I really liked this workout! It is divided into several sections. There is a 5-minute beginning section that is very, very slow and consists of Patricia telling you to "suck in your belly" a lot. The warmup aka Punch section goes through the basic punches and the signature move of speedbag while going into plie, then "scooping" back up doing reverse speedbag.
The Core section is the real meat of the workout. This 25-minute section is all punches with deep squats. Patricia builds up a long combination section by section. The ultimate product is high alternating punches, low alternating punches; speedbag scoop; eight uppercuts, four double uppercuts; left-right-left punch, then right-left-right punch; seven punches with right fist while in semi-lunge position; repeat to left; bob and weave to the left then hook; repeat to right; alternating front jabs and alternating cross jabs.
The kicks section is not so much steady state cardio but is still very powerful once you get things going. Patricia sets things up (maybe a little slowly for my taste) by setting up the front push kicks and back kicks. Then she has you doing side lunge, then lift that lunging leg into front kick, then repeat with back kick. She teaches the "jinga" which is sort of in between a back lunge and back curtsey lunge with arm in hook position across your chest. The lunging leg eventually goes into roundhouse kick.
Then you do sets of eight combining the side lunge, front and back kicks, jinga and roundhouse. It's all about balance and control, not so much cardio - though you do get a bit of an anaerobic effect. Only about 15-20 minutes.
The combinations section was very short, less than 15 minutes. You do jab-cross-hook, front kick, back kick, switching from side to side. Then you do upper cuts, front punches, jinga and roundhouse. You also do left-right-left punch, left front kick and switch to other side.
The setting is the beautiful desert. Three women and a man work out behind Patricia. The music is nice though on a loop - from sort of arena rock guitar to new age.
Patricia is as lovely and competent as she always was. My only issue was that she repeated the mantra of "If you want it, you can get it...do your best and think about what you want..." in various versions over and over and over again.
Iím reviewing this workout after doing it several times (except for the bonus segment, which Iíve only done once).
General workout breakdown: This kickboxing workout will help you practice proper form, not so much by breaking down all of the basic kickboxing moves but by reminding you to work through your core and lower body as well as keeping your shoulders down and engaging your back muscles properly. If youíre relatively new to kickboxing, if you feel like your kicks and punches have no power, if your neck is tense after a kickboxing class, if your gym class teacher is always looking at you when s/he says, ďKeep your shoulders down,Ē and/or if youíd like a low impact workout that requires little space, then you may find this video very helpful. On the other hand, if youíre looking for nonstop super high intensity kickboxing with lots of action and bells and whistles, well, this may not do it for you.
Patricia works both sides evenly (with maybe one or two slight exceptions). There are a few moments of down time every now and then as Patricia introduces a new move or tries to inspire you for another go-round.
*Punches (13 min.) begins after Patriciaís general intro (which you can skip over with your remote) with about 3 min. of a warm-up, beginning with a focus on proper posture before moving into gentle base moves like pulses in squat position or upper body rotation / twist during which you focus on the core foundation. Punches include jab, cross, hook, and upper cut, and other moves include twists, roll out / roll in (a speedbag move), and bob & weave; these are done in more of a drill type manner rather than put into combos, and repetitions are fairly high so you become so familiar with the moves that they seem natural.
*Core Energizer (26 min.) builds up piece by piece into one long combo; the high amount of repetitions is to help you build endurance. This one leaves me surprisingly sweaty and even gets my heartrate up more than I expect, even though itís pretty much just punching. See Aceyís review for a breakdown of the full combo.
*Kicks (18 min.) begins with a short balance practice before working through these moves: front push kick, back kick, power lunge (i.e. a side lunge), roundhouse (Patricia just says side kick, but as far as I can tell, especially with that chamber, sheís doing a roundhouse), and jinga (a move from capoeira, a Brazilian martial arts; jinga kind of sort of looks like a wide curtsy lunge with your arm pulling an imaginary cape across your eyes but of course is more than that). When she first introduces the kick, she emphasizes the chamber, and you do drills that build up to the full kick at tempo. At the end Patricia puts the kicks together in a great little combo (again, Aceyís review has a great description of the moves) that gets my heartrate back up and awakens my lower body muscles.
*Combinations (15 min.) contains three short combos, which Acey has already described. It ends with about 6 min. of a cool-down / stretch that focus on the lower body. (I added on my own stretch afterwards, especially for the upper body and the hips.)
