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Review of Body Combat – Cardio Workout Inspired by Martial Arts

September 9th, 2007 · 27 Comments ·

I was excited to join Body Combat class since I have heard much about this class from friends. What is Body Combat?

Nope, it does not involve soldiers fighting in a combat like in Black Hawk Down, one of my favorite movies.



According to my friend, Body Combat is the most intense fun you will have with two feet on the ground. Puzzled. Wonder how he has reached that conclusion. It is just like telling me that the cock is the most interesting animal because he has not seen a pussy cat before.

OK, back to the topic.  Though Body Combat is a martial art based exercise, it is a non-contact fitness program with moves drawn from Karate, Tae Kwan Do, Kung Fu, kickboxing, Muay Thai and Tai Chi. No worry, it does not mean that you need to know any of these martial arts to start learning Body Combat.


Each session lasts about an hour and it is choreographed to 10 tracks of the latest music. In a typical class, you will start with warm up, followed by combat and power workouts and ended with cool down.

In layman terms, you will punch and kick. The move jargons include stance and guards, jab, cross, hook, upper cut, front kick, roundhouse kick and side kick. No worry, normally, the instructor will explain and show you what the moves are.


Body Combat Benefits
According to Les Mills, Body Combat provides quite a number of benefits, but I only selected few (which I agree) to be listed below:

  • Improves heart and lung function and reduces the risk of heart disease
  • Tones and shapes key muscle groups
  • Burns calories for a leaner body
  • Improves posture and core strength and stability

You will work out most of your muscles. Legs are strengthened and toned through kicks and shuffles. The upper body is trained through a variety of punches, hand and elbow strikes and defensive moves.


My First Body Combat Class
I attended the first BodyCombat class about a year ago. With each of us standing about 5 feet from each other, once the instructor has shown us the steps, with the loud music on, everyone suddenly became the martial arts expert. We were getting ready to beat up invisible opponents.

During the first 10 minutes, being new to this class, I was too excited. Punched too hard and jumped too high. After 30 minutes, I ran out of steam to jump. However, when the instructor shouted, “Come on, give me some response!” Almost all of us did that. You will be motivated, especially when you see other regular members do their best. I tried to keep up and gave my 100%.



When come to the track which Muay Thai was involved, damn, it was so tough. We went all out. We jumped, we kicked and we collapsed. Some stopped because they ran out of stamina. I stopped because my calf muscle was exhausted.

Luckily, the final 10 minutes of cooling down with Tai Chi and abs crunches were not so tough. Really like the Tai Chi move because it made me look like a Kung Fu Master.

I truly enjoyed the class, partly because of the instructor, partly because of the crowd. If you would have observed from the side, you may think we were crazy. We kicked the air and we punched the air. In your mind, “How much energy do you need to do that?” Try it yourself and you will know exactly why people fall in love with this class.

Like Body Pump, Les Mills releases new Body Combat every three months with new music and choreography so that members will not be bored..


My Advice

  • When I first started, I have attended the class whenever I could which I believe that it was too much. It is pretty addictive. Listen to your body and let it rest. For beginner, two classes a week is enough for the start.
  • Bring towel and a water bottle. You will be surprised how much you will sweat, even in the air conditioned studio.
  • Get a good pair of light shoes which are able to absorb the impact and comfortable to be worn too.  Bear in mind that you need to jump a lot.
  • I realized that legs are very important in this class, so does the stamina. Even just punching the air, you need to have stamina. So, don’t go to the class after you run 30 minutes on treadmill.
  • I thought I have to be as fit as Jackie Chan to throw punches. But, I realized shouting like Bruce Lee was much more helpful. Don’t be shy. Shout as loud as you could. Get into the class and enjoy it, just like every one else.

Go try out the class and kick some asses!


OK, not that hardcore like the fellow in the above photo.

You may want to check out my review of other Les Mills fitness classes.




Category: Les Mills

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27 responses so far ↓
  • Elvina // Sep 9, 2007 at 7:15 PM

    Yes, body combat class is addictive… especially if you’ve been watching too many Jackie Chan’s movies.. :p You get to learn all the punches, kicks and best of all is the Muay Thai moves. I enjoy the Muay Thai track the most. It really test out your stamina since you need to do some high jumps n kicks. But again, you can always choose the easy option.. Just listen to your body. Also body combat class is the best class to release your stress and tension if you had a hard day at work :) Just imagine your boss is the invisible opponent :p

  • Angie Tan // Sep 10, 2007 at 12:29 PM

    hohoho… i’m still down with my knee injuries as i’ve sprained both knees!

    anyway, i’ve seen the classes and it is always packed to the brim. quite fun too.

    i think i’ll give it a go when i’m more fit. :-)

    hahaha… i’ll just punch and kick my stress away.

