Company: TRS Direct
Tape Name: Stealth Domination
Tape Cost: $99 (2 DVDs)
Length of Tape/Time: about an hour each?
Number of Moves/Techniques: Varies
Return Policy: 6 Month - Money Back Guarantee
Experiences in dealing with this company: Great
The Instructor: Michael Tan
Company's Address: 606 E. Acequia Ave., Visalia, CA, 93292
Company's Phone Number: 800-899-8153
Web Page: http://www.trsdirect.com
Primary Grading Criteria:
1. Production/Tape Quality: 70
2. Instructors demonstrated skill level: 100
3. Comprehension Score/Immediate Understanding: 80
4. Degree to which this will make someone a better Martial Artist: 70
5. Score on delivery vs hype: 70
6. Degree to which we would recommend this product: 70
7. Wasted Time ( The higher the number,the less " fluff" /repetition ): 80
8. Playback Score/Watching it over-and-over again: 80
9. Would I purchase more of this company's products: 80
10. Overall grade based on cost vs. value: 80
Grand Total: 78% (Good = 3.75 Stars out of 5 Stars)
Secondary Grading Criteria:
1. Beginners benefit: Very Good
2. Intermediate benefit: Good
3. Advanced benefit: Good
4. Time to benefit: A few weeks, months, or years, depending on opponent
5. The need to buy additional tapes to understand this one: None
It's been awhile since we reviewed any TRS material. I've always been a big fan of what I felt was the basis for TRS's material, which I always viewed as providing instructional material that allows a person to become skilled at self-defense, in the shortest amount of time possible. However, that ultimately becomes part of my problem with this series.
Michael Tan (video instructor) states throughout this series a martial artist should try to "neutralize" an attacker versus injuring them. He says this is the highest level of skill/mastery and most honorable form of self-defense. Tan points out the potential legal consequences of injuring someone versus simply making them unable to move/attack. Maximum self-defense with minimum liability. In theory, one can't argue with Tan's logic, but based on what was shown, I didn't feel Tan's techniques would work 100% of the time against all types of attackers, especially those highly skilled.
Throughout this dvd Tan refers to Aikido and Daito Ryu Aiki-Jujitsu, somewhat confusingly yet interchangably, as the basis for what he's showing. Tan typically shows how to step ever-so-slightly offline, so as to intercept a limb, and then "redirect" an opponents momentum through off-balancing, resulting in takedowns and "neutralizations" that don't injure an opponent. Most would probably refer to Tan's "neutralizations" as submissions, although Tan attempts to distinguish between the two, saying submissions require either force or strength and his techniques don't. I saw a couple of wrist locks Tan used in which I would say "force" was definitely applied to make them effective.
Regarding specific scenarios Tan addresses, he shows how to deal with some punches and kicks, but left out certain other ones, and that bothered me a bit. I guess you have to either hope someone doesn't use those on you, or guess how to deal with them. Tan covered the front and rear bear hug, single and double hand grabs, and the bull rush. Tan showed some techniques, that for the sake of instructional clarity, should've had the attacker in a short sleeved shirt and shorts. On some of Tan's arm techniques, I would've liked to have seen the exact spot where Tan was applying his technique to the attacker. For many novices, I feel exact placement would end up being a bit of a guessing game, because of the baggy long sleeved shirt Tan's attacker was wearing. The same could be said for a couple of leg "neutralizations" against an attackers kicks, where Tan applies pressure to the attackers calf and shin. Tan's exact hand/wrist placement would probably be a bit of a guess for many novices, due to the attacker wearing pants instead of shorts. I think this was a bit of a production oversight that should've been caught by TRS and Tan.
Part of the problem I had with this material goes back to what I said at the beginning, a person becoming skilled at it in the shortest amount of time possible. I think for this to work 100% of the time, a person would have to spend years training to get a high level of impeccable timing/speed, and even then, I think it being 100% effective against ALL attackers is highly questionable. Now I'm sure Tan or other Daito-Ryu/Aikido types might disagree, but I've had a bit of exposure to a variety of Jujitsu, and through that I've also met various Aikido black belts and worked out with them. If a punch or kick is traveling at a slow-to-medium speed, I'd agree these techniques would have a good chance of working. On the other hand, a highly skilled boxer, someone who has developed incredible hand speed, or a highly skilled TKD/kicker with great speed who doesn't telegraph their kicks, would probably present a problem for most people trying to use these techniques. I'm sure most of us who've done any considerable amount of training, have practiced with others who could punch/backfist (or kick you), before you see it coming or can stop it. That is my problem with this series! I can't picture it working 100% of the time against all opponents, no matter their training, skill level, or speed, nor without you spending years to develop your speed/timing to deal with them!
Were the techniques shown bad? Not at all! In fact I liked them for slow-to-medium speed strikes. Were the concepts taught bad? No, how can you argue with not injuring someone? Could what was shown work? Probably in most situations, especially if you spent time aspiring towards Tan's level of speed/timing, and didn't ever encounter someone with incredible hand or foot speed, or who was highly adept at combos/setups/fakes/feinting!
In a nutshell, pretty good stuff to have in your arsenal, but I wouldn't personally throw out everything else and count on this to work 100% of the time against highly skilled punchers/kickers! Would it work against common drunks, bullies, or street thugs, who had no training and no hand/foot speed? Yeah, it probably would. But I want to train for more skilled attackers, maybe an ex-Golden Gloves boxer who grew up in the wrong side of town, and turned to crime, or somebody worse! I want something that helps me against the highly skilled/trained attacker!
Now for the grade. I'll take you through a bit of my thought process on this one. Was it "Poor"? I'd say "no". Was it "Fair"? "No". Was it "5 Star - Excellent"? I'd say "No". That leaves us with "Very Good" and "Good". You could almost flip-a-coin and choose, depending on the type of attacker you train for, and hope you encounter. Thus, I think the grade becomes a bit of a personal call.
Some would probably rate this material as "Very Good" (80/90% - 4/5 Stars) if they played-the-odds regarding the more common type attacker they'd likely encounter. I'm going to go a notch lower, err on the side of caution and rate this as "Good" (60/80% - 3/4 Star). That is probably due to what some might view as overkill on my part, and my own personal belief, which says a persons techniques/system/training should focus on dealing with the toughest, fastest, and most skilled opponents they might encounter, and not the easiest!