Posts Tagged ‘BODYCOMBAT MASTERCLASS’
First of all team I’d like to announce I am still alive and kicking! One thing about living in Dubai is the extremely long working hours – to give you some idea some days I work from 8am to midnight! As such that doesn’t leave too much time for blogging as I dearly treasure my downtime and tend to cocoon up and rest! However, I have the latest posters, tracklists and details on the new releases and will be posting them soon…
In the meantime, BODYCOMBAT 57 was just filmed this week and I have to thank the amazing Violeta Gregoriou (aka Vi) for her PHENOMENAL filming post below! I tell you what I have some amazing friends as these guest blogger filming posts put mine to shame! You’ll really feel like you are there when you read it!
I’ve had many people send me feedback about 57 and let’s just say the feedback has been consistent. The lower body warmup and the muay thai seem to be universally hated. Dan and Rach if you read this please move away from this band for muay thai – people just don’t connect with them!
Now, if you’re heading to the filming of BODYCOMBAT 58 on July 17 then I’m looking for a guest blogger for that so hit me up! Don’t worry about BC59 as I’ll be there myself for that one! Yay!
Anyway – enough from me… keep your eyes posted in the coming days for further updates. Take it away Vi!
BODYCOMBAT 57 filming – by Violeta Gregoriou
My name is Violeta Gregoriou and I am a BodyCombat & BodyJam instructor from Sydney, Australia. I want to thank Glen for allowing me to review BC57, as it is an honour to do so and I hope I have done it justice. I also want to say that when reading this review keep in mind that we all have different tastes and different ideas of what we think a great track is etc – so I have tried to make comparisons where applicable so ‘both sides’ can get a picture for what it was really like.
This was my second trip to Les Mills Auckland – my first time was last year late July/early August for the filming of BC54 and this trip also inspired me to do my Module Training for BodyJam as well as my AIM1 training for BodyCombat – because that’s what Les Mills Auckland City is – INSPIRING! I must say I was a little less nervous this time around, it felt a little more like home. LM Auckland is world class – more classes than you know what to do with and excellent facilities. If I had a gym like this at home I would probably be there day and night. If you do ever fly over come a few days before filming to catch the rehearsal classes – it definitely helps you feel a little less uncoordinated come filming day and it gives you an insight to how it all works – most of all you learn stuff (it’s hard not to) from how to improve your technique to using different cues etc.
Anyway, you probably want me to hurry up and get to the good stuff, right? Let me start by setting the scene – BC filming was the first cab off the rank and filming started at 7AM (I am not a morning person lol). Word was spreading that if you wanted a good spot near the front you should show up early (team Japan were lining up from 5.30AM, they’re hardcore!!). I arrived at 6AM and the line was already halfway down the stairwell!! It had been bucketing down rain the night before, plus it was windy and COLD, so I think this played a big part in the class size not being as big as normal – plus it was early, but there was a great energy in the room.
Once we were allowed into Studio 1 it was a mad rush to get a good spot. There was a bit of tension with a couple of the ladies in the front row – let’s put it this way, I thought BC57 was going to turn into a contact sport. I found a great spot in the second row towards the right of the stage so I had plenty of room to kick without being kicked (can’t say the same for the group in the middle towards the front).
Once Dan & Rach came on stage the room came alive (and awake) and they looked hot as usual in the new range of Combat gear. The new range was nice and simple, Dan had a black and green sleeveless T on with matching shorts which were mainly black and a green tribal type pattern on one leg. Rach was dressed in all black (I love black, so I am super excited about this range). Her shorts were entirely black and so was the tank with a gold print on the back with ‘Les Mills’ on it. I wasn’t a fan of the last purple/maroon clothing release, but this new range looks fierce. Let’s be honest, Dan & Rach could be wearing garbage bags and they would look amazing.
I was able to attend 1 rehearsal class on the Friday and it was all a bit of a blur, but I must say some of the tracks grew on me a bit more during filming. It’s hard to absorb it all in one go as you are trying to focus on what to do and just enjoying the moment.
Track 1a is a well-known Top 40 hit of late and easily offers lyrics to hook into and have fun with your cueing. It’s an upbeat track and the choreography is good and easy to follow – good energy to open the class with. Track 1b is a very well known 80’s rock song, which most people know the lyrics to, however I don’t feel it ‘matched’ the music to 1a – 2 different genres. I think some people will like it because the song itself is great but I’m still not sure how I feel about it in a warm up. The choreography is great and as usual certain moves that are set up in the warm up reappear in later tracks. Dan & Rach also had some fun with this track and I definitely think a few of us will be using their cues.
Track 2 – another great killer leg track (and yes in track 2!). I think what is introduced in track 6 of BC56 follows on from what we have in this track 2 – similar type of flow and movement. The music suits the feel of the track and gets the class pumping. There is also another ‘new’ kick in this track – all I will say that it feels great doing this kick, it’s not hard to do – but as always you can add layers of intensity to it.
Track 3 is a pretty cool track, another dance/club track which you can get the class singing to and hook into the lyrics to motivate the class. Good choreography and this track definitely gets the heart rate up and if you weren’t sweating already – this one definitely makes you sweat! The music is uplifting, but can I say it’s one of those tracks that will become a stand out favourite – probably not, but it’s still good solid power track.
Track 4 – this was one of those tracks that grew on me the second time I saw it. I think the music really matches the choreography quite well, hard hitting when it needs to be and a bit toned down to contrast different types of movements. There are some kicks, some punching, kata’s and an elbow. One thing some instructors and participants may struggle with initially is one of the kicks that in it’s name makes you want to kick in a certain direction but you actually kick in another direction, but after a couple of reps you get use to the feel of it. Have I confused you? Don’t worry it will all make sense when you see the release in 3 months. This music makes you feel strong and powerful and ready to unleash – it’s 1 of 2 songs in this release by the same band – a band which has just recently made a comeback, that’s all I am saying.
Track 5 – hmmm?? This is where I am a little torn. I love the choreography but not too keen on the music. My kind of track 5 is Nessaja (BC50), We Speak No Americano (BC55), Invincible (BC54) & True Believer (BC53) – so if you have the same taste you may not enjoy this music as much, but it’s still a fun track. It reminds me of tracks like Johnny B. Goode & Tutti Frutti for some reason, so if you like that kind of music then you’ll love this track. Track 5 sees the return of the speedball and a spin on the jump jab that I haven’t seen for a long time.
Track 6 – am I allowed to say that there aren’t any lunges and squats in this track?? BUT – do not think this track will be a walk in the park. You’re legs will burn with all the kicks and just when you think you’re done – THERE’S MORE! It really does lift the heart rate and push you to your limits. The music is awesome, it’s a popular track by Will.I.Am – that’s all I will say. I think this track will appeal to most people and will have you and class members singing along.
Track 7 – Let me start off by saying that I loved the Muay Thai tracks from releases 53, 54 & 55, and tracks like Hardcore Angel & Ravers Paradise are my idea of a perfect MT track. I am not really into rock music for MT tracks, although I did love The Last Fight – but this music really did nothing for me and I think that was the consensus with quite a few people. Choreography wise it’s good, but I want to feel completely wasted in a MT track and this did not happen. If you were at the filming I would be interested to hear what your thoughts are on this track. Also the jump knee is back (3 releases in a row) but I like how Dan & Rach have designed it to be layered in so that it’s achievable for all participants depending on what level they’re comfortable with and they don’t feel like a failure because they can’t do a proper jump knee. I know a lot of us instructors struggle with this move and it also gives us time to build it up and be successful – and there aren’t too many of them. Can I just say that during rehearsals on Friday Curtis Pipes was standing in front of me and HOLY HELL that guy can jump – his feet were at my head (height wise that is) I literally stopped moving and just watched in amazement.
