NZ Glen : BodyCombat fanatic

Archive for July 2013

Here you go guys, how great is this: BODYCOMBAT 58 review number two!

Another glowing report! Here’s the amazing thing about this. Both Raina and Zhengjie keep it real. Sometimes when people attend filmings they get so swept up in the experience that they walk away from every single class going “OMFG THAT WAS AMAZINGLY-CRAY-CRAY-TOTES-UBER-EPIC!!!” – even if the release perhaps wasn’t actually that great, just because the whole thing can be so surreal. Both Zhengjie  and Raina have been to sooo many filmings that they know what to expect and they’re used to the process. As such to get two stand out reviews from two hardened veterans can mean only one thing – BODYCOMBAT 58 is obviously something pretty special. (another 53 perhaps?!)

There’s one other consistent fact in both these reviews: Dave Cross. The guy clearly stole the show! I tell ya what they breed a pretty amazing calibre of instructor in the UK! Every time a member of the UK trainer team is sent over they shine like a freaken rockstar! (Dave Cross, Dave Kyle, Shaun Egan, KC Van-Roose, Tanya Walker… I could go on and on!)

Anyway – thanks so much to both my guest bloggers you guys went above and beyond the call of duty. And I’m happy to announce I even get to write the review on BODYCOMBAT 59 myself as I’ll be in Sweden for Super Saturday in September! Woo hoo! But first thing’s first: Take it away Rai-Rai!


I’ll be honest, I tend to avoid filmings these days – the only reason why I attend is to support friends who are presenting, and in this instance, I attended BODYCOMBAT 58 due to my AIM2 trainer/friend Carrie Kepple being onstage as one of the EPIC team.  I just wish she had a mic! Before I get going into the review of the release, Carrie, I just want to say that you are AMAZING and I loved seeing you up there – I know it meant a lot to you, and I am sure it will not be the last time we get to see you.

The presenting team, which you will see, is the largest presenting team in the history of BODYCOMBAT, and I’d hazard to say, across any program, ever.  I believe the last one that would have gotten close would have been BODYJAM 45 with a 10 person team (if I am wrong here, please let me know!).  I was concerned that it would be to clutteriffic on the stage, but I will say right here and now that very rarely are all 14 members of the team onstage at any one time.  If any of you have seen BODYATTACK 80, you will see that the presenters rotate on and off the stage.  In some of the rehearsals there *were* tracks where they had the whole team on the stage – it looked super cool in the room, but I was a bit like o_0 over trying to picture what it would be like trying to watch it on a DVD (or, as I learn my choreography… on an iPhone. That is a small screen!)

Before I get into talking about the release itself, firstly, let me go over the filming experience.  I’ve been to a few, being an Auckland resident, but recently there seems to have been changes.  Firstly, when I stumbled up to the gym at 6:45am, I was staggered by the line of people that was trailing out of Studio 1.  It looped down past Studio 1, Studio 2, past the changing rooms, over the bridge that connects the two buildings at LM Auckland, and down into the main gym area.

That be a long queue!

That be a long queue!

Regular members of the gym were walking past the queue, completely bewildered as to what these idiots were lining up for, haha!  I was right at the back, with a few concerned people who were very worried that there wouldn’t be any space, but there was *more* than enough space for everyone, so there was no reason to worry.

One thing I will say, and this was covered in Zhengjie’s review as well, there was a bit of confusion about positions in the front.  Pete Manuel said over the mic several times that members of the LMI production crew *would* be moving people around and to expect to be moved if you were in the front few rows, but at that time of the morning it might have come out sounding a bit like wahp wahp wahp wahp, never mind language barriers and all of that.

That being said… once everyone had been arranged… it was one of the least stressful BODYCOMBAT filmings I’ve ever been to!  Normally I will get irritated at a filming due to all of the pushing and shoving (BODYCOMBAT and BODYATTACK are chronic for this sort of thing as your position is not fixed on the floor), though this time, everyone had their space, everyone respected their space, and for the most part of it, everyone had room to execute the moves safely.  I say ‘for the most part’ as I was lucky enough to have a guy in front of me that would jump backwards every time we were supposed to move forwards. Bless his heart.

TRACK 1A – Oh how I love thee!  This track embodies in my opinion, the perfect upper body warmup.  Modern, upbeat, fun, and with ample space in the music to cue and introduce each of the moves  correctly.  I don’t believe in complex combinations in the warm up, I believe the warm up should 1) warm you up, obviously, 2) teach you the moves and 3) elevate the mood.  This track ticks all three of those.  Also!  There is a little dubstep interlude. *squee* I hear you now, “ What???? Dubstep you say?!  I hate it immediately.”  Seriously, the little bit they have in there is a WICKED contrast, and I feel that using dubstep *this* way is a great way to get people used to the sound.

