I got a copy of these three apps two of which were given free (armbars and chokes) one of which (sweeps) is currently free on the apps store with the aim of reviewing them as I have done with some others out there on the market. I am reviewing on an iPhone 4 running IOS 4.2.1 (8C148).
This is a fledgling market and really only the Machado Brothers, Stephen Kesting, Darculino and Roy Dean have embraced it fully, with only Roy and Draculino going for a full course offering.
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.
This is a review of the app suite that killer apps offer in conjunction with Bradon Quick and his online training site.
Before I go any further I am aware that there has been some controversy surrounding Brandon in the past but this is nothing to do with this review I am purely looking at the apps.
There a standard 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 it does need to show you a down arrow or something to suggest how to navigate away from it.
The initial loading and screen is well branded if a little slow to load through some of the screens but this may be down to the need to push sales to keep price low.
The menu system is functional in each app offering a by the position breakdown
The Armbars app for example offers
Knee on Belly
Then a task bar menu with
Home – News – Contact – Library – More
These do what they suggest with the more tab pushing me to sponsors and links to the app on facebook which sadly just would not load when I tried to use it.
There is no branding on this screen just a sparse menu but this is something which could easily be added as the app is updated.
The menus then take you straight to a set of videos with small icon previews which when clicked on first, load a rate our app screen which can become a little tiring as it happens each time you click a video and you may not be ready to rate the app for some time till you have been through it.
The videos themselves however are good quality visually. The sound as with any BJJ video, DVD or App I have seen is a bit hollow but that comes from filming in a large matted room.
Where the chokes and armbar (no gi) apps do fall down a little compared to some of the others I have reviewed is that at times you only get to see the technique from one angle which does not always give you all you nee. The sweeps application (with gi) does remedy this somewhat but has a lot less content at the moment.
Also the fact that two are no gi and one is a gi application is a little confusing but I guess it is a case of just growing so everything is covered and I know that they are planning to keep expanding.
So what do you get:
Armbars (no gi) £2.39
35 videos each around a minute and a half in length
Neat organised menu and icon based previews
Chokes (no gi) £2.39
31 videos each around a minute and a half in length
The menu system on this one is a little less well organised but still with previews
Sweeps (gi) Free and if it gets 100 ratings they will update again for free
9 half guard videos from a minute and a half to over seven minutes
1 sub menu and icon based previews of videos
If you are looking to see if the iPhone based app versions of BJJ instructional videos are for you then you cannot go wrong with these apps as the price makes them accessible to all and a very good jumping in point. If you are looking for a full traditional BJJ suite of apps which cover the teachings, ethos and a full curriculum they do not offer that and you should look towards Draculino or Roy Dean’s apps which are of course a good deal more expensive.
The overall feel and look could be improved with a few minor updates and as the apps grow and the library of what is offered grows the apps could do with being standardised. All the apps need the same look and feel and probably to state if you are getting a gi or no gi training library. These are all things that can only really be done with the support of the BJJ community and these apps do deserve that because at the price they do offer a good tool.