Saturday, October 17, 2009

”Fear No Punch”: A Review

By Matthew Schafer
Copyright 2009, All Rights Reserved

Being someone who teaches self-defense for a living I try to keep up with new innovations in the industry. This means reading articles, attending seminars, keeping up to date with statistics from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program, and viewing self-defense/personal security/defensive shooting videos as they come on the market.

Every year there are many new self-defense videos that come out and most of them are either nothing that hasn’t been around for hundreds of years or something that is new and innovative but quite ridiculous. Out of the hundreds of ads I see every month I only purchase those that really seem like they may be worth viewing, and they are very few and far between, and out of those I return almost all of them because they’re not worth keeping. I’ve yet to actually see a video that gives me the skills to become invincible in just a few hours.

Recently I purchased a program that I saw advertised in Black Belt Magazine called “Fear No Punch”. The only reason this video stood out was that it seemed to deal solely with blocking punches and that is an area where most systems seem to suffer. Also, some of my clients do read martial arts magazines and I could see them asking me about it in the future so I thought I should take a look.

Here is my review, I hope you find it helpful.

Video: “Fear No Punch” aka “Zero Fear Impact Training Series”
Published by: Doesn’t specify
Staring: Coal Akida
Format: One 6 hour long DVD
Price: $149
Delivery Time: It took about two months for the video to arrive at my home.
The Pitch: Never be punched again. Learn 17 revolutionary breakthroughs, 100 new training methods, and 6 new combat technologies. Learn how to “surpass the human limit”…whatever that means.

Production Value: The production value was quite a bit better than I expected. The picture and sound were both clear. It was obvious that they hired a production company to shoot the video as opposed to just going down their basement and having a cousin hold the camcorder.

I thought the main menu could have been a little clearer as I was never quite sure what option I was selecting or what the selection was because the descriptions were very poor.

There is little personal information about the instructor, a man named “Commander” Coal Akida, on the website but from what I can tell he has never been in the military (“Commander” is a nickname) but it appears he’s a fan of the TV show “JAG”. I say this because at the beginning of each new segment the title appears in the form of green letters that come across the screen as if being typed with a beeping sound effect just like in the TV show. It’s the kind of quasi-military thing that screams “I’ve never been in the military but I’m trying to fake it”.

Presentation: Most videos I’ve seen follow the same logical format; first there is an introduction of the instructors, style, and the teaching. Then, the basic principles are taught, then the techniques, and then you’re shown how to apply the techniques in real life. “Fear No Punch” did not follow that format.

As soon as you start the video they just jumped right in and started swinging baseball bats at each other and you were immediately lost. There was no introduction or explaining of the principles, they just started swinging baseball bats around and having their partner block it without an explanation as to why. Not only that, within the first few minutes of watching the video they start throwing these terms around like you’re supposed to know what they mean. They start using quasi-scientific sounding terms like:

Zero Focus Technology
Zero Gravity Technology
No Fear Technology
Fear No Punch Technology
Close To The Pain Technology
Cohesion Absorption Technology

When the instructor corrected his student’s form he didn’t really explain his corrections, instead he started talking about “Zero Gravity Technology”. What the hell is “Zero Gravity Technology”? He never gives a real in depth description or tells you why you need it, he just starts throwing around terms that sound like bull-shit. From what I can figure out, “Zero Gravity Technology” means that you should just let your hand fall freely instead of using muscle to force it down. While that may or may not be a sound principle, it certainly isn’t “zero gravity”. In fact, if you’re letting your hand fall freely it is the opposite of “zero gravity”. He should call it “100% Gravity Technology”.

Everything he did was “this” kind of technology or “that” kind of technology and pretty soon I had to stop the tape and look up the definition of the word “technology” to see if it can correctly be used to describe martial arts principles. It turns out that it can but it just makes everything you say sound like bull-shit. I could have taken this guy a lot more seriously if he hadn’t thrown the word “technology” around every 30 seconds.

The way the video was laid out and the way they presented their material made it very difficult to follow, and it was 6 hours long. If they would have just presented the material in a more logical manner they could have cut it down to an hour.

