Company: Vee-Arnis-Jitsu, Inc.
Tape Name: Vee Arnis Jujitsu - Muggings{1-12} Vol. 1 & 2
Tape Cost: $40 for each or $70 for both (2 tapes total in series)
Length of Tape/Time: 56 minutes
Number of Moves/Techniques: 6 Self-Defense situations per tape
Return Policy: Defective only, no satisfaction guarantee
Experiences in dealing with this company: Great
The Instructor: David James
Company's Address: 4202 Ave U, Brooklyn, NY, 11234
Company's Phone Number: 718-252-8944
Web Page:

Primary Grading Criteria:

1. Production/Tape Quality: 80
2. Instructors demonstrated skill level: 100
3. Comprehension Score/Immediate Understanding: 100
4. Degree to which this will make someone a better Martial Artist: 100
5. Score on delivery vs hype: 100
6. Degree to which we would recommend this product: 100
7. Wasted Time ( The higher the number,the less " fluff" /repetition ): 100
8. Playback Score/Watching it over-and-over again: 100
9. Would I purchase more of this company's products: 100
10. Overall grade based on cost vs. value: 80

Grand Total: 96% (Very Good/Excellent)

Secondary Grading Criteria:

1. Beginners benefit: Excellent
2. Intermediate benefit: Excellent
3. Advanced benefit: Excellent
4. Time to benefit: Immediate, or a few weeks
5. The need to buy additional tapes to understand this one: None

Written Summary:

It's been awhile since we've looked at any new David James VAJ material. This tape takes the viewer through a variety of self-defense situations. The first tape covered the following 6 street attacks:

1. One handed lapel grab

2. Two handed lapel grab

3. Cross/Opposite side, one hand lapel grab (although was halfway between lapel and collarbone)

4. Sideways Opposite Shoulder Grab (like your putting your arm around a friends shoulder)

5. Rear Bear Hug

6. Standing, Choke from Behind

The second tape covered the following:

7. Side Headlock

8. Standing, Two handed front choke, with back against a wall

9. Front Bear Hug

10. Full Nelson

11. Guillotine Choke

12. One arm choke from behind, while aggressors other hand is doing a standing arm bar

As with previous David James tapes we've reviewed, these were a pleasure to watch. The more of his stuff I watch, the more I'm convinced this man can't make a bad tape. Often I wonder if it's the way he thoroughly explains everything, covers all the "what if's", has an incredibly effective and quick-to-learn street self-defense system, endless strikes for any situation, or everything he does just makes sense! Probably, it's a combination of all that!

The beauty of this tape set was the way he covered the "what if's". What if you try to do this, and you miss, or the guy moves, or your attacker does this.....he covered that incredibly well. So well, that it can't help but make the lightbulb go off in your head, regarding endless possibilities.

Funny thing, as the light bulb started going off, and I was thinking of "endless possiblities" regarding the application of the techniques shown, for a variety of situations, it made me think of something from the past. I remembered seeing on another of James' tapes (can't remember which) The Professor and David James were together, after James finished showing some techniques, the Professor said "Do, Re, Me, Fa, So, La, Te, Do". James explained that there are just a few notes in music, but out of those few notes, many great musical pieces have been written. He then compared that to the way of VAJ, and how with just a small handful of VAJ techniques, you can create endless possibilities, regarding your response to an attack! Each time I watch one of James' tapes, you see that you don't have to know a zillion techniques, often you see only a dozen or so main ones!

I think if someone periodicly watched his tapes, did so enough til they got the concepts he's teaching, while practicing what he shows with a partner, and maybe practiced a little freestyle application of it (mixing it up), they would stand a very good chance of coming out ahead in any street attack! I think you could safely put 6 months of training with James, up against others who've had 1-2 years at most commercial dojo's, regarding a students street readiness.

