Tae Bo is a complete body fitness system that incorporates martial arts techniques such as kicks and punches, which became very popular in the 1990s. It was developed by the American practitioner Taekwondo Billy Blanks. These programs use martial arts movements at a rapid pace designed to promote fitness.
The name of Tae Bo is a coat rack of taekwondo and boxing. Moreover, it is the base of the back-name:
Billy Blanks developed the routine in 1976 by combining dance with elements of his martial arts and boxing to form a training regimen. During the 1990s, a series of videos were mass marketed to the public; in 1999, approximately 1.5 million series of videos had been sold behind a frequently broadcast television infomercial. As a result, Tae Bo became a bit of a pop culture phenomenon in the late 1990s. Gymnasiums started offering Kickboxing-based fitness classes similar to Tae Bo. Since Blanks had removed a mark on the name, they were not allowed to use the term Tae Bo without paying a license fee. Tae Bo’s videos and DVDs continue to rank among the best-selling fitness products, and derived classes are still available in many gyms. Tae Bo classes are taught around the world. Tae Bo includes many of the same punches and karate kicks, but is not meant to fight – it was not meant for combat or self-defense applications. There are no jets, grappling moves, or ground combat techniques in Tae Bo. Its only goal is to improve physical fitness through movement. Tae Bo also includes aerobic exercises designed to strengthen all the muscles of the body with basic choreography. High intensity training is designed to increase cardiovascular fitness, strength, muscular endurance and flexibility.
Tae Bo has been characterized as an excellent cardiovascular workout with very good distractions. Due to the movements involved, Tae Bo is effective for toning and defining the body’s musculature. It can also improve balance, flexibility, coordination and cardiovascular benefits. According to Blanks, cardiovascular benefits are the result of dance moves added to already high energy workouts. An hour-long Tae Bo workout burns 500 to 800 calories, compared to 300 to 400 calories burned with a more conventional aerobics class.