What Is Tae Bo?

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  • Written By: S. Mithra
  • Edited By: Lindsay D.
  • Last Modified Date: 31 August 2019
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A relatively new cardiovascular exercise that blends aerobics, self-defense, martial arts, dance, kickboxing, and yoga has been created called Tae Bo. A single person, Billy Blanks, created this unusual and exciting fitness plan to fix problems he saw with more traditional workouts. Tae Bo builds muscles, burns fat, increases coordination, and promises to be engaging and fun.

Billy Blanks, well trained in Tae Kwon Do and western aerobics, noticed that very few women were training in any of the martial arts classes he attended in the late 70s and early 80s. He felt that several factors were keeping women from participitating freely in certain kinds of fitness, and he wanted to create a workout that would keep their attention and boost their confidence.

When he popularized the exercise in the late 80s, Blanks borrowed from different types of exercises to create an intense workout that would be set to music, increase heart rate, and never get boring. He took kicks from kickboxing, choreography and electronic music from hip hop, forceful punches from self-defense and martial arts, stretching and holds from yoga, and constant movement from aerobics. When he invented Tae Bo, he wanted to get more people involved in taking responsibility for their health.


The name Tae Bo seems to have several origins. Some people believe that "tae" means leg, accounting for the importance of high kicks, and "bo" is an abbreviation of boxing, to account for the arm punches. Others claim the name was a catchy phrase said to stand for Total Awareness, Excellent Body Obedience, communicating the need for thoughtful, intentional practice of exercise.

Set to music, Tae Bo looks like a lot of fun and a lot of work. A normal routine lasts for a solid hour, although even twenty minutes, three times a week is an adequate regimen. The exercises build strength all over the body, tone muscles, burn calories, increase flexibility, and result in weight loss. Official leaders of Tae Bo sessions are trained at Blanks' center and sent out to supervise their own groups. For individual training, one can purchase official videos that teach the routines.


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