What do you expect from instr tape

Here is what I expect:

1) Presentation: Proper lighting, sound, and camera angles. In this area, BJJTAPES.com is the master.

2) Length: depending on the price, I would say an average of 45 minutes per tape if the technique is shown repeatedly, however, I would buy a 30 minute tape if the information was presented properly the first time and the instructor moved right on to the next position without replay.

3) Instructor: I dont care how many titles he or she has, I just want him to be clear and forthcoming with his details. If he specializes in one area and manages to convey that information in a way that few other can(Batata's loop chokes, Gordo's half-guard, Marcelo Garcia's arm drag and back mastering, Rey's de la riva guard, Chris Brennan's kimura, etc...) then that is a huge plus. Another huge plus would be an instructor who is known for his exceptional way of breaking down details and presenting techniques, not in isolation, but in a logical manner and context (Sperry, Mike Jen, Roy Harris, Marcio Feitosa, Kesting, Garcia again, etc).

4) Material: I am looking for the "AHA!" moments, not the "WHOA!" moments. I want something that clicks on a light in my head because it fills a gap in my specific game. I dont want the "WHOA!" tricks that are just impressive looking but would only work on the infirmed. I started training with Rey because I got that feeling every day. I have experienced the same kinds of moments from the Feitosa, Garcia, Jen, and Kesting tapes and DVDs.

Finally, about the company that produces the tape: I couldnt care less if most people think the head of a particular company is rude or a scumbag. I buy gas at the gas station, red bull at the corner market, shoes at the sporting goods shop, and advil at 7-11. I dont know the owners of those businesses. They could be saints or sinners, it doesnt affect my purchase. I go where the service, price, and product match my needs because that is what is going to make my game better.

Finally, I think people should also look into buying more competition videos, as these have made the light click on in my head as much as technical instruction.

great post.

right on

I agree. Good points.

I will say this as much as I want the content and the instruction to be of high quality I do expect the production value to at least be professional and presentable.

It really bothers me that some videos cost alot of money BUT have very very low production value. And what bothers me more is that it really doesn't take much to increase the production value and make the video more please to view.

A one day seminar on video production is all they need to get all the basic and essential information to make better videos in terms of production quality.

I don't think it is fair and right to pay alot of money for video that has sucky video quality and production regardless of the quality of information and instruction.

What we pay for should cover every aspect of a product from the content to the presentation. no person would pay alot of money for a mercedes-benz that is all banged up and rough although it has a very good and perfectly intact engine.

Agree with your points except for:
"I couldnt care less if most people think the head of a particular company is rude or a scumbag."

Would you really give your business to someone that insulted you and treated you like shit? I wouldn't. There are so many good guys out there deserving of business I would go to first.

I like when tapes are laid out in logical progressions, ie you learn
technique 1/ he counters/ you now learn technique two and so on.

Also I would like to see lower belts attemp these moves for the first
time on the tape and for the instructor to correct and adjust the
students like in a private lesson, these are the mistakes we might make
and could be helpful.

I dont need slow motion because I can do that myself but multi angle is
very Important.

I look to see if the instructor is cute and has a nice body.....

As long as the picture is crisp and the audio clear, I do not give a damn about production. If I want production, I go see 'Lord of the Rings'. I would rather they take the time and effort from bells and whistles and spend it on content.

I do care about content. I want sharp focus, not just a haphazard topics. I want logical progression and systematic integration, not just a bunch of unrelated techniques. I want specific details, not just a lot of general chatter.

I don't want fat. I don't want a long intro. I don't want repeats unless they are to show a different angle and details. I have VCR/DVD controllers for that.

And most importantly, I want core stuff that will improve my game. I don't need the guard-du-jour, superfancy arial matrix-armlock, or anything like that. I want better ways to do the stuff that really works.

But I'm easy to please :)

Am I the only one the likes repeats of techniques?

I like 3-4 repeats, preferably with slo-mo. I always pick up another detail when I watch the repeat and don't want to have to ALWAYS rewind.

I think having to rewind is a pain in the ass, at least on VCR!

Also, if I'm actually using the tape while training with a partner it's a real pain having to rewind constantly.

Of course, I'm not talking about reducing the amount of material being taught in order to fit in more repeats - I don't want repeats to take up space.

But if I look at my old Joe Moreira Panther tapes, then they had a lot of repeats yet were quite long tapes.

anything from Panther videos is a must!!!

just kidding.

the "AHA" moments are clutch. Garcia's dvd set had this happen numerous times for me. Especially in the Passing Guard dvd. Lots of small nuances and he plays the game like i would, attacking and always trying to be one up on the opponent.

I agree with rene r about production. I don't think things like music or fancy graphics and fades and things like that are important at all. I don't care whether or not it has those things. There are PRACTICAL aspects of production that are important, like camera work, video and audio quality. Also now with DVDs, an important thing is the chapter marks and menus. I want lots of chapter marks, preferably at logical points, but if need be just put them in every 2 minutes. I also want menus with GOOD descriptions of the chapters, not just "technique 1, technique 2".

And I hate slow mo and repeats. Also a lot of instructors will demonstrate the same technique twice or three times, but won't really do anything different the second time, and use almost exactly the same script. To me this is the same as a replay, it's just wasting time. Cesar Gracie, Marcelo Garcia, and JJ Machado all suffer from this problem.

