DVD Review – ShivWorks’ Practical Unarmed Combat

I picked up the 4 ShivWorks DVD’s. This is a review of one of them: Practical Unarmed Combat.

Note that I have no connection with ShivWorks or SouthNarc. I paid for these DVD’s out of my own pocket money. I’m just some guy that happened to be a customer, bought the DVD, watched it, and wanted to blog about what I saw.

Here’s the official trailer for the DVD:

Let’s go over some of the non-content things about the DVD. Packaging was simple, straightfoward, no-frills, but all professionally done. This is no slight, just that you aren’t going to be getting tons of extra inserts, cross-sells, coupons, or other stuff. Just the basics, and that’s good. Certainly looks like time and money was invested in making a good product. You can tell this in the production and editing too. While one camera was mainly used, there are cuts to other cameras, especially during demos or scenarios. The filming, editing, even some use of post-production graphics… all came off as profesionally done with care for best presentation of the content and concepts. The DVD itself was put together well, with chapters and easy reference. All in all, a good package.

As for the content itself.

Don’t buy this DVD expecting it to be a physical how-to of “hard skills”, as SouthNarc calls them. Yes it has that aspect, but mostly what this DVD is avoiding a confrontation to begin with. For instance, SouthNarc likes to call them “unknown contacts”, someone that you don’t know that may be approaching you: could just be a bum asking for spare change, or it could be someone after your wallet or worse. SouthNarc teaches simple techniques to help you improve your awareness and keep you out of trouble. How to recognize “pre-assault cues”, things that an unknown contact likely will do that can tip you off to what may be about to happen.

Of course, physical skills are covered too, but again it’s not Bruce Lee kung-fu action. It’s simple but effective techniques, including things like verbal skills, “the fence”, body movement. It won’t turn you into some awesome martial artist, but it will give you simple and basic skills that can certainly help you survive an assault.

What I liked about the video is how it meshed with other training I’ve had. My own martial arts training, the Street & Vehicle Tactics from InSights Training Center (which is another that has some skills but a lot of psychology), even some of the stuff from my defensive handgun training. Everything meshed very well and really served to reinforce. It’s nice when you can have solid training that backs other solid training as that helps you build your system. SouthNarc explains things in great detail, such that you don’t just get the how but also the why. He has a couple assistants in the video to help him demonstrate, and he uses them, camera angles, video editing, to really show things off well to help ensure you get what he’s teaching. He keeps things simple, keeps things focused, and everything builds upon what came before. Both the content and the presentation of the content builds: the management of unknown contacts is a foundation, upon which you build how to recognize a pre-assault cue, upon which you build how to keep a fence, how to move your body, how to defend and strike from there. All the skills and concepts build, and they are presented as such in the DVD.

I don’t want to go over everything because you really should pick up the DVD and watch it for yourself. There’s just too much material in the 90 minute video to cover. Here are the chapter titles:

  • Introduction
  • Assault Paradigm
  • The Criminal Method
  • Task Fixation
  • Encroachment
  • Movement
  • UCM – Fine Points
  • Pre-Assault Cues
  • Hard Skills
  • Eye Jab
  • Default Position
  • Elbow Strike
  • Hammer Fist

While Wife isn’t as into such things as I am, I found myself wanting her to watch this DVD as well. In fact, I even think the kids should watch it. FYI, there is some occasional use of coarse language, but it’s mostly in proper context and given the nature of the beast I don’t think all that horrible for kids to see; if you’re going to expose your kids to this sort of thing in the first place, they might as well learn that such words exist. Point is, there’s a lot of good material in here that’s useful for anyone that just cares to become more aware and interested in their own self-protection abilities.

I used my workout today to practice the skills demonstrated in this DVD. I will continue to practice them, I will watch the DVD again. Good stuff.

11 thoughts on “DVD Review – ShivWorks’ Practical Unarmed Combat

  1. Pingback: Ever hear of “Knockout King”? « Stuff From Hsoi

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