Tae Kickboxing

Fairlie Arrow
Year Released: 1999

Categories: Boxing/Kickboxing/Martial Arts

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There's really nothing here that isn't in any other kickboxing video, especially Tae Bo. The DVD includes instructional segments, three workouts (basic, intermediate, advanced), and a stretch segment. Each is a separate chapter. I only did the basic workout. The set looks like an abandoned warehouse, and the background exercisers never once crack a smile.
Fairlie Arrow seems competent enough, but her cuing and counting leave something to be desired. She does the move or combo a few times before beginning the count (1 to 8 of course), then when we reach 8 she counts back down from 8 to 1. This is great in theory except that she doesn't always count on the same beat. Some of the combos were fun, but there was energy missing from the workout. Fairlie maintains a relatively grim demeanor throughout with almost no form pointers. The occasional brusque "C'mon!" grated on my nerves, espcially during the warm-up stretch. The video quality is grainy, and the random slo-mo cuts are disconcerting. Not a bad video, but not great, either.

Instructor Comments:
Competent, but she has some counting and cuing problems. Even one of the background exerciseres screwed up during a combination.

Kate Hedstrom


Since I seem to be the first reviewer of this tape, I'll be as complete as possible (or tolerable?), which is another way of saying "sorry this is so long!". ;-}.

This is a three-tape set for only $19.95.

TAPE 1) instructional and basic workout. The instructional section is a 12-minute intro to punches and kicks, some using a bag . Though short and not necessarily complete (it would have been nice to run through the moves on BOTH sides of the body) this instructional section is very well done, and Fairlie shows excellent form. Maybe I just haven't been too observant in the past, but after going throug this instructional tape, and watching Fairlie's form in the basic and advanced workouts, I've FINALLY learned (after using more than a dozen kickboxing tapes for over a year!) how to put my hip into the side kicks, and it seems much more effective.

As shown, the basic workout is more intermediate than beginning level, but can be modified by keeping kicks low, and slowing down punches. It is approximately 35 minutes long, beginning with a 10-minute warm-up of basic punch and punch-and-kick combos. The add-on combos that are in all of the tapes are some of my favorites of all the kickboxing tapes I have! They give a feeling of "choreography" without being "dancy". One warm up combo is jab-cross, then jab-cross-hook, then jab-cross-hook-knee up. After the warm up, there is a 5-minute full-body stretch, followed by the main portion of the workout. Most moves are done with 8, 12 or 16 reps to a side. Some of the more distinctive moves are: squat-kicks, front knee-side kick, elbow strikes. A fun combo is: left jab-left jab-right cross-left hook (8 times), then add on a left roundhouse kick (8 times), add on a right front kick (8 times). By the end of this combo, you are doing a left jab-left jab-right cross-left hook-left roundhouse kick-right front kick (8 times). I felt like I was learning choreography for a Jackie Chan movie, and it was fun! Unfortunately, after this move, we are supposed to go down to the floor for a set of push-ups, a brusque move which I find to be a risky at best. Instead, I suggest doing some practice punches, or a "standing" push-up (pushing arms front and back while doing a side-to-side step).

In both the basic and the advanced workout, Fairlie's cuing is sometimes off: she either doesn't cue the next move in time, or doesn't cue exactly what we are going to do. In addition, she consistently refers to HER left and right, rather than that of the viewer. I found these to be minor annoyances, since I got into the habit of watching what she was doing more than listening to what she was saying. Like some other video kickboxing instructors (is this a trend?), she also counts every move, and somewhat inconsistently--BUT she mixes this with other cuing that makes it less annoying.

The one big glitch in the whole tape system is that it seems to have been edited by someone into "cut and paste" methods, and who, with a BIT more attention to detail, could have corrected some of the faults. The basic workout ends abruptly after some rather high energy moves, as does the advanced workout. But, lo and behold, the exercisers in the "strength" workout (where Fairlie stresses the importance of stretching after EVERY workout) are wearing the SAME outfits as in the basic workout, (cut number one!). Hmmm...and aren't those outfits in the bag workout the SAME as those in the advanced workout? That lime green short set that Fairlie's wearing is pretty distinctive! (cut 2). On the other hand, a cut is drastically needed at the end of the basic workout, where the instructor seems to have forgotten what she is doing, and begins another set of an exercise that is over, miscuing and completely confusing the video exercisers as well as me!