It appears that 100% of a students time with Mr. James is spent on getting them ready to handle, with unquestionable devastating brutality, any situation they might encounter on the street, and all possible variables. Unlike commercial dojo's, James doesn't opt for kicks and techniques that take years to develop! The beauty of that is students appear to become street ready quicker than anywhere else! You don't see James talking about flowery katas, tournaments and trophies, it's about breaking every rule possible to survive! Like James says, "The way you practice, is the way it comes out!". If you spend 99% of your time in a commercial dojo doing your sparring and techniques with rules, I believe that's what will come out in a real situation, fighting with rules! Your attacker isn't going to fight with rules, why should you?

James and his uke are suited up in those bulky, yet useful, padded body suits and helmets. This allows him to do a flurry of eye gouging, eye strikes, headbutts, elbows, palm heels to the face, backfists, kicks to the shin, kicks to the knees, kicks to the groin, knees to the stomach-groin-outer thigh, neck cranks, low kicks anyone can do, throws, locks, submissions, and things most commercial schools won't let you spend 99% of your time practicing or developing. If you spend 99% of your time practicing with rules, do you really think your reaction will be to respond differently in the street? Maybe if you're 1-out-of-1000 who made it to black belt, AND can think on their feet better than most! But what about the other students who never get that skill, speed, or power, and quit? Kind of makes whatever time they did spend training a waste! Don't instructors understand, training with restrictive rules is like training someone to be a commercial airline pilot, throwing him one day for the first time in an F-16 and saying "you're ready to be the best damn fighter pilot there is"! They're not really ready for battle!

Mr. James wants to "keep it real", and make your training as close to a NO RULES street situation as possible. Meaning your opponents attack, and your response! The padding they wear when they practice, along with allowing a student to try/use ANY TECHNIQUE that works, makes their form of training as close to reality as it gets!

With James there's no flowery katas, no tournament trophies, no rules as to what techniques you can't practice! There's just a packed 600 member school, all adults from what I saw when there a few yrs ago, in Downtown Manhattan New York, that would be the envy of instructors all over the country! Did you catch the part about 600 adults, not kids? How can this man pack-in 600 adults, when in most styles adults are the minority in a school, especially in a city where there must be lots of other schools, and NY street/subway muggings are infamous? Maybe because the way he trains adults for the street makes more sense than other places, students know it and feel it, and the word spreads???

Personal note to all instructors - It shouldn't take 2-3 yrs to just START making a student SOMEWHAT effective for the street! And knife/handgun defense shouldn't BEGIN 1-2 yrs into a students training, after 95-99% of them are gone! Don't you realize 95% or better of your students never stick around that long! I know the turnover numbers! The question is why! Because what you teach takes too long, and is too frustrating, for those who just want to be great at self defense!

As in his other videos, James' provides many pearls-of-wisdom along the way: "Train in everything and be well rounded (all fighting ranges)", "The way you practice is the way it comes out (no rules)", "Either you do or you die", and others! And concepts I'll paraphrase: Train in the ability to adjust to a situation should it change, why create rules based fighters - create brutal no-rules street ready self-defense experts. A saying I'll never forget, on another James' tape, more-or-less says "Your instructor, no matter how good HE is, isn't going to be around to help you win a fight"! It doesn't matter what your instructor was able to become good at, only what you're able to become good at, and can either do TODAY or very soon!

While watching his videos, I've always had the feeling that James humbly-and-openly invites anyone to come to his dojo, and show him something better, that quickly trains anyone with techniques that consistently work in the street! And it's not a cocky or arrogant tone, it's more of "I'd really like to see it"! The sad reality though is 99% of instructors, who trained 10 yrs or more in an art, probably won't. They're either too brainwashed or closed-minded in their present way of doing things. Plus, either their egos or fear prevent many of them from honestly thinking "Let's go see if the past 10+ yrs of what I've trained in is really the best for my students". They're probably thinking if they found something better, they'd have to throw-away everything they've spent time learning, developing, training others in as "the best", and preaching during those years! I'm convinced too many would rather not risk what they feel is the embarrassment of facing that, than providing what's the best self-defense solution to the masses.

