Tae Bo is a total body fitness system that incorporates martial arts techniques such as kicks and punches, which became quite popular in the 1990s. It was developed by American Taekwondo practitioner Billy Blanks. Such programs use the motions of martial arts at a rapid pace designed to promote fitness.
Billy Blanks developed the routine in 1976 by combining dance with elements from his martial arts and boxing training to form a workout regimen. During the 1990s, a series of videos were mass-marketed to the public; by 1999 an estimated 1.5 million sets of videos had been sold on the back of a frequently aired television infomercial. As a result, Tae Bo became somewhat of a pop culture phenomenon in the late 1990s. Gyms began offering Kickboxing-based fitness classes similar to Tae Bo. Since Blanks had taken out a trademark on the name they were not allowed to use the term Tae Bo without paying a licensing fee. Tae Bo videos and DVDs continue to rank among the top sellers in the fitness genre and derivative classes are still offered at many gyms.
Tae Bo classes are taught worldwide. Tae Bo includes many of the same punches and kicks as Karate, but is not intended for fighting — it was not meant for any combat or self-defense applications. There are no throws, grappling moves, or ground fighting techniques in Tae Bo. Its only intent is to increase fitness through movement. Tae Bo also includes aerobic exercises intended to strengthen all muscles of the body with basic choreography. The high-intensity workout is intended to increase cardiovascular fitness, strength, muscular endurance and flexibility.
Because of the movements it involves, Tae Bo is effective in toning and defining the body's musculature. It can also improve one's balance, flexibility, coordination and has cardiovascular benefits. According to Blanks, the cardiovascular benefits are a result of the dance moves added to the already high-energy workout. An hour-long Tae Bo workout will burn 500 to 800 calories, compared with the 300 to 400 calories burned with a more conventional aerobics class.
- Green, Penelope (March 21, 1999). "MIRROR, MIRROR; Punching and Kicking All the Way to the Bank". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-06-18.
- "Tae-Bo or Not Tae-Bo?". Time. 1999-03-15. Retrieved 2010-12-21.
- "Fighting For Fitness". Newsweek. March 29, 1999. Retrieved 20 October 2010.
- Vitucci, Claire (1997-12-08). "Kick-Boxing Craze: A new form of aerobic exercise has..." The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-12-21.
- "On Top of the World". Inside Kung Fu. Archived from the original on 2010-12-16. Retrieved 2011-02-11.
- Collins, Scott (March 3, 1999). "Tae-Bo Infomercial Kicks Up Success--and Legal Disputes". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2009-06-18.
- "Tae Bo: Fitness Craze or Effective Workout?". Archived from the original on May 7, 2010. Retrieved 2010-05-03.
- "What are the Benefits of Tae Bo?". Retrieved 2010-05-03.