Archive for June 2010
As some of you may know I’m off to the UK for a month leaving this Saturday! The reason for the trip is my partner is English and she’s a bridesmaid at a wedding and as a result has a whole heap of “girly bridesmaidy” stuff to do… I on the other hand am really just heading along for the ride and have literally zero plans apart from sightseeing and training! So, if you (or your gym) is located anywhere near any of the below regions do let me know as I’d love to come participate or even team teach some classes with you! I do have a car and am able to travel if required.
If you have sent me a message about this before maybe just flick me another one letting me know a date and class time and I’ll be sure to get back to you as soon as I can. You’re welcome to add a comment below or message me on facebook. Can’t wait!
- July 4-9 Dubai
- July 9-11 Leeds
- July 11-13 London
- July 13-15 Eastbourne
- July 15-18 Paris
- July 18-25 Eastbourne
- July 25-28 Devon
- July 28-30 London
- July 30-August 1 Hertfordshire
- August 2-5 Singapore
Crikey we’re all over the show! The week we’re in Eastbourne (18-25) I can travel around so just give me a bell if you’re within an hour or two (or 3!) from there. Hopefully that all makes sense, thanks so much to those of you that have invited me to train with you so far and looking forward to firming up the dates!
Hi guys, quick post with the Les Mills Masterclass filming dates for July/August for those of you travelling. Unfortunately I’ll be in the UK combating it up with a bunch of you (actually I think by then I’ll be in Singapore… first filming I’d have missed in 2+ years!), however, I have pulled in some “guest bloggers” to give us the low-down so we won’t be entirely in the dark (phew!!). FYI as of last quarter there’s no more BODYJAM+ (there is Shabam though! [BODYJAM- perhaps??] ;)) If you’re going have a blast, and take lots of pics for me! …after the filming is finished of course!
Thursday 29th July 2010
- BODYSTEP 82
- BODYPUMP 76
- BODYCOMBAT 46
- BODYBALANCE 51
Monday 2nd August 2010
- RPM 49
- BODYVIVE 17
- BODYATTACK 71
- BODYJAM 55
Okay, time for me to come clean here. This is probably the hardest review I’ve had to write, and I’ve now written full reviews on BODYCOMBAT releases all the way back to BC37. Truth is, I’ve put off writing this for a couple weeks… and the reason for that quite simply is I’m not really sure some of you are going to like or agree with what I have to say. Which of course is perfectly fine – if you disagree absolutely tell me! I just would prefer to write reviews that are completely glowing and are full of sunshine, flowers and skipping merrily in fresh meadows
The thing is, I know a lot of people appreciate the fact I tend to call a spade a spade, and whilst I was tempted to sugar coat this review a little, I’m just going to step out on a limb and call it as I see it. I know I could be in the minority here, and reading feedback on BODYCOMBAT 44 on the Les Mills forums I may well be. But, I’ve had a few messages on facebook from a few of you asking my opinion, and I’m sure no ones going to respect me for being nice just for the sake of it.
I mentioned in my filming post on BC44 that I hoped the release would grow on me. Some releases definitely do take time, I always think of BC39, I didn’t think that much of it at the filming and now I absolutely love it (Come With Me, Hardcore Angel, Cry For You and I Won’t Be Crying are some of my most played tracks ever!) So, I really wanted to give 44 a chance. And I have, I released over three weeks ago, I’ve taught the release in full over a dozen times now at multiple gyms all over the city (in fact of the five Les Mills franchised gyms in town I was invited to release at four of them). So yes, I’ve definitely given this release plenty of time to grow on me.
So, has it grown on me? Well for me the easiest determinant as to whether I love a release is how quickly I mix it out. Here we’re given the guidelines of 2-4 weeks after launch before we start mixing. BODYPUMP 74 for example, three weeks after release and I’ve still not mixed out a single track. In fact, in my last pump class I started by asking the class if they wanted to do it again or for me to pull out some older tracks and the answer was a resounding yes, they wanted to do the new release again. I was thrilled about that as I did too!
