Archive for November 2008
Okay, I’ve now done BC38 many times… both as a participant and instructing so I feel I can give it a decent review. Overall I think BODYCOMBAT 38 is a great release; let me clarify by saying it is not terribly complex in it’s movement, many of the tracks are pretty repetitive and the combos are pretty simple. BUT, what it lacks in complexity it DEFINITELY makes up for in intensity. Make no mistake about it it is a hard release! And I think many tracks will stand the test of time and be used over and over again once we start mixing. Anyway, read on and if you’ve done it I’d be really interested in your feedback.
Fantastic start to the workout. As I stated in my initial impressions it certainly helps your enjoyment of a particular track if you actually like the music, and I really like both the tracks that make up the warmup. If you don’t like dance music obviously you won’t feel the same. Both tracks are light and really uplifting! One thing that’s occurred to me in this release is that with the exception of track 2 every other cardio track has a dance/trance feel to it. There’s a distinct lack of rock in this release. Getting back to the track itself there’s a couple of little tricks in the chorry which took me a couple of sessions to sort out – the shuffling “left” (instructor right) before the knees at the end is kinda odd! All in all a great warmup – no kata, no real surprises, just covers the basics. *by the way – I meant to add that if you haven’t heard the actual version of “writing on the wall” used in this release then please ignore the youtube link to it; the version I’ve linked to isn’t the same. The actual version is better… yay! Addition: See Andreas’s comment below for a better link… thanks bud!
Combat 1: “Try It Again” – The Hives
Not my favourite track but a solid track 2. Consistently I find the first combat track one of the tracks I enjoy least. I wasn’t a big fan of Born to be wild (BC36) however I did enjoy Beat It from 37… definitely Try it Again has a more Born to be Wild feel to it, perhaps it’s the traditional karate movements that appear in both. Loads of traditional karate blocks and punches exactly like BTBW. The final section after the “They say madness is doing the same thing…” part is cool. I used to use “sliding side kicks” (as we called them) in my Tae Kwon Do days a lot – and shuffle side kicks are just as good! Solid track and will stand the test of time.
Power training 1: “Like I feel (squad-e mix)” – D:code Feat Emma
Very typical power training track – could easily be a track 8 which seems to be common in the last few releases – track 3 and 8 in terms of style are almost impossible to differentiate. Music is also exactly what you’d expect based on BC35-37 – fast dance music. This track has lots of speed balls, lots of ROTS (running on the spot), and a tonne of jump jabs; it is a nice, happy, uplifting song. One thing I will say, instructors, doesn’t Hernan do a fantastic job presenting it. He’s awesome
Combat 2: “Headbangerz Rock Da Club” – Nick Skitz / “Cold As Ice” – Starsplash
You know what – I still can’t decide if I like this track. I’m gonna do it a couple more times in a class environment and then make my mind up. At the moment I’d have to say I’m not enjoying the first half much at all. The second part (Cold As Ice) with all its round house knees into side kicks I’m loving. I will probably complete this tomorrow (I’m doing it again tonight and 6am tomorrow) and by then I’ll know for sure. Stay tuned! Okay, yep, I do like this track. It’s got about 240 knees and kicks in it, and the round house knees into side kicks (think The United Vibe) hurt!! I tell you, this combined with track 6 definitely mean your legs get a complete and utter hammering in this release.
Power training 2: “The Best Damn Thing” – Avril Lavigne
Okay this track has already caused quite a bit of controversy (like here and here just for starters), and I’ve mentioned I’m not a big Avril fan…in fact, I’m not any type of Avril fan! And, when I saw this was in BC38 I expected another split room “Girlfriend” (i.e. BC33) type track; or, lord help me another “Don’t You Wanna Feel” type track from BC36 (possibly my least favourite track 5 ever!) By that I mean, they’re all kinda girly poppy songs. Well, it’s not “girly” at all (okay, expect for the lyrics – they’re almost unbearable “I hate it when I can doesn’t understand that at a certain time of month I don’t want to hold his hand…” WTF! anyway, moving on…) We should dub this track the shoulder killer as mine consistently hurt like hell afterwards! The track blitzes your right side (or left for instructors) totally before restarting and doing it again… given my first impression of the music this track is MUCH better than I thought it would be!