Track 8 – LOVED IT!!!! I love a good power track and this track ticked all the boxes for me. Great choreography and great music – again you’ll find it hard not to sing along. Track 8 from 56 is my all time favourite at the moment, but this track comes pretty close. You’ll be gritting your teeth and smiling all at the same time. At the end of this track you will feel smashed and uplifted – AWESOME!!
Track 9 – another track that will have you singing along, but I personally have loved the music for the conditioning tracks for the past 4 releases or so – and this music doesn’t have the same feel as those tracks – but still not too bad. It felt a little shorter than most of the past few releases – but nice simple choreography almost going ‘back to basics’ with different level changes that are achievable the more you do this track.
Track 10 – this was the second track by the same band in this release. I actually really like this song (I also believe it was in BodyPump). It’s a bit of a ‘rock’ song so as you can imagine there is a bit of drama in the movements. Choreography is easy to follow and will be easy to learn, but I felt there could have been some more leg based stretches. I’m going to sound like a broken record but you’ll find yourself singing along again.
Overall it was a good release. Music for me plays a major part in teaching a combat class and participating in one – so like I said my tastes may not match yours and you may think back to this review after you have seen 57 and think I was way off or you could agree with me. I have a lot of respect for Dan & Rach and all the program directors. They do not have an easy job, and I can only imagine how hard it is to please everyone, but I think with all the different music styles they try to do just that – try to appeal to everyone without taking away from the authenticity of the program.
A key focus for this release was the importance of showing different layers in a lot of the movements – making BodyCombat achievable for everyone. We were all once new to a combat class and I know I felt really inadequate the first time I tried combat – it took me a week to come back and try it again. By knowing your class members and what they feel comfortable doing and knowing when to push them you will make them feel empowered and successful.
If you have ever wondered whether going to a filming class is worth it – then all I can say is YES!! You will have so much fun, you will be super sore from doing ridiculous amounts of classes, you will make lots of new friends and you will definitely learn at least one new thing. Most of all it’s inspiring to see the legends of LM doing their thing and the hundreds of people that come from all corners of the world to share the same experience. One tribe – One Love.
Once again, thank you Glen for the opportunity – would have been great to see you, maybe next time!! Vi x
Well one of the most highly anticipated BODYCOMBAT reviews has just hit my email inbox and, man, let me say it was worth the wait! Guest blogger Deb Shafran has done an AMAZING job painting a full picture of her BODYCOMBAT 56 experience. It was certainly fascinating for me as for the first time in something like 15 BC filmings I wasn’t there! So I was probably more excited to read this than anyone! One thing that I guess I always took for granted was having the mothership for Les Mills right on my doorstep – so it was so cool to read Deb’s recollection of her excitement of walking through those doors and into studio one for the first time. It’s something I’m sure most of you reading aim to do someday (and so you should!).
Anyway, enough of my babbling. Here’s the lowdown on BODYCOMBAT 56 – thank you Deb for doing such a phenomenal job!
BODYCOMBAT 56 filming review – by Deb Shafran
My name is Deb Shafran and I am a Les Mills BodyCombat and BodyPump Instructor from Boston, MA, USA. It is an honor to have been asked by Glen Stollery to provide you with a review of the Les Mills BodyCombat 56 filming experience, at Les Mills Auckland City, on January 29th, 2013. I hope I am able to not only paint a picture, but also transport you to what I heard, saw, felt and experienced at filming.
When I walked toward the gym, for the first time, I realized I had arrived at the place where all that has so positively changed my life, had begun. I was in the lobby of Les Mills Auckland City! The following minutes proved to be even more exciting, when Phillip Mills walked in the front door and casually smiled and chatted with Amanda Scales and Dan McDonogh (BodyStep and RPM Presenters from the USA)… and all I could say was, “Thanks for all you have done” and he then continued to walk away. The following hours and days allowed me to meet and personally thank many of International Presenters, whom I have watched on DVDs for years. I loved meeting Mid Thomas, Mark Sinclair, Will Pritchard, Gandalf Archer, Tauvaga Siolo, Lana Aitken, Carla Fitzsimons, Nat van Peer, Taimane Elise, as well as Phillip and Jackie Mills. I loved seeing Dan Cohen, Rachael Newsham, Susan Renata, Josef Matthews, Jericho McDuffie, Glen Ostergaard, Les Mills Jr, Sarah Robinson, Curtis Pipes and Corey Baird again. To be surrounded by such positivity and sense of the Les Mills cause, would make anyone who has experienced a Les Mills class want to come to the mecca, immediately.
Over the next week, I took several classes and also sat in the corner of Studio 1 to take notes and study how the instructors were delivering their classes. What they said was just as important as what they did not say. These instructors showed me that the journey is never ending, and I have more room to grow. I am excited about all the places I can go, and I hope to bring pieces of what I observed and experienced to the members in my classes and share with my fellow instructors.
Now onto BodyCombat 56…. Put in its simplest form, as my friend Ralf Galle expressed: “BodyCombat 54 was BOOM! BodyCombat 55 was BOOM! BOOM! And BodyCombat 56 is BOOM! BOOM! BANG!” And this is the review in a nutshell. As much as you hear everyone say, every time a new release comes out – this is the best one yet! I sincerely feel that this is true, in the case of BodyCombat 56, which is fun, fast and furious!
When I first walked into Studio 1 (not on a filming day), I honestly felt a little underwhelmed…. not disappointed, just not as impressive as I had envisioned, for so many years. But when filming day arrived, all the floor-to-ceiling black curtains were drawn shut and all the cameras were set up. There were 2 stationary cameras on large raised platforms – one in the back and one on the left side of the room. There was another camera on a large moveable arm – a jib, which was able to span the room, from above – and there was one hand-held camera, on the shoulder of a brave man who wove in and out of all the moving class participants. With all the lighting and backdrops in place, the room came alive! There was an electric energy that buzzed around the room and the studio instantly got transformed into the vision all of us instructors see every quarter in our DVDs. I felt like I was on a movie set and the stars of the show were about to come on stage and bring BodyCombat to life – again! I loved seeing mission control set up, directly in front of the soundboard, with a monitor representing each camera and the production crew diligently getting every angle the director needed. There were a few tense moments before filming could start, with the rush of participants charging for the front row center spot. But the crew reeled everyone in – calm, collected and under control – and the production was off and running in no time! Here is your track breakdown:
Track 1 is straight in and full on. Just like BodyCombat 54, the upper and lower body warm up flows from one into another, with no musical break. I really like this change. The music instantly grabs you – you definitely will think you are having the best BodyCombat dream, and you won’t want to wake up! The warm up gives you a sneak peak of what’s to come – particularly in tracks 4 and 7. During filming, there was a friendly competition of counting in the native languages in the room – Japanese, Portuguese and Germans all tried to be the loudest! You’ll see when you get your DVDs why you might want to count in this track.
Track 2 delivers a rock song, which you may recall from a recent BodyPump release – I won’t say which muscle group it was for… that would give too much away. This one is American kickboxing style and provides a great feel, between upper and lower body combos, which sets up the workout. The choreography kicks into high gear from the get-go, so this one feels a bit like a track 4.