TRACK 1B – Also, how I love thee!  This track flows on perfectly from 1A, my only criticism is that it brings back the shoot.  Using the shoot isn’t a problem, but I personally believe if you’re going to introduce a move in the warmup, it should then be present somewhere else in the release.  The shoot wasn’t present elsewhere, so in my opinion, it’s introduced for nothing.  But, the tune is awesome, sooooo… whatever! 😀

TRACK 2 – David from France presented this track, and let me just say this… I observed him in team teaches during the week and he struggled with the odd timing of the first combo.  Due to no doubt a lot of hard work and practice, he NAILED the timing at the filming.  The timing is odd though, and it takes a while to get used to.  I LOVE the tune – though I am biased, if EDM were a human being, I’d marry it.  It’s aggressive, dark, full of contrast, has lots of anticipation and build up, and very modern sounding.  It’s not as aggressive on the musical palate as First Of The Year, so if you are worried about members not being used to the sound, this one is easier to digest, and they’ll probably be too distracted over how much their quads are hurting anyway!

TRACK 3 – Zhengjie mentioned in his review that his pet peeve is when songs are recycled.  I’m not a fan either *when* the sound is similar. For me, the tune that is used here, while recycled, is AWESOME, and is different enough sounding that you can continue to use the original track as well. Think of the difference between No Good (38) and Don’ t Need (49).  Same melody, but different sound, and different training.   I really like this one, it does the job, gets the heartrate up, is fun.

TRACK 4 – Time to do ALL the capoeira.

The first time I saw this track, I was like “OMG I’m in love.”  The second time I saw it, I went “… the music changed?!”  I talked to Carrie after a team teach and she said that they weren’t able to acquire the worldwide rights to it, so had to do a last minute switch to another song, with the same choreography.  The timing was slightly different even though the chorey between both tracks was the same.  Giovanni did a really good job of adjusting to the new rhythm in the short space of time, so well done.  This track is going to KILL your legs!

TRACK 5 – My favourite of the release.  It’s a recycled track, but the sound is so different between this and the release it was originally used in that you could continue to keep both in your library, and in your mixes.  Daniel from the Netherlands presented this, and while he did a good job at filming, I actually want to draw attention to a moment in one of the team teaches that I was inspired by.  The first team teach I attended, the microphone was absolutely murdered.  What do I do when I don’t have a mic?  Screech as loud as I can.  But I don’t need to teach in Studio 1 to 100+ people.  The way that he managed to precue every combo, every move using non-verbals, man!  Totally inspiring.  I know there was a BODYATTACK ed session a while back where Nathan Jones(?) demonstrated how to teach a track non verbally, I think having one for BODYCOMBAT would be a great idea.  I have no doubt it would show most of the techniques that Daniel used that day.

TRACK 6 – The first time I saw track 5, I was like “YAY we don’t have a lame, cheesy track 5!  It’s all going to be good stuff from here.”  Then track 6 began and I went “… what the hell is this???”  I’m not a fan of the song, but I understand why it’s in there, and I tell you what, over the course of the week, it grew on me BIG time.  By filming, I liked it.  This track is completely different from everything else in the release – every other track has a dark edge, a thumping beat, and a throbbing bassline. Even the upbeat upper body warmup has that dubstep interlude which adds darkness to it.  This one is all rock, and all fun.   Plus, you get the bonus of UK presenter Dave Cross.  This guy is pure class and I hope that he comes back and presents again.  WOW.  He basically presents an AIM2 masterclass in a matter of minutes.  Every time he taught, I was blown away.

TRACK 7 – This one does the job.  It gets your heart rate up, knees and knees and knees and knees… it doesn’t do any favours for getting away from the stereotype of T7’s being “the track with the knees”.  Rach coaches like an absolute machine in this track, so as I was paying attention to her the whole time, I honestly couldn’t tell you about the music if I tried! (sorry guys!)

