Company: TRS Direct
Tape Name: Street Safe 3: Brutal Solutions
Tape Cost: $69.00
Length of Tape/Time: 1 hour 33 minutes
Number of Moves/Techniques: Numerous
Return Policy: Money Back Guarantee
Experiences in dealing with this company: Fantastic
The Instructor: Paul Vunak
Company's Address: 606 E. Acequia Ave., Visalia, CA 93292
Company's Phone Number: 1-800-899-8153
Web Page: TRS Direct
Primary Grading Criteria:
1. Production/Tape Quality: 50
2. Instructors demonstrated skill level: 50
3. Comprehension Score/Immediate Understanding: 50
4. Degree to which this will make someone a better Martial Artist: 50
5. Score on delivery vs hype: 50
6. Degree to which we would recommend this product: 50
7. Wasted Time ( The higher the number,the less " fluff" /repetition ): 50
8. Playback Score/Watching it over-and-over again: 50
9. Would I purchase more of this company's products: 50
10. Overall grade based on cost vs. value: 50
Grand Total: 50% (Fair)
Secondary Grading Criteria:
1. Beginners benefit: Fair
2. Intermediate benefit: Fair
3. Advanced benefit: Fair
4. Time to benefit: Couple of weeks
5. The need to buy additional tapes to understand this one: None
The title of this review ought to be: "Vunak's Best is still Street Safe # 1" !
Have you ever felt like the first movie in a trilogy was the best, and the sequels never really surpassed the awe you felt for that first episode? Such are my thoughts about Street Safe # 1 vs Street Safe # 2, and now both of them vs Street Safe # 3!
Its a rather strange coincidence that the main problem I had with the previous TRS tape I just reviewed, is the same I have with this one! Specifically, biting! Vunak does alot of biting when taken to the ground, and actually recommends ripping out a chunk of a persons flesh, which of course means their blood in your mouth!
Often he goes right for a bite, before pursuing other options.
Personally, I'd rather first try:
1. Neck cranks (variety of ways to do these),
2. Punching into someones adams apple non-stop
3. Pinching - triceps, neck, nipples, sides, interior thigh, etc
4. Pressure points
5. Painter's "slap-grab-and-twist" if you're mounted
6. Ripping or pulling off the ears
7. Hair pulling
8. Spear hand into a guys eye socket, as deep and as hard as you can
9. Finger manipulations - there's a huge variety of these you can do (end joint, fingernail, twisting, breaking, splitting the web)
10. Hammerfist/Palm Heel to a persons nose - eyes water, can't see/can't hurt you
11. Bowling Ball the Nose - stick both fingers up a guys nose and try ripping it off his face
12. Finger Up Nose (Painter) - shove one finger as far up a persons nose as you can, keep going, hook and rip
13. Fish-hooking their mouth
14. Cupping and boxing/ringing a persons ears like on Street Safe # 1
15. Headbutt (Street Safe # 1)
16. Eye-gouging - which Vunak did show here, but barely emphasized compared to biting
I have no doubt biting can be effective, but there are other things you can do on the ground before you get to that!
Sorry Paul, but I'd rather try about a dozen other things before I get someones blood in my mouth! It's the lack of trying those other things first that disappointed me, and not emphasizing what they were, before he started biting, that concerns me. Its as if Vunak says, "Hey, if you're on the the ground, don't hesitate to go for biting first, and try ro rip out a piece of that persons flesh with your mouth, so you can hurry and get off the ground, in case one of his buddies runs up to help him". I strongly disagree! I think there's a lower chance of someone running up to help that guy than Vunak suggests, and quite frankly, I'm somewhat comfortable on the ground, due to the arts I've trained in. Biting would be the absolute-last-thing I tried, after at least a dozen or so other things, including things Vunak didn't even show on Street Safe 1, 2, or 3! Personally, I'd only bite for blood if I really thought someone was about to kill me. Heck, even James Painter had a better option for being on the ground than biting, that being his slap-grab-and-twist. Street Safe # 1 is in my opinion an excellent tape, but # 2 and # 3 kind of skipped around, regarding other techniques you can use, while leaving out other ones I would've definitely included.
1. Stick Fighting
2. 7 Angles of Attack (for stick)
3. Blade too... (stick angles work for knife fighting)
4. Cerrada - Vunak says "best drill for street fight"
5. Cerrada with Double Knife
6. Enhancing Sensitivity (Chi Sao type drills)
7. Knife Sparring - "defang the snake", Vunak says "hand is the best target".
8. Mass Attacks - 2 on 1, 3 on 1, 4 on 1 (H2H fight demonstrations), Vunak says a successful outcome against 2 is possible, against 3 unlikely, against 4 or more impossible, unless you have an equalizer (some sort of weapon you carry). Vunak recommends a person carry a knife, and says you're not a real street fighter unless you know how to use weapons (knife and stick).
