Powerstrike Advanced Series #1

Ilaria Montagnani, Patricia Moreno
Year Released: 2001

Categories: Boxing/Kickboxing/Martial Arts

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I resisted the Powerstrike videos for the longest time, but as more and more VFers raved on the Forum about how great they were, I had to give in and order. Although the selection of videos and ordering process were daunting, I opted to get the newest videos which were supposed to have better production quality: Advanced Series #1 and Level 1 Series #1. I had to order by mail and send a check, which drove me crazy since I'm a big online shopper. A few weeks later I received an email that the office had been closed for two weeks but my order had just been mailed. Well, I tried Advanced Series #1 and it was fabulous! Now I understand what the fuss is about. And since I couldn't find any reviews on this tape, I decided to write one!

I am an advanced exerciser with a pretty solid kickboxing background. Although the teaching and form pointers in this video are very good in this video, it probably shouldn't be your first attempt at kickboxing because it moves very quickly. The intensity is advanced, but for the most part the moves are low impact with the exception of a few jumping jacks, a jump front kick and a move where you switch your lead leg.

The format of the video is a live class where the two instructors are on a raised platform. The class itself is pretty large and the participants seem to be experienced and advanced. After the warm-up led by Ilaria, she and Patricia take turns teaching three combos. They teach all three in a left foot lead stance first. I worried a bit that this would become a lopsided workout as I watched the time, but they did go back and teach on the right lead stance as well. The combos were something like this:

#1 - jab, jab-jab cross, front uppercut, back uppercut, squat and come up into another back uppercut (taught by Ilaria)

#2 - front block with forearm, cross punch, drag front foot back and front push kick twice, squat to right side with side block to left then side kick left (2x), front kick, jump front kick, jab-cross-jab (2x), jab-jab-jab, switch lead leg

#3 - jab-cross-hook, duck, jab-cross-jab, slip back, knee-roundhouse-knee, switch lead leg twice

The combinations are built slowly and the instructors demonstrate from all angles (facing the class, back to the class, and profile) to show proper form and stance. Occasionally one of them plays the opponent so you can picture where your punches and kicks would hit, or what you would be blocking. It might be confusing to some when the cameras turn to the class participants because they are no longer mirroring you, but for the most part the choreography is very intuitive and it makes enough sense to move with one side. The cuing is pretty good but they do not cue during every rep. Again, this was not a problem for me because it only happens once the routine has been taught thoroughly and you've been through it several times already. Also, the production quality was not that bad. For me, as long as the sound quality is good and I can see what is going on, a great workout can compensate for lesser production quality. And they are definitely an improvement over the older Powerstrikes I have recently acquired, #3 and #4 (but even those are so fun it doesn't matter!)

The cool down, which consists of Tai Chi moves, is quite brief and cuts off very quickly at the end. The entire workout was just over 50 minutes, but I definitely got a good workout.

The music was instrumental and very motivating - kind of like the music that plays in the intro when you visit the Powerstrike homepage.

Instructors: Both instructors have excellent form and teach very well; they are true professionals and are all about kickboxing - no comments about burning fat or shaping your buns. I was impressed at how easily they switched from facing the class to facing away and even facing each other while staying on the right lead foot. Ilaria seemed a bit more serious and Patricia seemed to smile more. They were very well coordinated with each other as they took turns leading and demonstrating the moves.

Caroline Kim