Looking back at my last review (43) I wrote “Let me put it this way – tonight is the first night I’m going to start mixing and the only cardio tracks I plan to mix out are 5 and 7. That’s saying A LOT! To my mind those are the weakest tracks of the release – the rest are stunning!” – yes I used the word “stunning” to describe a combat release! That was BC43 however, and that is definitely not a word I would use to describe BC44.
So, enough dilly dallying about with a long winded intro; What’s the deal with 44. Okay, truth is I found this release disappointing. Don’t get me wrong, there are a couple of parts of it I love, but, look at what I wrote about BC43 above – after 3 weeks I only planned to mix out two tracks. With BC44 after the two week mandatory period was up 4 tracks went immediately, and pretty soon after that 8 were gone (by request). In fact, for the first ever time in my almost 3 years of teaching combat I actually had a member come up to me in release week and ask how long we “had” to do the release for. To my mind that really just solidifies the fact that BC44 just doesn’t have the “wow factor” of previous releases. And please don’t think my members are feeling that way because I’m not trying to sell the release. I give every class my absolute all, in fact my good friend Raina came down from Auckland two weeks ago and participated in one of my combat classes. Being a close friend (and also being someone who attends the filming classes in Auckland with me) she knows I’m not really sold on the release – yet came up to me afterwards and said there is no possible way anyone could’ve known I’m not a fan – I really do give it my all.
So, here’s my 2 cents on the release on a track by track basis:
Warmup: Brighter Day (Monday 2 Friday Remix) – Yanou / Use Somebody – Ultrabeat
Warmups are far more music driven for me than any of the other tracks (possibly with the exception of a cooldown) as the choreography is always very basic, and musically I like it. I admit I had my doubts about using a remix of Use Somebody so soon after we had it as a cooldown in BC40, but the versions are so different it’s not a factor at all. I do have a couple of wee comments, but they are very minor. I do prefer warmups without combinations, for example I’d prefer solid upper cuts followed by solid hooks as opposed to combining the two. The reason for this is it’s much simpler to give set up cues when you’re only doing one movement. What I mean by that is if we are only doing uppers I can just say things like “target is under the chin” “elbows in” “drop your shoulder…” etc and it’s obvious what move I am talking about as we’re only doing one. But, if we are doing a combination I have to specifically state “on your upper cut your target is under the chin yada” then cue the hook in the same way “on your hook target is the side of the jaw, rotate your hip, lift your heel etc”. Just means I have to specify specifically what move to which I am referring and makes cueing a touch more complicated than it needs to be on the warmup (hey, I did say it was a minor point!). Same goes for the lower body warmup – the back knee front kick combo just makes cueing a little more difficult than when we have these moves individually. Just means we have to say more, and I’ve always been of the opinion ‘less is more’ when you’re teaching – you need to leave time for what you’ve said to land. But, I’m just being really picky. I do like the warmup so let’s just leave it at that!
Track 2: Energy – Shinedown
Okay, hand in the air I’ll admit I am not a fan of this track at all. Just feels like a mess. I don’t particularly like the “decoy” – even though it’s (apparently) derived from Tae Kwon Do (I have a black belt in TKD and I don’t ever recall this move being a staple in the martial art – but it was a few years ago now). Someone mentioned in a comment on this very blog that when we change the tempo up on the decoys they become too fast to do correctly and they have a point, for a lot of people they kinda turn into switches before the jab. The front kick off the back leg is a nice touch though, and I hope they incorporate that more into future releases, but for me musically and chorey wise this track just doesn’t work. Hopefully many of you disagree.
Track 3: The Time Of Our Lives – Sy & Unknown featuring Lou Lou
Yep, I do like this one. Definitely not as climatic as some of the past power training tracks (it doesn’t build and go off like Send Me an Angel, Poison or Sweetheart as an example) but it is a good track (perhaps those tracks set my expectations too high?). The track seems longer to me than it actually is – perhaps due to the fact it’s five rounds. But yeah, solid track 3 and one you can have a bit of fun with due to the “you and I could fly…” lyrics.
