Utah Martial Arts Feeds
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I recently purchased Mike Fowler’s No Gi Made Easy instructional DVDs to help bolster my no-gi jujitsu. I had been looking around for a decent DVD set for a few months, and I had narrowed it to down to three or four choices. I’d seen a few min-video’s of Mike teaching, and liked his style. Plus, Mike’s win over Saulo Ribeiro and Renzo Gracie at ADCC 07 (then only to be defeated by Marcelo Garcia) is pretty impressive.
No doubt, he knows his stuff. I decided to take the plunge and buy the 5 DVD package. When I bought it, “for a limited time” it was 7 – about 30 bucks a DVD. A little pricey, but I just went with it. It arrived in about 10 days, and I was ready to rock.
The videos are just basically Mike and his training partner, Ryan, just showing the stuff he knows. Each DVD has 15 or so video segments, each devoted to a particular question or technique. Ryan will ask a particular thing, like “What’s a nice, no-fail guard passing technique?” and Mike will give his two cents and show a move. Mike will break down the move, emphasizing all the little technical details and potential pitfalls. He’s fairly thorough.
I personally liked the instruction, and think Mike is a high quality teacher. Even though the tone is conversational, Mike stays focused on the task at hand and doesn’t include any fluff.
As for the material covered, it’s basically 50 or so mini lessons on no-gi jujitsu. Half-guard, submissions, passes, positions – there is a little bit of everything in the DVDs. Each topic gets a 3-4 minutes of solid coverage. If you are subscribed to the Team Lloyd Irvin marketing emails (read:spam?) you’ve probably seen a list of all the things they’ll go over.
As for the video quality, the cam work is decent enough to get the point of the move across. No real bells or whistles here. Although the cam is static, Mike will reposition a few times and repeat the moves so you can see all the details from different angles. It all flows pretty well.
Now, about the moves themselves – Fowler has picked some of the best. He doesn’t hold back, keeping “secret” stuff to himself. These moves work. The insight and reasoning behind them is solid. A few of the escapes and tactics I’d never seen before. I think Mike’s move selection is the best part about the whole DVD set. High percentage, workable, no-gi jujitsu techniques.
When my package arrived, all it had was the DVDs in 5 individual soft plastic CD cases and a sales letter to buy whatever else Lloyd Irvin was selling. The DVDs themselves didn’t have any graphics, each strictly labeled “No Gi Made Easy: DVD 1″ (or 2,3,4,5).
When I opened the CD cases, I noticed that the DVD’s were a little oily – maybe an effect of the packaging or something. It didn’t affect the way they played, but it was a tad unsettling.
Additionally, the DVD’s didn’t have a real start up menu – only one option. You press play and it starts going over the techniques. I really would have like to have a full fleshed menu where I could see the chapters and what techniques each one was. Since there is no table of contents for the DVD set and no DVD menu’s, it’s a guessing game where some specific technique might be. Very lame, very lame.
One thing that bugs me a bit about Ryan Hall, the co-host of the program. He blinks constantly and has thick eyebrows. I know it’s a small thing, but it’s seriously like 50 blinks a minute. (If you own the set, just watch for it and you’ll never be able to let it go). But, I forgive them for that because it pales in comparison with the real CON of the review.
Also, when I purchased it, the limited time offer said I’d get some 90 day personal action plan to help me go through the material and even win a contest that Team Lloyd Irvin was having (progress the most and you’ll get some free lessons). I was looking forward to a game plan of sorts, because I didn’t just want another book for the library, I wanted an action plan to help me use the material and progress. In fact, this is what tipped me over the edge to buy Mike’s product instead of something else. I wanted a structured plan to get better at jujitsu.
AND GUESS WHAT? I never got it. It wasn’t included in the package, so I reread my emails to see if I understood correctly. Yep, I sure should receive something called “a personal action plan”. So I emailed the shipping guy, who responded slowly (three + days later) with an unsatisfactory “Uhh…. I’ve never heard of that. Could you forward me what you know so I can go find out?” So I did, and then waited. Until one day I checked my inbox to find …. nothing. Almost a month later and nothing. It’s not like they have a flood of sales and just can’t keep up with every customer concern. But even if they did, come on! Have some marketing integrity or some customer service.
No disrespect to Mike, I’m sure he’s a classy dude. However, I feel like I’ve been a little screwed and ignored. I’m still open to having a positive buying experience, assuming Team Lloyd Irvin can take time away from sending me marketing spam.
The Final Word
5 DVD’s are packed with good information, taught simply and well. But it’s a bare bones presentation. No little things that it really make it more usable or give it some curb appeal.
And crappy customer service.
And/or dishonest advertising. (Depending on if they eventually send me what I paid for).
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