CIA 9702: Step, Kickbox and Funk

Janis Saffell
Year Released: 1997

Categories: Floor Aerobics/Hi-Lo/Dance , Step Aerobics

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I only use 1/2 hour of this 2 hour tape - the kickboxing section. The step routine I tried probably 4 times, and I never became a fan. I think the choreography was pretty fun, but working out with Janis can be mentally tiresome at times, and I just never got enthusiastic about the routine. I am someone who is not that picky when it comes to step routines especially if the choreography is complicated. However, despite buying the tape for the step routine I have not felt inclined to do this part of the tape again in the year I have owned this tape. I never really tried the whole South Beach Slam routine, so I can't really comment on that, but it seemed very low in intensity.

I really do enjoy the kickboxing section. Others have commented on how the intensity seems lower, because their heartrate droped when they got to this routine. That would definitely be true if you did the routine right after the step, because it starts out slow. I do this routine as a stand-alone when I am short on time, or combined with a weight tape, though, so the intensity level seems right to me. I don't do any warm-up, because the first combo is low intensity, and the intensity builds, peaks in the middle, and slows down at the end. I have to add my own stretching, but since I often pair this with Tough Tape or MIS, I just start the second tape at the stretching. I have found the more I do this tape the higher the intensity seems. The routine contains four combos with some choreography (you are not just doing kick and punching combos,) but it is nothing complicated - just a few grapevines, walking forward, and v-steps. I love choreography, so I don't mind this in a kickboxing routine, but I know others don't always like this. Another thing I love about this tape, is a kick where you spin into a side kick, then do a front kick. I don't know why I love it, but I do - maybe it is because it makes you feel like you belong in a martial arts movie. So this tape is a keeper for me because of the kickboxing. As more kickboxing tapes come out, I may change my mind, but for now I enjoy rotating it with Power Kicks, Tae Bo, CIA 9902 and CIA 9809.

Instructor Comments:
At first glance Janis is horrible at cueing. But after becoming more familiar with the routine, I realized a bigger problem is that Janis seems to forget her routine and which direction she is supposed to be going. After you learn the kickboxing routine, it is not a problem, because the routine is simple enough.

Lisa C


The first time I previewed this tape, I liked it a lot. The step section seemed very promising to be a fun workout. Although if not because Annie S. tells about the story in her review, Iím afraid I will never for my life figure out what Janis is saying. But Iím not an American and a non-English speaker, so it is not her fault. But I still find her hard to follow, and usually I never have any problems with CIA instructors. But when I really do the workout, itís pure frustrating! Especially in the step section, Janis tends to introduce new moves when we are turning our back to the TV. And this happens more than 2-3 times. Sometimes she breaks the moves well enough, sometimes she doesnít break the routines at all. I tried to do the tape several times to get the step down. But last time I was bored and quit before finishing it. I have a feeling that Janis does not rise up to the standard of CIA instructors and it seems like I work out with an "amateur" instructor. Iím sorry to say like this, since I remember that someone in the forum mentioned that she is serious and good in live class.

The kickboxing section is so-so. Here Janisí cueing does not matter because it has basic choreography. But the intensity is low. The Funk section is o.k. too. I can do it -awkwardly though. But Iím not much excited with it. The only style of funk that I really wish I could do is Darrinís style in G-Force. But Iím afraid I have to be reborn to the next life to be able to do like Darrin.

Instructor Comments:
I really hope that someone can convince Janis that she is already hip and cool and cute in and of and by herself. So instead of all that cool remarks and attitudes, etc. , she should concentrate on cueing and teaching the moves.



One of my favorite CIA's!! I love it! Why do I love it so much? From the warm up to the cool down, is totally fun! Be warned beginner steppers, the stepping is very very complex. Don't even try this workout if you haven't mastered the step and are so used to your step that you are completely skilled at stepping. Meaning: You love step so much that it is like a part of your body. The stepping is 38 minutes and it is filled with lot's of fun complex moves told to a story. Like the step is the hill that Jack runs up and so on. You use all sides of the step which keeps things fresh. It is very dancy too. But not too high impact. Some jumps but mostly the stepping is low impact and high in complexity. Reverse turns and twirls. I can't do the over the top twirl move since I have carpet but it looks fun.

Janis teaches each move slowly so you get a chance to learn the move. I have to be honest when I first tried the step workout for the first time, I was so frustrated but after doing the workout more then once, it's a BLAST! Especially the end when Janis puts the whole step story together to this really upbeat music. The only bad thing about this section is the Ryka add in the back that resembles a Hershey Bar( the same colors) which always makes me crave chocolate! Also the background execisers have these ugly puke green tanks on that make them look like they have saggy old lady breasts! But Janis has a cute light blue two piece on and she has her blond hair pulled into a pony tail. She looks awesome or should I say fierce which she loves to say a dozen times.

