Company: Goldstar Video
Tape Name: Small Circle Jujitsu Vol 1-5
Tape Cost: as low as $2.99 per rental!
Length of Tape/Time: about 45-60 minutes each
Number of Moves/Techniques: Varies
Return Policy: Rental
Experiences in dealing with this company: Great
The Instructor: Wally Jay
Company's Address: 413 Briarwood Ridge, Carl Junction, MO 64834
Company's Phone Number: 888-884-7482
Web Page: http://www.goldstarvideo.com
Primary Grading Criteria:
1. Production/Tape Quality: 60
2. Instructors demonstrated skill level: 100
3. Comprehension Score/Immediate Understanding: 60
4. Degree to which this will make someone a better Martial Artist: 70
5. Score on delivery vs hype: 60
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: 60
9. Would I purchase more of this company's products: 50
10. Overall grade based on cost vs. value: 50
Grand Total: 66% (Good)
Secondary Grading Criteria:
1. Beginners benefit: Fair
2. Intermediate benefit: Good
3. Advanced benefit: Good
4. Time to benefit: Immediate, or a few weeks
5. The need to buy additional tapes to understand this one: Yes, refers to other material
Let me just say Wally Jay is amazing to watch and there is no question of his ability. Somewhere in this series I heard him say "I'm 70 yrs old". I'm sure many of us would love at 70 yrs old to have his hand speed, timing, agility, wit, clear headedness, and verbal skills. One of the things that amazed me the most was his ability to go-to-the-mat and come-up-off-the-mat with youthful speed/ease! It's as if his legs have withstood the test-of-time (aging). I know many 40 and 50 yr old judo/jujitsu types, that due to years of hard training, have injuries and arthritis that have them moving slower than Jay did in this series! Jay's practically unheard of ability to physically withstand-the-hands-of-time should be an inspiration to all of us aging martial arts practitioners, and the younger crowd that sticks-with-it.
However, the value of a series can't just be based upon a persons legendary status or ability. I say that because even though I admire Jay and his ability, I have mixed thoughts about this series and its value to viewers!
The first 2 tapes in this series I think should've been "shelved" during production and never offered to the public! They were both filmed from what appears to be seminars/camps. The production quality of both I'd classify as "less than acceptable". It's as if someone bought and used the worst quality camcorder possible to film them, and/or the original was shot in 6 hr mode on a 2 hr tape, and/or the final master was multiple generations deep! The video quality was often blurred/fuzzy, and combine that blurriness with shots that were often further away than they should've been, and exact hand positioning for techniques was often impossible to determine. Additionally, Jay often did techniques where he wasn't facing the camera, and practically had his back turned to it, or at times was sideways to the camera and the technique was happening on the opposite side, to where you couldn't see numerous details of what was going on. In my opinion, the first 2 tapes in this series "fail" from a production quality and training value standpoint! And for either "Black Belt Magazine" or Jay to be selling these for $40 each, is in my opinion absurd! Should "Black Belt Magazine Video" not discontinue offering these first 2 tapes to the public, then they should at-a-minimum offer a "money back guarantee" if you're unhappy with the visual quality/blurriness. That, in my opinion, would be the "right thing" to do for martial arts consumers! These first two tapes are a PRIME EXAMPLE of why the tape companies MUST offer a money back satisfaction guarantee versus taking $80 from you and saying "sorry, no refunds"! I really feel 90% of viewers, would be extremely unhappy with the visual quality of the first two tapes in this series!
Next, I felt alot of the content shown on the first 2 tapes was for flash and to impress. While applying his techniques, Jay often has his ukes twisting-and-turning like some sort of ballroom dance, and often they're taken up-and-down from the mat, and this is repeated several times. Yet often no real attempt is made to break-down that type of up-down/twisting-turning flow, nor the transitioning moves that lead from lock-to-lock. Why show me something impressive like that without going into it? Being somewhat fair to Jay, I would say he does break down non-transitional things, but as mentioned before, the blurrinesss often makes seeing the detail of that impossible. Regarding the impressive things Jay shows, and that many would likely want to learn, I kind of felt he left his viewing audience high-and-dry.
So regarding the first 2 tapes in this series, my first problem is the visual blurriness, the second - many bad camera angles, and the third - not completely breaking down ALL of the transitional lock flow that's shown! Should you decide to check out the first 2 tapes in this series, don't say I didn't warn you about a rather significant and frustrating amount of production problems you may likely experience!
I found the last 3 tapes of this series to uplift the overall grade and provide alot more value than the first 2. The last 3 appeared to be shot more professionally in a studio, and included close-ups, more detailed explanations, and were visually well shot/produced. I felt while watching these last 3, that they made up for some of the things I couldn't clearly see on the first 2. Again, let me emphasize the word "some" regarding clearing up things shown on the first 2 tapes. There were definitely things covered on the first 2 that weren't anywhere to be found on the last 3, that I'm still wondering how he did, or how we're suppose to figure out! That is very frustrating, and in my opinion, a major letdown regarding the value of this series to the viewer.
As for actual content: tons of finger locks, wrist locks, arm bars, some leg locks, throws, chokes, numerous jujitsu and judo techniques, along with counters. At times, I was counting 1-4 techniques per minute, in various places across this series. But at times when that 4/minute or better pace was going, a thorough breakdown wasn't in-my-opinion provided. From a number of techniques standpoint, there were hundreds in this series, and thus, not enough time nor room here to critique or go into each one!
My recommendation? First 2 tapes I'd rate as "poor" due to the visual quality and frustration they create! The last 3 I'd rate as "excellent"! Overall grade for the entire series I'd say is "good", mainly due to my frustrations with the first 2 tapes.
After having seen the poor visual quality of the first 2 tapes in this series, I can't help but wonder if that's why those that handle Mr. Jay's business affairs, have refused for 8 yrs to send us a set of these for review purposes. Did you hear that Mr. Gale? I still have a copy of your reply to my most recent request!
As I've always said, "Most of the time you don't see a product reviewed here, its not because we didn't ask, it's because that company either refused to send us a set for review purposes, or didn't answer our email request about that. And if they refuse, 90% of the time I've later gotten my hands on it, I've often felt it was due to their own realization of the quality of their material (techniques, content or production)." Thus, I want to thank Billy Moody for helping us get these for review purposes! Our plans are to continue acquiring through Goldstar, content others have refused to send us, so we can make the truth known, regarding "no refund/guarantee" type companies.
Final thoughts? This series is a prime example of why a rental service such as Billy Moody's "Goldstar Video" makes sense! There is absolutely no way, knowing what I know now, that I'd spend $80 for the first 2 tapes in this series. And if I did, I'd want a refund for the first 2 tapes in it! Personally, I think the first 2 videos in this series should be "shelved", and I don't understand how Mr. Jay, or Black Belt Magazine, could in good conscience sell the first 2 tapes in this series to you for $80. If you do have any sort of interest in this series, or the first 2 tapes in it, I think a person should DEFINITELY rent before buying them! Especially when Goldstar rents for as low as $2,99 per tape, versus plunking down $40 per tape with "no guarantees about quality or satisfaction"!
And if you don't rent this series, please think seriously about checking out Goldstar. Billy has tons of titles from many well-known video martial artists. So if this isn't a set you want to try, he very likely has others you would! Please consider giving Goldstar a try, especially since they are helping us get tapes that companies such as Wally Jay's, and Black Belt Magazine Video, won't send us! The more you help support Goldstar the more they'll likely help us get tapes to review!
Very important - if you end up trying Goldstar, don't forget to tell them we sent you!