Combat 3: “No Good” – The Prodigy
The esquiva track. Much like BC37 this track is all about leg conditioning. Esquivas. Lunges. Pain! Prepare to hurt. Seriously. And, I really hate to admit it – but I’m not a fan of this track. I know, I know… you probably like it right? I really wish I did like it – but unfortunately I’ve now waited and given it a pretty good blast (5 or 6 times) and truth be told I’m not a fan. Here’s the thing. I do combat for a cardio workout. I know the merits of conditioning – but I do BODYPUMP and weight training to tone and strengthen my body. I do combat to stay fit, remain lean (or even get leaner) and to stay nice and healthy. So to my mind throwing a leg conditioning track in the middle of the release is a little bit frustrating. I will say that this track does keep your heartrate up to a much higher degree than stamp in BC37 did (another esquiva track) because of the lunge, front kick, esquiva combo so that’s a good thing… let’s just say fingers crossed it grows on me. Let me also add that I’m definitely in the minority here – most people seem to love it – so enjoy!
Muay Thai: “Raver’s Paradise (Stadium Mix)” – Nick Skitz feat MC BB
Not a bad track as far as Muay Thais go, though personally not one to really get excited about. The chorry is very simple, and as can be expected has lots of knees, elbows and street brawler downward punches. No surprises here (like the incorporation of gingas a la BC36) and sadly for me no jump knees either. I LOVE the Muay Thais with jump knees. Though, that’s no to say you can’t add one per side as the last knee in the sequence. A reasonably solid track but definitely not Muay Thai classic as far as I’m concerned.
Power training 3: “What hurts the most (Al Storm remix)” – Cascada
ABSOLUTELY my favourite track in this release. Here’s the funny thing, I used to love this song. For a fair part of last year I’d constantly thrash it when training on my iPod; I think I had 4 or 5 different versions of it in total and I used to play them in succession whilst doing weights in the gym. But, as you can probably guess I got really sick of it really quick. Then it came out as the back track in BODYPUMP 66. And suddenly I loved it again. But, after 3 solid months of thrashing it (again!) I got sick to death of it. Now it’s out in BC38… and believe it or not I love it again! Granted it’s a different version but still the same song… it’s fantastic! The track is split into 3 parts – the first two a mix of non-stop jabs, followed by non-stop uppers and non-stop hooks. The third part is just jabs. I mean, it is the simplest chorry you can imagine but the way the music builds with it’s peaks and valleys – well it just rocks. This is the perfect climax to an intense release – love it!
Conditioning: “When I grow up” – Pussycat Dolls
Killer conditioning track. 32 tricep pushups followed by 32 wide pushups – with no break! I’m no fan of the song but to be honest the chorry is so hard that I barely notice it! This track also has crunches and a plank for the ol’ abs. Not too much else to say except ouch!
Cooldown: “Say (All I Need)” – OneRepublic
Not too much you can say about a cooldown. The song is a nice calming song and I think a perfect end to an otherwise intense workout. Your heartrate will drop and you’ll leave the workout feeling refreshed – exactly what you’d want! I’ll admit I’m not terribly a big fan of the ‘neck stretch’ movement, but this is a fittingly great end to a great release – nice job guys!
Hey guys, sorry for my lack of posting for the last few days, been absolutely flat out IRL, and to be honest I wanted to give BC38 a real decent blast before writing a full review. I still haven’t had a chance to do BODYPUMP 68 yet either so will be writing about that in the next week too. All the local gyms are releasing in the next week or so, so no doubt I’ll be doing both releases more than enough in due course!
Right, I found the following information incredibly interesting so I hope you do too. Let me preface that I didn’t compile these lists, they are 100% completely and utterly stolen from Tapio – thanks bud! The following mixes are current right up till BODYCOMBAT 38 (which as it happens didn’t actually make it onto either list!), but they do show the importance of being very careful when making up your class mixes, as there’s a 32 minute difference between the longest and shortest mix! It also shows you can actually fit a full 10 track class into a 45 minute class slot with no problems whatsoever. What really surprised me is the shortest list, imagine putting a full class together and it being over in 38 minutes! Your members would be spewing! IMO BC38 is the perfect length, 56 minutes. Anyway, enjoy!