Instructors everywhere need to honestly look at ALL their adult students, especially those with 6 months or less of training, and think "Can this guy really face the most brutal and skilled of opponents, and come out ahead?" If they can't (which I feel most probably can't), then I suggest you evaluate what you're teaching them! Many adults will NEVER stick around as long as you did! They just don't have the patience and fortitude! Still, I don't think most instructors realize, or seriously think about, the 99% of adult students who quit them within the first 6 months, and all martial arts forever, never to return. Those 99%, who often only walk into a school ONCE, and give only ONE instructor ONE SHOT to make them great, are the ones who ultimately suffer. Many leave due to frustration, and walk-away with no real ability for whatever time they spent there! Many won't wait around 2-3 yrs to develop head high kicks that are fast, powerful, and near impossible to stop! Plus, it is unbelievably hard on an adults body, compared to a childs, to try and develop that!

I believe instructors need to think about adding adult self-defense programs like Mr. James', that completely address self-defense differently and in a shorter amount of time, with techniques that don't require endless hrs/yrs of trying to develop gymnastic flexibilty, combined with Superman-like power, that typically tear up an adults knees, hips, back, and body to develop! If you disagree, just look around at other "masters" of kicking arts you know. Don't many of the ones, who were really good, get older and have knee, hip or back problems? They do around here and either don't hardly kick anymore, or, retire and sit at home! What are you going to teach adults if one day you have so many knee or other body problems you can't kick, walk, stand, or have a decent quality of life? Are you going to have one of your students demonstrate kicks to more beginners that tear up their body, while you're sitting in a chair, telling them how to do that? And what of kicking arts, that often only give those who are really great, 20 yrs of skill, before knee, hip or back problems start appearing? What's the point of spending years developing something, when all around you other "masters" can hardly walk or kick anymore? Don't you see the writing on the wall? Why not supplement what you're doing now, or train in, something that doesn't take as long to learn/develop, has a higher probability of allowing adults who enroll to become proficient, doesn't tear up ones body as bad, thus providing skills that last a lifetime, and not just 20 yrs or a few more, if you or them are lucky enough to avoid injuries?

Let me say this clearly: The VAJ James' material is incredible!!! I'm not alone in that opinion, as several other reviewers I had on-board with this project in the past saw it too, and felt it is THE BEST of ALL self-defense systems! FYI - I've had over the past 8 yrs (6) other reviewers, and all were black belts in a variety of different styles, often in multiple styles, and it was a 100% consensus, regarding the ones who saw the James material and their opinion of it!

Everything I saw on this video was great, but I REALLY liked #6, #9, and #10! James response to each of those 3 gave me some ideas of how to use them in other self defense situations!

OK, now for justification of the score. I'm sure Mr. James would like me to give him a 100%! Hopefully he understands we can't give him 100% on every tape he's done! Now I'm probably going to be a bit more harsh than I should be on the following 2 criteria, but hey, I had to look hard, to try and see if there was any possibility of knocking off a point or two! I'm going to knock off a few points for the Production Quality and Cost vs Value. At $39.95 per tape, or $34.95 each if you buy Vol 1&2, I think that's a little pricey for what you get (production quality and value). Yes, I know some people sell tapes for more, some for less, but we were only shown how to defend ourselves in 12 situations on 2 tapes! Something in my head says that for $70, I should get more techniques! Having mentioned all that, this is an extremely good tape, it comes with a high recommendation of 4.75 starts out of 5!


FYI - I have a list of various video martial arts instructors who haven't sent us their material for review. In some instances, many of them aren't replying to requests for us to do that! Hmmm, wonder why? ;-) If by chance you can make a small donation of even $1 or so, to help support this sites expenses, and help us buy tapes, it would certainly help me buy tapes companies don't want us to REVIEW! If you haven't seen something reviewed, it's often because video instructors don't want us too! But hey, it's America, freedom of speech, right? So the reviews shall continue!!!

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