Every now and then any discussion, whatever the topic may be at the moment, might easily slip into some kind of lament over how “the Internet has ruined human life” and everything now is make-believe etc. Well, it is true that when people did not have as much access to information available they used to spend more time in training and less surfing the ‘Net. However, it is also true that back then you were more or less “sentenced” to training only the things you were aware of. The Internet helped put people in contact much more easily, and open our possibilities when it comes to choosing the right place and instructor.
I somehow ran across Nelson Pinto via Facebook, and he immediately struck a chord with me, due to being extremely enthusiastic about martial arts, both as an instructor and as a student-for-life. It would be insincere to say that I did not see a bit of myself in his attitude, hence the positive predisposition. Pinto’s resume is diverse and can be seen on his website, which is also where you can order the DVD’s reviewed here.
Now, you know how all instructional videos start with a disclaimer of liability and state something along the lines of “not instructional, but for informational purposes only?” Well, the Pinto Blade and Impact Tactics Empty Hand curriculum, with Level 1 being presented here, is actually the closes I have ever seen to such description. And that is not necessarily a bad thing. You see, Pinto’s material shown is obviously aimed at members of his organization and/or advanced practitioners and instructors looking to introduce new or different stuff in their training sessions.
That said, he runs through the material fairly quickly, without going into much detail (again, see the disclaimer notice), but it enables him to cover a lot of ground within the confines of two DVDs. On top of that, Pinto is a very lively and energetic presenter, and it makes the whole watching experience more interesting. I especially liked that he opens the presentation with a subject that is often neglected, i.e. creating opportunities for attack. That is a conceptual subject that can be put to use via several approaches, such as stops, fakes, traps, distractions (VERY good treatise on some aspects here, i.e. how to throw the distracting objects for optimum effect), and footwork, as particularly noteworthy.
Next, the presentation covers 30 basic strikes of BIT curriculum, followed by how to work them on focus-mitts, again with some great insights here. From there, Pinto goes into kicks, partner drills and combinations, with more relevant pointers along the way.
The second DVD moves to the segment about the counters to opponent’s attacks, and later includes more kicks, basic joint manipulations and overall tactical concepts applicable across different physical tools.
It bears mentioning here that one of the high points of these videos is seeing the instructor demonstrates the curriculum against a much larger partner, thus giving more credibility to the material offered.
With all of the above positive features in mind, the possible downsides might be the “home-made” vibe to the production, although both picture and sound quality are just fine, but it is not the professional studio and lighting setting. Personally, I like that the democratization of video instruction has provided the insight into so many people’s ways of work, but some may object, depending on their expectations. The same goes for another trait – Pinto often talks without facing the camera, but he is clearly heard and easy to understand nonetheless.