Shaolin Cardio Kick Box for Beginners

David Carradine
Year Released: 1999

Categories: Boxing/Kickboxing/Martial Arts

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This 40-minute workout is so much better than David Carradine's earlier effort, "Kung Fu Workout," in every way. The set and music are beautiful. Although this video is geared toward beginners, intermediates could probably get a good workout if they remove the chair (to help beginner's balance), sink really low into the movements and really use a lot of force in the kicks/strikes. The choreography is basic, impact low. David Carradine leads this workout along with four exercise models, one of whom includes the very impressive Sifu Marshall. This video is centered around the five Shaolin animals: the Snake (flexibility), Crane (kicking/balance), Leopard (punching/power), Tiger (isometrics/strength) and Dragon (internal energy).

The workout starts with gentle, effective movements, derived from kung fu, to warm up and stretch the muscles - very different from traditional aerobic/strength videos. Then you grab a chair (or do without one if you want more of a challenge) to perform front, side, roundhouse and back kicks. Each kick is prefaced by a stretch to limber up the muscle you will be using.

After kicks you move into punching and blocking drills that not only strengthen the arms, but also the fingers and hands. The leg positions are kept wide; beginners can dip just a little while intermediates can sink very low to really engage the thigh muscles.

At the end is a cooldown that combines energy (chi) work through the use of slow, gentle movements along with precise breathing and visualization.

The title uses the word "cardio" but I think it would be difficult for someone to reach and stay in the aerobic zone due to the slow, controlled nature of the movements and the stretches in between the kicks. This workout is best suited for those who want an introduction to the beautiful martial art of kung fu while using the kicks, punches and stretches to increase strength, balance (if you don't use the chair) and flexibility.

As a last note, some people have mentioned that they didn't like the aggressive, self defense aspect of some kickbox videos - especially if their children tended to wander into their workout room. This is not a problem in this workout as the emphasis is on the health aspects of kung fu.

Instructor Comments:
David Carradine has a very serene manner and gives many form pointers throughout the workout.

Sharon H.