NZ Glen : BodyCombat fanatic

Archive for May 2013

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

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