NZ Glen : BodyCombat fanatic


I know I’ve been so slack with my posting. It’s this crazy time of year when everyone’s running around madly finishing up for the year – myself included! I’ve been teaching 12-14 classes per week, and that’s on top of the 45 hours I spent per week at my day job, plus Xmas functions, BBQs, it’s madness! I do apologise and rest assured I’ll kick the blog back into full swing come the new year – I’ve got a lot of posts to write just need to make the time to do it!

Since almost everywhere in the world has launched BC46 I’m writing this more as a discussion piece as opposed to a review of what you can expect (since you’ve all seen it pretty much!) and will make it short and sweet. Much like the last few releases this one has been getting a really mixed review – I’ve read on various forums people’s reactions and they vary from “dreadful” to “amazing!”. My thoughts are that it’s an “okay” release. To be honest, there’s only one track I really dislike – but, by the same token there’s actually not a track I really *love* either. For the most part in recent releases there’s always been one track that just stands out (BC45: Because the Night, BC44: Your Shining, BC43: Black Pearl etc) but in this release there’s not a track that blows me away… there’s no real “peak” per se. The release is also a wee bit unbalanced in that (with the exception of the warm up) the first half of the class the tracks are fairly short, and in the second half the tracks are long! Not too much of an issue but worth bearing in mind when you start mixing if you’re an instructor. Brief review of each track follows:

1: Teenage Dirthouse (Topmodelz Radio Edit) – Patrick McFly / Black Betty – Masia

Well I hate to start a review on a low point, but I mentioned there’s one track in the release I really dislike and this is it. This warmup is a mess. It’s too long, it’s unbalanced (over 6 minutes upper body and 3 minutes lower?) and the timing is all over the show. This is probably the worst warmup in the last 20 releases, even worse than Numa numa (which was silly but at least bearable). The lower body warmup music (Black Betty) is just horrid! It’s three minutes of screaming as far as I’m concerned. The upper body warmup is better, but still too long. It could’ve done without the third section of music (I do realise this would’ve meant only one set of shuffle/jab/cross/jabs on the left but we’d have survived) – and the way the track speeds up is just awkward. I had members begging (not just asking but literally BEGGING) me not to do this track in only the second week after the release. Pardon my language but this track went down like a cup of cold sick. Thankfully the release only gets better…

2: Shut Up & Kiss Me – Spacegliderz

Yep good track 2. Not amazingly uplifting but light and fun and a pleasure to teach. I often change the lyrics and sing “shuddup and kick ’em!” just to make it a little more combatty. The hook/upper/hook sequence is a tad awkward, to me it feels like it should be a jab/cross/jab but as we had that combo in the track 2 in the previous release I can see why they didn’t use it. As with most of this release I don’t love it but do like this track.

3: Truly, Madly, Deeply (S&B Remix) – Cascada

Again, it’s okay – this track just doesn’t go off. I guess “Because the Night” set the bar pretty high. Not really sure why D&R pulled this one out of the archives, it’s been in a few other LM programmes and is pretty old. It’s also fairly short and comparatively easy. I’ve not used this track since mixing and it’s unlikely I’ll pull it out too often.

4: Kalinka (Russian Hit Mix) – Captain Jack / Kalinka – Za No Za

Wow, this one’s a little odd! Gets a few smiles due to its uniqueness! This track has grown on me – when I first heard it I was “WTF!!” but now I don’t mind it. Not that hard, and not that long! You can really have some fun with it – reasonably solid track 4. Will probably use again in the future.

5: Contagious – Boys Like Girls

I’m actually going to write a whole post about track 5s as I think maybe they’re a little lost as to what to do with them. They kinda seem all over the show. I was talking to a friend about this release at the GFX before I’d actually seen it and his comment was along the lines of “another shitty track 5”, which brings up a point – if you look back at the last few “Proud Mary, Ignorance, Without a Fight, Ballroom Blitz…” – they’re not great (and that’s probably being quite generous). To be fair I way prefer this track over those by a long shot as the music is a little more uplifting – but I do think something needs to be done to change the format. Perhaps they should be more of a power training track like 3 and 8 musically wise – but involving a little more lower body (shuffling etc). I don’t know – all I do know is that the recent track 5s have been a lowpoint in the release for me – and unfortunately having seen BODYCOMBAT 47 it’s more of the same. Do you agree/disagree? Let me know below.

6: Spitfire – GhostHunter

OUCH. Killer track. Evasive side kicks, esquivas and lunges. My legs are throbbing just thinking about this track! I’m not a big fan of the music but the pain is so God damn intense that I completely forget about it! T’is good 🙂

7: Braveheart 2006 – Frantic & Gammer

This track has had mixed reviews. I actually don’t mind it – it’s a little repetitive and the timing’s a bit tricky but I overall I quite like it – but some of my super hardcore regulars really don’t! Speaking to them they thought it was too fast and too long (perhaps that’s due to it being so repetitious as Excalibur is longer and they love that one). This track will have you breathing out of your butt though – so many many knees!

8: I Surrender (Hixxy Hardcore Remix) – Cadence

Yeah good as well. Again, much like track 6, and 7, this track is quite repetitious. Hooks, hooks and more hooks. It’s not quite as long as Your Shining technically (7:53 vs 8:05), BUT, the ‘run around the room’ piece of music at the end of this track feels shorter so I think they’re about the same length. Again, this track doesn’t quite peak like some of our other T8s. Haven’t taught it since mixing it out after week 3 but it’ll be back for sure (which is the mark of a good track if you ask me).

9: Take It Off – Ke$ha

All abs and no alligator!! Yee haa! Not the hardest ab track in the world but all good.

10: Wait Till You See My Smile – Alicia Keys

Nice finish to the workout. Gentle song and chorey matches well, brings the heartrate back down beautifully.

So, let me know your thoughts! I know no doubt some of you will love this release (I’ve seen your comments on facebook haha!) but all I can do is call it how I see it. Apart from the warmup; which I admit *really* dislike – I usually learn the basics of a combat track in about an hour – the lower body track took me half a day to learn alone just because I found it so hard to even listen to the music! – but, apart from that it is an okay release. It just didn’t “go off” and didn’t have a massive peak like most releases do (and BC47 definitely has! Track 4 ROCKED so look forward to that!)

As always love to hear your thoughts.

Bit behind the 8 ball here as most countries have released this now but for tradition’s sake I’ll write a fairly brief review below. Once again, as always, this is just my personal opinion, and of course you may completely disagree (do tell me if that’s the case!).

To be honest, after I did this release at the filming (around 4 or 5 months ago) I wasn’t impressed and thought I’d be absolutely ‘bollocking’ it (which I absolutely hate doing)… however, my opinion’s changed. It’s very decent (if you don’t love it at first do give it time – it’s one of those “grow on you releases”). Here’s a short blow by blow review of each track:

1. No Easy Way Out (Radio Edit) – DJ Fait  / Are You Gonna Go My Way (Ti-Mo Remix Edit) – Kato feat. Ian Dawn

Well I’d have to say musically this is probably my favourite warmup ever – great touch having the theme song from Rocky IV as an upper body warm-up, and, great remix too. Lower body works as well, nice driving beat. My only negative comment is that the track itself is possibly too long. I’m sure the Programme Directors could’ve created the chorey such that is wasn’t necessary to have that last third of the lower body track (side kick sets and side kicks part). I mean to we really have to have back kicks in the warmup? Surely the chorey could’ve incorporated side kicks instead and not have the last additional bit. Back kicks only feature again in track 6 which is so slow there’s plenty of time to cue them. But, that’s just a wee niggle – otherwise great track with a couple of surprises. 8.5/10 (would be 9 if just a minute or 2 shorter in length)

2. Back To Innocence – Stephanie Smith

Grown on me quite a lot this one. Wasn’t a fan at all to begin, and although it’s not a track that I feel will go down in time as a classic it’s fairly catchy and a good length; we’ve had some crazy long track 2s (I was made for Loving You/United Vibe) and crazy short (Love Drunk/Beat It). Was one of the first tracks to get mixed out – but will bring it back at some stage (unlike say Energy from BC44 which is unlikely to ever see the light of day again unless specifically requested). 6/10

3. Because The Night (Breeze & Unknown Remix) – Cascada

Despite being used in BC38 this song has gone down fabulously. Highlight of the release for me. Builds perfectly, pulls back just long enough in the shuffle/double jab portion before slamming into the peak at the end of each half. The jab/cross slip/slip combo is awesome – albeit does take a few sets for the members to time correctly – once they do it’s all smiles. Love it – absolutely love it. 9/10

4. Take A Look Around – Badlands Inc

Much like track 2 this track has grown on me. Really important you stay low in the lunges to get a great workout or the heartrate will drop too much. In my classes because the evasive side kicks just come from no where I’ve found they really need to be precued early and clearly (step left kick right works). I did find this one of the tougher tracks to learn as the chorey is uneven – but yes, members like it and will come back in future mixes. 6/10

5. Proud Mary – Dr John Henry

Low point of the release unfortunately. Obviously this is just my opinion but the cheesy song, dreadful cover, and odd repetitive chorey make for a long, long, long 5 minutes. Gets a few smiles first couple of times you teach it as it’s so silly and uncombat like, but once the novelty has worn off it’s just a bore. I understand why this track was in BODYATTACK 70 – being a celebration release and the track having a 70’s feel to it – but why put it in combat in the same quarter?? I mean I can understand when current hits are in multiple programmes, as they are “current” – but a track from 40 years ago? It’s like Lisa O put it in attack and D&R went – “good idea – we’ll do that too!”. Anyway, clearly I’m not a fan; 2/10