As far as presentation and organization, there are many styles that are good. For example, Roy Harris, Michael Jen, Matt Thornton, and Marcelo Garcia all have different presentation and organization styles, but I think they are all very good.

I like it when there is a lot of explanation of WHY things are done. For example, some instructors just say "never grab your foot to lock in the triangle, always grab your shin." A good instructor would say "Never grab your foot because it is weaker for pulling down and you may injure your own ankle."

I like it when there are a lot of little positional details and not just running through the techniques. A lot of the Island instructors show great techniques but zip through them a little too fast for my taste.

I like it when there are a lot of little positional "moves" that aren't submissions or sweeps. For example on Matt Thornton's top game tape from Functional Jeet Kune Do 2, he shows a lot of ways to break the bottom guy's posture. In Michael Jen's Ultimate Guard Passing DVD there is a lot of emphasis on posture and how to keep it. These are rare; subs and sweeps are a dime a dozen on instructionals.

I like it when there is a very branched approach with a wide tree of followups. For example, I like if someone shows an armdrag, then how to followup to counter EVERY major defense to the arm drag.

I don't like it as much if someone shows an armdrag, then shows one counter, then shows how to counter that one counter, in a long chain. I like a tree, not a chain. Although the chain is better than showing random isolated moves.

Rene r.

I see what your saying but to me good production doesn't necessary equal outstanding, awarding winning production. Good production doesn't mean overproduction or over the top production.

Good production is simply that. Good production is making the product presentable and viewable. Good production is good lighting, solid and useful camera angles, good staging. And all these don't have to be overly noticeable to where you say "damn that was one helluva a close up shot". It should only go as far as what is expected in any professionally made video. In my opinion good production is what should be expected in any professional made videos (or videos which one thinks are professional made). And good production doesn't take alot of money. It takes good planning and execution (that is, actually thinking about what you're going shoot and how you're going to shoot it) If a person is going to sale videos and take the time to make them they should in the very least make them presentable and professional. In other words do it right. Don't just take a video camera and start filming away.

Honestly some pornos are better produced than alot of these instructional videos. And the reason why is the video makers at least have an idea of how they want to film and present the material they are filming.

In my opinion a instructional video with poor production quality is indicative of video makers who really didn't care much about what they were doing.

DVD format

I agree, in that you have to be able to clearly see and hear the material being presented. I should have been more clear. I do want good direction of photography, lighting, sound, etc. I do not care about set design as long as it doesn't distract from the material. Same with costume. I guess it's post production, beyond what Andrew mentioned on chapter marks and the like. Good navigation on DVD (and to a lesser extent a vhs so when I fast forward, I can see when one subject ends and the next begins).

I don't care about slow mo as every VCR and DVD I've ever owned has had these features, so I don't need to pay to have the instructor do it.

I do want very good explination. Michael Jen's UGP (Revised) is perfect for me. I want to know why, so that the video doesn't just show me 1 technique, but gives me principles to make every technique better. I want the pearls. Those Aha! moments I think Andrew mentioned.

I also don't care about the cultural background of the instructor. Just because Roy Harris, Nathan Leverton, Michael Jen, etc. are from the U.S. or U.K and not Brazil or Japan or whereever makes no difference to me. If they can show me stuff that improves my game, I'm there.


As a video producer I've been wondering if I should say something here. Then I decided that I am also a video consumer and am allowed to have opinions too...

I want instructors to show what they are good at. I would like to see the Nino Schembri omo plata DVD (available at dogsofwar.net) but would be unlikely to fork out cash for the the Nino Schembri takedowns video. Similarly the Mark Kerr ground and pound video would probably be good, but the Mark Kerr submissions from the guard video would probably suck. This is why it is extremely unlikely that I will ever produce a gi chokes video...

I don't want to see endless repetition. I want to see different angles, sure. Also it's OK to show a move quickly and then go back and show some additional details. What drives me crazy is when the instructor says "And now we show again, with more details" and shows exactly the same details as the first time.

Number of techniques, variations and counters are important, but not as important as the amount and quality of the details. If the instructor spends an extra 5 minutes on the exact placement of the hands and it helps me then that is great.

Some of the best videos I've ever seen are Judo instructional videos. Organized Judo has a ton of money and support, and has made some very high end products. They also have a great habit of teaching a technique and then showing how it works in competition.

Finally I like giving my money to nice guys. If I think that the instructor is a jerk then there is no way that I am going to support him, directly or indirectly.

Stephan Kesting

Stephan - Can you recommend me some judo instructionals? I'm particularly interested in "grip fighting", uchimata, kouchi, ouchi and kosoto/deashi.

Unfortunately my videos are in storage right now, so I can't dig through them for a while. You might want to repeat this question on the Judo forum.

Off the top of my head I really liked the format of the Ippon Tachiwaza and Ippon Newaza tapes. Re: grip fighting, I think Ewan Beaton has done some good stuff, although I hear that the production quality isn't much higher than handheld videocamera in a gym somewhere. These videos are available at www.toraki.com/us/en/asp/dept.asp?id=330

I remember really liking the Nicholas Gill video when I saw it - he covered kata guruma and a few other of his favorite throws. What made it different was that he showed his competition application (not the classical versions at all) and then had a lot of footage pulling it off in competition. This is a similar format to a lot of the European judo tapes that I have seen (but do not own).

Good luck