TRACK 8 – Dan says off the bat that this track is 1 minute 30 seconds (at least) shorter than the norm.  I think this is FANTASTIC.  One thing that we’ve seen is a trend towards longer tracks, which makes building mixes to time all the more challenging.  It’s also harder if say, there is an equipment based program before yours on the timetable and you need to gain back some minutes to ensure the remaining classes don’t run too late.  The shorter track doesn’t mean that you get any less of a workout though, as it’s basically 15 seconds… and BOOM! You’re in the thick of it! Love love love it.  It’s a great singalong tune, and I think Dan belts out a good verse or so partway through his presentation of it – and he’s in tune! Go on Dan, I’m sure they’re still taking auditions for NZ’s Got Talent? You could call yourself The Singing Boxer. 😀

TRACK 9 – Nothing complicated or unachievable here, good tune, and a strong focus on the core.  Dan’s doing awesome work in CXWORX, and I think that shows here too.  I know that when I participate, the last thing I want to do after blasting my shoulders in T8 is more shoulder/chest work via push-ups/planks/etc.  I tend to just sit there and look grumpy instead.  This has been recognised, and there is a moment given for your shoulders to recover while the muscle focus is shifted elsewhere for a bit.  Massive thumbs up from me.

TRACK 10 – This cooldown is seriously amazing.  I don’t think there was a cooldown that was as ‘meant for’ BODYCOMBAT as this one.  Cooldowns don’t need to be soft rock – they don’t need to be Bruno Mars, or Bon Jovi, or whatever.  The tune maintains that dark edge that is present throughout the release (sans T6), and the moves meld so perfectly with the melody that it takes your breath away.

Overall, a very good release.  I actually stopped participating in BODYCOMBAT for a good period of time due to favourite instructors of mine moving to different countries, and had no real interest in doing it again.  This release makes me want to start doing it again.  Dan and Rach, you’ve done a really good job with this release, I’m really looking forward to when the rest of the world gets to see it.

OMG I can’t believe the last post I made to this blog was the BC57 review 3 months ago – I am useless! I promise to improve my hours here have started to be a little more “normal” (as in 10 hour days rather than 14!) so *hopefully* I’ll have more time to blog. Anyway – you guys are in for a real treat this quarter as I have not one but TWO guest bloggers writing about BC58 (which was only filmed this morning as an FYI!). The great thing about this is we have two perspectives on the release! And I think you’ll find the opinion is unanimous – BODYCOMBAT 58 is a winner!

As you’ll read there was a HUGE BC team for this filming  – in fact the biggest ever! From what I’ve been told the star performer was Dave Cross from the UK. This comes as absolutely no surprise to me as having seen Dave in action at a Super Quarterly in the UK a couple years back I wrote “if this guy isn’t on a BODYCOMBAT DVD soon I’m hanging up my combat gloves” – he is absolutely amazing so I’m so glad to hear he rocked the stage.

Anyway, enough from me for now, here’s review number one courtesy of my great friend Zhengjie. Enjoy!

BODYCOMBAT 58 filming

Hi everyone, I am Zhengjie from Singapore. I promised Glen to write a review for BC58 so I thought I’ll wrap this up quickly while everything is still fresh from the oven, so all BC fanatics can get the soundbites from the latest filming. BC58 is my 4th consecutive filming and 11th overall, so no doubt that I’ll be doing some comparisons from my past experiences.

In a nutshell, what I would say about BC58 – “It’s A Fight Till I Die”. Music was uplifting and most participants connected with the tracks instantly. No fancy new moves this time round, D&R have stuck to basics and integrated free flowing choreography to a brilliant tracklist. Virtually everyone who attended the filming and trial classes loved the release. Without sounding like a fan boy, I compare this to BC57, where there were 3-4 tracks which weren’t my cup of tea and took some getting used to.

For this quarter, BC58 was once again allocated the 7am morning slot. Fanatics including myself queued up early for the filming, even though we all knew we would not be standing in the front row. The filming process was a little different this time round. The crew positioned random people to the front row, with the intention of having different cultural and racial representation to be captured on DVD as BC is supposed to be a global program. While the intention was good, the execution was sub-optimal. What was supposed to be an orderly movement resulted in chaos as some participants just moved themselves freely. Furthermore, some of the participants who were moved to the front row were very unsure of the choreography of BC58 and seemed uncoordinated most of the time.

After the dust settled, the presenting team came on stage. For this time round, it was a huge team. A total of 14 people on stage – Dan & Rach, David from France, Jorge from Argentina, Giovanni from Colombia, Daniel from the Netherlands, Dave from England, and shadow presenters Tauvaga, Will P, Pena, Mel, Charlotte, Carrie and Sarah R. Needless to say, the team was bursting with energy. We’ve had just Dan & Rach for quite a few of the recent releases – while their chemistry is amazingly superb, it does help if we have guest presenters to bring up the energy, especially if they are of such good quality like the 5 guys this time round.