Track 3 could be a tie for best one yet (tied with both tracks 6 and 8 from this release)! It just feels good and I didn’t want it to stop. This track is uplifting, as most track 3’s are, but it’s a level up from what you thought was uplifting. If you remember BodyCombat 28, you will recall this song remix of a former track 5. There are simple boxing patterns, high energy and building levels…. Just let it go!
Track 4 brings back a move that you may remember (dust off your archives and see if you can figure it out) from BodyCombat 29, track 4… but they give it a new twist – which at first is a bit challenging, but once you get the timing on it – BOOM – you will be delivering it with conviction! Don’t forget to take the high option, when offered, and bring it!
Track 5 definitely keeps you on your toes. The fancy footwork will keep your imaginary opponent guessing which direction you might be coming from next. The agility work will prepare you for the second half of the release.
Track 6 delivers the new move that I am not allowed to tell you about! It is different, definitely challenging and quickly tests the brain and body to work together. Fellow instructors, I think it will take us some time to master not only being able to physically deliver this new move, but also to teach and coach it really well. This move will fire up your fast twitch muscle fibers in such a way that you will feel it for days! There is speed. There is slow motion. There is a firing action. There is significant need for you to brace your core. But have no fear, as always, there are several options provided, so even the novice will have the opportunity to feel accomplished and want to keep coming back for more! Your esquiva is back, but know that it is your active recovery here… so good luck! I think this is the most challenging track in the release and tests your balance and pace. Deliver with precision and accuracy. This one is a butt-kicker!
Track 7 has 6 rounds and 6 counts and that might be sharing too much! As you might expect, elbows and knees are the name of the game, in Muay Thai. There is a short and sweet delivery of a downward street brawl punch that I like even more than the repeaters we have done in the past. This one gets in, gets out, and gets the job done – before your imaginary opponents even know what hit them!
Track 8 could very well be a highlight of this release – the stand out – as my friend Tony Ball put it. Think endurance and a huge finish! When Dan and Rach ask for your BLAH (Be Loud And Heard) feedback – let’s just say they heard it and they’ve done something about it! Forget about standing still and hitting your jabs for 164 counts. You aren’t going to need it. This track 8 will feel a bit different than your standard track 8, but the structure is similar enough that you know this is the final peak of the release. If any track makes you feel alive – I believe – this is the one!
I can tell you there is a new animal drill in Track 9 that, when done properly, will definitely help shape and change your abdominals. There is some posterior work – think “square your hips.”
Track 10 concludes the release and makes you feel like this one could end up in the hall of fame, one of the best releases that will ever hit your personal library. This one provides a great stretch and a beautiful kata to a huge song.
This release is simple to follow, but physically challenging to complete. BodyCombat 56 continues to deliver and push the BodyCombat program to new levels and keeps it evolving. There are definitely moments for your sing-a-longs, as well as moments where you are wondering how you are physically going to make it to the end of the track!
There are so many thank you’s, to all of those who helped make this experience the vacation of a lifetime for me. It was worth every penny I saved to go. Thank you to Ralf Galle and Peter Henrici for being my German bodyguards and taking exceptional care of me! Thank you Tony Ball for being the liaison for all the international visitors, helping us navigate through all the opportunities available to us, while we were there. You were the host with the most – your efforts are greatly appreciated! Thank you DJ Olivier for onsite coordination, logistics and social media efforts. Thank you to the production crew of all the filmings (Go Maggie Go!), they were top notch! They were organized, systematic, friendly (stern, when needed) and operated like a well-oiled machine. Thank you to all of the instructors, from all over the world, who illustrated our ONE TRIBE feeling… from Andy and Maria in Germany, to Naomi and Hiromi from Japan (I wish I could take you both home with me!), to Liz and Hannah and the whole Bristol, UK Tribe, to Nadege and Thierry from France, and Daniel and Danni in Australia – I thank you for contributing to my Les Mills journey. Thank you to the local kiwi’s who welcomed me with open arms – Babs and Joanna – how amazing to hug you both in Studio 1! Thank you Carrie Kepple for greeting me in Christchurch, even giving me a ride back to my hotel after a great afternoon of classes! I look forward to returning to the place that brings me such genuine happiness and I hope to see all of you again.
For me, it was wonderful to have Josef Matthews there (he will be in BodyPump 86, that’s no secret) in Auckland. Josef was my initial trainer on BodyCombat Release 35. He was also my AIM 1 facilitator (Advanced Instructor Module training, for all you non-Les Mills readers), the first time. Yes, I went through AIM 1 twice…. I thought it was so much fun, like a BodyCombat playground, that I wanted to do it again, and got a lot of out taking the module with Angel Santiago, a second time. Josef was also one of my AIM 2 facilitators, along with Kim Ames. Josef has been with me every stop of my BodyCombat journey so far and to have him in the room, during the filming of BodyCombat 56, was more than I could have asked for. Josef, I thank you for all you have contributed to my Les Mills experiences.
Wherever you are in your Les Mills journey…. new participant to Veteran instructor… if Les Mills has had a positive impact on your life, I recommend you to make this pilgrimage from wherever you are in the world. The significant expense is well worth the investment… in yourself, to help you learn as an instructor, and in your growth as a human being. This was an experience of a lifetime and I am so grateful for every minute of it! Glen Stollery, I hope I have given your loyal following a suitable substitute for all that you have built. I thank you for the opportunity and would do it for you again, in a heartbeat – if asked! Les Mills couldn’t have come up with a more fitting slogan… I felt this every step of the way: ONE TRIBE. BE BRAVE. CHANGE THE WORLD.
BODYCOMBAT 55 is officially in the bag!
Usually before a filming I’ll get a chance to head to a trial class and get a preview of what’s coming but been so busy lately that didn’t happen. As such I literally went into this filming class knowing absolutely nothing about this release other than a few peeps on both facebook and twitter warning me about the intensity of track 2 – and for good reason! But more about that in a moment…
Like last quarter the masterclasses were all filmed in the morning this round. This again meant BODYCOMBAT 55 was quite a bit quieter than usual as really the only people there were the super keen who took the day off work to attend (like me!) or the internationals that had flown in especially. Of course this means more room to punch and kick which is A-OK with me!
The filming team for 55 was Dan, Rach and Andres from Hong Kong (last seen on BC50). As always they were in the latest LM gear and man was it sharp! Possibly the best looking combat clothing I’ve seen – colours were black and dark purple (possibly maroon) and it just looked phenomenal. I’ll be first in line to grab that stuff as soon as it’s online for sure. The men’s t-shirts were compression fit – super tight with what appeared to be a skull on one shoulder (mean!) – I’m not a big fan of the standard cotton tee for combat (I tried it once and it was like wearing a wetsuit it was so heavy with sweat by the end of the class!) so this lighter fabric appeals to me a lot more. Rach was wearing a much more feminine top, off one shoulder with little crystals all along the top (not sure if those were added especially or whether they will be standard issue on the top but the looked pretty cool!). The shorts were really awesome too, again black and purple. So look out for that range when it hits lesmillsclothing.com for sure!
As for the release itself? Well again, disclaimer applies I cannot mention anything super specific about the music or chorey (sorry!) – I can give you a feel for the release and my opinion of it. And once again 55 is a total ripper!
