I'm not really a DVD guy. I much prefer books for a number of reasons I've detailed here over the last couple of years. However, I realise there are things you simply need a DVD to get across. That's why Victory Belt's idea of a Machida DVD is a great idea.
Video is kind of a new area for Victory Belt. They've released one series in the past - Mastering the Rubber Guard. My review of that DVD set was mixed, but the technical instruction was sound and the production was good. I'm pleased to say that the quality of both has improved on this set.
The DVD set consists of four discs. They are presented in plastic DVD cases and sleeved in a cardboard box. Disc one is titled 'Movement and Fundamental Strikes, disc two is 'Striking Attacks and Takedowns', three is on 'Intercepting Attacks, Takedown Defense and the Clinch' and disc four is titled 'The Ground Game'.
The first disc covers the elemental techniques Machida uses in his fights. Don't be fooled by the term fundamental. What Machida considers fundamental can be quite advanced. The techniques range from the simple to the unorthodox. Not many other than Machida are likely to attempt a hook kick in the Octagon, but the technique is here.
Disc two takes the techniques found on the first disc and joins them together into combinations. Machida explains the principles he uses to build combinations and why they work. My favourite aspect of this video is the focus on feints and setups. He's good at misdirection - we've all seen it - and this video gives you a taste of how it's achieved.
Disc three concentrates on defense and counter-attack. His evasion and counter-attacks are what he is known for and is well displayed here. His discussion on takedown defense and the various clinch positions is probablyt not what you'd buy the DVD set for, but it is interesting to see how these aspects fit into Machida's game.
Disc four was surprising for me. This is probably the aspect of Machida's game which interested me the least. There are plenty of DVDs out there on the ground game from people who are much better known for it than Machida. However, in watching the video, it occurred to me that it is a well put together treatise on the ground game. There isn't necessarily anything ground-breaking here, but the approach is very systemic and easy to follow. It's particularly great for those who might not have a lot of Jiu Jitsu or wrestling experience. And, let's face it - that's pretty much where it's aimed.
As far as production goes, it's pretty damn good. It's over-dubbed in english as Machida speaks in (I guess) in Portuguese. This is something I've commented before that is distracting for me at times. However, production companies are getting better at it and Victory Belt seems to have learned some lessons from others who have made mistakes in the past. The audio mix is just right.
The sets are appropriate and not distracting. The instruction is clear and to the point. VB and Machida have also paced the instruction pretty well and there isn't too much instruction to choke down in one sitting.
I'm no karate expert. It's been seventeen years since I was in a formal karate class. I don't think I'd be able to pull off some of the techniques Machida demonstrates here. Some of the techniques require some significant prior knowledge and practise. With that said, there's enough here that doesn't require years of practice, as well.
I think that the set is aimed at the competent karateka to learn to adapt their technique. In that case, the set is spot on. At the same time, though, 80% of what is taught doesn't require any detailed prerequisite karate training. Just about anyone can benefit from understanding some of Lyoto's technique and - more than anything - the misdirection he is famous for.
Victory Belt are pretty young in the video game. However, they're well known as a provider of quality products and this is no exception. They've rapidly ascended as a competitor and even leader in book publishing. Now, they've made a foray into video and they've shown themselves capable of competing with the leaders.