Overall Review: The entire video takes 6 hours to teach two basic principles. The first principle is that by watching the center of a person’s torso and looking past it instead of focusing your eyes on it, you can detect their strikes far better that you can by looking them in the eye or watching their hands. This is a very commonly taught principle that is very effective. He calls it “Zero Focus Technology”. When I teach a class I just refer to it as “using your eyes to detect movement” but now I think I’ll call it “Peripheral Optics Technology” and start wearing a lab coat when I teach.

The second principle he teaches is that in order to effectively block a full force punch you have to pull your hand back and slap it. I was pleasantly surprised with this because this is an area that most martial arts don’t cover. Most systems have you block a punch by just sticking your arm out in a blocking motion. This works well with low power blows, like in sparring, but a real punch would knock the arm down and continue on to its target. If you just throw your arm up in the path of a real full force punch your arm just doesn’t have the structure to stop it.

If you go back to basics you’ll see that the martial arts actually teach you not to just throw your arm up in the path of the punch but to twist your arm into the punch which will naturally deflect some of the force of the punch and provide you with the structure you need to block it. If you twist your arm into the punch you’ll block it, if you don’t you’ll most likely be hit; this is a teaching that has been all but lost here in America.

Instead of twisting your arm to rotate your ulna bone into the attacking arm, “Fear No Punch” teaches you to bring your hand back to your ear and the rotate towards the punch and then slap it to the side with the palm of your hand. If you don’t bring the hand back to your ear then you won’t have the force needed to deflect most full power punches.

The other basic teaching “Fear No Punch” provides is that you want to block the punch as close as possible to your face and you don’t want to slap the hand too far away, because then you’ll have to chase it in the event you want to trap it. Instead of slapping it you want to keep you hand and wrist loose so they absorb the force rather than knock it away.

That’s basically it, they take 6 hours to teach these two things and then act as though they discovered the holy grail of combat. The only thing this video covers is how to block punches and you need to do more than that to win a fight or defend yourself.

Training Methodologies: The main way of training that “Fear No Punch” uses is to block a baseball bat that is swung at your head. The reasoning is that the bat is going to scare you far more than any punch so by using it you overcome your fear. The aluminum bat also hits harder than a full force punch so by training with it you’ll think a real punch is weak by comparison.

The thing that I found curious about it was that in order to block an aluminum bat with your hand you had to be very precise or you’d get hit in the head or break your wrist or fingers. You had to be so much more precise in order to block the bat than you did a punch that 90% of the training was really focused on blocking the bat in a way where you don’t injure yourself. Blocking a punch is very simple and you don’t need to be very precise to do it, so if they just focused on blocking a punch the video could have been 30 minutes long. Most of the training covered not how to block a punch but how to not get hurt during training. This video could have easily been 30 minutes to an hour but because they wanted to use a bat they had to give a lot more instruction.

In terms of blocking a real punch “Zero Gravity Technology” doesn’t matter, but if you want to use your bare hand to block the end of a bat it does.

He also “reinvented” the jab in just about the most ridiculous way possible. Instead of throwing your hand straight out at a target like a typical jab, his jab was done by keeping the arm almost straight and then swinging it up from your groin to their jaw and striking with the back of your fist. Why this is supposed to be better than a traditional jab was never explained and I haven’t been able to figure it out.

Overall Rating: One out a possible five stars. Save your money, after all by reading this review you pretty much learned all the useful stuff the “Fear No Punch” program covers anyway.

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

Glad to finally see somebody giving "Commander" Coal a well overdue and thorough review on his newly discovered "technologies". When you look at his website you can see that he is a wannabe clinging to the coattails of Special Forces and jumping on the MMA bandwagon as well. His website use to be pretty ridiculous by having a $50,000 challenge to anyman who could punch him in the face(in a controlled setting of course). I myself had thought at one point to shell out the $149 and do a review on youtube. Since you beat me to it I salute you sir but you better watch out because i'm gonna run back to my lab and start creating new fighting "technologies".

Anonymous said...

