Video Fitness

Kardio Kombat Kickboxing

Lisa Gaylord

Certain aspects of this video gave me the feeling that it could have been billed as "Kickboxing for Dummies," which could be both a good and a bad thing in a variety of ways. It's great for learning the basic kickboxing moves, but less than ideal for enjoying an interesting workout. The workout progresses for 24 minutes (that is, half of its 48-minute total) before introducing any kicks; until then it's just the warmup and a lot of practice with punches and blocks. In this sense it's a more thorough introduction to kickboxing than videos that show the moves all at once at the beginning (such as Kathy Smith's), since you're doing the moves repeatedly and for a long time rather than merely watching. Unfortunately, I found it boring and soon was off doing my own thing. Some may also find the extensive upper-body focus at the beginning a bit draining for the arms if they aren't prepared for it.

Lisa clearly aims the workout toward novice kickboxers, taking things slowly both in terms of its tempo (126-132bpm) and pace, but it almost borders upon condescending, as if it's considered a watered-down workout for people who hesitate to push themselves. I was initially pleased when Lisa introduced her modifier as being equally skilled as everyone else, just demonstrating how to adapt the moves to accommodate injuries or different intensities. However, that soured when she added, "If you have to modify, that's OK-- but don't wimp out on me!" I would have preferred a more welcoming and encouraging approach to modifications.

This attitude surprised me, since the workout is targeted at fitness instructors, as is typical of Sara's City Productions. Lisa frequently refers to "your students" and talks about how to deal with a crowded class or a mixture of levels, and the tape ends with a lecture (which I skipped). She also has an odd habit of specifying "my left, your right," given that her target audience should already be very familiar with the concept of mirror cueing. Her own cueing is OK, typically very deliberate and given ahead of the move, but on later repetitions of a familiar sequence, she sometimes just grunts or counts. I find it more helpful when instructors identify the move by name.

In spite of these criticisms, I think this could be a decent alternative to consider for beginning kickboxing videos. It provides plenty of practice with the basic moves, which could be very helpful for someone starting out, and Lisa's qualifications as a martial artist should put to rest any unease about picking up bad form. Just be aware that you?re not getting a perky, super-sweet, encouraging instructor: Lisa wears her tough tomboyishness as something of a badge, and her teaching style is dry and deliberate rather than friendly and reassuring.

Instructor comments: Although both instructors can sometimes seem like they've watered down their instruction, Lisa's style is very nearly the antithesis of Denise Austin's. Where Denise appears indulgent and earnest, as if she herself believes in the cutesy phrases she uses, Lisa seems to be forcing herself to be careful that she doesn't confuse or overwhelm her audience with too much difficulty.

KickDancer

10/10/05



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