I just got a copy of the Blue Belt Requirements iPhone App from Draculino at no cost with the aim of reviewing it and hopefully some others out there on the market. I am reviewing on an iPhone 4 running IOS 4.1 (8B117).
This is a fledgling market and is the second full course application I have reviewed the other being the Roy Dean Blue Belt course.
As with all new apps and technologies there are bound to be teething problems and issues so I have taken this into account in this review. It is not the same as reviewing DVD’s, Gi’s or belts as these are all established and should be at that point of perfection, or at least nearing it.
The App Icon is of course the well known and very strongly positioned Draculino Vampire style bat logo, once you see this you know who it is and the same for the app.
There is no disclaimer at the start of the app, about the risk of the sport and the fact that you take this on yourself and should always be aware but this seems to be something which varies across apps.
When you access the app you get a strong Draculino image and a link to the site which is good strong branding.
The menu system is nice offering 42 technique videos which include:
Americana from mount
Ankle sweep going to mount
Arm bar from guard (standing opponent)
Arm bar from knee on belly
Arm bar from mount
Arm bar from side control
Basic guard pass on the knees
Basic guard pass standing up in posture
Collar choke from back
Escape from side control by recovering the guard
Escape from side control by turning on fours/turtle position
Escape from the back (hands on the neck)
Escape from the back (no hands on the neck)
From double to single leg take down
Getting the back from mount position (Back pack and Hooks)
Half guard pass to mount
Ippon seioi nage when opponent tries standing one hand choke
Ippon seoi nage by fake single leg attempt
Jumping over the leg guard pass
Keeping the open guard (foot on the hip and biceps)
Keeping the open guard (spider guard control)
Kimura from guard
Kimura from side control
The main screen also has little images of each technique along with the description which is a nice touch and gives you a good idea of where the technique is carried out from. This is a point which makes the application stand out initially from others.
Oddly the one thing I would change is the opposite of the Roy Dean app which needed more granularity. In this app that is done perfectly but in my opinion it could do with some top level categories just to neaten the offering.
Each set of techniques could come under a menu for example:
Techniques From Mount
This would make the initial scrolling a bit quicker and easier to jump to a section but this is a minor gripe to be honest.
The videos themselves however are of the very best quality as you would expect from someone who has so embraced the technology. As a blue belt student I have watched them again and again and they offer something to everyone blue belt or not. The sound is as good as I have heard on one of these apps and works very well through headphones which I think most people will use when viewing a phone application like this.
Each technique is shown, explained, shown again, then issues and adjustments are looked into before finally showing the technique from all angles. One of the things that I have not seen before is that before you watch the video you get a bullet point breakdown of the technique and how to do it which is a nice touch. As before each section is as good as you would get from a DVD with the added portability that this format offers you. Couple this with excellent scaling to the screen of an iPhone make it an extremely valuable tool for a BJJ practitioner both new and experienced.
So what do you get:
Price 23.99 currently discounted to 20.99 until Nov 14th courtesy of yours truly and the good people at Draculino BJJ
Videos 127 minutes and 8 seconds (2 hours 7 mins 18 seconds)
While you do get slightly less video content in terms of time than with the Roy Dean app there is absolutely no filler and you get as many techniques as with the former app. I would say that from what I have seen, this is the premier BJJ iPhone app out there on the market and links well into the training delivered at http://www.draculinobjjtraining.com/
Over all for an app that is in it’s earliest stages I would wholly recommend this and at the discounted price until November 14th it is certainly worth every penny and more. This is something which really helps to push the sport into the modern day using the internet to reach a whole new audience and it is great to see. It is all of course about personal opinion but personally if I would be happy to pay the full price for this app and feel I had done well.
The on-line subscription app review will follow but it has even more content so the going is a little slower.