The next section is Kickboxing. It is 31 minutes. This section is filled with jabs and punches( some at half time and alot at tempo). She also does lot's of jumping jacks with jabs. She also does shuffles with a kick at the end. She even does a more complex move where you turn and then kick. This is a really fun kickboxing routine!!!! I like it better then any other kickboxing I've tried( besides Janis' CIA 9809 of course). With each time I do the kickboxing, my heartrate gets higher and higher because I concentrate less on the choreography and focus in on the intensity. I punch and kick out the stress to my hearts content!!

Janis looks like a magazine model in her black flared pants and top. Her hair down but she has this red hankerchief tied around her head and she has her hands wrapped in red too. The background exercisers have huge red boxing gloves on and are wearing black tanks and shorts.

The music is the Step Max soundtrack. The next section is the aerobic/funk section. It is 31 minutes. This is mostly low impact with alot of hip swiveling and funky arm movements. If you don't have a chance to get out and go dancing, just do this section and you will get plenty of boogie fever. My heartrate dropped on this section because Janis does alot of marching. Some of the moves are similiar to the step section (Janet Jackson move and so on). One move you do a hop kick front and then turn really fast and cross your arms. It is really fast!!! I think the same camera man from Firm 6 was used. Remember Jayne Poteet's close up hip swivel's?? Well this cameraman loves to do close up on Janis' hips as she is doing this hula type move. I can't think of any other word for it but hula. Janis must be an ex-hula dancer. Whew!!! Her hips sure can move!

Janis looks so gorgeous in this section. She is wearing a black beret, a black tank on (which has no breast support I might add; you know I notice those things!), and her jean cut offs with a black sweatshirt tied around her waist. She looks like she should have Ken next to her if you know what I mean. The other exercisers have jeans on as well. The music is very funky. The cool down is very relaxing Tai Chi moves then she does some hamstring and calf stretches. You get a lot of variety with this video. Even Janis changes clothes for each section to make it different. I just love this workout!

Instructor Comments:
Gorgeous, blonde, tall, perfect. There are not many video instructors that leave me in awe. Janis does. Her beauty and style makes this workout unique and fun. Her cueing needs a little help but once you do this workout over and over, you don't need the perfect cueing. She is definately a dancer. On some of the moves in the funk section she looks like she's taught hula dancing! She has a body that one would kill to have. She looks like a real life Barbie doll. I hope she comes out with more video's. She has star quality. She even sweats with you!

Mandy Lee


There are three workouts on the video: step, kickbox, and funk. The step workout was good - definitely gets your heartrate up there for a long time and there's a story to help you remember the moves. I had a little trouble with the choreography - it was my first step video with complex choreography. But I did better than I thought I would and got an excellent workout. The kickbox portion was a disappointment to me (it was my sole reason for buying this tape). It was just a little too dancy for me (I can't/don't do dance) so I can't really see using any of these moves in real life. I preferred Cory Everson's Cardio Kick to this kickboxing routine. The final routine, South Beach Slam Funk, was a total waste of my time. I felt ridiculous doing the moves and my heart rate went way down - I don't know if it was me (I don't do dance) or bad choreography.

Instructor Comments:
I found her cuing confusing at times - she would say "now back" and I didn't know whether she meant front/back or back the way you came.

Jackie D


Like 8003, this is an offbeat, not-too-serious Crunch-styled workout, but it's much more beginner/intermediate like the Crunch tapes themselves. The dancy warmup and step are the best parts of this tape. Somehow I don't think "storytelling step" is going to catch on, unless someone like Whoopi Goldberg becomes a step instructor, but Janis shows us some great combos to go with her "plot" if you can call it that. I really like the part that starts with the lunges and turnstep ending with a twirl on the floor (shades of Christi Taylor) up through the around-the-worlds, Skip to My Lou and the repeater-ski. But I agree with Annie that it goes downhill after the Three Stooges. The Paula Abdul, etc. floorwork just doesn't go with the intensity of the earlier steps. And the remainder of the tape is strictly intermediate, almost like a very extended cooldown. The kickboxing is very basic and slow, almost beginner level, and I expected a lot more innovation and imagination in the funk section, instead of warmed-over Fitness Pros material. Even though 9704 is the same length as this tape - 90 minutes - this tape feels two hours longer. This is the lowest-intensity CIA I've seen, thus it might be a good starter CIA for intermediates. And instructors could get some good ideas from the step part. But I will definitely be combining the step with other, more intense workouts, unless I'm feeling really tired or sick. I give it a B+.