I agree you do have to take notes with his DVD but he tells you that upfront. No shocker here, Their is no doubt after watching this several times over again that he has something to offer, but you say different. I was wondering if you anyone can duplicate any of what is on the DVD, because so far i am more than impressed with the instruction and the intensity that he teaches you with. You have to admit his confidence in this Fear No Punch technology is solid , but not sane. I to thought the technology name was bogus until i looked it up and sure enough it does fit. If your looking to take your training to the next level by all means, this could be it, but beginners should stay far away.

Luna said...

Wow i really enjoyed that review. You have a nack for detail as you are a "techniogies" whatever that means anyway. This man has a passion for his style. As whoever you are a fellow martial artist interview specalist. Which was actually entertaining in a weird way than have something positive to say. unless you just want the internet universe to seem like u just got ripped off. I was representing that academy a long time ago and it wasn't as light as you make it. respect for you and teachings and stories but have some respect for a fellow teacher that you know everything about by watching t.v.

Anonymous said...

I just went to your website Schafer, and I was ashamed of what i saw, and lucky for me Coal has posted all of the Lessons on the DVD for On line review. From the very first lesson, coal had me, his intensity, his training methods and ability to get his point across was amazing, Your site shafer was shameful, and this review was garbage. I have only watched the one training program and that alone is going to keep me busy for awhile.

california said...

olel Akida is blowing my mind one lesson at a time, not only has he changed my mind, but he is teaching ON _-LINE ! , his Fear No Punch technology is wicked and I have never seen anything like it before. Coal states on his site he wants the best in the world to train with him. So either coal akida is a genius or the guy that reviewed his DVD is an idiot. I am ordering the DVD , and I will do a full review based on training the skills for 3 months. His website just got updated with 10 more videos. My goal is to simply train using his new methods for 3 months and duplicate some aspect of what Coal Akida is teaching.

bones1140@hotmail.com said...

As far as I can tell Coal breaks down everything on his website, including why he where's the baseball cap, what he means by surpassing the human limit. I got an email stating that i have up to 6 months to make the payments while training online to get the DVD for free. Seems to me Coal has nothing to hide and wants the world to have these new combat skills. I am still trying to figure out how to get the T_SHIRT. thanks for the heads up california.

Matthew Schafer said...

TO ANYONE WHO WANTS TO POST A COMMENT: I welcome anyone who wants to post their opinions of Fear No Punch, Coal Akida, or my review, however:

1.) ANY comment that is really an advertisement for Fear No Punch will be deleted. As of Tuesday January 19th, 2010 I have had to delete 15 comments on this post that were really just Fear No Punch advertisements.

2.) PLEASE write so I can understand you!!! You don’t have to be a grammatician but please write so it makes sense. Some of the comments posted above have me running for the aspirin.

mmasquad said...

The thing I do not get is that he is trying to get the attention of the UFC fighters, and recently was on the Radio talking about his Break Throughs, so either you review is crap, or something is not right.

Matthew Schafer said...

TO ANYONE WHO WANTS TO POST A COMMENT: I am well aware that some people do not like my review of “Fear No Punch” and…well…that is just too bad. I watched the video several times and my opinion of it is stated clearly in my review. I don’t think that it is is a horrible product, I just thought the video could have been produced better and, although he has packaged it a little differently, he isn’t teaching anything new. His information isn’t bad, it’s just that most people that study martial arts already know it. I learned how to block a punch when I was 9 years old studying Taekwondo, we just used padded sticks instead of baseball bats.

If you’re a mma guy and you love his video then that is fine, if you don’t like my review then you don’t have to read it. BUT, I will not bow to threats or bullying and I will not take down my review. The internet is big enough for people to post pro-“Fear No Punch” reviews as well as anti-“Fear No Punch” reviews.

If anyone out there wants to review my blog (as is being threatened) in retaliation then that is fine. I’ll never know about it because I don’t search the internet for myself and if I did happen to come across it I wouldn’t care because I respect other people’s right to form their own opinion.

Anonymous said...

very interesting. i enjoyed the review and found it very helpful. i guess some people don't like this review but it is nothing compared to what is being said about the dvd on www.bullshido.net. they really trash fear no punch over there.