The team’s outfit has been revealed on Facebook and Instagram. A bit more detail on the outfit. The boys wearing the sleeveless tank top had the words BODYCOMBAT in GREEN, while the two wearing sleeved top was more of the compression design with words BODYCOMBAT in YELLOW across the side (under right elbow). For the ladies, the tribal designs were in gold. What I liked about both the tribal designs was that they managed to integrate the fern leaf (showing NZ roots) into the design beautifully.

For all LM clothing fanatics, this is your last chance to get the LM gear. During BC57 filming, there were rumours that LM tied up with Reebok on a 5 year contract, and the rumour has become a fact now. Disappointing for many who do not like Reebok designs, but I guess this was a business decision to further the commercial causes of both companies.



Into the release proper!

Track 1a – This is a popular pop song by a female artiste which has been used in other programs, but this is a different mix done by LNG Label. It’s catchy and it’s fun and when Rach was presenting this, she was clearly having fun with the song and encouraging people to sing along.  I think D&R have found a perfect formula for the warm-ups, using popular songs remixed to a suitable beat for the warm-ups.

Track 1b – Another track which has been used in several programs, but this version is completely different as well. The ‘shoot’ is back and this time we’re doing it for many reps this time. What I love about this is we really allow ourselves to get warm to prepare for the workout ahead. This is also another catchy pop song by a male artiste remixed to a faster beat. Incidentally, both of these tracks appeared in the same BODYJAM release. Am I giving away too much here?

Track 2 – Talking about BODYJAM music, track 2 sounds like it could easily make its way into a BODYJAM tracklist. It’s one of those techno EDM sounds which is just brilliant when the kicks come in play. The contrast in the music was perfect to showcase the levels in the 2 sets of combos. There is a slight propulsive move here, but just a mild one. The timing for this track is somewhat weird at first and needs getting used to.  David from France presented this track and he really nailed it during filming. Good improvement from the final trial class.

Track 3 – One of my pet peeves regarding LM music is the use of recycled tracks. This is a recycled track from BC30, even though the version is different, I would much rather this track to have not been used at all. Similar to Hymn being used in BC28 and BC56. There’s so much music out there, why reuse the same title? This track is a typically boxing combo track to a hardcore tune – think jabs, hooks, footwork, all infused together.

Track 4 – From what I understand, this track 4 (presented by Giovanni) was a substitute for the original one. Apparently the original track 4 didn’t get the necessary clearance to be included in BC58. But this track rocks! The music is really good. This track is all about capoeira – think Bad Girls (BC55) and Gimmie Dat (BC50) but with a twist… A combo!

Track 5 – Presented by Daniel from the Netherlands, there’s no Rock’n’Roll this time but just pure techno/rave/electronic. Ok, if i were to be anal about this, I would say that the track is a recycled track from BC38, but thankfully the version is very different. Very very powerful track with a big finish. You will definitely feel it in your arms and core.

Track 6 – I must say that ALL the guest presenters were brilliant, but the guest presenter Dave was exceptional for this track. He was exemplary in his coaching and he used the lyrics brilliantly to enhance his cues, so much so that this track could possibly be my favourite of the entire release.  This surprises me even further because I hate recycled tracks, and this is actually a recycled rock song from BC29. D&R must also take some credit for the choreography for this track. Wonderful.

Track 7 – Presented by Rach, it’s a fight which is a head busting fight. Think nonstop knees, running man knees. We have a break from the propulsive jump knee, but this track is still going to challenge our heart rates and fitness levels. I love this track.

Track 8 – Presented by Dan, this track is unusually short for a conventional Track 8, but the short sharp bursts start almost immediately without warning. For this track, Dan sings the entire stanza of the track, which must be a record. But definitely a sing-a-long for all. There’s been a slight debate among participants whether this track is too short, but everyone seems to like the music for this one.

Track 9 – The focus is very much on the core. It’s a pop track by a female artiste who is no stranger to BODYCOMBAT, but watch out for the surprise in the music as we go for additional reps!

Track 10 – This track, WOW. I don’t even know how to describe this. Just had goose bumps the first time I did it. The layout was akin to a martial arts setting, with D&R in the middle, and ‘disciples’ at the side. I guess the only way is to wait for the DVD to be released. The kata is strong and inspiring. A wonderful way to finish the release BC58.

In conclusion, I would say BC58 is a very good release and I enjoyed it very much. There’s no secret to a great release. Uplifting music and fantastic choreography. Like I mentioned earlier, there are no fancy new moves, but we don’t need that for every release.  Right now I can’t wait for BC58 to hit us at the quarterlies soon so we can launch it right away, that’s how much I’m looking forward to this release!

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