Now I know 99% of you won’t have seen BC54 yet but if you read my BODYCOMBAT 54 filming post you may recall I mentioned how massive track 2 is. I actually tweeted last week that BC54′s track 2 would be the toughest t2 ever; it’s 6.5 minutes long, and is freaken H-A-R-D-C-O-R-E. It has a roundhouse challenge in it that will really challenge you and push you to the limit… and it’s only the second track! Well, I definitely spoke too soon as 55′s track 2 is even harder!
Honestly without giving the game away 55′s track 2 feels more like a leg-conditioning track that we’re used to seeing in tracks 4 or 6… it’s really tough! Are we seeing the evolution of the programme here? I mean, when you think about it making track 2 one of the toughest tracks makes a lot of sense. Consider BODYPUMP as a comparison, we warm the body up then we move right into the heaviest weight of the class while we’re fresh. Making track 2 a BIG track while we still have a lot of energy does seem smart. Plus, being that track 3 is a power training track with no kicks it gives the legs a bit of an opportunity to recover before track 4 (which doesn’t happen when we have leg-conditioning tracks as a track 6 as we move straight into muay thai). So it all makes sense to me. The flip side of that is that is that smashing us in track 2 makes the rest of the class considerably harder – I was absolutely crushed coming into track 3!
So yes, much like BC54 track 2 is a real standout in BODYCOMBAT 55 which is awesome news as for me (and let me know if you feel the same here) track 2 has always been a bit meh. It’s very rare that we have amazing track 2s. Frozen was great, and looking back there’s a been a few awesome ones over the years (United Vibe as an example) but generally the second track has always been a bit vanilla. Well definitely not the case in 54 or 55 – yay!
What else can I tell you about the release. Well let me say this about the warmup; D&R haven’t been afraid to grab one of the more crazy pop hits of the year and use it as a lower body warmup – as soon as it started I just cracked up. If you thought ‘Sexy and I know it’ was a laugh you’ll love this one too! (no it’s not Gangnam Style – though who knows what could happen in BC56 haha!) You’ll have a lot of fun hooking into the lyrics with this track in class.
Track 2 I’ve mentioned (YOUCH!). The music style was kinda difficult to describe, it’s definitely not rock. Maybe you could almost call it a dubstep remix of another track musically? Hard to explain. Track 3 much like BC54 was another standout. OUTSTANDING. Really really good.
Track 4 was side kicks, side kicks and more side kicks! A little bit of leg loading (much like 54 there are no esquivas in BC55) but there is a move in this track to challenge the legs. But definitely a lot of side kicks in this one! Musically another highlight for me.
Track 5 was a little crazy! Definitely a cardio peak, again you’ll have a lot of fun with this track. Initially I thought the track was Mr Saxobeat (it’s not) but that kinda gives you an idea of the actual style of the music. It was a fun one.
Track 6 is a track that was in BODYPUMP 84 and it’s also in a few other programmes this quarter. Tae Kwon Do and Karate based – Andres presented this and he did a great job! Loads of back and front kicks and not much else!
Muay Thai, killer track. Again not sure how to describe this musically It’s not rock – but its not trance – it’s kinda a rocky techno track? Bit like the muay thai in 54 – very difficult to pin an actual genre on the music. You’ll understand when you hear it. My absolute favourite move is back in the muay thai in BC55 so I’m a very very happy man. Loved it.
Track 8 was phenomenal too (nothing unusual there). If you remember the surprise at the end of Your Shining (gah, really hate writing the grammatically incorrect “your” but that is the actual name of the track), well this track has something similar. Just when you think you’re done… well… it’s not!
Solid track 9 and lovely cooldown to round the class off.
Sooo… in closing. BODYCOMBAT 55 is another total winner for me. 53 is still my favourite release ever but 54 and 55 are very close behind. It’s fantastic. Loads of kicks, fantastic music and not one single track that I didn’t enjoy. We have a lot to look forward to in the coming months be very excited!
The filming for BODYCOMBAT 56 is scheduled for either Jan 23 or Jan 29 2013 (those are the two filming dates which programmes on which day not confirmed yet but will post as soon as I know), if you’re going I’ll see you there! In the meantime enjoy BC54 guys, when you see it definitely let me know your thoughts!
Writing this I feel I’m at risk of being labelled a bit of a BODYCOMBAT fanboy who always writes glowing reviews. I recall reading on a Les Mills forum recently that someone was sick of, quote, “happy clappers” – thing is if I have been writing rave reports on the releases it’s for a reason! Fact is I’ve been pretty harsh on some releases in the past; if you’ve been reading my blog for awhile you’ll know that my review of BODYCOMBAT 44 was less than stellar (I called the release “bleh”!), and even more recently I wasn’t all that enthused (to say the least) by BODYCOMBAT 51 either… however this is now the third release in a row that I’m going to write a glowing report as BODYCOMBAT 54 is fantastic!
BC54 was presented by Dan and Rach as well as Sarah from Denmark. They were dressed in the latest Les Mills Clothing – the look was actually very similar in colour and feel to the “Tribal range” from BC53 which is currently available on the LM website. The gear looked really sharp and much more subtle than the orange gear from 51 and 52 (which may be your cup of tea – subtlety has never really been my specialty haha).
Instructors you’ll notice on the DVD that the class seemed quieter this round. It was, a lot quieter (especially when you compare it to BC53 which was absolutely rammed to capacity!). LMI had decided to run the filmings very early on weekdays (possibly to cause less disturbance to the regular Les Mills Auckland members I’m not sure) – but the day started at 7am Monday morning. BC was filmed at 8:30am – so you can imagine there were a lot less people present as compared to say 7pm which is when they usually film. Meant more room for us to kick which suited me just fine!
So what can I tell you about the release itself. Well, disclaimer as per I can’t mention anything specific about the music or choreography, I can only give my opinion… and my opinion was it’s another outstanding release! If you read my report on BODYCOMBAT 53 (which still stands as my all time favourite release in combat history) I mentioned that a perfect BC class for me is the following: Uplifting warmup; cranking track 3; loads of kicks in track 4 (or track 6, or both!); hard trance track 5; hardcore techno muay thai and a massively uplifting track 8 to round it all off. Guess what – just like BC53 BODYCOMBAT 54 ticks all those boxes!!!
54 starts hard and heavy with a big warmup track. Sarah kicked the class off and man she did a great job. Outstanding work. Must be so hard for guest instructors to fly in and just teach with D&R – she really held her own; top job! Sarah also took track 3 and again, amazing work.
Track 2 was HUUUUGEE!!! Very different to recent track 2s which have had a very rocky feel – I loved this track it went off like a fire cracker! Massive start to the class. And, fantastic track 3 to round the first block off – just what you’d expect, uplifting and awesome!
Track 4 was a cover of a VERY well-known rock track, as was track 6. You’ll know both these artists really well and definitely know both songs. If you’ve been hurting from all the leg loading we’ve had in last four straight releases (50, 51, 52 and 53 all have esquiva and/or leg conditioning tracks) you’ll be happy to know you get a break in 54. No leg loading in 4 or 6 in this release… But, prepare to kick, kick and kick again though OMG!
Track 5…. BOOM!!!! Another incredible t5!! Seriously awesome track! Just like 53 track 5 is one of the highlights! It’s uplifting trance again and man it’s wickedly good! Track 6 is covered above which brings us to muay thai…
And… again, just like 53 track 7 in BC54 is unbelievably good!! Straight after the class I got a facebook message from a friend in the class (hey Violeta!) asking if I knew what the track was as she wanted to download it immediately! Unfortunately I don’t, all I know is the main three words – but if I could find that track I’d be blasting it right now – IT WAS CRANKING!