9. 3 on 1 no Equalizer (knife) - Vunak says that without an equalizer the best you can hope for is to prevent the inevitable (getting pounded). Shows a good drill to use he calls "zoning", or what he refers to as constantly moving so you line up the attackers like an "eclipse", one behind the others.
10. 6 on 1 with Equalizer (knife) - Vunak demonstrates how slashing at their hands as they try to grab you, is best. He suggests doing this will eventually allow you to run away from the same, after they've all been slashed in their hands/arms.
11. 3 on 3 - Vunak shows how the dynamics change when its 2 or more opponents, fighting 2 or more of your guys.
12. Bar Fight Scenarios - Vunak shows 1 or 2 about here, and periodically throughout this video these are also inserted.
13. Biting (discussion)- Up to this point (about 50% into the video I'd guess), I was like "This material has been GOOD so far", but nothing that would revolutionize anyones knowledge/ability and put this on par for an "Excellent" video. However, the whole tape takes a left turn, and Vunak starts primarily focusing on biting. Supposedly this is part of a secret Filipino art that Vunak learned from Dan Innosanto called Kina Mutai. One is left to assume according to Vunak's description, that this mainly consists of 2 techniques: biting and eye gouging. Vunak states it takes years to master this art, focuses from here on out more on the biting portion, and states there are 140 different places to bite a person. Personally, I can't help but wonder if in our HIV world, Kina Mutai might be a dying art (pun intended), with very few active/practicing, or even living masters around! ;-)
14. Biting as a Grappling defense - Vunak shows various ways to get-your-bite-on, while you're mounted from the side, while you're being choked, while you've mounted someone, while someones mounted you, on-and-on. Biting is pretty much the overall theme, from here on out, til the end of the video.
15. Biting Drills - with your partner who is grappling (light biting). Then later, using a raw piece of beef strapped to his side, to see if you can quickly, and within a few seconds, rip out numerous chunks with your teeth
I'd estimate Vunak spent probably 90% of his time throughout the last 50% of this video, focusing on the biting portion of Kina Mutai, instead of the eye gouging portion. He does touch upon the eye gouging, but I personally would've liked to seen more eye gouging and less biting! The first half of this video has value, however the last half bothers me greatly. If I was a Kina Mutai master, living in an HIV world, I'd go for the eye gouging before the biting. However Vunak seems to lead with biting, and the eye gouging on this last half is barely emphasized. Sorry Paul, but from a health standpoint I'd reverse that, and lead with the eye-gouging, and only if I couldn't get the gouge would I bite, and then only if I really thought a guy was about to kill me, versus beating the hell out of me. Some of you might totally disagree with what I'm about to say, but in my earlier years of training, and even in dozens of elementary school fights, I took my share of beatings (I mean real beatings), and a beating really isn't that bad if that's all someone is going to do. Also, an average beating is typically something you'll get over in a day or two, and I might just opt for that, versus risking taking someones blood into your mouth and contracting AIDS, just to be able to tell everyone later "Yeah, I got AIDS, but I sure won that street fight and taught that guy a lesson". And in reality, should that scenario play-out, and it have been a H2H street fight (non-lethal), and you end up with AIDS, who really got the better of who? I'd rather get my ass kicked, and get over that in a couple of days, then to be given a death sentence! Disagree if you like, but that's my logic. And Vunak goes immediately for the bloody bite if someone is simply on top of you with no weapons?
Here's one I couldn't believe! Vunak shows when he's side mounted, how to gain space, and spin on your back, rotating into a 69 position with your opponent, and insists on biting into that mans groin with all your might! Here's the kicker, Vunak's hands were free when he did this move! Why didn't he rotate, reach up with his FREE hands, and do Painter's slap-grab-and-twist, ripping out his sack, instead of putting another mans goods into his mouth, and biting on them til he bleeds? Hey Paul, if you can pull-off that spinning 69 thing, you might want to watch Painter's video and consider using his slap-grab-and-twist with your free hands, versus getting all oral on another mans goods! Could you imagine ripping-and-tearing flesh from another mans groin with your mouth/teeth, getting his blood and possibly HIV/AIDS from that, and trying to convince all your macho martial arts buddies you've known for years, that you got it because you followed Vunaks suggestion of biting into another mans crotch? How many of your friends are going to buy that one? Hell, I think I'd rather let my assailant finish me off right then-and-there, or take the beating and hope he has mercy enough not to kill me, than face the embarrassment of trying to pass-that-whopper over on everyone some day, along with enduring a possible slow-and-painful death from AIDS. Could you imagine catching AIDS and all-the-while everyone questioning the "team" you play for! I don't know about most of you guys, but I'd rather die a warrior, instantly in the heat-of-battle, than slowly-and-painfully check-out one day with AIDS because I bit into another mans crotch. I couldn't even imagine, knowing while that disease was killing me, what people might likely be saying about my "preferences", me, and the value of these reviews, etc.
