- Great Review by Richard
Price Value Quality
The least important aspects first: the assembly of this DVD is of higher quality than I'd expected, with a consistent presentation and good slow-motion capture throughout. However, navigation is sore hampered by the inability to seek to an arbitrary position: one can only fast-forward and rewind, or jump by roughly 20-minute segments from one chapter to another.
More to the point: I enjoyed the introductory lecture though it was heavy on history and light on explanation of technique. The lecture, though, ends some few minutes into the DVD and represents the last spoken word in the product. Clearly the intention is to provide language-neutral instruction by a show-not-tell process, but one sentence advising the student to turn the wrist this way or change grips that way would have gone a long way.
The "basic techniques" section is mis-named. Basic Bo techniques should focus on distinct strikes and blocks and the methods to practice both; these are instead a seemingly random small section of not-too-fancy combinations. Not worthless, certainly, but neither a good primer on basic technique.
The katas offered are solid: a good compromise between traditional strong bo technique and some more modern flashy spins--probably landing a little on the Traditional side. The katas correctly repeat and reinforce the misnamed Basic Techniques section, indicating that some thought was applied to designing them.
There is only one fall to practice; a good one, yes, but curious.
The majority of the video represents bo-versus-sword; there is in fact only one bo-versus-bo technique presented, and it's merely a warm-up practice step. The bo-versus-sword throws are all competent and well demonstrated, though Sensei Isidro seems more interested in demonstrating how much he can hurt the Uke once he's already down rather than how the bind or throw was accomplished--unnecessary and uninformative, not to mention a bad practice to be instructing others.
Overall I found the DVD a little disappointing but still usable. There are aspects I hope to take from this DVD and apply in practice.
(Posted on 10/4/09)