Track 8 is huge too! A massive track to finish the class and it absolutely went off. D&R really have the format for track 8 nailed it’s consistently amazing from release to release and this is no exception.
Conditioning will definitely make you laugh when you hear it! Similar in feel to 53 and 52 but a little more lighthearted. And the cooldown was great too – lovely finish to the class.
So all in all BODYCOMBAT 54 is fan-freaken-tastic. For me personally it didn’t quite top 53 (which would be pretty much impossible 53 is almost perfect in my mind) but it would be a very close second! Combat is definitely heading in the right direction – I’ve been teaching the programme now for 4 or 5 years (that was my 16th time to a filming!) and my passion for the programme has never been stronger – it just keeps getting better! (oh and thanks for the shout out too Rach!)
So in short my friends be massively excited! My guess is 99% of you haven’t seen 53 yet so man you’re in for a real treat for the next few months! If you’re attending the next filming round see you for BODYCOMBAT 55 on October 23!
If you asked me to visualise the perfect release for me personally this is what I’d say: Uplifting warmup; cranking track 3; loads of kicks in track 4 (or track 6, or both!); hard trance track 5; hardcore techno muay thai and a massively uplifting track 8 to round it all off. Guess what; I just described BODYCOMBAT 53!
Honestly I love BC52 but for me BODYCOMBAT 53 has got be be a near perfect release.
Firstly what I’m most excited about: I’ve made no secret about my preference in muay thai music selection. My absolute favourite muay thai is Hardcore Angel from BC39, I also love Ravers Paradise from BC38 (yes I’m a Nick Skitz fan!), right up there as well is So What! from BC27, Party Non-Stop from BC36… you get the idea – uplifting hard trance for a muay thai just goes off as far as I’m concerned. So whilst I’ve loved the last few releases, when you look back at the muay thai tracks over the last six releases they’ve all been rock (or aggressive rock verging on metal) – in fact if you look back since Dan and Rach became Program Directors at BC21 overwhelmingly track 7s were hard trance tracks until around BC40 when it changed. Since BC40 we’ve really only had Excalibur 2000, Mortal Kombat and Braveheart as trance muay thais (I love all three of those by the way!) – 3 out of 13 releases, other than that recently it’s been a reign of rock. Until now. The muay thai in BODYCOMBAT 53 is a hard trance, massive anthem of a track and it is freaken EPIC!
But I just need to take a couple deep breaths and calm down as I’m getting waaay ahead of myself.
Before I get into the nuts and bolts of the release (or as much as I’m allowed to say) I have to make special mention of what a fantastic job the PDs are doing. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while you’ll possibly know that Dan and I haven’t always seen eye to eye over everything, and we’ve even had the odd moment or two where we’ve exchanged a couple heated words over the years (I’m guessing we’re both type A personalities and that will often happen!). But I have to speak out because there’s a thread on the Les Mills forums entitled “New Program Directors for Combat“. It’s basically someone saying it’s time for a change, that BC is stale and boring… and get this, too easy??! To the person who wrote that you know what? You’re an idiot. BC51 is gut bustingly hard, 52 is massive too and 53 is nothing short of phenomenal. Add to that the fact that Dan and Rach choreographed BC53 whilst LITERALLY on completely different sides of the globe (I mean how did they do that – over Skype?) and there’s no denying they are doing an amazing job. So to the person who started that thread and wants a PD change; shuddup already you are WRONG.
Right, on to the release! As usual I cannot mention anything specific about the music or the chorey (or Dan and I really will have a falling out haha) – but I can tell you my opinion and a general feel for the release.
BODYCOMBAT 53 was filmed very early on Saturday May 12 as part of LMNZ and LMI’s massive GFX event. GFX is basically the Super Bowl of the group fitness industry – it’s THE biggest event on the group fit calendar and man it showed the place was chocked to capacity every class of the weekend! You may recall in my BODYCOMBAT 52 post (which was just after Hernan’s passing) I mentioned how absolutely packed the class was. BODYCOMBAT 53 felt even busier! The class kicked off at 7am and I know there were people queuing outside before
5am! **Correction: 3am!** Thanks for the heads up Kiki… but 3am?! That really is dedication!
Just as with BC52 Dan and Rach presented on their own this round (I’m assuming mainly because Dan was in the UK until a week or two before and training someone else would’ve been a tough task); they went away from the orange clothing of the last couple of releases and were wearing green (I think?!), and it’ll come as no surprise they did a spectacular job.
Both warmup tracks are dancey and uplifting! Upper body was in a recent pump release (same mix too as far as I could tell) and the lower body was in a recent attack release. Don’t fear if you teach those programs (as I do) as the warmup is awesome regardless and the fact the tracks are reused won’t bother you. I mentioned my only issue with the warmup from BC52 was that there’s a move in it that’s not in the actual release (the shoot – and there’s eleventy billion of them!) – well there’s nothing like that in 53 from memory – it’s good stuff and a really really great start to the class.
Track 2 was typical of the last couple releases, kinda rocky – a song everyone knows the words to and can sing along with! Track 3 is where the intensity picks up (and doesn’t pull back either!) – great track – definitely uplifting! (can you tell that’s going to be my word of the release?) Musically it felt a little like We Dance On from 48.
Track 4 was definitely the most ‘sinister’ track of the release. It’s a very dark remake of an old track. Tae Kwon Do/Karate based – A track you can really grit your teeth to and kick, kick and kick again! (did I mention kicks??)
Track 5. OMFG they’ve done it again – another AWESOME track 5! D&R again please keep this format it is absolutely going off! Love the (here’s that word again) uplifting trance track 5s! LOVE THEM! This track has also been in pump as a back track (actually there’s 2 pump back tracks in this release!); I loved this track in pump but man it’s freaken amazing in combat! Such a great track 5 – power track in the truest sense (yay!)
Track 6. Ouch. Leg conditioning x 1000. Tough track, but haven’t all the leg conditioning tracks been lately? We’ve had leg conditioning tracks in 4 releases in a row now (Gimme Dat, Another Way to Die and Ring the Alarm), and this one is just as hard as the others! Musically it’s of a similar style to 50 and 52 if that makes any sense. The esquiva is back – and that’s all I can recall to be honest as I barely remember anything but the pain!
Track 7. BOOM!!!! Massive muay thai! I wish I could tell you more about this track other than what I said at the top of this post but I can’t! Know this though – it simply goes off! I just wish it was longer as it felt really short!
Track 8 was awesome too! Massive finish to the cardio part of the class – outstanding!
Track 9 is an artist that’s been used as a track 9 recently (mwap mwap) solid track; and track 10 is kinda RnB and a nice finish to the class.
So, yes, if you’ve not worked it out yet the word for BODYCOMBAT 53 is UPLIFTING! Another word would be OUTSTANDING. And yet another would be EPIC. Seriously this is one cranking release. I’ve heard some comments about BC51 being too rocky (and I kinda agree to be fair) – but rest assured if you are one of those peeps you will LOVE 53. Just love it. Just like I do! Cannot wait for this one!!!!!
Next stop BODYCOMBAT 54 on July 30. I can’t wait to see what’s next, if you’re coming I’ll see ya there!