I have a whole connect-the-dots series of issues and concerns that comes from me biting into a mans crotch, and letting their "crotch blood" into my mouth! My concerns are my own health (HIV), and what others might think should I catch that! Part of my concerns might be because of these reviews, and how I've hoped they become some sort of "contribution" I've made to the martial arts community, and that nothing causes anyone to doubt the value of them. That my friends is why I'd rather instantly die in the heat of battle, than doing what Vunak suggests, and risk dying slowly-and-painfully with alot of questions raised, and that possibly tarnishing the image or value of these reviews! I've literally received thousands of emails over the past 8 yrs, about how these reviews have changed peoples lives, got them back into training after they had quit, pointed them towards a style they like better now than the one they had become frustrated with, and more. Bottomline, what greater thing can a person leave behind on this earth, than to know and have been told they positively impacted the lives of thousands? I didn't plan for that or expect it. However, I do feel a certain amount of responsibility towards maintaing the reviews, as it seems something I started out just to see how it went, has on many levels become something thousands have said has impacted their lives in a positive way!
Wow, was that tangent or what? However I felt it was a necessary one, because that biting-until-they-bleed in your mouth thing, is the predominant technique used in about 50% of this tape, and I have issue with that technique on many levels, that some of you may not! In fairness to the value this tape may hold for others, I felt it necessary to express my issues and concerns, and why they may only be my issues and concerns, and not anyone elses! Once you understand how my issues and concerns play into my assessment, you may find it necessary afterwards to make your own assessment, and cast my opinion aside. I feel the possibility of that is something you need to know while reading this review!
Have my own personal opinions and values been wrongly interjected here? Possibly, but I think its important that everyone realizes on many levels that your own opinions, values, morals, etc, definitely come-into-play, when it comes to your own choice of self-defense techniques, compared to the situation you might encounter, and how far you feel comfortable taking something. I believe you have to have a pretty good idea, before a fight starts, what you are-and-aren't willing to do. You have to individually decide on things like: "Do I wound a guy or take his life?", "Is he trying to just beat-me-up or kill me?", "Do I cause him permanent injury or temporary injury?", "Do I walk away from his challenge or stand my ground and fight?", "Do I let him get away with what he said, and embarrass me in front of my friends, or is it worth challenging him to a fight, and possibly having legal consequences over that?", "Do I strike first because I think he's about too, risking being the one who started an assault, or let him strike first?", "Is it better to be tried by 12 or carried by 6?", and last "Do I bite and let him bleed in my mouth or not?". At times, an instructors techniques and recommendations may conflict with your own values and opinions, and this can often be influenced by the risks you personally are willing to either take or not. I think trying to separate technique from personal opinion, especially in a review about biting until a person bleeds into your mouth, can be somewhat challenging to do. Especially if you're trying to consider what you would do, and why, along with providing information others might want to consider and think about!
OK, so you guys now have an idea of what's on this video and what my concerns are.
Still, there's something else that kind of bugs, and that I haven't mentioned yet! If I remember correctly, in the TRS video by Michael Tan we reviewed a couple of months ago, we we're advised "don't let things get bloody due to health reasons", however on this video we're told "take a bloody bite out of someone". So which is it? Almost makes me want to say "Hey TRS, you've got a little bit of contradictory info going on amongst your own video instructors. Do we bite or do we not?" ;-) As I said in the previous TRS review, the James Painter video, at times I think you might need to pick-and-choose cafeteria style, what TRS techhiques you feel comfortable using!
If Vunak would've spent more time on eye-gouging and less on biting, I'd say this might've ended up as a 3 Star video that I would rate as "Good". However, I don't agree with his over-emphasis on biting, and as eluded to earlier in this summary, I don't think he pursued all possible alternatives before resorting to biting. Especially if one follows his own implication that Street Safe 1-2-3 build upon each other, and are a logical progression, which leads one to assume this biting emphasis in # 3 is the "final straw". Now if you follow my pattern of thought from earlier, where I suggested numerous techniques Vunak didn't show here, or on Street Safe 1 & 2, you'll understand why I'm concerned that he jumps to biting without pursuing all other possibilities! Personally, I think even if someone has you on the ground, you're better off to go for the eye-gouge, or Painter's slap-grab-and-twist, or something else I listed. Due to all this, and this video being no better than "Good" had he placed more emphasis on eye-gouing, that of course means its a notch or two lower regarding my assessment. I'm therefore going to say its between 2-3 Stars (Fair-to-Good). I'm feeling a bit generous, so let's call it 2.5 Stars and move on.....