01: Summermelody / Does the Fish Have Chips? (BC34) 6:11
02: Thnks Fr Th Mmrs (BC34) 3:16
03: Revolution (BC2) 4:19
04: Tribal Dance 2.4 (BC27) 4:26
05: Girlfriend (BC33) 3:37
06: Leave Me Alone (BC32) 3:20
07: Run To The Hills (BC33) 3:01
08: Footloose (BC1) 3:46
09: Gonna Fly Now (BC36) 2:52
10: Hero (BC31) 3:38
01: The Immortals (BC4) / Electric Avenue (BC12) 10:12
02: The United Vibe (BC35) 7:11
03: Magic Touch (BC36) 6:04
04: Jump (BC35) 7:03
05: How Far We’ve Come (BC37) 6:33
06: Stamp (BC37) 6:47
07: Party Non Stop (BC36) 6:51
08: Rock Da Bass (BC12) 6:40
09: Somebody To Love (BC21) 6:03
10: Now We Are Free (BC20) 7:04
Difference between longest and shortest mix: 32 min 4 sec!
Now isn’t that interesting! Whilst on the subject of track listings, I’m starting to compile the track list for BC39, so if anyone (ahem… Andreas perhaps?? ) can assist I’d be forever grateful! Thanks guys!
After the intensive with Dan Cohen (BC programme director) on Saturday I’ve come up with a few theories about some changes we can expect to see in Combat – and my guess is we’ll probably see them from BODYCOMBAT 40. BC40 marks exactly ten years of the programme, so if you were going to make some changes that would be as good a time as any. Dan didn’t say anything specific other than that the programme is evolving and we can expect to see some changes. So here’s some of my ideas (bear in mind I literally have no inside knowledge and these are all just a shot in the dark).
Addition of a circuit style track? You may recall back in September I wrote about the fact that Dan had pitched the idea of adding a “circuit style” track to BC, a track where the class is split into groups and each group does a different exercise or drill. Well, based on the fact that Dan had us doing a circuit in the intensive my guess is this is a definite. In my opinion we could possibly expect to see a circuit track added into BC – if not in BC40 then definitely in BC41. Exactly how this will work or what track it’ll replace is anyone’s guess…
Change in ginga technique: There’s no gingas in BC39 so I’m picking from BC40 we see it back, and with some changes. Dan did hint that this could be the case. As far as I can guess they’ll be no lifting of the toe, less wrapping of the arm around the back of the body and it will be much truer to authentic capoeira form.
Roundhouse kicks from the back leg? In BODYCOMBAT we only ever roundhouse off the front leg. As far as I can tell it’s a safety issue. Yet you can create so much more power off the back leg. My guess is we may start seeing roundhouse kicks from the back leg in BC40 too. There may even be moves like the “switch roundhouse”!! Now that would be cool!
I could be way off base here, what are your thoughts? Be interested to know. No matter what I guess we’ll find out in a couple months at the BC40 filming!
Saturday was the first time I’d even seen BODY COMBAT 38 (apart from the track listing). Did feel kinda strange as I’d already done BC39 (due to the fact I went to the filming) but nevermind! Anyway, in short – I loved it. LOVED IT! It is hard to get a decent feel for a release when you’ve only done it once, but honestly, after having done BC39 once as well I enjoyed 38 A LOT more. It rocked!
I’ll write a full review of the release once I’ve watched the DVD and received the notes (should be in about 48 hours) but for now here are the highlights in brief (presenters were Dan, Rach and Hernan);
I loved the warm up mainly because I really like both the tracks that make it up. If you don’t like dance music obviously you won’t feel the same. Both tracks are light and really uplifting! The upper body is “Writing on the wall” by 2-4 Grooves whilst the lower body warm up is “Because the Night” by Cascada. Really enjoyed this.