6. Russian Roulette (Blunatix Meets B-tastic Remix Edit) – Felix DJ

First time I did this track at the filming I LOVED it. It blew me away – I thought the music was beautiful and Rach presented it so well. However – after doing it a few times yes, whilst lovely it’s just too darn slow. Loads and loads of blocks, and while if you concentrate on staying really low in your stance you’ll get a decent leg burn it’s too long a recovery heartrate wise. Even if you really power into every block and kick it’s still a big drop for the heart. But, nice track – you can pull back and say very little when teaching and almost just use your eyes to cue the movements which is always nice as a contrast… but, yeah, too slow and a bit long for my liking. 6/10

7. Goin’ Out Swingin’ – Turbo

Other low point of the release for me. Hideous cover of a non-hit by Mötley Crüe. I guess if you’re a Crüe fan you may love it (I was in my teens – not so much now) but it’s not a great track. Kinda cringe worthy really. To be fair I wasn’t a fan of Kickstart My Heart either (another Crüe cover in muay thai just 2 releases earlier), but the chorey in this one is better IMO. Sorry, not for me. 3/10

8. See The Light (Styles & Breeze Mix) – Paradise

Great finish. Musically really good – the power hook is an unusual addition and to be honest not sure if it’ll stay around (might go the way of the “sweep”) – however lovely end to the cardio part of the class. Well used track (attack and pump before) but still works here. The tracks 8s in the last few releases have just been simply AWESOME, Overload, Your Shining… superb. D&R if you do read this keep it up. Love it. 8.5/10

9. I Can Transform Ya – Chris Brown featuring Lil Wayne & Swizz Beatz

Two words; Alligator pressup. Yep, I think we all know my opinion on this move. To be fair the adaptation of it in 45 is much better than the way we did it in 44 – but, still would prefer something a little less “clever” (especially in a 57 minute release – not too much time to cue it for newbies to be fair!) 4/10

10. Black Box – Stan Walker

Cooldown is really just down to musical taste so completely personal. Not too much to say here – a little too much kata in this track for me – musically nice finish – just would prefer the last minute or so that we’re doing soft katas to be used for stretches personally. But yeah, nice finish 7/10

Overall as I mentioned this release grew on me over the 2 weeks I did it solidly (teaching it 4 or 5 times per week). It’s not the hardest release in the world, the muay thai (where according to my HRM my heartrate usually peaks at up to 180 beats per minute) isn’t that tough and is pretty short – and track 4 and 6 does see your heartrate drop so cardio wise this isn’t a release that will have you absolutely gasping for air. My only other comment is that it’s over 57 minutes long – if you’re not an instructor that usually follows the “push play and go” philosophy you will now! However, it’s got a couple of outstanding tracks in it and, most importantly the Members have reacted to this release really positively and that’s all that matters!

Because I was overseas for the last filming at the GFX in just over a month I get to see both BODYCOMBAT 46 & BODYCOMBAT 47 at the same time! I’ll keep you posted on those for sure. Again sorry for the delay in writing this guys and as always love to hear your thoughts!

Okay, time for me to come clean here. This is probably the hardest review I’ve had to write, and I’ve now written full reviews on BODYCOMBAT releases all the way back to BC37. Truth is, I’ve put off writing this for a couple weeks… and the reason for that quite simply is I’m not really sure some of you are going to like or agree with what I have to say. Which of course is perfectly fine – if you disagree absolutely tell me! I just would prefer to write reviews that are completely glowing and are full of sunshine, flowers and skipping merrily in fresh meadows 🙂

The thing is, I know a lot of people appreciate the fact I tend to call a spade a spade, and whilst I was tempted to sugar coat this review a little, I’m just going to step out on a limb and call it as I see it. I know I could be in the minority here, and reading feedback on BODYCOMBAT 44 on the Les Mills forums I may well be. But, I’ve had a few messages on facebook from a few of you asking my opinion, and I’m sure no ones going to respect me for being nice just for the sake of it.

I mentioned in my filming post on BC44 that I hoped the release would grow on me. Some releases definitely do take time, I always think of BC39, I didn’t think that much of it at the filming and now I absolutely love it (Come With Me, Hardcore Angel, Cry For You and I Won’t Be Crying are some of my most played tracks ever!) So, I really wanted to give 44 a chance. And I have, I released over three weeks ago, I’ve taught the release in full over a dozen times now at multiple gyms all over the city (in fact of the five Les Mills franchised gyms in town I was invited to release at four of them). So yes, I’ve definitely given this release plenty of time to grow on me.

So, has it grown on me? Well for me the easiest determinant as to whether I love a release is how quickly I mix it out. Here we’re given the guidelines of 2-4 weeks after launch before we start mixing. BODYPUMP 74 for example, three weeks after release and I’ve still not mixed out a single track. In fact, in my last pump class I started by asking the class if they wanted to do it again or for me to pull out some older tracks and the answer was a resounding yes, they wanted to do the new release again. I was thrilled about that as I did too!

Looking back at my last review (43) I wrote “Let me put it this way – tonight is the first night I’m going to start mixing and the only cardio tracks I plan to mix out are 5 and 7. That’s saying A LOT! To my mind those are the weakest tracks of the release – the rest are stunning!” – yes I used the word “stunning” to describe a combat release! That was BC43 however, and that is definitely not a word I would use to describe BC44.

So, enough dilly dallying about with a long winded intro; What’s the deal with 44. Okay, truth is I found this release disappointing. Don’t get me wrong, there are a couple of parts of it I love, but, look at what I wrote about BC43 above – after 3 weeks I only planned to mix out two tracks. With BC44 after the two week mandatory period was up 4 tracks went immediately, and pretty soon after that 8 were gone (by request). In fact, for the first ever time in my almost 3 years of teaching combat I actually had a member come up to me in release week and ask how long we “had” to do the release for. To my mind that really just solidifies the fact that BC44 just doesn’t have the “wow factor” of previous releases. And please don’t think my members are feeling that way because I’m not trying to sell the release. I give every class my absolute all, in fact my good friend Raina came down from Auckland two weeks ago and participated in one of my combat classes. Being a close friend (and also being someone who attends the filming classes in Auckland with me) she knows I’m not really sold on the release – yet came up to me afterwards and said there is no possible way anyone could’ve known I’m not a fan – I really do give it my all.

So, here’s my 2 cents on the release on a track by track basis:

Warmup: Brighter Day (Monday 2 Friday Remix) – Yanou / Use Somebody – Ultrabeat

Warmups are far more music driven for me than any of the other tracks (possibly with the exception of a cooldown) as the choreography is always very basic, and musically I like it. I admit I had my doubts about using a remix of Use Somebody so soon after we had it as a cooldown in BC40, but the versions are so different it’s not a factor at all. I do have a couple of wee comments, but they are very minor. I do prefer warmups without combinations, for example I’d prefer solid upper cuts followed by solid hooks as opposed to combining the two. The reason for this is it’s much simpler to give set up cues when you’re only doing one movement. What I mean by that is if we are only doing uppers I can just say things like “target is under the chin” “elbows in” “drop your shoulder…” etc and it’s obvious what move I am talking about as we’re only doing one. But, if we are doing a combination I have to specifically state “on your upper cut your target is under the chin yada” then cue the hook in the same way “on your hook target is the side of the jaw, rotate your hip, lift your heel etc”. Just means I have to specify specifically what move to which I am referring and makes cueing a touch more complicated than it needs to be on the warmup (hey, I did say it was a minor point!). Same goes for the lower body warmup – the back knee front kick combo just makes cueing a little more difficult than when we have these moves individually. Just means we have to say more, and I’ve always been of the opinion ‘less is more’ when you’re teaching – you need to leave time for what you’ve said to land. But, I’m just being really picky. I do like the warmup so let’s just leave it at that!

Track 2: Energy – Shinedown

Okay, hand in the air I’ll admit I am not a fan of this track at all. Just feels like a mess. I don’t particularly like the “decoy” – even though it’s (apparently) derived from Tae Kwon Do (I have a black belt in TKD and I don’t ever recall this move being a staple in the martial art – but it was a few years ago now). Someone mentioned in a comment on this very blog that when we change the tempo up on the decoys they become too fast to do correctly and they have a point, for a lot of people they kinda turn into switches before the jab. The front kick off the back leg is a nice touch though, and I hope they incorporate that more into future releases, but for me musically and chorey wise this track just doesn’t work. Hopefully many of you disagree.

Track 3: The Time Of Our Lives – Sy & Unknown featuring Lou Lou

Yep, I do like this one. Definitely not as climatic as some of the past power training tracks (it doesn’t build and go off like Send Me an Angel, Poison or Sweetheart as an example) but it is a good track (perhaps those tracks set my expectations too high?). The track seems longer to me than it actually is – perhaps due to the fact it’s five rounds. But yeah, solid track 3 and one you can have a bit of fun with due to the “you and I could fly…” lyrics.

