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
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.