*Bonus Power Workout (14 min.) is a core workout. Since most of the exercises involve being on the wrists, Patricia begins by describing proper positioning of the hands and arms. Exercises include a cat & cow stretch, bird dog pose with single leg and then leg & alternating arm extension, childís pose, full plank, side plank (with a couple of increasingly difficult variations, leading ultimately to the top leg in tree pose sweeping into side plank on the other side with that same leg extended off of the ground and then returning to 3-point and finally 2-point plank), while kneeling a yoga mudra to focus the mind and stretch the hands plus and upper body stretch, bird dog with arm to side, and simple cross-seated with shoulder rolls and then spinal twist.
Level: Iíd recommend this to exercisers at least at the beg. / int. level with some prior experience in kickboxing; itís best suited for intermediates through int./adv., I think, especially if you want to do the whole shebang in one go. Patricia assumes youíre already familiar with the basic punches and kicks; at the same time, however, she assumes youíre still learning proper form and would like some practice with that. I consider myself an int. / adv. in cardio; Iíve learned kickboxing from videos but havenít had someone correct my form in a live setting. Every time I do this workout Iím all sweaty by the end, and the next day I invariably have DOMS.
Class: 1 man and 3 women join Patricia, who instructs live. Patricia is alone in the bonus segment.
Music: instrumental with a driving beat, guitar-heavy for most of the workout (although the cool-down has the standard Gaiam gentle instrumental and the bonus has some upbeat elevator type music). Itís easily the most rocking music Iíve ever heard on a Gaiam video. (I know thatís not saying much, but it is rockiní, even if it does repeat itself quite a bit within the workout.)
Set: a sunny day in the Arizona desert, with the class overlooking a small canyon. The bonus segment was either done at sunrise or at sunset in the same place.
Production: clear picture and sound, the usually sweeping but not particularly distracting camera angles that youíd expect from a Gaiam production. Close-ups are generally more helpful than not. The only editing glitch I notice is in the first segment, where one clip is on a different side than the rest of the bits.
Equipment: sneakers. Depending upon your floor, you may want a mat for the bonus portion.
Space Requirements: Hooray, a cardio workout that doesnít use the whole house! You need enough room to kick forwards and backwards as well as to take a small step and kick to one side. This has got to be the most compact kickboxing workouts Iíve ever done. At 5í8Ē I can use a space thatís 4í wide by 8í deep.
DVD Notes: The main menu offers you the choice of segments. There are no chapters within the segments, but, more importantly, there is no way to string segments together. In other words, each one plays separately, returning you to the main menu every time. Iím sure this will be changed in future Gaiam rereleases of this DVD, which Iím sure will be renamed.
This comes in Gaiamís new ďeco consciousĒ biodegradable cardboard package, which has an awkward egg carton-like spindle (mine grips the disc too loosely, so the disc comes loose whenever I move the case, but another Gaiam eco conscious case I have grips it too tightly, which means Iím in constant danger of snapping the disc as I attempt to dislodge it, and that case doesnít also like to stay closed). Saving the environment shouldnít look this cheap.
Comments: I donít really have any other kickboxing video quite like this. In some sense itís an instructional video, and yet itís a work-along one that can still give you a darn good little workout. Obviously the original Powerstrikes (well, I only have Millenium #3, since I donít have a VHS player) and Ilariaís releases on her own (Powerstrike, aka Millenium #4) are similar, especially with their attention to proper form, yet Patricia brings something a little different to the party.
Since Iím no kickboxing expert and donít currently have access to good live form-focused instruction, this is an excellent video for me to do whenever I feel a kickboxing rotation urge coming on. I need the form reminders in here. I find I get much more out of my other kickboxing videos (Amy Bentos, Cathes, Turbo Jams, Janis Saffells, Kimberly Spreens) after I do anything by Patricia and/or Ilaria earlier rather than later.
Patricia is constantly talking, alternating between cuing, instructing, and motivating. She cues well, often almost right on the move change, although other times she gives you a heads up about whatís to come during a break or filler move, and she mirror cues (but pretty much always starts drills or combos on her right / the viewerís left). Patriciaís instruction includes a number of helpful form tips and a lot of reminders to start movement from the core, engage the lats properly, and bring power from the hips. She spends a great deal of time on motivation, asking you to find your desire, commit to your practice, and push past your edge. As Acey mentioned, she has a lot of catchphrases, like ďWhat youíve got is enough, but itís got to be everything you gotĒ or ďIf you give 100% you will improve 100%.Ē Patricia is focused on building both inner and outer strength (rather than, say, burning calories or getting a cute butt). She is very sincere and low key, if prolific, in her words of encouragement, so her many mini motivational speeches donít, at least for me, come off as corny. That said, I could see some days when I maybe wouldnít be in the mood for them, but thatís why I have other kickboxing videos, too!
September 27, 2008