Cardio Kung FuTJ Storm
Year Released: 2001
Categories: Boxing/Kickboxing/Martial Arts
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This is just an overall
impression; I've only done the
workout twice. I'm reviewing the
30-minute cardio workout, not
the fundamentals or
applications (which I was forced
to buy as part of the rather
expensive package, argh).
This workout differs a bit from Taebo or other cardio kickboxing workouts; the only workout I can think of that might have similar moves (that I've done) is Ginette's Urban Tai Chi. The emphasis is not on snap-kicks or closed-fist punches, but on open-fisted strikes, blocks, circular motions and a tiger-crane-snake-bear (I may be getting one animal or another wrong, but there's four) sequence of arm movements.
The set is hipster dark, kind of like Larry Lam's XKO, and with the same glossy, sleek young hip-hop generation crowd (says the cranky old Gen X-er from the 80s! :) ) The music is pumping and motivating and instrumental.
Some of the moves were hard to get on the first try--combos of crouches, compound arm movements and leg movements. I don't like these moves as much as taebo moves, which are based more on tae-kwon-do than on kung fu. That's just me--I'm biased toward tae kwon do with its more staccato and to-the-point punching and kicking.
It's mostly low-impact, stylized movements. You have to watch the screen carefully because TJ doesn't spend a whole lot of time breaking down the moves or talking. Among the most complicated choreography is the four-animal sequence done while moving your two feet in a circle. The first time I did the workout I was actually pretty frustrated by the stylized steps and didn't get such a good aerobic workout. The second time, I caught on more quickly and thus got a better workout. I'd say it's moderate to high-moderate if you're used to advanced cardio, thus good as an add-on for harder days or whatever.
I guess the choreography is why one might take a look at the basics tape. The tape covers say CKF burns "an astounding 1000 calories an hour!" Er, I'd be really surprised if doing the 30-minute video twice equalled a really tough TaeBo tape or Cathe's KPC. But it adds nice variety to your collection if you're a cardio martial-arts-anything junkie.
Definitely easy on the eyes. Looks fit, powerful and serious, wearing a hip red martial arts uniform. His instruction is brusque and pointed; it's more about watching and following than about being cued. No counting here, which can be good and bad (good--not repetitious; bad--sometimes you have no idea how much longer a certain move is going to go on).