The BODYCOMBAT 52 filming was always going to be a very very emotional evening. With the passing of Hernan just a few days earlier everyone was anticipating this class to be a special tribute to our BODYCOMBAT hero – and a tribute it certainly was. The room was absolutely packed to capacity with an amazing number of people wearing black armbands (including Dan and Rach) as a mark of respect to our fallen warrior. I’ve been to 14, maybe 15 Combat filmings and I don’t recall ever seeing one this busy – it was truly amazing to see so many people. Even people that never usually do Combat made the effort in his memory.
Many of you have asked me about the tribute itself. Well it was beautiful. For the cooldown Dan and Rach called up many of the Les Mills instructors present that worked closely with Hernan (names you’ll know from DVDs such as Sarah Robinson, Chris Richardson, Will Pritchard, Sharyn Sue See…) as well as Hernan’s brother Leo who had just flown into the country. The cooldown track that they chose given the circumstances was perfect. Just perfect. By the end of it the whole room was in tears. Literally the whole room. It was an amazing tribute to an amazing man. The entire room came together as one in Hernan’s honour and it’s something I’m sure I’ll remember forever.
If you are reading this as an instructor I’m sure that magical moment will be captured on film. And if you’re a participant never-fear as you too will know what I’m talking about when you experience the release in your own gym.
Hernan’s trademark was his ‘Colgate smile’ and he would’ve wanted us to work hard and have a great time so it’s something we all made an effort to do. And to be honest it was made a lot easier by the fact that BODYCOMBAT 52 is freaken AWESOME.
Dan and Rach presented this release on their own this round. They were dressed in stunning new Les Mills gear. Although LM gear does always look pretty good, this is the first time I’ve ever looked at it and thought “OMG I’m buying that!”. The male shorts especially were really cool – from memory they were a textured charcoal with orange trim; LES MILLS written in massive orange letters down one leg and ‘BODYCOMBAT’ across the other (bout time LM started properly branding us – none of this tiny discreet ‘LMI’ stuff!). The male t-shirt was pretty cool too. Just an orange cotton tee (kinda like the green one from a few releases ago) but it had BODYCOMBAT in large letters down one side and a very Venumesque logo down the other (yes I did just make that word up). That’s two releases in a row the BC gear has been orange and it works surprisingly well!
So onto the release itself. Well, as always I cannot mention specifics about music or choreography, but I can give you my opinion on it so that’s what I’ll do. Bear in mind this is all from memory and obviously my mind was a bit cloudy that night but I’ve tried my best to recall as much as I can.
Warmup – both tracks uplifting and lower body especially was very fun! Without giving too much away – this is the second release in a row we’ve gone all sexy in track one! (there that’s as much of a hint as you’re getting!) Choreography wise the track did seem a bit ‘bitsy’ in that there are moves in the warmup that aren’t in the actual release – but that’s a minor nitpick of mine and neither here nor there.
It seems we have a reoccurring artist in track 2 – again I can’t mention any specifics but this person’s music is back (again!). If you’re into rock you’ll enjoy this track. Track 3 was possibly my favourite track of the release. If you offered me $1,000,000 to tell you the actual song I couldn’t for the life of me tell you but I do know I loved it! Felt like uplifting hard trance – was awesome.
Track 4 – well, this track was in BODYPUMP 82 as well! It’s an old track (from the early 2000′s) that’s been redone as a club anthem and it’s good! Kicks, kicks and more kicks! Track 5 – well, three words. IT. WENT. OFF. Dan and Rach I LOVE the new format for track 5s as does everyone else I know. Freaken awesome just brilliant. A true ‘power’ track and very easy to remember the words to this one!
Track 6; Youch. Leg conditioning. No esquivas (phew as that’d be 3 releases in a row!) but tonnes of leg loading. Ouchies. Track 7 is a marathon. Felt to me to be at least a good 7-8 minutes. Very simple combo – loads of knees – heart rate maxed out. Massive track. Again it’s a rock track – not my personal preference for muay thai but to be honest I barely noticed as I was too busy breathing out of my butt! Track 8 is a goodie – it has been used in a recent LM programme so I have heard a lot of this track lately… but super solid track all the same.
Track 9 is a tough conditioning track. Obviously when I’m doing a release I’m making mental notes all the way and again I have zero idea what this track was… I’m not even sure I heard a single lyric! I do know the abdominal training fired up my core though that’s for sure. And, cooldown was just gorgeous. Beautiful track and as I mentioned perfectly fitting given the tribe’s recent loss.
So, as you’ve probably worked out by now I loved BODYCOMBAT 52. It reminded me of BC43 or 48 which I also fell in love with immediately. I don’t know about you but for me BC50 was a grower. I wasn’t ‘blown away’ at first – but after doing it several times I began to really like it. Some releases are like that. This one isn’t. I was blown away right on the spot – first time. Look forward to this one guys it’s awesome
Well to be honest it only just feels like BODYCOMBAT 50 was filmed – but here we are and BODYCOMBAT 51 is officially in the bag! I *almost* didn’t make this one for a few reasons, but mostly as it was scheduled for 10 o’clock at night on a Monday! (I mean seriously what sort of hour for a group fitness class is that?!) Given I live about 2.5 hours out of Auckland and had to teach a class of my own at 5:30pm it was touch and go as to whether I’d make this one at all. But, sure enough straight after my combat class was over we jumped in the car and made the trip, arrived just in time to see almost all of BODYPUMP 81 (wicked stuff) and do BC51, before making the trip home arriving back about 2am; over 5 hours of driving just to do a single BODYCOMBAT class… things we do for the love of fitness huh?!
Because it’s really hard to get a feel for a release just doing it once I did head up to Auckland on the Saturday beforehand to make the 4:10pm BC51 rehearsal Team Teach that was timetabled. However, disappointingly at the last minute this was cancelled and a normal class was held instead. The cover instructor offered no explanation other than “Dan and Rach couldn’t make it” but I know many were disappointed. I spoke to some instructors that had flown into NZ that very day and rushed to the gym to make that class, some from Singapore and some from the other side of the world! So there were a few long faces that afternoon! So even though I did try my best to view it, Monday night was literally the first and only time I’ve seen BC51.
The actually filming class itself didn’t start till close to 10:30pm, and as a result there was definitely a lot more room to move and kick than a usual filming; I mean let’s face it, only nutters like me (and probably you if you’re reading this!) would be loopy enough to do a fitness class that finishes near midnight on a Monday! Presenters were D&R and Tauvaga Siolo (or “T”).
Before I get onto speaking about the release itself I wanna take a moment to make special mention of Tauvaga. I was SOOO happy to see T on stage – he is an absolute living legend here in NZ and he lit up the stage like a freaken rockstar the moment he took the mic. If you’re reading this from out of NZ and don’t know who T is you’ll DEFINITELY recognise him. He’s already been the face of a tonne of program posters and DVD covers, from Combat to Jam to RPM – so he has been “on” a BODYCOMBAT DVD before (literally on, as in “on the cover” of BC36, BC41 and BC42) – it’s just now he’s finally “in” it! I actually must admit I felt quite emotional when he took the stage, not only because T conducted my BODYCOMBAT AIM (along with Matty Thraxton), and not only because he’s an amazing guy and an amazing instructor, but also because it’s been a LONG time since we’ve had a Kiwi guest present on a BC DVD. Hernan lives in NZ and he’s been a regular BC presenter, but of course Hernan is from Argentina originally. Correct me if I’m wrong but I believe the last time we had a Kiwi presenter on a BODYCOMBAT DVD was sometime in the 20′s? Close to 30 releases ago! So it was a very proud moment that’s been a long time coming.
