For those that don’t know, here in The Netherlands there is another company called Club Joy that have created pre-choreographed programs just like Les Mills. I can remember about 4 years ago when it first started and there were some Dutch people who wrote about it. It’s been pretty low key since and I guess the program hasn’t been discussed at all on the forum since then so I was surprised when I heard it mentioned it still exists.
Janne and Rien (voidbrain) said they were going to the filmings of a release of Club Battle (a Bodycombat clone) and so Alex, Robert (sigma) and I decided we’d go along too. Actually, Alex and I decided to go and then Janne and I begged Robert to come too. I was wondering how I’d go following a strange class in a language I didn’t understand.
I have to be honest and say that I expected Club Battle to be pretty poor quality. I dunno, I guess cuz it’s been so low key and I’d heard bad stuff about it in the beginning. However I found that I actually quite liked it! The music was fantastic although the chorrey kinda lacked the “ooomph” that gives combat it’s special quality. Although maybe that has to do with the fact the filming wasn’t run as a regular class?
The way they filmed was VERY different to a Les Mills filming. There were 3 cameras which were a lot smaller, but I expected that. There was probably about 15 people there and the group fitness room was actually in an open floor plan area in front of the treadmills. This didn’t bother me, but I could imagine in Australia it could be very intimidating to do a group fitness class in front of people exercising on treadmills.
In between each track there was a 3-5 minute pause while they set up for the next track. As compared with a Les Mills filming, they pretty much go straight through with only a tiny pause as necessary. It doesn’t feel a whole lot different than a regular class. However with the Club Battle filming it was heart rate up, heart rate down, heart rate up……..etc. So it’s hard to judge the intensity of the class with all the breaks.
The really odd thing they did was they cued the class in reverse to mimic the mirror image for the instructor video. I thought this was bizarre and although I recognised immediately what they were trying to do (even though I didn’t understand the dutch explanation), however it seemed weird that they didn’t just digitally reverse it. I asked about it, and she said it was because of the logos etc. During the Les Mills filmings they actually prepared reversed logos on the wall behind and on the clothing especially for the filming and then reverse the video digitally. Anyway, I didn’t mind too much since it felt natural for me to start on my left leg anyway.
The class itself was remarkable like combat. The format was identical even down to the muay thai track. It was quite obvious that the ideas had been taken from combat and as it turned out I found out afterwards that the choreographer is actually also a combat instructor. They did have a new move though that took getting used to………the reverse roundhouse kick. You actually set up with your leg out straight, then pull your heel back to your butt (like the end part of a roundhouse). It went against instinct to start with the leg straight though.
I surprised myself by picking stuff up better than I thought I would. I was relying mainly on memory of the initial sequences and instinct of following the music. There were a few basic cues in English that I could follow, but sometimes there were points where I had no idea until I stopped and watched what was coming up.
Overall, I enjoyed the class and if I was told that this was the next combat release I probably wouldn’t know any different. As I said earlier the music was actually amazing, but I did feel overall that it lacked something special. In some ways it reminded me of the old days of combat……the Gabby and Nathaniel days. Anyway, I’m glad to have had the opportunity to have experienced the class. It’s not something I’d ever get to do in Australia.
After the filming Rien and Janne stayed on for the Club Step filming for which there were only 4 participants……..eeek! Alex, Robert and I just watched for a little bit and I had the horrible dilema about what to do about having a shower. I desperately wanted a shower, but open showers……big brother style. It’s just not something I’m used to. After I came out of the girls changeroom, Janne, Alex, Robert and Rien were all grinning and waiting for the answer as to whether or not I had a shower or not! 😆
I’m not going to go into to the details of the lengths I went to to get a shower, but let’s just say I managed to get a very rapid rinse without being seen by anyone. 😈
Alex, Robert and I then watched a couple of Club Step tracks and then went and got lunch and before heading back home. Robert stayed and had tea with us and I got another of those amazing massages (although incredibly painful…..arrrggggh). 😉
Marjan Lichthart says
Janne send me your blog, wasn’t able to find a way to get a message to you, until I started surfing on your website 😉 Hope you’re ready for this… (a lot of text to read).
Janne thought I wouldn’t be too happy with your blog, but actually I am. First of all I liked the fact that you three came to the filming, cause we didn’t know eachother. And throughout the filming I could see you all were making a big effort to participate, you did really well. Being pregnant and doing stuff like that must be much harder.
I totally agree the scene lacked the ooomph. I also didn’t feel the ooooomph right there, not like I felt it the last day while I was preparing for this shoot at my club and not like I felt it the previous release. But there was no more time to get into the oooomph feeling. It’s either there or not, forunately most of the time it is, unfortunately that day it wasn’t. Hope you get to feel that oooomph at Battle once in the future, cause I know it is there. I read you actually don’t know much about ClubBattle (or ClubJoy, what a terrible name that is, but hey, it was there before I was). So I hope you don’t mind me telling a lot about it and about it’s background and me being involved in the programm.
I love it when you say Battle reminds you of the Natha and Gaby style. I actually (and a lot of people in Holland) love the old skool combat a little bit better than the new style. Because of the martial arts feel it used to have and the really accessable way it was presented. Though I also like the new presenters (they are in fact better presenters than Gaby en Nathaniel were in a technical way), but the old team was much more about the participants and the programm (at least in a very sincere and pure way) and less about them as presenters. For me it just lacked upbeat music at that time.