  • surfnux // Sep 11, 2007 at 9:29 AM

    Body Combat Roxx….

    Oh ya, new term in body combat: Ginga – the brazillian capoeira move. This is added lately in the last few releases and believed to be available in every release from now on.

    One thing about it is, you will get lean easier, especially on the arms area and legs. But, if you did all the moves correctly, you will get the real benefit on your whole body.

    New release coming this weekend in Singapore. Their musics rox.

  • Simon Paul // Sep 11, 2007 at 9:45 PM

    I guess it’s time to ease down on bodybuilding for a while since I’d boosted enough on my strength and try out two classes which I’d long waited for. Body Combat & Capoeira!

  • jj // Sep 11, 2007 at 10:11 PM

    which gym has Capoeira class is Malaysia?

  • Simon Paul // Sep 12, 2007 at 4:53 PM

    Celebrity & TruFitness. I’m not sure about the rest though…

  • elias // Apr 3, 2008 at 8:10 PM

    Thanks for this for body combat Information.But i did before Tekwondo, kickboxing and Kung-fu .so now i want to comine this excercises i think you give to me suggestion i have to practice body combat so HOw can i start this excercise and for how many minutes.please add more information if you have
    Thank you

  • Kira // Jul 12, 2008 at 6:25 PM

    Hi! I found this thing you’d written because I was googling Body Combat and Benefits. The reason I was doing this was because i adore the class. I have previously been a treadmill runner at the gym, but because of a leg injury (which is not a very good reason to start jumping around like crazy), i decided to take classes instead. My leg is better now, but man, I won’t go back. I love Body Combat because not only is it heaps and heaps of fun, it can be as easy or as hard as you make it. The first few times I went i mostly spent copying other people and trying to get through it without dying. Now, though, after a month of going to a few classes a week, I feel much better (although sometimes i feel ridiculous as well), and today my punches and kicks had a massive improvement.

  • Chester // Sep 26, 2008 at 7:38 PM

    California just launch it 3 weeks ago.

    For this new release is less impact compare to release 36 where got a lot of jump kick.

    But i enjoy the release :)

  • Margy // Sep 30, 2008 at 8:10 PM

    Just Joined a les mills body combat class in the uk….love it…thought the tutor was having a laugh when i first went, trying to kill me…but i couldnt wait for my secon session…im just picking up the moves and keeping up with the combinations gets me a little flustered but even on my second session i could sense i had improved a bit.Im now in the process of convincing my daughter and partner to join me…

  • Tammie // Oct 28, 2008 at 8:21 PM


    I was perusing the internet searching for Body Combat. About 5 months ago I started doing Body Combat and not only did I loose weight, feel great and have fun. I also learnt alot about myself and found a really good bunch of people to hand out with. I go 5 times a week now and I get really excited about it, when I know that I’m gonna go. (it’s getting to the point where people who don’t ‘get’ combat are avoiding me!!! lol)
    I always feel exhausted and great after the class and I am thinking about becoming an instructor! I would definately need to up my fitness level… (and learn to drive!) But it’s become a passion of mine. I would recomend it to anyone and everyone (which I do on a daily basis!!!)

  • Jia Erika // Oct 29, 2008 at 12:47 PM

    I do body pump, Attack, and my favorite Combat!!

    OMG!! it’s so hardcore and I enjoy it every time I do it and try to take it up a notch. trust me try this class and you’ll never regret any of it!!

  • Teresa // Jan 9, 2009 at 4:35 AM

    We don’t have any classes where we live. =( can i take Body Combat classes online ? If not, what videos do i need to watch first on YouTube?

  • Tami // Jan 10, 2009 at 4:28 AM

    Unfortunately there are no classes online. The trainers have to go through a 3 day course (after getting their gym instructors licence) and they have to pay for the releases as they are released. So they are not willing to sell them on and you have to be a body combat instructor to buy them. Most body combat instructors consider teaching as more of a hobby, their passion for it makes you want to do better.

