Powerstrike 5

Ilaria Montagnani
Year Released: 2008

Categories: Boxing/Kickboxing/Martial Arts

I love kickboxing--in fact, it's one of the few forms of cardio that I truly enjoy. Unfortunately, I found this DVD to be disappointing. The moves themselves were fun and the combinations were mostly interesting, but I did not click at all with the teaching style of the instructor, Ilaria Montagnani. In this workout, Ilaria teaches very LONG combinations of punches and kicks. Although she teaches in an "add-on" style, starting with a few moves and then adding on new moves, each time she goes back to the beginning, she does NOT cue the moves! For example, she will simply say "let's start again," and then the reviewer is expected to recall all the moves up to that point WITHOUT Ilaria saying what they are. This is made even more difficult by the camera angles--e.g., sometimes the camera is focusing on Ilaria from the waist up only, so you can't see the kicks that she is doing.

If each combination was short and repeated many times, this might not be such an issue, but as noted above, the combos are quite lengthy. I have described each below. To make matters worse, the combinations are DIFFERENT on each side of the body--in her Introduction, Ilaria says that this does not matter, as you will be doing about the same number of punches and kicks, but it definitely felt uneven to me. All times listed are approximately.

WARM-UP (5 minutes)
Mostly alternating punches front, including jab, cross punch, hook, and upper cut. The front push kick is included as well, but no other kicks are practiced in the warm-up. I set of push-ups is performed at the end.

PUNCHES (7 minutes)
Here Ilaria introduces a long punch combination. The combination is performed for many sets (12-16?) on one side, then repeated on the second side. These are the punches (slashes denote where each piece is added on):
jab-jab-cross / hook-cross / upper-cross / fast 3 right-fast 3 left / jab-cross

KICKS (10.5 minutes)
This was more drills than combinations and was easier to follow. Ilaria begins with a front chamber/front kick. Next is a side chamber/roundhouse, building up to three roundhouse kicks. The third kick was the crescent, starting with alternating knees to the side and then adding in the crescent. Finally, the side kick was performed with a chamber/side kick, then moving on to a double knee/side kick/squat.

COMBINATION #1, LEFT SIDE (6.5 minutes)
knee-double front push kick / opposite knee crescent / walk around, opposite knee roundhouse / squat-roundhouse-knee / double roundhouse / jab-cross hook-cross upper-cross

jab-jab-cross / front push kick, 2x / opposite leg crescent / walk around, opposite leg roundhouse / squat, roundhouse x3

COMBINATION #3, face forward (10 minutes)
hi level block to side / mid level block to side / alternating sides with side kicks / karate punches

STRETCH (3 minutes)
This is a very brief segment that includes a low back release, a lunge for the hip flexors, a standing side stretch/backbend, and a standing triceps stretch. It did not feel adequate given the overall length of the workout (over 50 minutes).

I actually liked the moves in Combo #3 the most, but I also found this combination to be the MOST frustrating! Ilaria's cuing seemed almost totally random here, as I could never figure out which side she was going to next; I don't think she worked the sides evenly at all. It didn't help that the music sometimes would drown her out (and on top of that, I found her accent sometimes difficult to understand as well). I will say that Ilaria DID give excellent form pointers throughout the workout. Personally, however, I wish she would have spent more time actually cuing the moves themselves. Sure, maybe if I was using this DVD daily, I would learn the moves, but even my most-loved DVDs don't get used more than about once per month--I need an instructor who is willing to teach me, not one who expects me to learn on my own time.

Instructor Comments:
Ilaria is pleasant enough, and she does mirror cue. However, once she teaches the move initially, you are kind of on you own! This is just not the style I am used to. I much prefer someone like Kelly Coffey-Meyer, who will teach a short punch-kick combo and who will cue you through EVERY time. Ilaria's style is just not workout for me.

Beth C (aka toaster)