Instructor Comments:
Janis Saffell is typical Crunch: cute, fun, hip and willing to try almost anything to please her audience. Her cueing could best be described as "casual", but her steps are easy enough to follow nevertheless. I'd like to see more step workouts from her.

Sue B


This has three workouts. The first, and the highlight, is Masterpiece Step Theater. You do the workout in the form of a "story." Each part of the story has its own move associated with it. Jack and Jill meet Janet Jackson at a party. Jack takes off with Janet, and they go on a world tour. Jill gets really ticked and stomps around some, then finally calls the 3 Stooges for help. There, the story line stops. Somehow, Paula Abdul gets involved, but you are left not knowing if poor Jill ever got Jack back. But I digress -- back to the steps. You learn moves like Janet Jackson, the Curly Shuffle, the stomp (when Jill gets mad), make the call (dialing the 3 Stooges), and many more. Things are going great until Curly enters the picture. Here, Janis' instruction goes all to hell (excuse me). I don't know what the problem is, maybe she decides she's short on time. All I know is that from the Curly Shuffle on, it's frustrating. She doesn't show you the moves nearly as well as she did the earlier ones. Plus, you have your side and/or back to the TV during the later moves, which makes it doubly hard to follow. The story line and giving the patterns names actually helps to keep you on track, but that doesn't help much if you haven't learned the patterns properly to begin with. Even so, I love this routine. It's only during the last 5-10 minutes of this 40-minute workout that it gets frustrating. I like it enough to keep trying.

The next section is Kickboxing, which consists of boxing and kickboxing moves. This doesn't keep my heart rate up very well. There are sections where it gets way up, but then it goes back down again for too long. Janis' cueing is not the best here. She seems to be slightly "off" in many instances -- either the cue is a little too soon or a little too late. She also gets left and right mixed up several times. Even her class gets lost. This section is okay; much better than Aerobox, but not nearly as good as Jump & Jab. If I could keep my heart rate up, I would really like it a lot.

The last section is funk -- and -- drum roll -- I can do it! This is the *only* funk workout I've ever been able to do! I'm not sure why. I think the moves are a little more athletic-oriented than some other funk tapes. Whatever the reason, I like it! The only trouble is, as with all funk workouts, the intensity isn't very high. But that's okay; you can use it as an extended cooldown if you want.

The cooldown/stretch has some Tai-Chi-type things in it that really aren't my style. But I live with it.

I recommend this for anyone who likes new and interesting "styles" and who can handle a little bit of frustration. However, I would not recommend paying $29.95 for it. If and when CIA runs their next sale, that's the time to get it.

Instructor Comments:
Janis is very warm, friendly, and fun. I'd like to see her in some more videos. Besides, she didn't finish the "story," so she needs to do a sequel!

Annie S.


I usually like to do a video a few times before I write a review; that way I really get a good feel for the video. I would rate this video's intensity as inter/adv. Master step theater is the first segment. Janis has a story which is followed thru the stepping segment. She teaches a series of moves which are *named* to tell the story. The moves are really fun, but my only complaint is she sometimes talks too much about the story while you're hanging on a bunch of sidesteps. But it really is a ton of fun. the next segment is kickbox. I'm not a big fan of kickbox - I found my heartrate slip down lower than I like. The last section is aerobic/funk. Janis is very easy to follow even the first time around. The moves are not complex and alot of fun. You have to love swinging you hips and letting go, and that's exactly what I do. It's one of the funnest tapes that I owned. I give it 2 thumbs up.

Instructor Comments:
Janis is a really fun instructor. Good cueing and lots of energy.



I happen to really love this video! The first section is step and she puts together a story using different people like Janet Jackson, Jack and Jill, the 3 stooges and Paula Abdul. Each person has a different move and they are really fun when you put the whole routine together in the end.

The second section is lots of fun too, it's cardio kickboxing. You do lots of fun kicks and arm patterns really getting your heart rate up and using your arms, abs and legs. This is definetely the best kickboxing I've done.

The third section is southwestern salsa and has some really fun moves. They are low impact but a total blast to do. Some of the moves are funky, it is broken down into 3 different segments and you do not do all of them together in the end, you learn each one separate and run through it a few times and then move on.

I really like this tape and plan on doing it quite a bit.

Instructor Comments:
Janis is one of my favorite instructors and is very upbeat and knows how to put together fun routines. I have done several of her workouts on Crunch Fitness on ESPN 2 and really like her style.

Dawn Henson