Track 4: Paint It Black 2009 – Masif DJ’s / GIA (Skitz Clubb Mixx) – Despina Vandi

Definitely this is one of the tracks that has grown on me. My only minor gripe is that there’s so much going on in the track that when there’s new people in the class there’s a lot of stuff to cue, and it seems that just as they get the movement right and it changes; moves like the shoot, ginga, jump kick, do take a few goes to get the hang of, would be nice if we did them a little longer before swapping to another. The shoot after the knees feels far more natural than the other way around (as we did in BC43), and the ‘double shoot’ is a bit of a killer on the ol legs. Quick question though, have many of you experienced any lower back discomfort from this track? I’ve had a couple of members mention that to me, and I’ve checked their technique and it’s all good – just wondering if it’s a common occurrence. The shoot is a very crafty way to incorporate lunges into combat, and it feels far more ‘combatty’ doing them this way than the way we did them in say “Don’t Ya Wanna Feel”. Solid track.

Track 5: Ignorance – ToneTonic

LM cover of the Paramore track. Nope, not a fan here either. This track is just all over the show. Chorey feels uneven, and I’m just not a big fan of loads of running in combat (ironically I love the running in BODYATTACK, I just feel attack has a much more natural fit). But we better get used to it as there’s loads of running in the track 5 in BODYCOMBAT 45 as well. Track fives in recent releases are always the weak point of the class for me and again this is no exception (and again that’s the case in BC45 too sadly). Perhaps if I was a Twilight fan I’d feel differently? This track again just feels like a bit of a mess to me. Notice the sound effects are back though??

Track 6: ìNessun Dormaî – Lacrima

Interesting one this one. I don’t dislike it, and I don’t love it. I think perhaps D&R are starting to maybe try to be a little too clever here. Track 6 in BC43 was a great track, almost every one just LOVED it immediately and raved and raved about it; maybe they felt they had to outdo themselves with something equally as clever? Hmmm… Opera in combat, still not sure about it personally. However, the classes aren’t about me and the peeps seem to love it! Though, in my last combat class I gave them the option of doing it again or doing another one and “pirate track” was the resounding response. It’s definitely a recovery track, you’ll find your heartrate drops considerably. Also, is it just me or is there a lot of lateral shuffling in this release? (warmup, track 2, and track 6).

Track 7: Metal Kombat For The Mortal Man – ColorBox

I feel like a bit of a broken record here but again this track hasn’t blown me away. Again, I don’t hate it, but I definitely don’t love it and I do feel that something REALLY special could’ve been done with a Mortal Kombat theme and this missed the boat a little bit. I think the problem is that the track doesn’t really “peak” like my favourite muay thai tracks (Hardcore Angel, So What!, Raver’s Paradise, Let the Beat Control Your Body.. I could go on and on). Just falls a little flat for me. It’s just missing a part that you can really sink your teeth into a just “go off” to. Again like track 5 did you notice the added sound effects? We might be slowly going back to the days of Natha and Gabby (ding ding anyone! ;))

Track 8: Your Shining (Hixxy Remix) – Styles & Breeze

Now we’re talking! Peak of the class, absolutely 100%. I loved this track at the filming, and I still love it now. It’s loooong (longest track 8 ever in fact) but that’s all good as it rocks! Builds and builds and is a climatic end to the cardio part of the class. Not to mention the first few times you launch it – the looks on peoples faces when they realise the track isn’t over… priceless! Love the track and love the chorey. Love it so much in fact that I’m willing to let the grammatical error in the track title slip by 😉 Seriously awesome, and really in my mind the one track that absolutely saves this release from being very average.

Track 9: Put Your Hands On Me – Crookers feat Kardinal Offishall & Carla-Marie

I have a personal theory about the inclusion of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in combat that stemmed from a little thing Dan said along the lines of “we wanted to put it somewhere and this felt like the best place” – it kinda seems to me that they are doing BJJ classes, and need to justify that by including it (somewhere) in combat. As it’s a ground fighting style it really can’t go anywhere but here. Does it work? No. To be blunt it’s a fricken nightmare. My combat classes are pretty much packed and there’s just no room in the GF room for the “walking komodo dragon with an alligator pushup” – never mind the fact that there’s also not much room to do it on the stage! Here’s the other thing, if you watch the DVD the intro for this track is 3 minutes long. The track itself is 3 minutes long – so we’re spending as much time introducing a move as we are doing it? (well, actually considerably more in reality considering the komodo dragon/alligator pushup is only done for 2 sets of 4!). It’s overly complicated, requires too much space, requires too much of an introduction, and to be honest isn’t even that much of a workout. I’m sorry to be overly harsh here but I really think this track crashed and burnt. When I started mixing for the first time, and announced “no komodo dragon today” the class actually cheered! (I’m not kidding!) Unfortunately, we might have to get used to that move as I can’t see it going anywhere anytime soon…

Track 10: Doesn’t Mean Anything – Alicia Keys

Not too much to say about a cooldown, but like the music, nice song to bring your heartrate down, not too much kata, good cooldown… still using it now in fact.

So, I’d really like your feedback here. I’ve spoken to other instructors locally and they feel pretty much the same about this release… but what do you think? Am I being a bit hard on it? I know there’s always going to be absolute combat lovers who love anything and everything that’s put out – and yes, perhaps I am getting a bit cynical in my old age. In short I just feel this release whilst is okay, really only had one track that blew me away (t8). Reading my review of BC43 I used words to describe different tracks like “stunning!, EPIC!, Love it!, FANTASTIC!, and Awesome!” – in my review of BC42 I used words like “Great track, Love this one! etc.”, BC41 “Officially my new favourite track 2!, Awesome finish…” but in BC44 my adjectives are far more toned back because the release for me just doesn’t “rock” like any of the more recent ones. In fact looking back I can’t think of any releases I prefer less until we get back to the early 30s. But, I’m only one person and this is only one opinion.

As always would love to hear your thoughts (if you disagree seriously put me in my place here…) 😀

Again, better late than never here’s my review of BODYCOMBAT 43. I normally try to get the review out soon after our release, had a lot on in the last few weeks so bit slow off the mark this quarter! I’ve now taught it 12 times in 2 weeks  at 4 different gyms so know it pretty well! All up BODYCOMBAT 43 is a fantastic release –  Let me put it this way – tonight is the first night I’m going to start mixing and the only cardio tracks I plan to mix out are 5 and 7. That’s saying A LOT! To my mind those are the weakest tracks of the release – the rest are stunning! Read on for a track by track break down and as per usual would love your thoughts!

01. Freedom (Sunset Project Mix) – Beatbreaker / Starstrukk – 3OH!3

Well what can you say about a warm up – really it’s mostly dependant on the music and length. I loved the warm up from BC42, and the 43 warm up is okay… there’s a couple of things that I like quite a lot; The push kicks on the “push it baby push it baby” to match the lyrics are a nice touch (we’ve not had push kicks in the warm up before – [okay – apparently my brain farted here!!] but it’s good they are here as they’re in track 4 and track 7 in this release so having them in the w/u gives plenty of opportunity to correctly cue them)  BUT, by the same token it would have been nice to have roundhouse set-ups on the “just set me up” lyrics to match them also – there’s 6 round houses there so maybe the first 2 could’ve been roundhouse set-ups to fit with the music (or maybe 6 round house sets then 4 round house kicks rather than 9 side kicks that immediately follow)

The upper body warm up is okay too (though I do prefer the lower body musically). Something personally that I think D&R would be wise to take on board is trying to utilise moves that are in the release within the warm up itself. The push kicks above are a great example of this; as I said they’re in 2 tracks in this release so great they are in the warm up where we use nothing but initial and follow up cues and have a tonne of time to teach them well. So following that theme the backfists in the warmup could’ve been replaced by another move as there’s no backfists in this release apart from here. Maybe the stiff jab could’ve worked??

Finally – and this is just a little thing, I really prefer warmups where the music starts softly and builds. Again 42 was a great example of this – “Numb” started with that nice calm piano melody (The One and Only from 39 and Writing on the Wall from 38 also built gradually and work perfectly in this way too). The warmup in 43 just suddenly screams in with a super high pitched “WE ALL NEED LOVE!!!” which can be a bit of a shock to the participants. As an instructor you begin by intro-ing yourself, then intro the class itself – then hit play… when the warmup just screams in at max volume as 43 does I find I have to turn the warm up down then creep it up in track 2. Didn’t have to do that in 42… again – really minor thing and personal preference but worth mentioning all the same.

So, in short; solid warm up. Not my favourite, but not too long (like BC41!) – 7 minutes is perfect in my mind, and chorey and musically it does the trick!

02. Love Drunk – Boys Like Girls

Again, solid track 2. Like the music (a lot actually!) – a fun track which structurally reminds me a lot of Beat It from 37 – the initial combo builds with 3 moves, then adds two more then adds a roundhouse exactly like Beat It, repeats on left – shuffles side to side (albeit this track has side kicks instead of double knees but I’m sure you know what I mean here!) then finishes with full combo on each side (coincidentally Beat It and Love Drunk are almost exactly the same length too). Loads of time to have fun with the lyrics – I always get the class yelling “OKAY!” and kiaing on the roundhouse in the final combos. I also use Judy’s ‘rollercoaster’ line as I think it’s really clever “heart rate goes up, down, and around with 2 hooks”. I presenting this track at the Advanced Instructor Module so will always have a fond place in my heart I’d imagine! Great track 2 and will stand the test of time in my opinion!

