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Bri Thai
2/06/2004 7:27pm,
Hi again, I'm not trying to stir things up. Please stay off the thread if you have decided 100% that the Shredder isn't for you. I'm not after an argument.

Below is a review of the "Shredder Package" that I prepared a few months ago. It was my first real experience of what it is all about. You'll notice that I'm quite critical in parts (some of the issues raised on the other threads were also raised by me) but Dimitri insisted that the review stayed as it was. He has never asked me to change the words, preferring honestly held views all the time. So, here it is :-

_____________________________________________

Shredder Review

Introduction

This is a review of the Shredder Package and will, of course, include comments on the concept itself. It is not intended to be an aid to instruction in any way shape or form. If you want that then get the tape, or get lessons. I also don’t want it to be another “Its awesome! Buy it!” piece. I’m more critical than that.

There are three items in the package. A Shredder T Shirt, a Booklet and the Video itself. In all honesty I would advise Richard to forget the T Shirt and reduce the cost a little instead. Its ok as T shirts go, but I am one of a great many people who would not wear a martial art logo out in the big bad world anyway. I don’t want to be challenged by meat heads. Mine came in medium, and I can’t even get it on! I believe its now “optional” anyway. Richard, knock a bit of dough off for those who don’t want the shirt….. But I cannot complain about the price. I pre-ordered mine but, owing to technical problems, my order was lost. Richard apologised and sent the tape out as soon as he could with a generous reduction. This type of good-natured way of doing business is the kind of thing that keeps me on as a customer.

The Booklet

The booklet is a loose bound A4 size black and white photocopy containing tactical explanations (of the Shredder as well as other Senshido philosophies), previous customer endorsements and pictures. There is also an interview with Richard at the end. It isn’t a top quality hard back or anything, but it does the job. Richard wants people to read the book prior to watching the tape but, in my view, it doesn’t really matter. I mean, you are going to get endless opportunities of both reading and watching again and again anyway, so what can be learned will be learned. But I still found it helpful to have the basic tactical theories written down. It goes a long way towards explaining what the Shredder is, and what it is not. It is a great point of reference.

The Video

Since I knowingly bought a VHS video to be played in a PAL player (to save money) I cannot comment on the picture quality. But mine is good enough to watch. The video lasts for almost 90 minutes and is packed with explanations, demonstrations and enthusiasm. Richard has a highly charged delivery, and it keeps the tape alive. It is “home made” to the extent that a Senshido instructor does the camera work. It was a pleasant relief, as the things you needed to see were in view as much as possible, and she resisted the “zoom button mania” that amateur camera operatives often fall prey to (the last video I bought was from another organisation. It had some great concepts that were greatly marred by some awful camera work). Some may be put off by his colourful use of language but, for me, it helped keep the whole experience of watching amusing and dynamic. Just don’t let the kids hear it. Overall it is not a glossy, movie star’s aerobics type pretty presentation. But it does the job.

Teaching Quality

All this is irrelevant if you cannot LEARN from the package. In both the book and the video he explains and demonstrates what is meant by things such as Senshido’s 5 Principles, the Quarter beat, Ghosting footwork, the Shield concept, 4 basic rules of behaviour when being verbally assaulted, tactical disengagement, dealing with multiple attackers, Anchoring, Distance, Predator/Prey mentality etc. He doesn’t want to “rehash” his own material, but it is necessary to an extent in order that the concept can be grasped by people with limited Senshido knowledge or experience (like me).

Demos are mostly done with full resistance, which is a nice change. They are largely unscripted, with the partner left to do more or less what they want. They get Shredded no matter what they do. He demonstrates the Shredder in varying scenarios – one to one, against a knife, ground grappling, avoiding takedowns, multiple opponents etc. What massive leaps forward he has made compared to the old style, pre-arranged “One Step Punch” demos of martial arts gone by. Where there has been some action the whole thing is occasionally played back in slow motion, which helps greatly in seeing what has gone on.
It would have added to the tape if he had included footage of Shredding people from outside the Senshido organisation, as you will always get people who feel that your own students “die” to your moves. No, I am not volunteering to be one of them – No Thank You. In fairness to Richard he never really Shreds them fully anyway. He goes easy on them(ish). Everyone still has a face by the end of the tape. Just.

I believe that the package itself is suitable for people with martial arts training, but is not detailed enough for those without any grounding at all. I don’t think that he goes into enough detail about the different elements in a Shred (the way to gouge, the way to palm, the way to knee etc) for that. I was also a little disappointed about “Ghosting footwork”. The lesson I learned was that it just meant “keep moving around them as you Shred”, whereas I was expecting some tips on how do that. I haven’t seen other Senshido products. Perhaps all the “walk before you can run” lessons are already on tape? Perhaps I’m old fashioned and out of step with Richard’s thinking, but I believe in building the blocks before you put them together. I’m all for doing what is needed at the right time, but don’t think that this can be achieved by most without getting the basics down first. Richard and students have been developing this for nine years. Someone without that experience may be able to just Shred from that start, but not to anything like their full potential. Think of this analogy. People new to the piano need to work some scales for a while before they can jam with the band. Otherwise it takes them more time in the long run to bang out a good tune.

