Video Fitness

Ringside Kick-It

Janis Saffell

The first few times I did Janis's other videos, Kickbox Express and Kick It!, I'd been frustrated with the complex choreography and drawn-out lengths of time--I'm more of a Tae-Bo style aficionado. But the more I did her videos, the more they grew on me, and I started to feel a sense of accomplishment when I got her combos down, and to appreciate going at an intermediate pace for a long time to get a good workout as a supplement to the usual diet of 30-50 minutes of hardcore drill-style aerobics.

So I got Ringside Kick-It. I liked it more than I would have if I hadn't been converted to a Janis fan, but it doesn't measure up to her best workouts. Janis and some half dozen followers are shown dwarfed in a huge gym with a big window showing some sort of hillside. The acoustics are bad; it's hard to hear her without turning up the volume. Occasionally the camera person tries to be artsy by flashing the folks in black-and-white or angling looking-up shots of Janis' face so you see her smile a little self-consciously while she's instructing.

The first half hour is high-low kickboxing, putting together three combos that are fairly short and simple by Janis standards. Combo one is a double punch, cross-punch, back kick, jumping jack-hop and switch to the other side. Combo two is a double punch, bob and weave back, two knees, jump-kick, roundhouse with other leg and switch. Combo three, you punch forward three times, cross punch, side kick, do the cross-country ski shuffle, two squats and jumping jack back four times, two side kicks, two uppercuts, then switch.

She adds on move by move so that you learn the combos, then does them three times quite fast!

The second half hour is with the step bench. It's rather cool the way she designed the choreagraphy so that you're mirroring a partner on the opposite side of the step, (but it works fine solo) though I think most real-life exercisers would have some trouble bumping into each other at first.

You do a few combos including jab-cross-jab, squat on the step, back-kick and forward kick on the step; jab-side jab and side- kick-front-kick on the step, plus shuffling to the other side. It goes by fast; before you know it you're facing your partner, straddling the step, taking turns doing hooks over each other's heads.

Then comes a whole lot of shuffling, which eventually becomes shuffling and punching in a full circle around the step. The shuffling section gets a little tedious because she talks alot and you're just shuffling forever. It ends with a bunch of deep squats.

It's a tribute to Janis that I caught on to the choreography fairly quickly, since I'm used to harder and longer stuff from her. But the result is that I didn't feel like I got a very intense workout. Her other tapes aren't necessarily higher intensity but they're longer and more complex so you end up feeling like you got a good workout if only because of the length of time! As always, if you use weighted gloves you get a better workout, but overall advanced exercisers would use this as an easy-day short workout.

Janis is a lovable instructor whose cuing and on-camera oratory has improved a lot since her earlier videos. Still friendly and engaging but less forced goofy-cuteness. Too bad it's hard to hear her at all in the echoes of the vast hall. The music is instrumental dance-club techno stuff which sometimes seemed a bit off in the rhythm of the workout.

Cheeena@aol.com
1/25/01

Janis is just not my cup of tea.

It's taken me three tapes to figure this out, all of which I've traded or sold after the first viewing. The review's on VF say the cueing improved on Ringside Kick It over the earlier CIA's, and that's true to some extent but I still find myself being tripped up by choreography that's really simple, but doesn't flow.

I find her overall emphasis, choice of choreography and timing to be foreign to my tastes. Her moves don't flow for my body. She does alot of needless hi impact (filler jumping jacks, for instance). Maybe it's a personality conflict, she annoys me. I spend considerable time staring at the clock during her tapes.

I prefer Debbie Burns, Arron Lankford and Cathe Friedrich for kickboxing. I haven't tried PowerStrike but it sounds like something I'd enjoy, of course, so did Janis!

Jane C.
7/2/01

Ringside Kick it

Janis Saffell

Workout Type: Kickbox

Fitness Level :Beginner (read on and see if you think you can follow), Intermediate and Advanced will enjoy the changing choreography.

Equipment : A long step for the 2nd half

Workout length: hi-lo for 2 min. then step kickbox for 27.30 = total length 54.30 min.

The Set : light purple backdrop with a white painting in the middle.

The Attire : Janis and 3 girls wear pants and tops, the 2 men wear t-shirts and loose fitting shorts.

Effectiveness: Gets your Heart pumping and give you a great cardio workout.

Music: Kickbox high energy techno type.