03. Send Me An Angel (Weaver Remix) – Slinkee Minx

Awesome track 3. Love it! One of the 3 stand out tracks of this release. Powerful music (well about as powerful as dance music can get!) and I love the contrast between speed and power – you can really launch into those power jab/crosses. Combos built perfectly – tonnes of time to cue the difference between the speed and power changes in the speedball intro – hooks perfectly fit the music when the intensity drops – first two full combos are to calmer music so you can teach them correctly before screaming into full flight on the second two sets. Final four sets you can just unleash the class… Only word for it is AWESOME!

04. Fight For Your Right (DJ Anady vs Sander Remix) – Boogie Bros

This track has REALLY grown on me along with the “shoot” (which is a good thing as without saying too much we may have to get used to this move! 😉 ) BC43 is only 53 minutes long which is probably a good thing as it gives you time to coach this move, and coach the sword combo before track 6 and still fit in a 55 minute class slot. If you teach the shoot correctly this definitely is no recovery track (I usually tell the class there’s 3 cardio peaks so they need to really slam themselves in tracks 3, 5 and 7/8 – however in this release that’s really not the case!) – ensure everyone stays low on the shoot’s ‘pull back’ and they will be gasping for air by the end of this track that’s for sure! Again, musically I didn’t like this track too much the first couple times I did it but again it’s grown on me (<– there’s that term again!) a lot!

05. Without A Fight – Mindwarp

Weakest track of the release (by a mile). I don’t know about you guys but for me, track 5 is pretty much always the ‘low point’ of the class in recent releases. I like “The Anthem” from BC42 actually, but looking back Tutti Frutti, Johnny B Goode, Ballroom Blitz, The Best Damn Thing (ick!), Don’t Ya Wanna Feel – all the weakest tracks of the release. And it’s a shame, as we do have lower intensity tracks either side of track 5 and it would be awesome if this was the power peak it could be (am I alone in my feelings here or do others agree?). Theme for this track is a lot of running – A LOT of running (I’ve joked before that I feel like I’m in a BODYATTACK class during this track!) Apart from the running we have a combo build of 4 body rips, upper – cross and that’s it! (oh, did I mention the running??! 😉 ) I’m mixing this track out today and not sure when we’ll see it back.

06. Black Pearl (Dave Darrell Radio Edit) – Scotty

Well, in post I wrote after the filming of this release I used the word E-P-I-C to describe this track… no better way to describe it. This track is FANTASTIC! Everyone loves it without exception. The music, the moves – seriously gives me goosebumps every time! Timing on the first set of double uppers took a bit to nail (okay – I admit I still sometimes bring them in early!). There have been sword moves in previous releases (the original Excalibur is the most well known example) and to be honest I hate(d) doing them. Just felt cheesy and silly – but in this track not the case at all. Love it. Highlight of the release… if you’ve not done it prepare to be blown away! Only other comment I have is that because the chorey is so simple I truly hope we don’t get sick of this track prematurely. As I said I’ve taught this release a tonne of times over the last two weeks and not sick of it yet – but with this track literally being 24 sets of the same combo (with 2 sets of 16 back kicks to break it up) I hope it doesn’t grow old too quickly…. Otherwise awesome awesome awesome!

07. Kick Start My Heart – The Snake

Well, no release is perfect and this is the other weak point in the class for me. I’m going to be writing another post about Les Mills cover tracks shortly (as from the next quarter it looks like we’re all going 100% non-PPCA licensed music which means a tonne more covers – read here for more info in the meantime) – and this track is a cover of the original Motley Crue track and- well, as covers go, it’s not the best. Which is a shame as we had the original in BC22!

Chorey is okay – the stiff jab is kinda cool and is executed properly will definitely give you a great workout… but, the music really dampens my enthusiasm for the track. The muay thai is normally my favourite track of the class and the track where my heart rate peaks (normally pushing 180+ beats per minute) but it’s quite hard to reach that level of intensity in this one I’ve found. Personally give me Hardcore Angel, Let the Beat Control your body, Party non-stop, Excalibur 2000, Ravers Paradise etc any day of the week.

08. Overload – VooDoo & Sereno

Well I mentioned earlier there are 3 stand out tracks in this release and this is the third. FANTASTIC track 8 and a climatic end to the cardio part of the class. Chorey is a bit tricky to get at first – six sets of the combo in some places – 4 in others – but not too hard to learn. The 128 jabs comes in as a surprise the first couple times you teach it and the look on the participants faces is priceless. It may be a blessing in disguise that the muay thai isn’t completely taxing as this track will certainly polish you off! Quite a long track 8 – close to 7 minutes (only 3 seconds shorter than the longest track 8 ever Cry For You) however a good 50+ seconds of it is the running around the room portion so it does feel shorter than Cry For You (not sure why the run around the room part is so long – normally it’s only around 30 seconds and I have found myself hitting the forward button a couple of times early as everyone’s ready to rip into the conditioning and the music’s still going!) Superb end to the class!

09. Do It Again – Cassie Davies

Won’t write too much about the conditioning or cooldown; Short sharp conditioning track! The tripod pressup is a great workout all around as you bring in a whole host of stabilising muscles when you lift the arm. Not too much else to say – not the hardest conditioning track in the world but a great workout all the same.

10. Sounds Of Freedom – Within Temptation

Quite a long cooldown with pretty much only 4 stretches (per side) in this entire 5 minute track. This means we’re holding each stretch for a good 30-40 seconds which is much longer than we usually hold them for. Whilst I love the idea of holding the stretches longer (I’ve often thought we don’t quite hold them long enough to get maximum benefit in either combat or pump) the music is a bit too sombre for me to really love this cooldown. I don’t think cooldowns should be uplifting (it is a cooldown after all) but this tracks a little on the dark side for me personally. Other than that the longer stretches are cool – not sure why we come from lying down in track 9, to sitting back up for 30-40 seconds only to lie down again (that time could be an additional lying gluteal stretch for example) but the cooldown works. Music is personal preference and I’m sure there’s many that love this track. Decent enough end to the workout.

Over all BC43 is an awesome release. Enough innovation to be interesting, three absolute stand out tracks and two more that are really great too. And, just a little thing but unlike some of the recent releases we don’t have any of the super long or super short tracks in this release – they all pretty much fall into a 4-6 minute timeframe which makes mixing easier (as opposed to the 2 minute or conversely 8-10 minute tracks we’ve had in other recent releases).

As always, if you have done it I’d love to hear whether you agree or disagree with my views, and if you haven’t then get really excited and prepare to be blown away! 😀

Well better late than never – here’s my review of BODYCOMBAT 42. Have a read and definitely let me know your thoughts!

01. Numb (RainDropz! Mix) – Jan Wayne vs RainDropz! / I Do Not Hook Up – Kelly Clarkson

Well – I really like this warm up. It’s just the right length (especially compared to the warm up from BC41 which had Dragostea Din Tei played through twice – I mean that was just too much numa numa!) and I love the upper body remix of Numb. Kelly Clarkson for the lower body warm up for two releases in a row – yeah, possibly could have made a better choice here, especially as it’s the squat track in BODYPUMP 72 – for those of us that teach or do pump as well (and there’s a lot of us) have pretty much more than got the message that she does not hook up. I’ve started mixing in my classes here and I’ve not yet mixed out the warmup as I like it so much – but in pump the squat track was the first track I mixed out for that reason.

I mentioned in the filming post that curiously the only side kicks in this entire release are in the warm up. There’s not a single side kick in any other track… which is a bit of a let down for me as I love them (I’ve done many many years of Tae Kwon Do and Karate and side kicks are a staple in both). Oddly again, there’s zero back kicks in BC42. Yet there were a tonne in BC41 (even a tonne in the warmup in 41!) but there’s not one in 42. Weird huh?! There’s a couple of mindless facts for ya! 😉

02. I Was Made For Loving You – Scooter

My only comment about this track is that it’s a tad too long. I’m not sure if LM can get away with speeding tracks up in their programmes but to my mind this may be a candidate for doing so… or even better perhaps splicing some of the music out (which I’m sure is a big no no). The chorey is just a little too slow. As I said I’ve started mixing in my classes here and this was one of the two tracks I mixed out first. Other than that I like the final combo, double karate punch – backfist – roundhouse.

03. Poison (Al Storm Remix) – Groove Coverage

Great track. Again it’s a long track (in fact it’s literally the longest track 3 ever!) but the movements are fast enough to get away with it. There’s two points in the music here that I absolutely love (well actually four points – but two points each side if that makes sense). The first is directly after the second set of 8 jab-cross/4 hooks combo – the second point which literally gives me goose bumps every single time I hear it is just as the full combo kicks in… love it love it love it!

04. Use Me – Hiroshi Free

This is a Les Mills cover version (a good one too – very true to the original) so yes we have sound effects back! (brings back memories from the combat early days for some I’m sure!) No they’re not over the top – just a mild swishing noise every time we do the new move in BC42; The Sweep.

Now I’m all for innovation but I kinda feel like this move is innovation for innovation’s sake. It doesn’t challenge the body in the way the last big innovation in combat does (namely the esquiva) and it’s not a hard move to do cardio wise… so personally I’d be quite happy not to see it again. There’s another entirely new move in BC43 as well which originates from mixed martial arts in the same way the sweep does, and to be honest I kinda feel the same way about that too. But, you kinda have to feel for Dan and Rach here because they’re damned if they don’t add innovation – and in some people’s eyes they’re damned if they do.