But I am quite experienced in fighting arts. I can pick out little details that will help me perform better. After the first watch of the video I felt that my game had already been improved, and he had blown away some of my preconceptions about how it is done. If you’re like me you will be able to absorb it well enough.

The Concept of the Shredder

Richard goes overboard to explain that the Shredder is not a technique. Not magical, new nor the only thing you will need. He stresses the importance of all the other tools in your arsenal. He falls over himself to explain that the concept is simple, and it is. I just know that some people will take a cursory look and say “Is that it”? These are the types who wouldn’t have understood the importance of the wheel when it was invented. Shredding is a natural way to fight. Richard formalises and teaches something that we, as martial artists and products of our society, have been unlearning all our lives.

I am impressed by the Shredder. For me it fills the gaps in that awful “too close range” that grapplers exploit. The range where you can’t wind up any power, and are both left in a pushing and pulling match against a wall or falling to the floor. For me it also replaces the concept of what I call “fancy trapping”, the Wing Chun and JKD arm fencing that I have never seen in a real fight, and never believed in. When in close from now on I’m going to Shred, not play patta-cake.

The Shredder will take off. It will spread throughout the Reality Based fight training community and beyond. As in all things people will come up with refinements and counters etc. But getting in on it now takes you ahead of the game. And it will take you to a much higher level in your abilities to deal with the average thug, robber or rapist. Without a platform such as the UFCs of the 90s it won’t make the big, immediate splash that grappling did. But it will catch up in the long run. The phrase “the missing link in martial arts training” has been used. That is not an exaggeration.

“Its awesome! Buy it!”

______________________________________


There, hope it was informative for those interested.

Bon voyage!

;)

Rogue
2/06/2004 9:22pm,
Hi again, I'm not trying to stir things up. Please stay off the thread if you have decided 100% that the Shredder isn't for you. I'm not after an argument. Opposed to you showing up on karate forums putting down people who do that and nut riding Dimitri? :D

Punisher
2/06/2004 10:11pm,
Here is my problem with "the Shredder". I've never seen it. Do you know of any short clips of "the Shredder" being applied, preferably in a realistic situation? I've looked and I can't find any. I've spent too much money on stuff that I've actually seen work, I'm not going to invest on something totally blind. Anything sounds good on a piece of paper. Surely by watching a 30 second clip I'm not going to duplicate it.

Deluxe247
2/06/2004 10:25pm,
too long. didnt read.

Rogue
2/06/2004 10:36pm,
I'll summerize it for you, Punisher wants a free video clip of the Shredder.

Meteora
2/06/2004 10:41pm,
I have a cheese Shredder, could this technique be applied using it?

Kungfoolss
2/06/2004 11:00pm,
Originally posted by Meteora
I have a cheese Shredder, could this technique be applied using it?

:D

GajusCaesar
2/06/2004 11:05pm,
Dude! Does the Shredder work if you are attacked by teenage mutant ninja turtles wielding stereotypical weapons such as nunchucks and sai? Huh? Does it?

GajusCaesar
2/06/2004 11:09pm,
Also, will I be required to consume "mutagenic ooze" in order to properly apply this technique to "t3h s+R33+?"

Kempocos
2/06/2004 11:16pm,
No dude it great hop on your snow board drop on a half pipe with lilke a 540 oli grind into shredder followed by a stale fish nose grab , its killer dude

Hedgehogey
2/06/2004 11:20pm,
I AM IN ANOTHER SIG, DUDE SO TOTALLY SELF FELLATING.

Also, would like to see some shredding done too.

GajusCaesar
2/06/2004 11:47pm,
Wait, maybe I was wrong about the metal wearing dude that fights turtles. I was just watching some mad chipper shredder footage on TV and that thing is badass. I could totally shut down ANY martial artist (insane or not!) if I could just learn to use the ancient and powerful techniques of a chipper shredder. I saw what it can do to tree branches. And since it has been proven time and again that breaking wood is exactly like breaking people, it has got to have some mad str33t cred!

stoogejitsu
2/07/2004 12:25am,
I love The Shredder, he was an awesome villain for the Ninja Turtles.

stoogejitsu
2/07/2004 12:26am,
The only character that was tougher was Master Splinter.

Boyd
2/07/2004 1:17am,
The ****???? Have you guys forgotten what happens when Shredder drinks the Ooze?

Phoenix
2/07/2004 1:18am,
SUPER SHREDDER!!!