TAPE 2) advanced workout: 38 minutes. Similar in format to the basic tape, but with more combos and different moves. There is a different 10-minute warm-up, in the middle of which we go down to do a set of push-ups (again, which one could modify), followed by a 5-minute stretch (the same as on the basic tape). One advanced add-on combo is: jab-cross-hook-uppercut-front kick (8 times), add on a second front kick with the same leg (one is low, the other is high) (8 times), finally, add in a roundhouse kick. There are two "burn-out" moves, which (in the bag workout tape) the instructor says are done in the middle of a workout to help exhaust the muscles. One of them is: right knee front-right kick front (8 times), right knee front-right side kick (8 times), finishing with right knee front-right kick front-right knee front- right side kick (8 times), all with no pause (but not at a risky fast pace). WHEW!

One of the bigger annoyances of the advanced tape, as well as the basic tape, is that there is sometimes too much rest between moves (though I needed the rest after that burn-out move!). Fairlie counts: 1 (pause-pause-pause-pause-pause-pause-pause) , 2 (pause-pause-pause-pause-pause-pause-pause).. etc., up to 4, then, often (but not always, more inconsistent cuing) continues counting 1 (pause) 2 (pause), back up to 4 before starting into the next move, while we step side to side (correctable by adding some more powerful moves like a bob and weave with punches).

TAPE 3) strength workout and bag workout.

The strength workout is a body-weight workout, 10 reps per exercise, concentrating on strengthening muscles used in kickboxing. 18 minutes, including 2 minutes of stretching. As I mentioned above, it seems originally intended to be part of the basic workout. First are pushups (5 different kinds: fingers facing forward, fingers facing out, fingers facing in, scooping forward and back, and hands wide), next come butt and hamstring exercises done from a tabletop position. Form is not good here, as at times ALL the exercisers arch their backs (like right when Fairlie says not to, and does so herself). Lying leg exercises follow, and ab exercises are last. Along with various crunches, there are two exercises that seem especially risky: an upper body curl, done with legs straight on the floor (since they only curl the upper body in a limited range of motion, and don't do full sit-ups, this might not be as risky as it seems, but I would avoid it), and stabilizer crunches, where you balance on your tailbone and bring your upper and lower body together. Also of questionable form is the excessive stretch done in the cobra position.

The bag workout is something different which I haven't seen on any other tape. Being the vidiot that I am, I'm looking forward to doing this tape as soon as I get my water-based bag filled with water!. It is divided into bag work (19 minutes) and a strength workout and stretch (10 minutes). During bag work, a series of moves are done on one side before moving to the other. The first series is: jab-cross-weave, jab-cross-jab-weave, round kick, double round kick (one low, one high), double round kick-jab-cross-jab. One add-on combo is: double jab-cross-hook (5 times), add on front leg front kick (5 times), add on front leg round kick (5 times), add on back leg round kick (5 times). Other moves are inside crescent kicks (done only with the bag) , jab-cross-jab-crescent. "Burn-outs" include 30-seconds of continuous roundhouse kicks, alternating legs, and 20 seconds of running in place while punching the bag. The strength workout is very similar to the basic strength workout, with some more advanced moves.

Other comments: the music (the same in all 3 videos) gets a bit BORING, but is tolerable;

Subliminal sales tactic?: On the front cover, the word "Tae", running vertically down a boxing glove, intersects with the horizontal "Kickboxing" right at the "BO", which is on the bottom of the glove. Hmmmmm...remind you of another tape?

Instructor Comments:
Fairlie has a black belt, and it shows in her moves, which are usually fast and powerful.

Despite sometimes mediocre cuing and annoying counting (see above), the instructor is motivating and encouraging. She stresses visualizing an opponent in a very concrete way: jab to the nose, cross to the chin, hook to the head, front kick to the chin. This may turn off those who don't get into the "aggressive" side of kickboxing, but she doesn't cue like this very often (I wish she would do it more. Maybe it's the aggressive part of my nature influencing me, but I like tying the exercise aspect of kickboxing to the *possible* use of it for self defense, and find that this kind of visual cuing often helps me do more powerful moves).