While on the subject of the sound effect – the swish – on the one hand it’s good as it helps the class with timing but for some strange reason LM included a swish for the instructors to precue the sweep/jab/cross combo to and it’s not in the place I’d normally cue the move. I’d normally cue it a few beats before the sound effect so the move has time to land with the participants before they have to do it themselves – but the music forces me to precue it immediately before the combo. Instructors do you know what I mean here?? Just a little thing but yeah – it does bug me.

So, in terms of the track itself, yep it’s another long one and it’s okay – just not my pick of the release. Again – I’m only mixing two tracks out of BC42 in my classes at the moment and this is the other one.

05. The Anthem – Good Charlotte

Well, tracks 2, 3 and 4 were all amongst the longest respective tracks ever so guess what – to counter it this track is short. Really short! Under 3 minutes even! It’s a split room track which is something we’ve not seen in combat for a few releases and I like it. The music’s uplifting – can’t really comment too much on the chorey as there’s not much of it (hehe) but it works. I’ve written about this before and I’ll say it here again – the only issue with these super short tracks (track 5 in BC42 and BC41 are super short) and conversely the super long tracks (track 3 and track 7 in BC42 are the longest tracks ever) is that we have to be really careful when we start mixing or it’s too easy to go well over (or well under) the prescribed class length. If every track in combat was 6 minutes then we’d not have to think at all – but when some are ten (BC41 track 1) and some are 2 minutes something we have to activate the ol’ brain a little more. All good though!

06. Warrior’s Dance – The Prodigy

One word; ouch. The initial quarter turns in this track are tricky; quarter turn to your left – stepping on your right foot… or for instructors quarter turns to our right stepping on our left! But, once the class has got that nailed the key to making this track work is to make ’em go LOW. I must say the word “lower” about ten times when teaching this… and the looks I get back (pure pain!) are priceless. Don’t worry – I’m hurting too!

The track also has the lunge-front kick combo last seen in No Good from BC38, and a tonne of esquivas (Portuguese for pain! – haha just kidding). The track works – I like it a lot. This is a cardio recovery so the heart rate will drop – but that’s a good thing as you’ll need the recovery for what’s coming….

Me showing the jump knee option at our release

07. Excalibur 2000 (2000 Radio Mix) – F.C.B.

Well, 8 minutes of muay thai (okay – that’s what we’re told but to be picky it’s actually 7 minutes 42 :P) This is a solid muay thai – for me personally it’s not quite as climatic as some of the others (yes I’m talking about Hardcore Angel again – I’m sorry but I just love that track so so much!) But this would definitely make my top 10 muay thai tracks and could almost scrape into top 5 (maybe not quite but very close). Features the plyo push-push kick combo seen in Enter Sandman from BC41. I’ve noticed a few people (instructors too) having trouble picking up the push kick and for me the easiest way to explain it is to “cycle” the foot away from the chest. The track also has streetbrawler punches, ascending/descending elbows and a tonne of knees… a tonne of knees. And yes – we can show the jump knee as an option here at the end of the track (the jump knee is my all time favourite move) – however – remember it’s just an option!

08. Miracle (SAD Remix) – Cascada

Short and sweet! Shorter than most power 3s but a great song and great chorey (and trust me if you’ve not done this release you’ll be happy it’s shorter after that darn muay thai!). Love the build up into the double uppers and double hooks… and you can just blast the roof off the gym in the final right-left jab combo. Great track.

09. Fire Burning – Sean Kingston

Should be called abs burning due to the triple crunch move that features in it. Sit ups, c-crunches, the hover and of course press ups at the end. Not the hardest conditioning track ever but not the easiest either.

10. Second Chance – Shinedown

Love this cooldown. I love the song and it’s a perfect end to a fantastic release. Bit of kata (I’m not a huge fan of kata in combat as you may know if you’ve read any of my other posts) but not too much to dominate the track which is great. Possibly my favourite combat cooldown ever simply due to the song.

And that’s about it! BC42 is a great release – overall it has some great tracks and not a single track I don’t like (obviously there are a tracks I prefer over others but seriously not a single bad track). Now, let the countdown begin to BODYCOMBAT 43 which trust me has some absolutely EPIC tracks!!

BC41Been a bit slack getting this uploaded – especially since most of you have probably seen or done BC41 by now! So this is long overdue… But nevertheless, for blog completion’s sake I’ll post my thoughts below.

As always be really interested in your feedback on the release 🙂

1a: Dragostea Din Tei (DJ Ross Radio Mix) – O-Zone

The upper body warm up is quite possibly the most controversial track of the release! If you read any of the group fitness forums you may have seen some of the initial reactions to this song being in BODYCOMBAT (here’s a hint – some instructors haven’t been all that impressed…) however, personally I’ve found this track has gone down really well! You can have a lot of fun with it and the members are always smiling and quite often singing along which is always good! One of the first times I did this release after the filming was in Hernan’s class in Auckland. If you know Hernan and what a fun character he is you can imagine how hysterical he was presenting this track… the entire room was having a ball. And although I’m not one tenth the funny man Hernan is I try to do the same. “Numa numa” is a light, fun start to the release so even though I know some people aren’t too happy with its presence in combat you won’t hear any complaints from me.

1b: My Life Would Suck Without You – Kelly Clarkson

Okay, here’s the strange thing about the lower body warmup. We’ve got no sidekicks at all, and a whole heap of back kicks (a whole heap!) This struck me as being really weird at the filming and to be honest I’m still not sure why Dan and Rach didn’t swap out one of the sets of back kicks for some sidekicks. But never mind for what ever reason they chose not to and they’re the boss(es)! That aside again this is another fun track and I’ve seen loads of members singing along to it. If you’re not a Kelly Clarkson fan, well, without saying too much my advice is that you should probably just accept the fact she’s in combat as I think we may be seeing a bit of her in the future 😉

I’ve not formally checked but I’m almost certain that this is the single longest warmup in the history of combat, close to ten minutes long! Having taught this release well over a dozen times now probably my only other comment is it does possibly go on a bit too long.

02: Music Is Pumpin – Radical Rhythm

Officially my new favourite track 2! The last few releases have seen reasonably rocky type track 2s (Cum on feel the noise, Try it again, Born to be wild etc) and Music Is Pumping is a refreshing change. I love the music, and love the chorey. There’s enough time to introduce the “new” kick to BODYCOMBAT here in the first combination (the Push Kick – a modified front kick) which means you don’t have to do too much cueing before track 4 (where it features prominently). I absolutely love the hook roundhouse combination, and the treble elbow knee sequence at the end just goes off! 10 out of 10 from me. Love love love it.

03: Slow & Steady Rush – Random Attack

A dance remix of Faith Hill’s Breathe, Slow & Steady Rush really has no surprises in terms of chorey – the track builds really well into the final combo (double jab, upper) x 2 – 4 hooks where you can really blow the roof off the gym in terms of intensity. Probably not my favourite track 3 but a solid one that will stand the test of time.

4a: Enter Sandman – Spock

Okay, track 4. Here’s where the release gets kinda interesting. We begin with a rather dark track, a cover of Metallica’s hit Enter Sandman. Really powerful Hook/knee combo to start which changes into a jab/cross/upper/roundhouse sequence before going back into the hook/knee combo. We then have the new move to combat – the plyo push. Pretty straight forward, we push our opponent away with a sharp snapping movement, then push kick them to finish the job. Instructors really have to change the delivery of this track, it’s a dark rock/metal track that requires it to be presented in a similar fashion. Certainly a massive change from the light cheerful tone of track 3 that’s for sure!

Me executing the option for the evasive sidekick in BC41

Me executing the option for the evasive sidekick in BC41

4b: Boom – P.O.D.

Okay, well unless you’ve been living under a rock you’ll know that yes the evasive side kick is back. It hasn’t been in combat for some time and it without question it is the most controversial move in combat. In my post after the BC41 filming I wrote the following:

“While on the subject of the evasive sidekick I got talking to Dan in the changing room after a BC41 trial run and I mentioned to him it was great to see the e-kick back. He said they were introducing it slowly, and toned it down as in the past some instructors were jumping so high it was unobtainable for an average participant to achieve. As much as I hate to admit it he is right – the jumping evasive side kick as demo’d by Dan himself in Rock Me Amadeus (although it looked AMAZINGLY impressive) was kinda crazy in that he leaped a good 5 feet in the air! In BC41 the e-kick is done with a “hop” as opposed to a jump (if that makes sense) so although I’m sure some instructors will go back into old habits and fly into the air I think the idea is to try to keep the level a little lower. Will be interesting to see how it pans out…”

Well I can tell you how it’s panned out in the gyms I teach at; perfectly fine! I think the key is that if you’re going to introduce the jumping option, introduce it as an option only when appropriate. What do I mean by this? Well for me personally I teach at 3 different gyms; all three have a different membership base. One of the gyms literally had Les Mills group fitness classes brought in a week ago. So, there’s no way in hell I’m going to expect them to even dream of doing a full e-kick for a long time! It’s just not going to happen. However, another gym has a loyal membership base of diehard combaters who love the jump knees and advanced options (and have seen and done the e-kick in previous releases) – so when we launch there on Wednesday quite possibly it would be appropriate to demo it in the later part of the track. I guess my point is some people dislike the e-kick as they feel it was unachievable for members; and if that’s the case stick with the low option. My 2 cents anyway 🙂

My final comment about track 4 is that it’s quite long… 7 minutes! When you combine that with the 10 minute warm up when instructors start mixing we’ll have to be really mindful of track lengths. In BC41 this is offset by a very short track 5 (3 minutes) – however you’d only have to switch out a couple tracks with longer ones before you’d start running into class length issues. Worth bearing in mind anyway.