Combat 1 seemed to me to be a typical track 2 – it was “Try It Again” by The Hives. Both track 2 and the power training track (“Like I feel (squad-e mix)” by D:code Feat Emma) aren’t really standing out in my memory which leads me to believe they are exactly what you’d expect from combat 1 and power training 1.
Combat 2 (track 4) is a TOTAL KILLER. If you thought “We will survive” was hard in BC37 with it’s 260 odd kicks then you’re in for a rude awakening. Dan claimed there are 300+ in this track! (Addition: As it happens there’s no where near 300 kicks in this track – more like 240; So around the same as We Will Survive – maybe Dan was just trying to freak us out haha – however make no mistake it FEELS like there’s over 300 that’s for sure!) It’s in two parts. The first part is “Headbangerz Rock Da Club” by Nick Skitz and that is a kick combo not completely different to the kick combo in BC37. Lots of back kicks, knees and front kicks. The second part (“Cold As Ice” by Starsplash) really finishes you off with loads of roundhouse knees into sidekicks (think The United Vibe from BC35). Absolutely leg shattering track and a real highlght for me. I’m not sure what the track length is but it is loooooooong! I think people will either love or hate it.
Track 5 (“The Best Damn Thing” by Avril Lavigne) was MUCH better than I thought it would be. MUCH! I’m not an Avril fan and I expected something similar to the last Avril track 5 – “Girlfriend” from BC33. Thankfully it’s not. It’s not a split room track either which is all good. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this.
Prepare to have your legs cained in track 6 (“No Good” by The Prodigy). The esquiva is back and it’s a killer. The one thing that really stood out for me in this track is the cool esquiva into front kick combo. This tracks hurts no two ways about it.
I know I enjoyed the muay thai but I honestly can’t remember that much about it! The song is “Raver’s Paradise (Stadium Mix)” by Nick Skitz feat MC BB. I can recall a lot of street brawler downward punches and lots of knees… I’ll write a lot more about this in full when I get the DVD.
Highlight for me without question: Track 8: “What hurts the most (Al Storm remix)” by Cascada. THIS TRACK WENT OFF! It goes on and on and on and the levels just keep building! You think you’ve hit level 4 and then bang – the music builds again and you reach even deeper and power on! Then just when you think it’s over – WHAM – another level hits you and you’re off again! I swear the endorphins your body produces in this track will keep you buzzing for hours afterwards. Absolutely awesome! The whole room was cheering as the track progressed. It was incredible and I can’t wait to release it.
Conditioning – was hard. The track was “When I grow up” by Pussycat Dolls. Personally I hate the song with a passion so wasn’t expecting to enjoy it. Dan challenged us to do it all on our toes. In fact he said he’d buy a beer to anyone that could – and it was probably a pretty safe bet for him… the track has 64 press ups with no breaks! 32 chest and 32 tricep. However, Dan you do owe me one as I did manage it (just!). The ab portion also has the plank which is a killer move as we all know.
Cooldown: “Say (All I Need)” by OneRepublic. Beautiful. Not too much kata which I prefer. Excellent end to a fantastic release.
As I said expect a much more complete review in a few days… but this release is DEFINITELY one to look forward to… yay! Pics follow – apologies for quality they were taken from my cellphone.
So spent this Saturday just gone at the Les Mills Quarterly Workshop in Auckland… was an awesome day all up. For those that don’t know, this is where all the Les Mills group fitness instructors go to view the latest programme releases first hand, as well as some generic training sessions that usually entail subjects that cover all the different disciplines. Apart from the fact that it’s a requirement instructors attend 3 out of 4 of these per year, it is a really great way to meet and network with other likeminded people – and get a feel for the focus of each release right from the horse’s mouth. This quarterly was even more important if you were a combat instructor as the first part of the day was the “BODYCOMBAT Intensive” with one of the actual programme directors (Dan Cohen). So that’s where my day began and I have but one single word to describe the experience: PAIN!
It started well, Dan sat us all down and we spoke about BODYCOMBAT, it’s essence, the fact that incorporated many different martial arts and we should really work on the authenticity aspect. That is; try to get some real experience working with each of the individual martial arts that make up BC. One of those ways is to do “circuit style” training, whereby you move from station to station doing a specific drill that is a component of one of those styles. All makes sense right – and seems easy enough? WRONG.