Presentation: This tape kept my attention, and my energy up. She doesn't do the moves too many nor too little times (IMO) and she switches from one type of move to another, enough to keep motivation up. I found this entire tape to be fun!

The warmup and stretch:
march in place, step touches, then add tap out, add knee ups,
then alternating upper cuts. side kicks, & front kicks.
Bob and weave w/ jab alternating then alternating side leg lifts.
lunge side to side.
at 2.30 min. incudes runner's stretch, core strength, and shoulder stretches etc.

The Workout: at 4.45 min. Hi-Lo program
Fists alternating 2 knee ups and 2 jacks - 2 each side
Combo 1: 2 side kicks (one roundhouse) & 2 jacks - 2x each side
then changes jacks to jack and jab. - 4x each side.
hop , 4 jabs per arm - 2x each side
2 per arm 4x each side then singles - 2x each side
knee ups 4x each side 2 right 2 left - 2x each side
then bring arms down to meet knees.
left side 2 knees and stop - 4x per side
then instead of stop do rockinghorse - 4x each side
repeat all on right side.
then double knee and round with opposite leg.
left side repeat all.
Combo 2: double knee front kick & round - 4x
alternate sides.
at 9min. - right boxer shuffle forward 8 punches
then twist trunk then 2 and 2 then singles.
then alternate sides and alternate combo 2 and combo 3
at 11min. Combo 4: 2 punches and bob and weave 7x then jab and cross.
then combo 2, combo 3 other lead, continue alternating
jack it out 8x
boxer shuffles
at 12.30 min. 4 jab right 4 cross left - 3x
double jab and hold - 8x
Combo 5: double double cross jab hold - 4x
double double cross jab knee lift & jack in between - 4x
repeat all combo 5 other arm lead.
12 right punches then combo 5
then alternate side leads of combo 5
boxer shuffles
at 16min. alternating jabs then 8 right jabs 8 L. jabs
then alternate singles while alternating legs.
3 jabs and hold - 2x then 3 cross hold - 2x
then 2 with knee.
Combo 6: 3 cross kicks - 2x little hops in place.
combo 6 - 2x
then combo 6 with scissors in between 8x
tap out feet to sides
then from 3 jabs and hold repeat entire sequence. left arm lead
tap out with alternating upper cuts. then alternate sides.
(workout to beat of the music)
alternate combo and leads again.
then tap outs with upper cut in between.
then jacks back.
at 21.30 min. alternate jabs
8 small squats
then combo 1 - 2x each side
combo 2 - 2x each side
combo 6 - 2x each side
combo 1 - 2x each side
combo 2 - 2x each side
combo 6 - 2x each side
8 jacks
at 24.30 min. - 4 alternating knee lifts
alternate, then toe tap front - 4 x each
add jabs.
combo 1 - 2x each side
combo 2 - 2x each side
combo 6 - 2x each side

at 27min. Step Program: with or without a partner. (partner would be using the other corner of the step)
tap up and back (right leg leads) 2 onto step 2 forward taps off of step.
jab cross when on floor - 2x each
8x tap on step and knee lift then becomes rear knee lift - 8x
every change 2x each
then alternate 2 and 2
march
then squat one foot on and one foot off the step - 8x
then add back kick alternate with jab cross off box - 8x
march
then squat, jab cross then shuffle to other side of step - 10x
then alternate knee lifts on step
then hop onto step and opposite knee
at 33min. boxer shuffle
combo 1: jab, cross, jab, and hold - 4x
then combo 1 with hop knee and knee lift.
then jab cross off step and front kick and side kick on step.
3 punches & hop then front kick and side kick on step
add shuffle to other side of step
combo 1 4x other leg lead - repeat everything
then with shuffles in between do sequence from one side of step to other side of step.

at 37.30 min. Rocking horse
then back kick & front kick - 4x
tap on floor forward and back 8x then to the side facing partner 4x
2x forward 2 x to side.
combo 2: boxer front boxer side 4x each side then tap ups.
combo 3: front kick, rear kick, boxer 2x front 2x side
do combo 3 - 4x
combo 2
combo 3
combo 2
shuffle to other side of step
combo 3 - 4x
shuffle and alternate combo one each side - 8x
at 42 min. - face corner of step and jab cross (partner ducks) - 4x
boxer shuffles - 8x
8 jacks
shuffle around to other side of step (exchanging places with partner)
then shuffle all the way around the step
then add jab with shuffles (fun!)
squats then bob and weave. then jab cross
then alternate punches over - 8x
squats again - 4x then lift leg and alternate side kicks.
slow squats - 8x
at 49min. (Tai Chi inspired) cooldown
at 54.30 min. - END

Total Rating: For a kickbox cardio workout - I give it a 10 of 10 possible points. (one of the very best - IMHO!)