05: Ballroom Blitz – Dave & The Extras

Well of course the likely hood of anyway loving every track in a given release is incredibly slim (you can’t please all of the people all of the time) and yes, this is one of the ‘don’t likes’ for me personally. I’ll admit it is growing on me but definitely looking forward to mixing it out. As noted above it is only 3 minutes long so it’s over pretty quickly anyway! As I mentioned in my filming post Ballroom Blitz was also in BODYCOMBAT 6 – which means this is the second release in a row in which a track from BC6 has been reused (the last one was Tubthumping in BC40)

06: Let Me Entertain You – Bodytronixx

Not too much to say about this track – very similar in structure to Shut Up and Drive from BC34 but instead of side kick, knee, back kick this time there’s another knee. A Tae Kwon Do based track without a single punch/hook/or upper in the entire thing (I did 7 years of TKD and yes we didn’t use our hands much so it is true to the discipline!) Hasn’t gone down as well as Burn It To The Ground from BC40 but it’s not a bad track and the kick kata is slow enough that it is a recovery.

07: Desolation Row – Krakaw Kreativ Kollektiv

Muay Thai is traditionally my favourite track in the class but unfortunately I did find this track a little lacking. Unlike most muay thais of late this isn’t a techno track but rather a Les Mills cover of the My Chemical Romance track. Loads of jab/crosses and loads of knees and really not much else. Not a bad track, but just lacks the intensity and climax of say Hardcore Angel from BC39 (quite possibly my favourite Muay Thai along with So What! from BC27).

08: What Do You Want From Me (squad-e remix) – Cascada

Awesome finish to the cardio portion of the release. Great song that builds into a powerful hook/jab/cross sequence at the end. Not too much else to say other than YES!

09: Right Round – Flo Rida Feat. Ke$ha / 10: Halo – Beyonce

Conditioning/cool down. Won’t spend too much time on these – circular crunches and circular pressups feature in the conditioning, and the cooldown has nice chorey which finishes with the same kata sequence introduced in track 6. Halo whilst not really my cup of tea musically at least is a nice calming track to bring the heart rate down to and seems to be liked by the members.

So, overall a solid release! Any release that has a track that tops my favourite list must be a goody and yes, whilst BC41 has a couple of tracks that I’m not a massive fan of it has more than enough tracks that I really like and one that I absolutely love! At the end of the day the members seem to be loving it and that’s all that counts! Enjoy!

Well it’s that time, I finally feel like I know BODYCOMBAT 40 well enough to write my opinion on it. Apologies for the delay in writing this – I actually went to write it two weeks ago… BUT, I held off a little as like every release it’s definitely grown on me a lot; although I did love the filming (heaps!) my enthusiasm actually waned slightly at first – but now it’s right back up there again (phew!).

Being that this release is the tenth birthday of combat D&R have tried to include a wider range of strikes and blocks – and that’s definitely the case. There’s lower blocks, mid-blocks, outer leg blocks, knife strikes, open palm blocks… the list goes on. This release also features the return of the esquiva, and the jump kick (in the same track even!)

Anyway, here’s a play by play (note this is only my personal opinion – feel free to disagree!)

Upper body warmup: Layla (Caribbean Mix) – DJ U Hey vs DJ Minagawa

Great start to the release. Uplifting track – a dance remix of Eric Clapton’s original track with the backing vocals “put your hands up in the air, put your hands up in the air!”. Unusually the upper body warmup features the outer leg block, and is done entirely in front stance (meaning no left right changes with the jabs/uppers/hooks). Loads of performance opportunities with the air guitar (of course!) – really like this track.

Lower body warmup: Hot n Cold – Katy Perry

As much as I hate to admit it I like this track too! Mega cheesy pop song but again loads of performance opportunities and a chance to have some fun with the entire class. Truth be told I’m just happy we have a release with no Rogue Traders!

Combat 1: I Know Kung Fu – Shitdisco

I couldn’t stand this track when I first did it but it’s really grown on me. Loads of knees and knife strikes, as well as the roundhouse challenge (low kick then high without touching your foot to the ground) – great for the ol’ leg conditioning. If you’ve seen the DVD you’ll see what a great job Hernan does in presenting it. I’ve tried his Bruce Lee impressions “waaaaaaaaaa!!!” and I just can’t pull it off – the class look at me like I’m mental!

Power training 1: Sweetheart (Squad-E Remix) – Rezonance-Q

LOOOOVE this track! Was a real stand out for me right from the start. The chorey and level changes match the music perfectly. The entire track builds into a huge final combo (double upper – speed ball) where you can really drive your “opponent” through the ceiling and hit maximum cardio output. This is one of those tracks that gets a round of applause every time it’s taught. Possibly my favourite track 3 ever!!! Highlight of the release.

Combat 2:
4a. Power Of The Mind – Headhunterz

Quite a dark track (similar in feel to We Will Survive from BC37). Super simple chorey (two side kicks, outer knee block, front kick all same leg) and to be honest possibly goes on a tad too long.  The timing is a little odd to get off the bat but probably only the first couple times you try it. Really not much more to it! Track 4 actually starts with this track right hand side (RHS), then goes to 4b RHS, then 4b LHS then back to this track LHS.

4b. Tubthumping (Everybody Handz Up In Japan Remix) – Hi End Attack

Tubthumping is back! (well it was in BC6!) This track features both the esquiva and then the jump kick. Basically prepare for pain!! Hammers the legs – especially if you concentrate on really lengthening your esquivas right out and pulsing on each one. Hammers one side before restarting and hammering the other and then going back to track 4a. Again, quite repetitive – and not my favourite track. As a side note for those of you that are big esquiva fans as the esquiva is in track 4 you could actually have two esquiva tracks in the same class if you wanted to! (but seriously are you fricken crazy?!)

Power training 2: Tutti Frutti – Mike Hardy & The KooladeSingers

Hmmm… not sure I’m loving this 50’s revival trend in the last couple combat releases. Structurally very similar to Johnny B. Goode from BC39 – effectively lots of identical rounds of chorey. Loads of performance opportunities with the “ooooo”.  I enjoyed this track at the filming but I think it could possibly be one of the first to be subbed out when instructors start mixing. Others may feel differently perhaps?

Combat 3: Burn It To The Ground – Nickelback

Well, track 6 aint a recovery in this release that’s for sure! As per usual we have the back kick – however it’s not the “feature move” of the track as we’ve had in the past. This is another track that’s really grown on me. The combos flow really well and fit the music – I especially like the last hook-knee combo – if you really drive the knee and hip you can burn a monstrous amount of calories with this one.

Muay Thai: Speed – Atari Teenage Riot

In general the muay thai for the me is the climax of the class. It’s where my heart rate peaks and I really go balls to the wall knowing that there’s no kicks in the last cardio track. However this muay thai for me disappoints. The chorey is okay – you can really launch your entire body on the rear descending elbows – but the music. Uggg… I can’t stand it. And it definitely lacks the intensity of the muay thai’s of the past. I haven’t had a chance to wear my heart rate monitor to grab a fair comparison to previous releases but I suspect my heart rate/caloric expenditure doesn’t reach anywhere near that of most other muay thai tracks. HOWEVER… as I pointed out this release doesn’t really have a recovery track – so perhaps this was intentional? That is if we did have a Party non stop or Hardcore paradise type muay thai we may see members keeling over from exhaustion! Guess we’ll find out when we start mixing (he says in his evilest voice!!)

Power training 3: Set you free (Hixxy Remix) – N-trance

LOVE it. Fantastic end to the cardio portion of the release. Every class has wooped and cheered during this track. Work the levels and send your fitness levels sky high. What the muay thai lacked this track makes up for!

Conditioning: Let it Rock – Kevin Rudolf feat. Lil Wayne

Second release in a row we’ve had no crunches – but we do have the plank and the “komodo dragon” (simple move bringing your knee to elbow working the core). First half of the track has loads of pressups – including the challenge portions on your toes. Decent conditioning track and decent song. 🙂

Cooldown: Use Somebody – Kings of Leon

Love the music and love the chorey. Nice simple soft kata that doesn’t require much thought or co-ordination for participants (unlike the kata from 39 which did take some a couple classes to get right). Beautiful end to the release.

So… all and all a solid release and one that rates a solid 8 out of 10 in my books. To my mind not quite a BC38 in terms of fun but a decent length (56 minutes I believe off the top of my head) and given there’s no real recovery tracks you’ll definitely get a decent workout! I’ll post some pics from our big local release later in the week – it’ll be a blast! If you haven’t done it yet then it’s certainly something to be excited about. Enjoy!

Had workshop on the weekend – the official release of BODYCOMBAT 39 – the quarterly was HUUUGE! Absolutely loved it. I’ve done BODYCOMBAT 39 a fair few times now and feel I’m in a position to give it a decent review – so here goes.