Dan proceeded to take us through a circuit and although we only did it for 30 minutes it’s two full days later that I am writing this and my body still aches… all over! The drills were as follows:
- Bag work: 3 minutes of a specific combination on a kick bag; The combo was: L jab, R cross, L hook, R round house (off the back leg), L jab, R cross, L switch roundhouse (like a switch knee but where you scissor then kick off the back leg).
- This killer exercise where you go into a plank position but your toes are on a mat, then you have to drag the mat across the full length of the gym and back using only your hands for 3 minutes. It’s like a plank on steroids and a TOTAL killer. This is the main reason I’m in so much pain today. It is MUCH harder than it sounds – many people could hardly move the mat at all! I swear by the end of the third minute doing this I was ready to die.
- Traditional karate punches:Whereby you step forward with one leg and punch with the alternate arm in a formal karate style stance. This was the easiest drill but after the mat work above most of the 3 minutes was spent recovering!
- “Punching” a 15kg weight up 45 degrees for 90 seconds each arm. This really stattered the shoulders!
- Shuttle runs leaping over a wooden vault horse – 3 minutes
- Capoeira aú: An aú in capoeira is kind of cartwheel movement but at all times you keep your eyes on your opponent. Was fun to learn – thankfully we were told this won’t be incorporated into BC… can you imagine a packed group fitness room cartwheeling from one side to the other. Chaos!
- Rope climb. This way as killer as well, climbing a rope to the top of the gym (probably 5 or 6 metres) then climbing back down non stop for 3 minutes. This wouldn’t have been so bad if we hadn’t done it towards the end of the session. By now our bodies were destroyed!
- Finally lying in sit up position and having a partner drop a 5kg medicine ball on our abs for 90 seconds. This was hard, but bearable as long as you kept your abs tensed. Of course by this stage we were panting our lungs out so keeping your abs tensed whilst rapidly breathing in and out was the struggle. It didn’t help when Hernan came and gave my partner a hand – he was vicious!
The plank mat dragging, the robe climbing were the real killers. My hands and stomach were both burning afterwards! One thing I did take away from this session (apart from the pain!) was what I think is a fair idea of what we can expect in future releases (possibly from BC40 or 41). I’ll go into these in another post. We ran from this session straight to the BODYCOMBAT 38 release so I’ll write about that next!
Oh my God what a night! An absolutely packed class (I think we came close to setting the gym’s record… all up about 50 people!!). All the regulars, a few new people, plus other Combat, Pump and Step instructors from gyms all over town showed up in support. So many friendly smiling faces – how could I have possibly been nervous! Such an honour and definitely something I was never forget. The whole class (to me) seemed to last all of 7 or 8 minutes and was over much too quickly…. it was just a blur!
One thing I will say is that many people made for one hot room – I was a red sweaty mess come the end of the muay thai track that’s for sure!
After the class the assessor took me aside, her first words were “Well there’s absolutely no question you passed!” – was hard pressed stopping myself from cartwheeling around the gym at that point!
Honestly the support I’ve received has been amazing and it truly made all the difference. From my trainer (Mel – you rock babe!), family, friends, other instructors and messages of support from you guys – I jumped on stage thinking “I’ve got this nailed” and as a result didn’t make a single error. So thank you thank you thank you!!!
Day after tomorrow I’m bowling along to the BODYCOMBAT 38 release so I’ll be sure to post a full review here as soon as I can. Until then thanks again guys! YOU ROCK!!!
So tomorrow at 5:30 I have my BODYCOMBAT instructor assessment. Even though I’ve been instructing BC for a few months now (some classes alone, most team teaching), and passed module no worries – I’ve still got this last piece of the puzzle to complete before I’m officially “certified”. And I’ll be honest… I’m FREAKING OUT!!
So much so I almost didn’t post this! Even though I’ve taken 4-5 BC classes per week for the last few months all these horrible thoughts were going through my head like “what if I don’t pass” – “maybe I’ll just post afterwards that I passed, and if I don’t I just won’t mention it!”. But hell, pressure is a good thing (what’s the saying “pressure makes diamonds”?) so I’m sucking it up and proclaiming it here that in about 24 hours (give or take) I’ll be in front of a live Les Mills assessor having my every move judged.
