Are You Doing Tae Bo or Martial Arts?
A long time ago there was a really popular program called Tae Bo. Back then Tae Bo was a group aerobic class that used martial arts techniques. They would practice their techniques in the air. You could buy the Tae Bo DVD and practice at home. It was great in that it really helped make martial arts popular. And apparently it was a brutal workout.
I remember meeting Billy Blanks. The inventor of Tae Bo. By the way, Billy Blanks is a real legitimate martial arts practitioner. He would tell me that in his morning class he had close to 50 participants. His evening class had 100!
Now to help expand his program, Billy would certify you and you would go and teach Tae Bo in your own gym. The problem? Some of these newly certified instructors never had a martial arts background. A few people were getting injured. This could be for many reasons: previous undisclosed injuries, poor warm ups, lack of mobility, or not having the knowledge to correct bad form.
Which brings me to our current challenge. Lately we have been getting new members from commercial gyms that have a martial arts program. It’s great that these gyms have martial arts programs, but it does have its challenges.
The main one? Most of these people now see martial arts as a workout. It can be. But martial arts is a lifestyle. A skill set that has to be learned.
These commercial gyms set up racks of bags and after a few rudimentary lessons they set you loose to work your “technique” on the bags. Of course they will push you into a frenzy of activity, so that you will get a good workout. But to be honest, this is not the martial way. It’s basically a modern twist of Tae Bo.
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An aerobics class that is given a “facelift”. Tae Bo modernized by smashing the bags, sacrificing technique, for a workout that only really gives you a good sweat and makes you sore. By the way sweating and soreness doesn’t really mean you’re properly working out. I can have you run around the building 50 times swinging cans of soup.
You will sweat and be sore, but what’s the purpose of the workout?
So when these new students come from these commercial gyms, we spend a great deal of time correcting their technique. We also have to spend a great amount of time educating the student on the 4 methods of practicing the striking the arts. We are NOT surprised that these are NOT taught in these commercial gyms. After all, they are not a martial arts facility. What are these methods? Check back with us in a week for part two of this article to learn more.