Again I really enjoyed that she changes what she is doing often enough, doesn't repeat any one thing over and over to the point of boredom... It does not feel like you are doing drills in this video but just having fun!

!!! The partner sequences can be good for a significant other, at one point you stare at him or her and punch above his or her head. It's really cute!



Lucy aka Sunshine ;)

Instructor comments: Instruction: Before the tape begins Janis goes over form pointers for all punches and kicks in this video for 2 min.. Most of the time she will show you a move before she does it. Her cueing is good (IMO)

Sunshine
09 June 2002

My comments below pertain to the high-low training portion of the video only.

I was really excited about trying this workout: I had just discovered Janis Saffell and LOVED her Kickbox Strike Zone video, so I was hoping to like this one too. Unfortunately, I was quite disappointed, as I found Kick-It Interval to be quite different.

Prior to the start of the workout, Janis spends just a few minutes reviewing basic punches and kicks, which was a helpful form reminder. She then leads a 5-minute basic warm-up with side steps plus low-intensity punches and kicks. Finally, she begins a 23-minute kickboxing segment. There are several things I didn't like about this segment, especially as compared to Strike Zone:

1) It was higher impact than I like. In Strike Zone, I loved how Janis did hardly any hopping or jumping, but here, there are many more jumping jacks thrown in plus a lot of medium-impact foot patterns and higher-impact jumps.
2) The kickboxing combinations were more complex, and I found them difficult to follow. Janis begins with fairly simple kick-punch combos, but she gradually adds more and more movements, which I found very confusing. I wound up having to leave out a lot of steps in order to try to keep pace with Janis.
3) There was too much TIFTT. As mentioned above, Janis builds on combinations by adding more and more moves, and she then has you go back to the beginning of the combo to repeat several times. Even worse, towards the end of this section, she goes back to the very beginning and has you string each separate combo together in a series. I found this to be VERY difficult, as it requires you to remember what you were doing 15 minutes before.

I'm sure that some people will like this workout better that I did, especially if you enjoy complex choreography and don't mind higher impact or TIFTT. Perhaps after I continue doing this video for awhile (I've only tried it once so far), I'll learn the moves better and thus like it more, but at this point, I'm not looking forward to doing it again.

Instructor comments: I do like Janis as an instructor; I find her very encouraging, and she really seems to be enjoying herself. In general, she cues well, although she was difficult to follow in this workout. There is a team of 6-7 background exercisers, one of whom (Numi?) was in Minna Lessig's Strength and Grace video.

Beth C (aka toaster)

August 25, 2004

This one didn't last too long in my collection. It failed on three counts: too hard to follow, too much high impact, and not intense enough. It's not a terrible workout, but I've become picky enough that I had to weed it out.

Although the choreography wasn't that difficult, the way Janis introduced and cued the combinations (particularly in the "hi-lo" section) tripped me up just enough for me to decide it wasn't worth bothering. She taught three separate combinations, layering on new moves and progressively shortening the combinations as we practiced them. I've realized that I don't like this teaching technique because I end up learning the original routine and then having to try to forget it when we're doing the final version. I prefer instructors to teach something to me ďas-isĒ (or very nearly so) the first time around. Adding arm movements after establishing the base pattern for the legs is OK, but changing existing patterns and inserting sequences in different places does not work for me. I also had difficulty perceiving the structure of the workout, not knowing when Janis had switched to a new combination or when she was modifying an old combination. Then, when Janis put all three combinations together, I had trouble calling up the right motor program at the right time. Her cueing was spotty, in that she referred to the combinations by their numbers (Which combo was #2?), cued the punches more than the kicks (even though kicks require more preparation time to execute properly), and didnít always remind us which side came next (especially important after two-footed landings from jumping jacks).

I was disappointed that I had to modify out so many high-impact moves. I donít dislike high-impact on principle, but certain uses of it bother me. Especially since the warmup didnít prepare my ankles and knees sufficiently for the impact, I was worried about injuring my joints from all the bounciness of the jumping jacks and scissor jacks.

