I actually found this page when I was looking into getting my kids into martial arts.
I found that there are 23 images totaling 160 Kb on the home page. Some of those images are used as menu items, tabs and links while others are backgrounds and header, all are used to improve the visual friendliness of the site. With the images disabled the user experience was pretty boring but I was still able to navigate the site.
I think the creator of this page had a pretty good plan and for the most part the site is pretty good. There are some things I didn’t like, for instance, the plant image behind the menu items at the left hand side, it was a little difficult to look at in my opinion. Maybe if the colors of the background plant and the menu images were a little different I would of found that part of the page easier to look at. I also didn’t care for the placement of the video article links, I think those would of been better under another tab. Also in regard to the video links I think a better interface could have been used, the black arrows followed by blue writing is pretty boring.
Wow, I had to take a look for myself after reading that the 23 images on the site added up to only 106k. That’s not a bad cumulative size at all.
Your other observations are spot on. The bamboo behind the navigation is distracting and the way they are featuring video content could be much more effective and attention-getting. Browsing around on the site, it seems as if they have some good information, but the way it is presented doesn’t do much in assisting in the delivery.
Also, thanks you for making your link clickable! So often this is an overlooked detail.