Track 4: Paint It Black 2009 – Masif DJ’s / GIA (Skitz Clubb Mixx) – Despina Vandi
Definitely this is one of the tracks that has grown on me. My only minor gripe is that there’s so much going on in the track that when there’s new people in the class there’s a lot of stuff to cue, and it seems that just as they get the movement right and it changes; moves like the shoot, ginga, jump kick, do take a few goes to get the hang of, would be nice if we did them a little longer before swapping to another. The shoot after the knees feels far more natural than the other way around (as we did in BC43), and the ‘double shoot’ is a bit of a killer on the ol legs. Quick question though, have many of you experienced any lower back discomfort from this track? I’ve had a couple of members mention that to me, and I’ve checked their technique and it’s all good – just wondering if it’s a common occurrence. The shoot is a very crafty way to incorporate lunges into combat, and it feels far more ‘combatty’ doing them this way than the way we did them in say “Don’t Ya Wanna Feel”. Solid track.
Track 5: Ignorance – ToneTonic
LM cover of the Paramore track. Nope, not a fan here either. This track is just all over the show. Chorey feels uneven, and I’m just not a big fan of loads of running in combat (ironically I love the running in BODYATTACK, I just feel attack has a much more natural fit). But we better get used to it as there’s loads of running in the track 5 in BODYCOMBAT 45 as well. Track fives in recent releases are always the weak point of the class for me and again this is no exception (and again that’s the case in BC45 too sadly). Perhaps if I was a Twilight fan I’d feel differently? This track again just feels like a bit of a mess to me. Notice the sound effects are back though??
Track 6: ìNessun Dormaî – Lacrima
Interesting one this one. I don’t dislike it, and I don’t love it. I think perhaps D&R are starting to maybe try to be a little too clever here. Track 6 in BC43 was a great track, almost every one just LOVED it immediately and raved and raved about it; maybe they felt they had to outdo themselves with something equally as clever? Hmmm… Opera in combat, still not sure about it personally. However, the classes aren’t about me and the peeps seem to love it! Though, in my last combat class I gave them the option of doing it again or doing another one and “pirate track” was the resounding response. It’s definitely a recovery track, you’ll find your heartrate drops considerably. Also, is it just me or is there a lot of lateral shuffling in this release? (warmup, track 2, and track 6).
Track 7: Metal Kombat For The Mortal Man – ColorBox
I feel like a bit of a broken record here but again this track hasn’t blown me away. Again, I don’t hate it, but I definitely don’t love it and I do feel that something REALLY special could’ve been done with a Mortal Kombat theme and this missed the boat a little bit. I think the problem is that the track doesn’t really “peak” like my favourite muay thai tracks (Hardcore Angel, So What!, Raver’s Paradise, Let the Beat Control Your Body.. I could go on and on). Just falls a little flat for me. It’s just missing a part that you can really sink your teeth into a just “go off” to. Again like track 5 did you notice the added sound effects? We might be slowly going back to the days of Natha and Gabby (ding ding anyone! ;))
Track 8: Your Shining (Hixxy Remix) – Styles & Breeze
Now we’re talking! Peak of the class, absolutely 100%. I loved this track at the filming, and I still love it now. It’s loooong (longest track 8 ever in fact) but that’s all good as it rocks! Builds and builds and is a climatic end to the cardio part of the class. Not to mention the first few times you launch it – the looks on peoples faces when they realise the track isn’t over… priceless! Love the track and love the chorey. Love it so much in fact that I’m willing to let the grammatical error in the track title slip by Seriously awesome, and really in my mind the one track that absolutely saves this release from being very average.