As discussed in my first post after the filming, the theme for this release is Ultimate Fighting (UFC). At the filming I noted that the complexity of the release was way down (little note here: this depends on how you define “complexity” – Andreas makes some good points in the comments below). What I mean by that is that almost all of the “advanced” moves were gone; no gingas, no esquivas, no evasive sidekicks, no jump knees. To be honest, I wasn’t too excited about it. Especially after attending the BC40 filming – I enjoyed that release a lot more. BUT (yes there is a but!) – in the DVD Dan & Rach explain they purposely did this based on the releases theme. That is, they dropped the complexity down, dropped the lateral movement down and concentrated on repetition and double combos because that fits with the UFC. Am I buying that? Well, nah. But (again with the but) having done the release many more times now I do have to say I like it much more than my initial impression. Here’s a track by track play for ya:

Warmup: The One & Only (Topmodelz Radio Cut) – Mario Lopez/ Calling All Lovers – Rogue Traders

Okay – mega mega cheesey warmup. The One & Only has gotta be one of the least “combaty” tracks ever released! (yes I did just make that word up…) However, much as I hate to say it but I like it! It’s a nice happy, cheery start to the workout and that’s what you want before jumping into the heavier stuff. To be fair, my favourite warmup ever is Amazed from BC35 so maybe I’m a big cheese fan 🙂 Not too much more you can say about this track. Couple of interesting points – there’s cross-jacks in the first half where we’d normally have the ol’ scissor, and the reps on the left and right differ during the upper body warm up which makes life interesting – but yeah, much as I hate to admit it I do like it! As for the lower body warm up – well, hmmm, yes, not a big Rogue Traders fan actually. Last seen in both BC36 and BC37 we did get a single release away from them before they’re back. Happy to report no sign of them in BC40 🙂

Combat 1: Cum On Feel The Noise – Group X

Okay, truth time. I HATED this track at the filming. Not a fan of the song (at all) and I recall being suitably unimpressed. However, I really like it now! Great combos (there’s two of them as per usual) and it’s quickly become one of my favourite track 2’s of recent times. First combo is simple, builds to back knee, front kick, cross, jab, cross – the second combo is better, double front hook , body rip, jab, body rip, round house. We have a lower block front kick to the side in betwen the right hand and left hand halves.  Bit of a performance opportunity in the second half “c’mon – ROCK IT!” and a great track to have a bit of competitiveness between the males vs the females in the class.

Power training 1: Come With Me (Unique Mix) – Styles & Breeze

Not to be confused with the Power training 1 track of the same name from BC28 (completely different song!) this track builds into what has got to be one of the longest combos in combat history. Two sets double uppers, 8 jab cross, two sets double jabs and eight scissors. Certainly it takes the participants a couple of sets to get it right – but once they do it’s awesome! Builds into a fantastic peak which has participants wooping and working their guts out. Great song, great progression, great track!

Combat 2: Jump That Rock (Whatever You Want) – Scooter vs. Status Quo

I LOVE this track. The music is awesome and it has a fantastic powerful backfist – side kick combo that you can really sink your teeth into. I mean you can really just launch into the move with a massive “aarrgg!!!”. Tonnes of knees also as well as the obligatory track four jump kick. Awesome awesome track – with the exception of the muay thai for me this is the highlight of the workout.

Power training 2: Johnny B. Goode – The Undertow

Still haven’t been able to find this track on youtube but it is very true to the original. Again, truth time – much like “Cum on feel the noise” I did not like this track based on the music alone. But it is a really fun track and has a “new” move – the jump squat. It’s essentially exactly as it sounds, you jump out on a 45 degree angle into a squat position (on the 3rd set each side there’s an optional jump instead). Now I did this track twice on Saturday, once on Sunday and also yesterday (it’s Tuesday today) and boy do my quads hurt this morning – it works! The chorry for the track is very fast, loads of double jab-cross sets, speed balls and running on the spot. Again, surprisingly this track has grown on me!

Combat 2: So What – Pink

Nice to have a break from the esquiva in this release before we have it again in BODYCOMBAT 40 (if you didn’t know that you read about it here). My first impressions of this track stand. After the filming I wrote: “Track 6 (So What by Pink) had simple but effective chorry – double uppers, hook-hook, back kick, double knee, front kick. I found myself getting into a really good rhythm coming from the back kick into the knees and really enjoyed this track.” – and that’s exactly how I feel now. Pink as a track 6 is nothing new to combat (U + UR Hand and Leave Me Alone (I’m Lonely)) so really no surprises – solid “active recovery” and nice nice break before all hell breaks lose in the Muay Thai!

Muay Thai: Hardcore Angel – Nick Skitz

Okay – this track is for me possibly the best Muay Thai ever! I absolutely love it. The music is perfect, and the new move – the ‘step over cross’ is awesome for building a tonne of power and then really launching into your “opponent”. Loads of treble elbows, loads of knees and loads of step over crosses. A huge amount of attitude from Nick Skitz – the words are  “HYPER HYPER!!” before launching into a massive combo. I can’t say enough about this track. The final phase (just when you think the track is over) has another massive burst of knees – that’s especially great since at the quarterly jump knees were added (my favourite!) – perfect!! If you haven’t done it yet you’re gonna love it!

Power training 3: Cry For You (Weaver Remix) – September

Okay, this track is a fricken marathon. It is officially the LONGEST TRACK 8 EVER at 6:45. It just goes on and on (and on and on…). Starts with four body rips, two hooks – building into a full combo with the addition of 8 jab-crosses. Three sets of those in total with a set of three jabs two hooks to the left and right in between (all on the same arm just to really hammer the shoulders). It’s a great track – possibly a little too long? Each time I’ve taught it the class have literally breathed a sigh of relief at the end – it really is marathon! Great finish to the workout though; not quite a “What Hurts the Most” but a solid track 8.

Conditioning: I Won’t Be Crying – Infernal

Good track – no situps nor crunches. Loads of hovers (or planks if you prefer) and also side planks for the obliques. Loads of press ups too. Makes a nice change actually (mind you there’s no situps or crunches in BC40 either so if you don’t mix you’re going 6 months without any!)

Cooldown: It’s All Coming Back To Me Now – Meat Loaf feat. Marion Raven

Not my favourite cooldown but a nice finish to the workout. Quite a lot of kata – and not and easy kata either – does require a bit of attention to master at first. Not too much you can say about a cooldown so will possibly come down to musical preferences as to whether you like it or not. Me – I have no problem with a bit of Meatloaf, and this track definitely serves its purpose of bringing the heartrate down and relaxing you at the end of your workout. Nice 🙂

Overall I’ll say this. BC39 is a good release. Yes a lot of the more, shall we say, “advanced” moves are gone (as I mentioned the esquiva is back in BC40 but apart from that there’s no e-kicks, jump knees or gingas in that release either so maybe that’s where combat is going). The real stand outs for me are tracks 4 and 7 – both are powerful tracks (heck any release with both Nick Skitz AND Scooter has gotta be good!). I do think the release will get old a little quicker than usual due to the repetitive nature of the tracks, however, still being in the first 2 weeks of doing it I’m still loving it. If I had to rate it side by side with BC38 I’d probably rate 38 as a better release, but to be fair (based on first impressions) I think BC40 is going to better than both! But I’m getting way ahead of myself (for a change!). My final thought would possibly be this; Give it a decent blast before you judge it. I definitely am A LOT happier about this release now I’ve done it half a dozen times as compared to my first impression. Anyway, that’s my $0.02 – as always love to hear your thoughts 🙂

Okay, I’ve now done BC38 many times… both as a participant and instructing so I feel I can give it a decent review. Overall I think BODYCOMBAT 38 is a great release; let me clarify by saying it is not terribly complex in it’s movement, many of the tracks are pretty repetitive and the combos are pretty simple. BUT, what it lacks in complexity it DEFINITELY makes up for in intensity. Make no mistake about it it is a hard release! And I think many tracks will stand the test of time and be used over and over again once we start mixing. Anyway, read on and if you’ve done it I’d be really interested in your feedback.

Warmup: “Writing on the wall” – 2-4 Grooves / “Because the Night” – Cascada

Fantastic start to the workout. As I stated in my initial impressions it certainly helps your enjoyment of a particular track if you actually like the music, and I really like both the tracks that make up the warmup. If you don’t like dance music obviously you won’t feel the same. Both tracks are light and really uplifting! One thing that’s occurred to me in this release is that with the exception of track 2 every other cardio track has a dance/trance feel to it. There’s a distinct lack of rock in this release. Getting back to the track itself there’s a couple of little tricks in the chorry which took me a couple of sessions to sort out – the shuffling “left” (instructor right) before the knees at the end is kinda odd! All in all a great warmup – no kata, no real surprises, just covers the basics. *by the way – I meant to add that if you haven’t heard the actual version of “writing on the wall” used in this release then please ignore the youtube link to it; the version I’ve linked to isn’t the same. The actual version is better… yay! Addition: See Andreas’s comment below for a better link… thanks bud!

Combat 1: “Try It Again” – The Hives

Not my favourite track but a solid track 2. Consistently I find the first combat track one of the tracks I enjoy least. I wasn’t a big fan of Born to be wild (BC36) however I did enjoy Beat It from 37… definitely Try it Again has a more Born to be Wild feel to it, perhaps it’s the traditional karate movements that appear in both. Loads of traditional karate blocks and punches exactly like BTBW. The final section after the “They say madness is doing the same thing…” part is cool. I used to use “sliding side kicks” (as we called them) in my Tae Kwon Do days a lot – and shuffle side kicks are just as good! Solid track and will stand the test of time.