The fantastic thing about my gym is that we have a live assessor come into the class and critique us live – and we get the result immediately after the class. The horrible thing about my gym is that we have a live assessor come into the class and critique us live – and we get the result immediately after the class!! I guess with a DVD you can watch it afterwards and worse case if you don’t like what you see redo it. That’s the one plus there. The downside, well there’s the 3-4 months of waiting for a result.
Anyway, in all seriousness from what I can tell the only way I’m gonna balls this up is if I get so nervous I freak out and forget all the chorry. I can’t really see that happening as all I’m doing is running straight through BC37 and I’ve done that so many times I know it backwards. So I’m just gonna relax and do what I always do… everyone keeps telling me I’ll be fine – so I’ll just blame them if they’re wrong! haha
I’ll post the outcome Thursday morning… good or bad I promise!
Arrrggg! I’m a tad frustrated at myself! Last night was the BODYCOMBAT 39 filming in Auckland – snapped quite a few pics (some below), made a few mental notes about the chorry so I could post it here this morning, but I’ve forgotten all the darn tracks that were in it! Sorry! nevermind, I can confirm my suspicions were correct and “So What” by Pink is the track 6 (more on that below) and I can also confirm Scooter vs. Status Quo “Whatever you want” is track 4 – the rest I’ve drawn a complete and utter blank! Bloody useless if you ask me! Addition Jan 09: Full track list now available here
The theme for BODY COMBAT 39 is cage fighting (Ultimate Fighting Championship). The stage was decked out as a cage, and Dan, Rach and the other two presenters (whose names I’ve forgotten too sorry!) Tony from Brazil and Vanessa from Portugal (thanks Bevan and Raina for that info! ) were all wearing gear with a ‘cage pattern’ on it. Looked pretty awesome actually! All for were tanned and in absolutely awesome shape. The one thing I’ll say about this release is that they have kept it REALLY simple. There’s no ginga, no esquiva, no e-kick, no jump knees – it’s all really really simple chorry (and sometimes really repetitive). Track 4 does have the jump kick, but that’s the only “advanced” move in the entire release.
The real stand out tracks for me were track 6, and track 7. Track 6 (So What by Pink) had simple but effective chorry – double uppers, hook-hook, back kick, double knee, front kick. I found myself getting into a really good rhythm coming from the back kick into the knees and really enjoyed this track. The fact I love the song helped! Rach presented this and she was able to really build the levels and hit the peak with heaps of attitude “we’re all gonna get in a fight!”.
Track 7 (Muay Thai) was awesome too. A tonne of knees… and I really mean a TONNE of knees, and just when you thought the track was over it wasn’t and continued with another massive burst of knees.
I mentioned that the chorry in this release is simple, and it really is. That can be good as it makes the entry into BC easier for people trying it for the first time. I’m sure there have been times when new participants have tried to emulate an instructor doing jumping evasive side kicks on their first class and maybe gotten a little freaked out! Nice thing about this (and quite a few of the recent releases actually) is that newbies can quite easily follow the moves almost immediately without too much of a worry. The downside is simple movements can get a little boring for the diehard experienced combatters. The power training tracks in particular were pretty repetitive I thought. One of them (I’m pretty sure it was track 3) had the same sequence repeated 6 times throughout the track… of course I enjoyed it last night but I did worry that perhaps the novelty could wear off? Time will tell of course.
One other interesting point was that there was no crunches nor sit ups in this release. Not-a-one! Instead we had the plank (or hover as you may call it)… and that’s it for abs! I know! A lot of them – both front and side. It was kinda cool for a change and the great thing is the transition from a plank into a press up is of course seamless.
All in all I really enjoyed the release. And I enjoyed all of the music – a really consistent hard workout with no lulls – I think it’ll be great for bringing new people into the programme too. Of course having only done it once my opinion will no doubt change after the official release – but IMO this is definitely a release to look forward to!!!