Track 9: Put Your Hands On Me – Crookers feat Kardinal Offishall & Carla-Marie
I have a personal theory about the inclusion of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in combat that stemmed from a little thing Dan said along the lines of “we wanted to put it somewhere and this felt like the best place” – it kinda seems to me that they are doing BJJ classes, and need to justify that by including it (somewhere) in combat. As it’s a ground fighting style it really can’t go anywhere but here. Does it work? No. To be blunt it’s a fricken nightmare. My combat classes are pretty much packed and there’s just no room in the GF room for the “walking komodo dragon with an alligator pushup” – never mind the fact that there’s also not much room to do it on the stage! Here’s the other thing, if you watch the DVD the intro for this track is 3 minutes long. The track itself is 3 minutes long – so we’re spending as much time introducing a move as we are doing it? (well, actually considerably more in reality considering the komodo dragon/alligator pushup is only done for 2 sets of 4!). It’s overly complicated, requires too much space, requires too much of an introduction, and to be honest isn’t even that much of a workout. I’m sorry to be overly harsh here but I really think this track crashed and burnt. When I started mixing for the first time, and announced “no komodo dragon today” the class actually cheered! (I’m not kidding!) Unfortunately, we might have to get used to that move as I can’t see it going anywhere anytime soon…
Track 10: Doesn’t Mean Anything – Alicia Keys
Not too much to say about a cooldown, but like the music, nice song to bring your heartrate down, not too much kata, good cooldown… still using it now in fact.
So, I’d really like your feedback here. I’ve spoken to other instructors locally and they feel pretty much the same about this release… but what do you think? Am I being a bit hard on it? I know there’s always going to be absolute combat lovers who love anything and everything that’s put out – and yes, perhaps I am getting a bit cynical in my old age. In short I just feel this release whilst is okay, really only had one track that blew me away (t8). Reading my review of BC43 I used words to describe different tracks like “stunning!, EPIC!, Love it!, FANTASTIC!, and Awesome!” – in my review of BC42 I used words like “Great track, Love this one! etc.”, BC41 “Officially my new favourite track 2!, Awesome finish…” but in BC44 my adjectives are far more toned back because the release for me just doesn’t “rock” like any of the more recent ones. In fact looking back I can’t think of any releases I prefer less until we get back to the early 30s. But, I’m only one person and this is only one opinion.
As always would love to hear your thoughts (if you disagree seriously put me in my place here…)
I’m still writing my reviews of the latest releases (I know I’m so slack!) – it’s taken way longer than I’d hoped but I have set myself a final deadline of this weekend (addition – it’s Tuesday and I still haven’t written this… good things take time?? Is anyone buying that excuse?? ;)).
In the meantime here’s a really quick post about a very hot topic right now; musical covers. As you’ve probably heard the fitness industry in Australia has been turned on its head by the Copyright Tribunal’s decision to increase PPCA music licensing fees about 1500% for gyms and fitness centres wishing to use original artists’ music in their group fitness classes. Les Mills has responded by stating they will move to PPCA free music (essentially using cover bands). The CEO of the PPCA responded by calling cover music “inferior” and “cheap”.
Well, I’ll let you decide. Below is one track (the original) and the second is a Les Mills cover from BODYATTACK 69. I’ve only used the first minute of each (under fair use) as I don’t want to get in trouble for infringing any copyrights – but have a listen and you be the judge:
I mean seriously could you tell any major difference?? Hopefully LMI keep their covers to this kind of standard.
If you are from Aussie and you instruct how have your members met with the change? Or if you participate I’d love to know your thoughts on the matter. Meanwhile I’ll get writing!
Apologies for the lack of posting over the past few days guys – been flat out with local releases here for BODYCOMBAT 44, BODYPUMP 74 & BODYATTACK 69 (plus now being GFM makes it even busier). Every release has been jammed packed and totally gone off! I’ve taught BC44 in its entirety five times now (plus participated in workshop and filming classes of course) so I’m in a fairly decent enough position to review it – which will be my next post. All up BA69 and BP74 have been met with fantastic reception, reponse to BC44 to be honest has been mixed – in fact one of my regulars even asked me if we “have” to do this release for the full two weeks or if we could mix earlier – I’ve launched nine successive BODYCOMBAT releases now (since BC37) and that is absolutely the first time I’ve ever had that reaction. But more on that later!
In the interim a picture tells a thousand words so here’s so pics from our releases – note to coincide with BODYSTEP 80 we themed every release “80′s aerobics style” so if you’re wondering about the crazy outfits now you know! There’s TONNES more pics on facebook so if you haven’t already please add me… (warning these pics have pretty outrageous costumes – I based myself on Richard Simmons; looking back the 80′s were tragic!!)