    I will say that being in a class is the point of it as they can push you to do your best and more.
    sorry :(

  • Len // Feb 20, 2009 at 6:40 AM

    There is a body combat class after I attended body pump at the Gold’s Gym I go to and I thought I would give it a try, stay for maybe 15 minutes to see what the deal is. I stayed the whole hour and the next day, my whole body was aching, but in a good way. Body pump doesn’t really make me ache since I’m used to doing it so it had to be body combat. I noticed a few people left during the class. It was quite intense and the music was fast, just how I like it. I can only go once a week because of my schedule and I plan on going back.

  • estefania // Dec 3, 2009 at 9:36 AM

    That class is so badass!!! the 1st time goldsgym introduce it i knew right there that was my workout goal. i love bodycombat. it teaches me some great kakate movws and nice kick moves. i personally cant stop. im as fast as the teacher.

  • claire // Jan 7, 2010 at 1:09 AM

    Does anyone happen to know how many calories are burned in a typical body combat class? and also in a body pump class? thanks

  • Tami // Jan 7, 2010 at 6:17 PM

    I think anywhere between 600-800 depending on how hard you work (thats based on an hour long class)

  • Beth // Jan 9, 2010 at 5:14 AM

    I’m thinking of trying this class at Gold’s because I take the Body Step, Body Flow and Yoga, but I tried the Body Attack and couldn’t do it. I stayed for 20 minutes and had to leave. My heart was racing like crazy and it was just too loud and jumbled my brain. I’m in my mid 20’s and thin, but that Body Attack was too much. Do you think I’d be ok in the Body Combat or should I wait until I can get stronger through the other classes?

  • marnix // Feb 3, 2010 at 7:37 PM

    I am male, been doin body combat for three weeks now, really fun to do. Last monday i was the only man..whoehoe. It is so good for your muscles, and we never leave the crunches, omg. thats heavy. Of course sometimes you see those weird looks from people staring through the window lookin at us like, wtf. hahaha, And i think the kickboxin guys dont like it neither. I dont care, I got a brown belt karate 15 years ago, and quit cause of injuries. I started to do bc and it is great. After the class , i take a cold shower, little bit of sauna, go home, and watch some sonny chiba, streetfighter.

  • Teri // Jul 1, 2010 at 2:50 AM

    I just wanted to add that although body combat really is a kick butt class and I love it to pieces it is a class anyone can do. I started taking the class valentines weekend, I am 36 and at that time I weighed 244 pounds. My son who is 11 also takes the class with me. I will tell you my first class was a killer and after 15 min. I told my son we have to be almost done and boy was I suprised when I saw the time. But we have been doing it now for 4 months and I have lost 20 pounds and feel great. I am now considered a regular and have had some new people look to me for motivation. That is great. I feel like this class has given me the drive to perservere. The instructors are great and I now do combat 3 days a week (with different classes on other days) and look forward to each and every class. If you have not tried it you really should. I take it at the local Y here in Florida.

  • Lola // Mar 18, 2011 at 1:23 AM

    I live in London and after reading finding information about body combat I can not wait to start. I have been looking for classes at least 2 hours already but I can not find any place. Please let me know where you go.

  • Sara // Apr 9, 2011 at 8:32 AM

    Lola; I’m here to read reviews of the class as I’m a member at Fitness First and about to try my first class next week.

    Look up your local Fitness First and you may find they run a class or two throughout the week.

  • Dolores // Apr 12, 2011 at 3:42 AM


    I have all the information that I need about body combat but I can not find any place in London to go to class. Please help!!!!

  • Dolores // Apr 12, 2011 at 3:48 AM

    Hello Sara,

    thank you very much for your help but I have already spoken with them and they don’t do it in the one that is near to me.

  • Chris // Apr 20, 2011 at 9:17 AM

    For those in London, they have Body Combat classes at the YMCA. I’m taking one in Kingston :)

  • Jay // Jun 15, 2011 at 9:46 PM

    First of all Body Combat is a “cardio-boxing” type of routine, all air & no hitting. Its a great workout. But technically it sucks. The moves are dance choregraphy, not self defence or martial arts. The instructors (a few some) come from martial arts backgrounds. It pursues a manic pace & there is little time for correction. If you want to learn to box go to a boxing club, martial arts- a ma club. I’ve seen many people in this class with no concept of correct form & application. Unfortunately, someone may come out of this class thinking they actually know something about the arts it mimics, or worse yet think they know self defence. It appears that Les Mills is trying to address this through Adidas Martial Arts (pseudo Filipino single Stick routines/ Bo Staff- but at least more precise, less manic) & through boxing classes at some locations.

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