.

OK, on to what's on this tape. Mr. Spry has numerous students of his, demonstrate the following basics:

1. Stances

- Attention
- Horse
- Meditating
- Neutral bow
- Reverse bow
- Forward bow
- One legged stance

2. Blocks

- Inward
- Outward
- Upward
- Downward

3. Parries

- Inward Parry
- Outward Parry

4. Punches

- Thrust Punch
- Snap Punch
- Vertical Thrust Punch
- Vertical Snap Punch

5. Strikes

- Palm Strike
- Inward Hand Sword
- Outward Hand Sword
- Back Hammer Fist
- Underhand Reverse Hammer Fist
- Inward Elbow
- Outward Elbow
- Obscure Elbow
- Back Elbow
- Inward Overhand Elbow
- Outward Overhand Elbow

6. Finger Techniques

- Finger Poke
- Overhead Claw
- Overhand Rake
- Finger Whips

7. Kicks

- Rear Leg Snap Kick
- Lead Leg Snap Kick
- Side Snap Kick/Defensive
- Side Snap Kick/Offensive
- Back Kick/Defensive
- Back Kick/Offensive
- Roundhouse/Rear Leg
- Roundhouse/Front Leg
- Lift Kick w/Shin/Rear Leg
- Lift Kick w/Shin/Lead Leg

8. Foot Manuevers

- Step Through w/a Punch - Forward & Backward
- Step Drag w/a Reverse Punch
- Drag Step w/a Reverse Punch

So that's what's on the tape. In my opinion, if you're an intermediate or advanced student in another "kick-punch art", you should have no problem doing well with the material that's shown. In fact, if you're an interemediate or advanced student in an art like TKD, in my opinion this would be an excellent choice for cross training. But to those who are completely new to the martial arts, don't expect to be kicking like Jean Claude Van Damme after a couple days of tape watching. From when I started in the arts, it took me nearly 6 months of throwing side kicks, and roundhouse kicks, before I could do so without feeling like I would fall down during each kick. After that it took another 3-4 months before I could do side kicks that just started to look OK, and it was another 8 months after that before they looked REALLY GOOD. That's 18 months total, it took mel! I've seen some people take longer to have good side and roundhouse kicks, some get lucky and look good after only 6 months. But I will tell you this, I've noticed that the ones who typically look good VERY FAST, are those who are extremely flexible. People who are flexible usually don't fight like hell to stay up on one leg, like us inflexible types do. They don't have all their muscles fighting against them, especially when they're on one leg. And because they are flexible, their muscles are less tense, so they learn how to throw kicks faster and easier, then those who are inflexible. This allows them to expend very little effort when they throw a kick, versus a person who is not flexible. Just some thoughts I think people should keep in mind that aren't typically pointed out on videos..

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