Primary Grading Criteria:
1. Production/Tape Quality: 90
2. Instructors demonstrated skll level: 90
3. Comprehension Score/Immediate Understanding: 90
4. Degree to which this will make someone a better Martial Artist: 90
5. Score on delivery vs hype: 90
6. Degree to which we would recommend this product: 90
7. Wasted Time ( The higher the number,the less " fluff" /repetition ): 90
8. Playback Score/Watching it over-and-over again: 90
9. Would I purchase more of this company's products: 100
10. Overall grade based on cost vs. value: 100
Grand Total: 92% (Very Good = )
Secondary Grading Criteria:
1. Beginners benefit: Excellent
2. Intermediate benefit: Very Good
3. Advanced benefit: Average
4. Time to benefit: Immediate
5. The need to buy additional tapes to understand this one: None
This six volume set by Master Sergeant Randy McElwee has an enormous amount of material in it. The Master Sergeant is very thorough in his explanations and demonstrates with extreme confidence. This material is taught in a very logical sequence and broken down so that even a novice can understand exactly what and how he is coaching.
Volume 1 - Basic Training
This DVD starts with a brief explanation of what to expect from this course. Volume 1 covers all basic material to build a solid foundation for combat. Master Sergeant McElwee begins with basic subjects like stances and footwork drills. He then moves onto offensive skills. These include the lead jab, rear hand cross, finger jab, the hammer fist, web hand strike, the hook punch, uppercut and the horizontal and vertical elbow strike. Kicks are also discussed and the front kick, round kick and side kick are demonstrated. Following each of the above techniques, he teaches defensive blocking techniques for protecting yourself. He finishes this DVD with the head butt attack. This is very good DVD especially for the beginner as it covers in detail beginning combat. The advanced student could get benefit as well to go back and review the basic material, which sometimes gets lost along their training.
Volume 2 - Closing With the Enemy
Volume 2 opens with two modes of entering or closing the distance with your opponent. Both are designed in a way to get you into a dominate position with a clinch. The passive entry is a defensive way of protecting yourself, allowing your opponent to come to you and the active entry is more aggressive. You are in the attack mode punching and kicking your way into the clinch. We are then shown trapping skills and how to use your attacks within the trapping range, which is between the punching and grappling ranges. Master Sergeant McElwee shows a variety of “off balancing” techniques which I really liked. These are pretty simply, but I haven’t seen them explained in this manner before. He continues with a trapping drill, a flow of the trapping skills and how to work the previous techniques into the flow. This DVD concludes with some very effective limb destructions off an opponent’s attack.
Volume 3 - Taking the Fight to the Ground
There really isn’t anything on this volume that hasn’t been shown in other instructional material. It is pretty basic stuff. It begins showing four types of falls and how to do them properly and moves into some throws from the clinch. Once again, nothing new…the hip throw, leg sweep, bear hug takedown and the rear drop. The Master Sergeant then demonstrates the outside and inside wristlocks and finishes up with some combinations from a fighting position and moving into the clinch and takedown.
Volume 4 - Ground War
Once again, nothing really new on this DVD that wasn’t available on a Gracie tape 10 years ago. We start by seeing Master Sergeant McElwee display the basic ground positions…the Mount, Side Mount, Guard and Half Guard. He then proceeds with standing up from a down position when your opponent is standing. Escaping the mount with a trap and roll, as well as an elbow escape are next. Numerous techniques are shown for Passing the Guard, Finishing from the Mount, Finishing from the Guard and Reversals from the Guard and are all covered in grand detail, but if you have any ground know-how, you’ve seen all of this material before.
Volume 5 - Special Forces Weapons Techniques
This volume deals with weapons training…stick, edged and firearms. Stances are covered initially and then continues with angles of attack. The 13 angles discussed are shown a little differently than I’ve seen before, but the basic premise is similar. Defending the 13 angles of attack are demonstrated next with what Master Sergeant McElwee terms as “Defanging the Snake.” Knife attacks / defenses are revealed that follow the same pattern as with the stick defense. There are some training drills in which you work with a partner that I thought had a lot of benefit. He finishes up with Firearms techniques which encompass retention and disarming of different types of firearms. Some good material here!
Volume 6 - Realism Training Techniques
This final volume attempts to bring together everything from the previous volumes and incorporate them into a reality situation for training. Stretching from head to toe is discussed first and moves into training with focus pads. Medicine ball training is next to help with body conditioning for real combat. This volume then proceeds to what Master Sergeant McElwee terms as compartmentalized training, which include upright striking, grappling and utilization of weapons training with a live opponent. This volume draws to a close with multiple attacker training, full contact drills, situational training and immediate action drills. I enjoyed one portion especially where he had his demonstrators blind folded and had to make use of their fighting / grappling skills.
I really like the way Master Sergeant McElwee has laid out each of his training DVDs. Each new volume builds upon the material illustrated in the previous DVDs. The material taught follows a concise, logical sequence and is very easy to follow his instruction. A beginning or even intermediate student, can get a tremendous amount of material from this six volume set. Advanced students have most likely seen ninety percent of this material before, but it could be used as a great refresher course, especially to remind yourself of the finer detailed aspects of training that sometimes get rusty. For the price of this set, I highly recommend it!!
DC - Reviewer
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