Anonymous said...

Your review is completely fair and non biased from my point of view. If anything I think the haters leaving comments is probably Coal Akida and his goons. I'd put them in the same boat as Scientologists. If you criticize them they'll do everything they can to discredit you and make you seem like a jerk. Keep up the good reviews. I've done some research and looks like Coals been coming under lots of critiscism over the years.

http://www.bullshido.net/forums/showthread.php?t=34038

http://www.allmilitary.com/board/viewtopic.php?id=19526

bharat.karankal@hotmail.com said...

I took the time to follow the bullshido site and the what I dug up was nasty, first off the Bullshido site is under investigation for being a major site for Pedophiles .

More research led to this guy that made a video parady of the FNP site.

After watching the Video parody, made by the bullshido employee it is no wonder why the BULLSHIDO site is under investigation .

Does anyone know this name of the guy that made that parody, he has Pedophile written all over him.

I also notice Copy Right Issues in the parody, as they use the trademark names on Coals site.

arizonaorb@gmail.com said...

How can i put this without sounding like a A - hole but commenting on the DVD review without getting the DVD is pointless.

What exactly are we trashing, that its better to take punches in the face, than coming up with a system to confront the fight as Coal does. This guy keeps making a stronger statement every year, so none of this makes any sense to me, I ask again what are you trashing. It seems to me Coal stands behind what he believes, I have found evidence of the Military training / the $50,000 dollar challenge.

I went to the bullshido site where they trash everything and everyone with a bizarre mixture of sex and mma very strange site, the parody of Coal is also strange as it looks like a transvestite made it and than it looks like it was made by some sexual deviant.

If in fact the site is under investigation for being a Pedophile site , it is no wonder as the parody is wacked..

I also belive that one of the guys that have left several posts about the parody goes by bswarm.

I have been training these new skills for some time and I don't get this review.

I am going to do my own review on this DVD and I am going to keep it real.

Arizonaorb@gmail.com

Matthew Schafer said...

First off, I have no doubt that the above two comments are made by Coal Akida himself or his supporters. They go to various forums and post pro-“Fear No Punch” posts (often under the name “mmasquad”) talking about this “investigation” or this “research” that they have done that makes “Fear No Punch” look good and often say “keep it real” (whatever that is supposed to mean) somewhere in their post. They also use phrases like “training new skills”, “training new technologies”, and “new breakthroughs”.

If “Fear No Punch” was really as great as they say it is, it would stand on it’s own and they wouldn’t need to do all this shit.

Secondly, although I do not care for Bullshido.net I can say without reservation that it is NOT under investigation by any government agency as being a gathering place for pedophiles. Bullshido.net is a website where people talk shop about mma and martial arts and the basic premise to to call “bullshit” on bullshit things in the martial arts world like fancy techniques and dvd’s that teach you to become invincible over night.

There are a few forums on Bullshido.net were they are discussing a well known kung fu instructor who was recently arrested for being a pedophile, but pedophiles have their own less conspicous sites to patrol. After all, pedophiles gather where their prey gathers and bullshido.net is more of a place for martial artists in their 20’s and 30’s. BUT, even if there were pedophiles gathering on Bullshido.net would that make their review or paraody of “Fear No Punch” any less valid? NO, of course it wouldn’t!

As far as there being copyright infringment issues in the paraody, there is something called “Fair Use”. “Fair Use” laws give someone limited rights to copyrighted material in order to discuss it, review it, or parady it.

As far as commenting on the dvd without seeing it, I have seen it. I purchased the dvd for $149, have watched it 3 times, and I actually have it sitting right in front of me right now.

No one is saying that it is better to be punched in the face then to practice the methods on “Fear No Punch”. The issue I have with it, and the issue many have with it, is the way he does it. He teaches you to stand in one place and and absorb punches with your arms and hands by blocking and slapping them. The main issues I have with this are: 1.) if you’re being attacked I believe it is better to be moving and not standing in one place allowing people to attack you, 2.) by slapping the punches you are not knocking the person out, injuring them, or even taking their balance so they can keep on attacking you over and over, and 3.) the simple methods taught in arts like traditional Okinawan Karate are much easier and more effective. Instead of inventing “new” methods why not practice time tested methods like those pasted down from genuine masters?