Even considering this as an intermediate-intensity workout (132bpm in the hi-lo section, 124bpm in the step section), I was disappointed by the flow of the moves. I felt there was more shuffling and bouncing than punching and kicking, which isnít what Iím looking for in a kickboxing workout. The step section in particular had me watching the clock; I thought Janis could have incorporated a lot more stepping and kickboxing, rather than shuffling back and forth and around the step. I think the ďwork-out-with-a-partnerĒ design hindered the choreography without actually adding much meaningful interaction. It crowds the workout space, yet all we were supposed to do was look at our partner and occasionally duck a punch.

The DVD production has two flaws that I noticed: The warmup and cooldown are not chaptered separately, making it difficult to do only one of the two workouts, as Janis suggests. Also, the video clip that plays during the menu depicts a different workout (Brand New Butt and More?).

I prefer workouts by Powerstrike, Aaron Lankford, and Debbie Burns instead.

Instructor comments: Janis is friendly and sweet, but I look for more intensity in my kickboxing instructorsóshe was almost too relaxed leading this workout. Her choreography and cueing also did not work for me here.

KickDancer

8/26/05

For me, this workout was hate at first sight. The set is way too big and the sound isnít very good. The workout has a LOT of impact that is very difficult to modify easily. I modify impact in workouts all the time and decided it just wasnít worth the effort. Plus, you have to use weighted gloves to get an acceptable level of intensity. Whatís the point?

Instructor comments: She doesn't do much for me. I don't find her motivating. Her instructions are okay, but I have to watch the screen to see what she meant by what she just said.

Laura S.

September 16, 2005

I bought this one for $5 at Ross, and itís going on my trade list.

The DVD version is chaptered into hi/lo and step segments, which is useful. The only warm-up is at the beginning of the hi/lo section, however.

The best word to describe how I felt during this workout is bored. Iíve tried Janisís workouts many times before. I like Strike Zone and Hardcore Kickbox Circuit, though theyíre not terribly intense. Ringside Kick-It has moves similar to those, but the patterns are built so slowly that you feel you havenít really done much over the course of an hour. It only includes front, back, side, and roundhouse kicks; there are no fun crescent kicks or any other complex moves.

As Beth described, youíre taught a few combos, then do all of them together at the end, having never put the combos together before. However, I disagree with her about the impact, which I thought was low except for the odd jumping jack segment here and there.

I LOVE kickbox with step and was really disappointed with it in this workout. You really donít even need a step for the second half of the workout. This is because the step isnít well-utilized. All you really do with it is step up with one foot and kick with the other, which you could easily do on a little stepstool or on the floor.

The music at times seems too slow for the workout. Itís not a major problem, but detracts from the overall energy of the workout. The audio was a little muffled at times, but didnít bother me too much.

This workout would be good for someone seeking a lower-impact kickboxing workout (do low jacks instead of jumping jacks) who likes to learn choreography gradually. Itís much more controlled than most Tae Bo workouts, and the DVD chaptering allows you to break it into two half hour workouts, which could be useful.

I wouldnít recommend this to a beginner, since Janis doesnít talk about form at all. For $5 though, it might be useful to an intermediate who doesnít like to do kicks at lightning speed and wants a lower-impact workout.

Instructor comments: I like Janis, but her workout style just isnít for me. I didnít have any problems with her cuing in this workout. She seems cheerful and friendly, though she doesnít really banter with her background exercisers.

Pratima

9/20/05

I really liked this workout. I would say it is in the beginner/intermediate range, depending on if you use hand grips and how high impact you choose to go.

Actually for me I usually see more results if I go higher impact, so I did not mind the extra jumping jacks, et cet. The drills on the step could get a bit tedious, but I'm sure my heartrate was up there.

Complaints: The quality of sound was poor, as it also was in South Beach Slam. I have the video, not the DVD; if I replace this with a DVD version, maybe this would help. The background people were having a hard time keeping up with Janis. I could barely hear the music.

Despite the above, I suspect I will be using this video a lot in the future. I think that this video has the same kind of intensity as Hardcore Kickbox Circuit, except that it is all cardio without the weights. It is definitely more intense that QuickFix Total Kickboxing with cardio. The TIFTTing and complex choreography don't bother me; usually, I can keep up well enough with that sort of thing where my workout doesn't suffer. Despite its imperfections, right now it is a keeper for me.

Instructor comments: Janis is in her element in this video. Her cueing improves with later videos but I thought she was fairly clear in this one.

Lady D
5/20/06



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