Intro: And lo! I return with another review. By way of background: All of you know that I’ve been doing P90X or P90X2 for a while now. If you’re so inclined, you can read about how that started here (spoiler: Like the ideas for Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and the transubstantiation of the Host, my idea to start P90X was birthed in pain and blood).
Disclaimer and or warning: I’m not a fitness guru. I’m a writer, a proud geek (Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 4-evah! Fonkin Hoddypeak rulz! Beek Gwenders droolz!), and an extremely handsome family man. Extremely. Handsome. With me? All right, let’s continue.
I don’t eat especially well. Probably I eat better than I did before I started P90X-P90X2, but I lurves me some beer and whiskey and chips and McFood. Point being: I’m just a mostly regular dude who does P90X who also happens to be extremely handsome. Maybe I mentioned that already? 😉
Anyway, I started P90X because I wanted to get more fit. I stuck with it because I saw results (again, you can read those here). At this point it’s just part of my routine and I work it in between porn shoots and cage fighting matches. As I mentioned before, I’ve done one round of P90X, one round of P90X2, and I am, at the moment, doing a hybrid P90X-P90X2 program. I’m probably going to mix in some of the cardio from Insanity at some point in the near future, mostly because I want to be able to make fun of Shaun T (kidding! I’m sure Shaun T is a fine person, or at least as fine a person as one can be when one spells “Sean” with a ‘u’). Also, I plan to call him “Mr. T,” just so I can make “I pity the fool” jokes.
This is a review of KenpoX, and is the the second review in the series (the first, for Plyocide, is here). Now, I don’t know if “Kenpo” is the name of an actual martial art. To me, it sounds like one of those made up martial arts, like “Gymkata.” It’s about as likely to be a real martial art as “Shaun” is likely to be a real spelling. Me, I think “Kenpo” is the name of that martial art you told everybody you knew in Junior High, just to seem bad ass. You know, the one you learned in Canada, while visiting the girlfriend you had there, whom no one ever met (“No, she’s real, man! I pity the fool who says she isn’t! Don’t make me break out the Kenpo!”).
You see how that came full circle? We call that a callback in my line of work (which would be writing; see the novels listed at the top of the page?). Well done, Paulman. Well done.
The Pretty People (aka the Personnel): So who’s in the Kenpo routine? If you said Mr. Miyagi and Daniel and Jean Claude Van Damme and Chuck Norris, you are incorrect (But you should watch The Expendables). Instead, it includes Tony Horton (aka Aal, the Hater of Life and Bringer of Pain), and also Vanessa (A redhead! Huzzah!), Tony Lattimore (who’s bald, which automatically grants him badass points; you’ve forgotten that rule? Here’s a reminder), and Wesley Idol.
If these folks had to do a project in grade school, Tony would be the self-appointed leader, kind of a suck-up to the teacher, squawking orders no one needs to hear and stressing about the grade. Vanessa would be the intelligent but silent one who just went about her business, Tony L. would be the guy who got his work done but maybe just took everything a tad too seriously, and Wesley would be the slacker who relied on everyone else doing his work, until Vanessa finally broke her silence, blew up at him, and told him to get off his lazy ass and do some work. She would also scream, “What kind of name is Wesley, anyway? Snipes isn’t your last name. You weren’t a character in Princess Bride and no one gets to use the last name “Idol” who didn’t also sing White Wedding with a signature sneer! NOW GET OUT OF MY FACE, SLACKER!”
The Pain (aka The Workout): Kenpo is one of the cardio routines from P90X. It consists of punching, kicking, and sweating. It’s not as intense as Plyometrics (the other mainstay cardio routine from P90X) but if you bring it (Jeebus, I did just say that; Horton is in my head, man! HE’S IN MY HEAD!), it’s an excellent total body toning/cardio workout.
The routine is about 59 minutes from warm up to cool down. It starts with a “Saunders Cycle,” which is otherwise known as stretching. 😉 Then it moves to punches, then to kicks, then to blocks, then to some shuffling/mixes of kicks and punches, then elbows and done. A bit more detail follows.
The punching segment gets progressively more difficult as more and more punches are added. So, for example, you’ll start with a hook/uppercut combination, twenty-five times each side. Then you’ll do a jab, thirty times each side, then a jab/cross combination, twenty five times each side, then a jab/cross/hook/uppercut combination, twenty five times each side. If you throw those punches with some intensity (I used to box, so I throw punches with crispness), you’ll be feeling it in your shoulders by the time you finish this segment.
Then you get a “break.” The breaks in Kenpo (there are four, if memory serves) are long – usually a minute to two minutes. Now, Tony and the group don’t actually take a break during these breaks. They run in place, jump phantom rope, and do jumping jacks. The first time or two that you do this work out, you might need the breaks. But after you’ve done it a few times, you’ll be running in place and doing the jumping jacks, too, just to keep your heart rate up.
After that first break, the workout goes on to the kicking section. This is hardest section of the workout, especially if you’re not just half-ass sticking your legs out there like you’re in dance class (I’m looking at you, Wesley). By the end of this bit, you’ll be gassed.
Then you get another break, and by “break,” I mean: “GET YOUR KNEES UP, MOFOS! GET ‘EM UP!”
Then you get a shuffle/mix of punches and kicks, blocks, and that’s that.
There’s really not much more for me to say about Kenpo except that I find this workout to be most fun of any of the P90X workouts. With each punch I throw, I imagine punching Tony in his strong jawline, and that amuses me (kidding; Tony’s right as rain). The critical thing to remember is that you’re going to get out of Kenpo what you put in. It’s probably the easiest (maybe the only) P90X workout where you could coast if you wanted to. Keep your intensity level high and it’s a fine workout. Coast (I’m looking at you, Wesley) and you won’t get much out of it.
The Pithy (aka Miscellaneous observations): There’s a point in this workout where Tony stands in front of a punching Wesley shouting, “Smack me! Smack me!” From this, I conclude that Tony is no stranger to the ball-gag and paddle.
For the record, Tony Lattimore is the dude to watch in this routine, at least if you want to see proper form and intensity. He’s apparently a former marine, so his focus is unsurprising. Anytime Tony tries to cajole him, I think: “Tony L. has been screamed at by a drill sergeant at Parris Island during Marine Boot Camp. There is nothing Tony Horton can ever say or do that will disturb him. Also, he can kill you with a paperclip.”
Wesley, on the other hand, is the anti-Tony Lattimore, the Bizarro Tony Lattimore, as it were. Apparently Wesley helped Tony Horton put together the Kenpo workout, which makes it all the more bizarre (you see what I did there?) that Wesley half-asses every damned thing in the workout. If you want to pretend to work out but not actually work out, do as Wesley does. Otherwise, watch the Tonys and Vanessa.
To sum up: Kenpo X is a good workout provided your name is not Wesley.