Power training 1: “Like I feel (squad-e mix)” – D:code Feat Emma

Very typical power training track – could easily be a track 8 which seems to be common in the last few releases – track 3 and 8 in terms of style are almost impossible to differentiate. Music is also exactly what you’d expect based on BC35-37 – fast dance music. This track has lots of speed balls, lots of ROTS (running on the spot), and a tonne of jump jabs; it is a nice, happy, uplifting song. One thing I will say, instructors, doesn’t Hernan do a fantastic job presenting it. He’s awesome

Combat 2: “Headbangerz Rock Da Club” – Nick Skitz / “Cold As Ice” – Starsplash

You know what – I still can’t decide if I like this track. I’m gonna do it a couple more times in a class environment and then make my mind up. At the moment I’d have to say I’m not enjoying the first half much at all. The second part (Cold As Ice) with all its round house knees into side kicks I’m loving. I will probably complete this tomorrow (I’m doing it again tonight and 6am tomorrow) and by then I’ll know for sure. Stay tuned! Okay, yep, I do like this track. It’s got about 240 knees and kicks in it, and the round house knees into side kicks (think The United Vibe) hurt!! I tell you, this combined with track 6 definitely mean your legs get a complete and utter hammering in this release.

Power training 2: “The Best Damn Thing” – Avril Lavigne

Okay this track has already caused quite a bit of controversy (like here and here just for starters), and I’ve mentioned I’m not a big Avril fan…in fact, I’m not any type of Avril fan! And, when I saw this was in BC38 I expected another split room “Girlfriend” (i.e. BC33) type track; or, lord help me another “Don’t You Wanna Feel” type track from BC36 (possibly my least favourite track 5 ever!) By that I mean, they’re all kinda girly poppy songs. Well, it’s not “girly” at all (okay, expect for the lyrics – they’re almost unbearable “I hate it when I can doesn’t understand that at a certain time of month I don’t want to hold his hand…” WTF! anyway, moving on…) We should dub this track the shoulder killer as mine consistently hurt like hell afterwards! The track blitzes your right side (or left for instructors) totally before restarting and doing it again… given my first impression of the music this track is MUCH better than I thought it would be!

Combat 3: “No Good” – The Prodigy

The esquiva track. Much like BC37 this track is all about leg conditioning. Esquivas. Lunges. Pain! Prepare to hurt. Seriously. And, I really hate to admit it – but I’m not a fan of this track. I know, I know… you probably like it right? I really wish I did like it – but unfortunately I’ve now waited and given it a pretty good blast (5 or 6 times) and truth be told I’m not a fan. Here’s the thing. I do combat for a cardio workout. I know the merits of conditioning – but I do BODYPUMP and weight training to tone and strengthen my body. I do combat to stay fit, remain lean (or even get leaner) and to stay nice and healthy. So to my mind throwing a leg conditioning track in the middle of the release is a little bit frustrating. I will say that this track does keep your heartrate up to a much higher degree than stamp in BC37 did (another esquiva track) because of the lunge, front kick, esquiva combo so that’s a good thing… let’s just say fingers crossed it grows on me. Let me also add that I’m definitely in the minority here – most people seem to love it – so enjoy!

Muay Thai: “Raver’s Paradise (Stadium Mix)” – Nick Skitz feat MC BB

Not a bad track as far as Muay Thais go, though personally not one to really get excited about. The chorry is very simple, and as can be expected has lots of knees, elbows and street brawler downward punches. No surprises here (like the incorporation of gingas a la BC36) and sadly for me no jump knees either. I LOVE the Muay Thais with jump knees. Though, that’s no to say you can’t add one per side as the last knee in the sequence. A reasonably solid track but definitely not Muay Thai classic as far as I’m concerned.

Power training 3: “What hurts the most (Al Storm remix)” – Cascada

ABSOLUTELY my favourite track in this release. Here’s the funny thing, I used to love this song. For a fair part of last year I’d constantly thrash it when training on my iPod; I think I had 4 or 5 different versions of it in total and I used to play them in succession whilst doing weights in the gym. But, as you can probably guess I got really sick of it really quick. Then it came out as the back track in BODYPUMP 66. And suddenly I loved it again. But, after 3 solid months of thrashing it (again!) I got sick to death of it. Now it’s out in BC38… and believe it or not I love it again! Granted it’s a different version but still the same song… it’s fantastic! The track is split into 3 parts – the first two a mix of non-stop jabs, followed by non-stop uppers and non-stop hooks. The third part is just jabs. I mean, it is the simplest chorry you can imagine but the way the music builds with it’s peaks and valleys – well it just rocks. This is the perfect climax to an intense release – love it!

Conditioning: “When I grow up” – Pussycat Dolls

Killer conditioning track. 32 tricep pushups followed by 32 wide pushups – with no break! I’m no fan of the song but to be honest the chorry is so hard that I barely notice it! This track also has crunches and a plank for the ol’ abs. Not too much else to say except ouch!

Cooldown: “Say (All I Need)” – OneRepublic

Not too much you can say about a cooldown. The song is a nice calming song and I think a perfect end to an otherwise intense workout. Your heartrate will drop and you’ll leave the workout feeling refreshed – exactly what you’d want! I’ll admit I’m not terribly a big fan of the ‘neck stretch’ movement, but this is a fittingly great end to a great release – nice job guys!

Saturday was the first time I’d even seen BODY COMBAT 38 (apart from the track listing). Did feel kinda strange as I’d already done BC39 (due to the fact I went to the filming) but nevermind! Anyway, in short – I loved it. LOVED IT! It is hard to get a decent feel for a release when you’ve only done it once, but honestly, after having done BC39 once as well I enjoyed 38 A LOT more. It rocked!

I’ll write a full review of the release once I’ve watched the DVD and received the notes (should be in about 48 hours) but for now here are the highlights in brief (presenters were Dan, Rach and Hernan);

I loved the warm up mainly because I really like both the tracks that make it up. If you don’t like dance music obviously you won’t feel the same. Both tracks are light and really uplifting! The upper body is “Writing on the wall” by 2-4 Grooves whilst the lower body warm up is “Because the Night” by Cascada. Really enjoyed this.

Combat 1 seemed to me to be a typical track 2 – it was “Try It Again” by The Hives. Both track 2 and the power training track (“Like I feel (squad-e mix)” by D:code Feat Emma) aren’t really standing out in my memory which leads me to believe they are exactly what you’d expect from combat 1 and power training 1.

Combat 2 (track 4) is a TOTAL KILLER. If you thought “We will survive” was hard in BC37 with it’s 260 odd kicks then you’re in for a rude awakening. Dan claimed there are 300+ in this track! (Addition: As it happens there’s no where near 300 kicks in this track – more like 240; So around the same as We Will Survive – maybe Dan was just trying to freak us out haha – however make no mistake it FEELS like there’s over 300 that’s for sure!) It’s in two parts. The first part is “Headbangerz Rock Da Club” by Nick Skitz and that is a kick combo not completely different to the kick combo in BC37. Lots of back kicks, knees and front kicks.  The second part (“Cold As Ice” by Starsplash) really finishes you off with loads of roundhouse knees into sidekicks (think The United Vibe from BC35). Absolutely leg shattering track and a real highlght for me. I’m not sure what the track length is but it is loooooooong! I think people will either love or hate it.

Track 5 (“The Best Damn Thing” by Avril Lavigne) was MUCH better than I thought it would be. MUCH! I’m not an Avril fan and I expected something similar to the last Avril track 5 – “Girlfriend” from BC33. Thankfully it’s not. It’s not a split room track either which is all good. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this.

Prepare to have your legs cained in track 6 (“No Good” by The Prodigy). The esquiva is back and it’s a killer. The one thing that really stood out for me in this track is the cool esquiva into front kick combo. This tracks hurts no two ways about it.

I know I enjoyed the muay thai but I honestly can’t remember that much about it! The song is “Raver’s Paradise (Stadium Mix)” by Nick Skitz feat MC BB. I can recall a lot of street brawler downward punches and lots of knees… I’ll write a lot more about this in full when I get the DVD.

Highlight for me without question: Track 8: “What hurts the most (Al Storm remix)” by Cascada. THIS TRACK WENT OFF! It goes on and on and on and the levels just keep building! You think you’ve hit level 4 and then bang – the music builds again and you reach even deeper and power on! Then just when you think it’s over – WHAM – another level hits you and you’re off again! I swear the endorphins your body produces in this track will keep you buzzing for hours afterwards. Absolutely awesome! The whole room was cheering as the track progressed. It was incredible and I can’t wait to release it.

Conditioning – was hard. The track was “When I grow up” by Pussycat Dolls. Personally I hate the song with a passion so wasn’t expecting to enjoy it. Dan challenged us to do it all on our toes. In fact he said he’d buy a beer to anyone that could – and it was probably a pretty safe bet for him… the track has 64 press ups with no breaks! 32 chest and 32 tricep. However, Dan you do owe me one as I did manage it (just!). The ab portion also has the plank which is a killer move as we all know.

Cooldown: “Say (All I Need)” by OneRepublic. Beautiful. Not too much kata which I prefer. Excellent end to a fantastic release.

As I said expect a much more complete review in a few days… but this release is DEFINITELY one to look forward to… yay! Pics follow – apologies for quality they were taken from my cellphone.


BODYCOMBAT 38 - Dan, Rach and Hernan


BC38 release - me 🙂

BODYCOMBAT 38 release

BODYCOMBAT 38 release


BC38 release - me 🙂

BC38 release

BC38 release

2008 Q4 workshop; In this pic, Me, Erina, Hernan, Anise and James

2008 Q4 workshop; In this pic, Me, Erina, Hernan, Anise and James

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