I always get asked a lot of questions about what the team were wearing so I’ve pinched this image from Tauvaga’s public facebook profile pic (hope that’s okay T *let me know if it isn’t!*). The team were dressed in black and white shorts with bright orange stripes and a black sleeveless top with ‘Les Mills Body Combat’ written on it; interestingly ‘Body Combat’ was written as two words and lower case which surprised me as LMI normally always ensure it’s written ‘BODYCOMBAT’ for brand continuity – but I digress. Rach’s top was a slightly different style – but no doubt you’ll see all this gear on lesmillsclothing.com soon enough. It looked great I have to say.
Right so enough preamble on to the release itself! As per usual my disclaimer stands; I can’t mention anything specific about the music or choreography. That’s all got to be saved as a surprise for the release quarter. However I can give you my interpretation of the release, its musical feel and of course what I thought. Needless to say anything I write is my personal opinion and yours may completely differ!
Having not seen BC51 before filming day I did put my feelers out to many of the other instructors who were in Auckland to gauge their opinion beforehand. Let’s just say opinions varied – CONSIDERABLY. I spoke to maybe 5 or 6 people who had seen it and there was a massive contrast in their feedback. Some LOVED it, and said it was amazing. Others, really disliked it and thought it fell flat. Not often a release gets such contrasting reactions and definitely didn’t give me much to go on in terms of what to expect!
Musically BODYCOMBAT 51 can probably be described as 3 styles; top 40, rock and dance/trance. There’s a lot of rock in there. In fact, tracks 2, 4 and 7 are really rocky! Track by track what can I tell you: Both the upper and lower body warmup were top 40, uplifting music and a great start to the workout. Track 2 musically you can probably draw comparisons to track 2 from BC47. I’ll be honest musically this track was not my cup of tea at all – but T presented it so well the crowd was cheering and kiaiing the whole time it absolutely went off! I smiled the whole time, as did everyone else! T also presented Track 3 and did an amazing job, musically what you’d expect, uplifting and fun – if anything it felt too short!
Track 4 is where the actual workout intensity started to pick up. This track is also VERY rocky, again not my cup of tea, but man did it hurt! We had the esquiva in BC37 and 38 when it was first introduced to combat – but since then I believe it’s not been in 2 consecutive releases in a row. Let’s just say that’s no longer the case and expect a lot of pain in both 50 and 51! This track is a killer, lots of leg loads and kicks, just think “youch”.
Track 5 is interesting to say the least! As you may know I have been really impressed with the track 5s of late, they are all brilliant in 48, 49 and 50. Track 5 in 51 is definitely the “fun” track. You all will know the song and you all will know the words! It’s a silly track that will definitely bring a smile to your faces (even crazier than Barbra Streisand can you believe!) Workout wise it’s not quite as much of a peak as the 3 previous track 5s but it’s still a fun track.
Track 6 is probably the favourite track of the release for me along with 8. Again, very poppy top 40 and a great workout. You will be able to have a lot of fun with it!
To my mind muay thai is normally the ‘peak’ of the class but I wasn’t a fan of this one. I’ll be honest, I really miss the hard-trance muay thai tracks like Hardcore Angel, Raver’s Paradise, Party Non-Stop, Excalibur 2000 etc. With the exception of Braveheart the last 6 or so muay thai tracks have been rock and they don’t ‘go off’ in my opinion. Chorey wise this muay thai is an absolute A++ but musically it is the worst track of the release for me.
And track 8 – well, it’s another freaken marathon (yay!). Track 8 in BC50 and 51 are massively long tracks (think I Surrender or You’re Shining) which I just LOVE. Massive end to the class – awesome work D&R.
So overall you can see BC51 for me has big highlights, and some not so highlights. A big mix of musical genres which I guess is why I’ve been getting such mixed feedback from everyone with some loving it and some feeling it didn’t peak. If you love hard rock, you’ll probably love this release. If you don’t so much, you’ll probably be a bit like me and on the fence on this one.
So in summary, both 50 and 51 weren’t instant ‘OMFG this is amazing!’ releases for me – whereas 48 and 49 definitely both were. But I know many did love it so you might too (and of course some releases take time to grow on you!). In the meantime, BC50 is about to hit the globe any week now so look forward to hearing your thoughts on that. And if you were at BC51 please let me know what you thought!
Well guys the big half century for the world’s number one martial arts based fitness program has officially been filmed, locked and loaded. BODYCOMBAT 50 is complete! And, as you would expect it was a MASSIVE night.
As per usual, I have to do my short disclaimer. I will endeavour to give you a feel for the release, and my first impressions of it – but I cannot reveal any specific music or choreography until instructor workshops begin. But I will do my best to tell you as much as I can without letting the proverbial cat out of the bag.
BODYCOMBAT 50 had a literal ‘A Team’ of presenters from around the globe. D&R, Andres Vesga (originally from Colombia last seen on BC47), Shaunna May (from the USA last on BC46) and Judy King (now training out of South East Asia last on BC43). The team were dressed in black and white LMI shorts and celebratory BC50 black tops. As per usual they all looked lean, tanned and amazing!
By the time the actual class kicked off it was approaching 10pm so as you’d expect the class wasn’t quite as packed as some previous filmings, yet it was still busy especially given how late it was. However, it seemed that well over half the people that were in the room were fighting for the front row – the front section were just jammed in like venum sponsored sardines! In fact both Dan and Rach told them on separate occasions that they would have to move back, and give each other some room. I’m not too sure the words of advice were heeded however.
If you’ve read my last two filming posts you’ll see I fell in love with both BODYCOMBAT 48 and BODYCOMBAT 49 immediately as soon as I did them for the first time. Some releases you do instantly love, and some can take time to grow on you; I think BC50 falls into the latter category.
Now if you’ve seen the sizzler for BC49 (or done the release itself) you’ll know that the intensity of the workout starts straight from the first track. In fact the first time I did BC49 I was puffing mid way through the lower body warmup! I recall very clearly a friend of mine turning to me during a BC49 rehearsal class and saying “OMFG is this still the warmup?!” – it’s a big track! Well 50 is similar – the lower body warmup felt long and had loads of kicks. I know the upper body track has been in pump before, and the lower body track is a well known artist breaking all sorts of album sales at the moment *hint hint*!
Hopefully I can say this (I’m sure LM will tell me quick smart if I can’t); sound effects are back! Is this part of a celebration of combat’s heritage perhaps? They are very noticeable in track 2, and the muay thai – and I think track 4 as well from memory. Definite “bish” moves on kicks and upper body movements. But don’t fret if you’re not a fan… we’ve not gone back to the days of BC15 with bells and gongs!
There’s a couple of new moves in 50. A new kick in track 4 (this is the kick Dan warned everyone they’d need some room for), and a new adaption of a move in the muay thai. Both are pretty cool. And be prepared as track 6 is 6 solid minutes of pure pain. This track makes Stamp or Spitfire seem like a stroll in a park by comparison; YOUCH!
But, the highlight of the release for me? Third release running, yes you guessed it; TRACK FIVE! Man the days of me absolutely cringing at track 5s has well and truly gone. Track 5 in BC48 was awesome, track 5 in BC49 is EVEN BETTER and track 5 in BC50 is definitely the peak of the release. In fact every single instructor I spoke to felt the same way. It. Goes. Off. Freakishly all three of those tracks (48-5, 49-5 and 50-5) have all been in previous BC releases! How crazy is that! However, much like the version of No Good (aka Don’t Need) that is in 49, the version of the track in 50 that was in an earlier release bears little resemblance to its predecessor.