For me it’s also a big compliment when you say it could have been a new Combat release. ClubJoy was in fact made to be a cheaper clone of Les Mills. So that mission has been accomplished.
Unfortunately being cheaper also shows in many ways. Digitally reversing the shoot: wauw, I would really like that. Reversing the logo’s? From may this year we get clothes with our own logo’s for the first time in 5 years hahahaha.
The big difference is the budget. Where Les Mills people work full time on their programms, having great backup (expertise, opportunity to develop their programm in every way possible, to train together and actually getting paid for it), we don’t have the dollars to do all that. ClubBattle is in fact just me right now, doing my thing in my free time, doing it for the people who really have to work with and participate the programm, (though I do it with all my heart and soul and loving it), collecting just a little money for it (being able to live I have a “real” job as GroupFitness coördinator and instructor at a gym, also loving that big time).
So no team of experts and big bucks, just a little woman with a lot of passion for the sports. Building a new ClubBattle team (Lodia is my new partner since this shoot, working with a man person behind screens now), building a ClubBattle culture (that was never there) and staying closely in touch with the people who actually have to instruct and participate in the programm. Their opinion means everything. Without them there’s no excistence for ClubBattle. I am actually not that important, without me there are other ways (combat for instance or Fight Do), without them there’s no Battle hahaha.
ClubBattle was indeed a really poor programm, I totally agree. First I actually had doubts to enter the programm since I didn’t like it myself. But then I realized I maybe could make a difference. Instead of judging I saw a great opportunity, not just for me, but for the people who can’t afford Les Mills and still want that kind of programm. So I did enter Battle about a year ago.
The last 2 releases were my own (from beginning till end). This one (release 19) is about going back to basics (people need to understand the basic techniques before they can “fight”, not too many fancy things, just great music and good understanding of the Battle basics and feeling cool); the previous release was all about the martial arts experience and feel (also great music, but totally different with capoeira, kungfu and a film like cooldown).
Yes, Battle is much like Combat, lot of things are the same, actually most basic things are always the same. Combat is a great programm, the basics work really well, I just want to upgrade what I think Combat lacks or isn’t doing so well for the market we work in (like the music choice, the wish for more variety and little nuances in moves and combination).
I try to step out of the combat box by using other things: kicks in the thaibox track (instead of just knees and elbows, kickboxing involves much more techniques), using other kinds of music (for example reaggaton in the previous release, sometimes trance or house specifically known and loved by Dutch, we even used a Dutch song ones, well don’t know if that was the best choice ever, but anyways…), some new moves (reversed roundhouse kick was just one of them), new combinations/directions/levels. Most important I try to stay close to the Dutch and Belgian market and trying to make each release totally different from the previous one.
But…I’m just into Battle for one year now. It’s a lot better than it was. But we’re working hard to make it even better. The product always must be the best we can make. Not a lot of money to do so, just a lot of heart, soul and passion. The developments since last year are really big. You should have seen the difference. And I believe it will grow even more. I’m trying to build a Battle culture, from no participants to 15 in 2 releases, from a solo act to hopefully three musketeers in 3 releases, just looking forward to every next release now, knowing it will get better every time, me and others growing into the programm, the Dutch market really opening up to ClubBattle.
For the clubs who can’t afford Les Mills Combat (and that’s a lot of clubs), ClubJoy Battle is a great option. It’s a lot cheaper, the Dutch people like the music better (cause it’s like a Dutch hit parade) and the content is almost alike (just a little more variety in Battle). Must say that even the clubs who can afford LM are opening up to ClubBattle. So there are so many positive developments allready and I know there will be even more. Well, ofcourse I will promote the programm as I really love it a lot, it’s my baby.
And now we’re working on ClubStep as well. I think ClubStep and BodyStep are both way too boring. So there will be a big difference from the next release. Not 12, but 10 tracks, more levels in difficulty so people can build a release in 3 months instead of doing the same thing for 3 months. Well, we’re still working on that, but I think it will be great and really different from BodyStep.
Thank you very much for participating at the recordings!!! Really good to read about your experience. We don’t know eachother, you didn’t know about ClubJoy too much (now you do ;-)) and you know all about Les Mills and probably loving that at least as much as I do. So for me your blog is a great way to find out wheter Battle is developing in the right direction, eventhough that probably wasn’t the intention of your blog, it helps me anyways to make things better. So also thank you for that, thank you for your frank opinion.
I hope you will participate a film shoot again some day. I hope at least that you’ve liked Battle enough to being willing to try out again. My mailbox is always open for suggestions and remarks that can make a positive difference in the development of the programm and myself. Take care of yourself and the little one on the way. Please give my best regards to Alex and Robert. Maybe we’ll meet again.
Greetz from Marjan
Marjan Lichthart says
How are you? Promissed to get back to you: you, Alex and Robert are all three appearing on the ClubBattle 19 release! And ofcourse Janne and Rien also. We will launch it this sunday for the Dutch instructors. Just finished ClubBattle 20, new DVD-recordings 29th of march. Guess you won’t be able to make that one, but you’re all very much welcome at any of the next recordings. I wish you all the best!
Big hug Marjan