If someone punches you why not move into their punch, bring your forearm into their arm, and then “cut” into it by rotating your forearm into their forearm? It is very simple, very effective, extremely painful for them, and usually results in the person not being able to throw a quick follow up punch with their other hand. There are a few variations of this that I personally like better, but this is simple, time tested, and more effective then the methods in “Fear No Punch”.

I have no doubt that he has a $50,000 challenge (which means nothing) or that he has trained military personnel (he did make the claim that he trained Army Rangers and Ft. Carson even though Army Rangers are not stationed there) but I know a local Tang Soo Do instructor who can make the same claim (he has pictures of himself training a local Army National Guard unit and has a $10,000 challenge to anyone who can break more boards than him with a side kick). I myself used to train operators from SEAL teams and SFODD (Delta Force) all the time but to be quite honest it doesn’t really mean I’m worth my salt, it just means I knew the right people.

Anonymous said...

If anyone really wants to know who Coal Akida is and what he is really about. Investigate, he was a fraud insurance salesman throughout the 80's in Grafton, Ohio and had his license revoked by the Ohio Department of Insurance for stealing money from the senior citizens he sold long term care and medicare supplements to. He is a con man, same game, different players.

Anonymous said...

Lou Kolivas (Coal Akida),insurance salesman of long term care insurance throughout the 80's at J.L. Smith & Associates Insurance Agency in Grafton, Ohio. Early 90's, license revoked, IRS repossessed his car, his con game was exposed. He then stole identities and committed credit card fraud to keep food in his mouth and a roof over his head. He was a disgrace to his family and friends. In the 90's, he found a new game ...... that's all folks.

Anonymous said...

Coal Akida? Committing fraud? Impossible -sarcasm

Anonymous said...

I remember getting a business card from "Coal" in about '91 or '92. It had the name Coal Kolivas on it. I don't know when he became "Commander" Coal Akida. Check out this article called 'American Ninja' from Cleveland Scene Magazine. http://www.clevescene.com/cleveland/american-ninja/Content?oid=1494586

Jared Klaus said...

CRUCIFY HIM , CRUCIFY HIM, CRUCIFY HIM. CRUCIFY him we will not tolerate anything new. Whoever this guy is, james, coal ,lou, fred , jared, klaus this guy is hated, awesome and feared.

Garbage in and out said...

Every site I go to seems to be talking about Pedos, what the hell is going on, BIG L

Anonymous said...

I was a student there. Everytime I look for the site I get all these forums. Coal is a hard working guy. First, He does all the production himself. He spends his whole life on this stuff. Each class you're doing an engagement over and over again with Coal or another student. So he has done thousands of engagements and stopped millions of punches. It's hard to learn. The jab might seem weak watching it, but just try to stop one of Coal's. And his deadweight hook will knock you right over. His elbow would bust your jaw completely apart if you failed to stop it.

Anonymous said...

I don't doubt the Commanders passion for his system since he goes onto different forums preaching that his system is designed for SEALS and Black ops and that MMA fighters will always be incomplete until they buy his DVD. However if his system was indeed so flawless he wouldn't have to market his system in such an aggresive manner because the proof would be in the pudding. The only videos that support his theory are on his website in a controlled tempo. You can argue those guys are swinging as hard as possible to break his face but when their feet are glued to the floor and the only thing they throw is overhand haymakers (no knees, kicks and very few elbows) so without actual footage of Coals students competing and utilizing these skills in an amateur boxing match or the Kumite I will continue to be skeptical.

Brandon said...

Just because u cannot comprehend what Matthew is saying does not mean he is wrong for saying it.(to Matthew)keep doing what your doing u r helping several ppl learn how to defend themselves,some ppl don't have the time or don't want spend their time learning from someone who can't help them what ur putting on this website is very useful information and is going to save many of the ppl who r too busy to attend classes from being injured,abducted,abused,killed,ect. also I would like to say thank you for taking the time out of ur day to put this stuff online.