I mentioned this release may be a grower because if I’m completely truthful the first time I tried it I wasn’t “blown away”. But, the second time at the actual filming I enjoyed it a lot more which is brilliant. Yes there’s a move in track 2 that feels a little silly, yes track 3 didn’t quite peak like they usually do, and yes the cooldown cover is pretty awful if I’m being honest… but track 5 and 8 absolutely go off and that more than makes up for it! Track 8 is another uber-marathon 8+ minuter, and you’ll be riding an endorphin wave the entire way.
Overall BODYCOMBAT 50 is a solid release. There’s innovation in new moves, with a couple of the tracks having been in early combat releases plus the sound effects BC50 definitely feels like a tribute release fitting of a such a big landmark. Excitingly I think it’s fair to say a new format has been found for track 5 and I for one freaken LOVE IT. Instructors you’ve got a few months up your sleeve to think of a way to celebrate this milestone – start prepping now and put your thinking caps on as it’s gonna be a big one!
And of course to BODYCOMBAT; Happy Birthday! It’s been a wild ride so cheers to another 50!
Well once again, much like my BODYCOMBAT 48 filming post – I am REALLY excited to write this. BODYCOMBAT 49 absolutely kicks ass. Serious serious SERIOUS ass.
Now as per usual I have to do my short disclaimer. If you’ve read my blog before you’ll know I can’t disclose anything specific about the music or choreography. LM like to keep this under wraps till workshops kick off, and they’re the boss! All good though – I can tell you my opinion of the release – and my opinion is it freaken rocked.
BODYCOMBAT 49 was presented by D&R, George from Cyprus and Tamu from Japan. Although the internationals only presented a total of a track each (well actually two half tracks each to be precise) they did really well. I managed to catch a rehearsal class just two days before the filming and I was amazingly impressed by how much they improved in just a mere 48 hour period. I mean let’s face it – it probably doesn’t get much more intimidating than presenting a class to a) a room full of instructors and b) 3 or 4 cameras and the entire Les Mills International production team filming it for release to tens of thousands more! So yep they did a great job.
The release itself? Well I can’t believe I’m saying this now for two releases in a row, but my favourite track was, wait for it… TRACK FIVE! I’ve made no secret about the fact that track five has almost always been the low point for in recent releases for me personally; the likes of The Warriors Code, Proud Mary, Ballroom Blitz etc haven’t really floated my boat. But, that’s all in the past because track 5 in both BC48 and BC49 are freaken amazing! BC49′s track five might even be better than 48′s! Actually coincidentally both of those tracks have been in previous BC releases (in fact the track 5 in BC49 was used in a BC release only 10 or so releases ago!) but the remixes used could not be more different. So definitely get really to rock that one loud as it will go off!!
The rest of 49 is awesome too. Both the upper and lower body warmup tracks have been in recent LM releases – however very different remixes. The lower body track when used in pump wasn’t that great in my opinion – but in combat it works much better. The music for track 3 will surprise you – and make you giggle! Track 4 felt quite a bit like track 4 from BC44, a little bit dark, a little bit ominous – it’s good!
Structurally track 6 felt very similar to track 6 from BC45 (though faster and better!) and the muay thai was kinda rocky. And be prepared to feel like you’ve run a marathon after track 8 as it’s a long one!!! (and a good one!)
Choreography wise, without being specific, 49 is a simple release. Nothing new or fancy, just pure, simple and brilliant! I really can’t rave about it enough.
So again, much like 48 I’m really excited about this one! For those of you that have seen 48 you’ll know what I mean about track 5 – and 49′s better! Woo hoo!
So that’s it in a nutshell! Be excited! Next up is BODYCOMBAT 50 on the 1st of August! Book your tickets to NZ now as that’s gonna be epic! See ya there!
There is only one word to describe BODYCOMBAT 48: Relentless
This release starts and does not stop – not even for a moment. From track 2 right through to track 9 the release just pounds every part of your body – head to toe. The Programme Directors took the word “recovery” and completely deleted it from the BODYCOMBAT vocabulary!
Now, if you’ve read any of my filming posts before you’ll know I can’t mention anything specific about the choreography or the music – all I can really talk about is my experience and opinion of the release. But, what I will say is this: BODYCOMBAT 48 is a very VERY kick heavy release. I mentioned in my BODYCOMBAT 42 post that outside the warmup BC42 had no side kicks. In fact the entire release had 8 side kicks total! Well, think of this release as the anti-42. It has side kicks, side kicks and more side kicks. Which is brilliant for me as having done years and years of Tae Kwon Do they’re my favourite kick!
In my BC47 filming post I wrote that that release didn’t seem to have an actual “theme” – I can’t be certain if BC48 had one, I don’t remember D&R mentioning anything specific – but, if it did have a theme that would be it: kicks!
So, what did I think of the release. Well, lately I’ve been hesitant to specifically say whether I liked or disliked a release just based on one class. As we all know some releases grow on you over time (and some don’t haha!). But, this was different. I LOVED BODYCOMBAT 48, I really did. It’s challenging, man is it challenging! My hips flexors and glutes were blown to bits by the end of this class, I had done BODYATTACK 73 right beforehand to be fair (another awesome release!), but that aside, 48 is probably the most challenging release I’ve ever done. I can’t think of any other release that pushes you as hard. We left Auckland to head back home immediately after the class as I had to teach a 6am class the next morning, and the first thing I said to my members was “I’ve just done BC48 – and we’ve got about 3 months to get our fitness up or it’s gonna kill us!”.
There’s one more thing I’ll say (and hopefully I don’t get in trouble for this). In my review of BODYCOMBAT 46 I had a ‘bit of a moan’ (okay, understatement!) about the music we’ve had in recent track 5s. I mentioned that track 5 is usually the low point of the class for me, that I believed musically the format should change and said “perhaps they should be more of a power training track like 3 and 8 musically wise”. And, to be fair a lot of you commented and agreed with me. A LOT. Well, if you were one of these people – be VERY happy!! I don’t know if we had any collective influence on that decision here, or on BLAH, or whether it’s just a coincidence but when track 5 started I was beaming from ear to ear. It’s possibly the highlight of the release for me for that reason, I don’t even care that the track has been used in another combat release before it’s so cool! (actually while I think of it 2 of the tracks in BC48 have been in previous BODYCOMBAT releases before – but again they are so different from their predecessors it doesn’t really matter…)
What else can I tell you without breaking the rules. The muay thai is rocky – again, not my person preference for track 7 (I prefer the Nick Skitz genre for muay thai myself), but I know many of you like that style so all good. Track 3 isn’t quite as peaky as many other releases – but who cares as track 5 is! (man, so happy to be saying that!). Track 8 just WENT OFF, and as I mentioned track 4 and 6 as so full of kicks that they’re bursting at the seams! (track 6 makes We Will Survive from BC37 look like a walk in the park kick wise!)
Overall, I am more excited about this release than I have been about any release in such a long time. It is just a superb workout. Yes, some of the tracks have been in other combat releases, yes, some of the other tracks are in other Les Mills programmes, but it doesn’t matter as BODYCOMBAT 48 just rocks.
So, in closing I’ll say this. Guys, be excited. Be very excited! If you’re a participant be prepared to work hard, and if you’re an instructor start to get your members fighting fit cause they’ll need to be. And, Dan and Rach: Congratufreakenlations.