This DVD has been a long time in the making, I can say, however, that the result is more than worth the wait, as 'Total Body Defence' is the most comprehensive and inter-active DVD I have reviewed and is quite literally the next best thing to having personal tuition with Alun in a live class. 'Total Body Defence' has taken the technology available and run with it, presenting the viewer with a multitude of practical options, packing the DVD with relevant information and visual flair, to the point that I believe 'Total Body Defence' is now the template for the modern self-defence DVD.
There is so much to admire here and foremost is the fact that Alun readily brings his regular instructors into the mix. This might seem a minor detail but it is important in that it proves the techniques do not simply work for their originator but also for those he teaches as well. Alun himself is a fluid communicator, both verbally and physically and acts as an able and engaging host. Whilst talking about the physical elements, Alun wisely concentrates on just eight techniques, giving the viewer variety without weighing them down with too much choice, a genuine case of 'less is more'. The techniques are straightforward yet explosive and incorporate striking, grappling and footwork, the culmination of Alun's years in Goshinkwai Yawara and twenty odd years in the martial arts overall.
If we take Alun William's ability and experience as a given, what is a revelation are the technical elements of the DVD that emphasise just how much work has gone into this superior offering. Each technique has its own (very easy to navigate) page and within this framework the potential student has multiple inter-linked options, the whole providing a complete dissection of the technique in the most comprehensive audio/visual manner.
Everything is shot using five cameras therefore the technique is displayed from a variety of angles and ranges, even the demo section benefiting from 3 separate angles. The instructional aspect is handled very much as a class environment, with Alun demonstrating and talking through the technique as it is repeated from varying angles.
So far par for the course but where the DVD really ex cells is in the extra features that can be found for each technique, notably the simple but very effective flip technique mode that instantly reverses the action. Added to this is a commentary track that imparts valuable additional information that would be too 'wordy' for the instructional section but really adds an extra dimension to the viewers understanding of the technique.
If this were not enough there is the magazine style slide-show that further breaks down the technique and a unique 'Matt' man, giving a biological insight into the effect the strikes and locks have anatomically on bones, muscle and tissue.
The result is a technique that is explored thoroughly both practically and theoretically to provide an in-depth rather than surface understanding of the mechanics involved.
It almost sounds too good to be true but 'Total Body Defence' really is that slick, professional and informative. There's even icing on the cake, in the form of a number of extra features, including defence against gun and knife and, before I hear you groan, Alun is at pains to point out that defence against such weapons is a controversial area and insists that his techniques are not a guaranteed solution rather they offer the viewer slightly better odds in a genuinely life-threatening situation. To conclude, this is the best DVD I have seen in terms of presentation, content and style.
Malcolm Martin martial arts commentator for Sky and Channel 5