Kicking away the Calories | Culture| Arts, music and lifestyle reporting from Germany | DW | 03.12.2001
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Kicking away the Calories

For those lacking the willpower to fight the desire for seasonal goodies, one of this year's most popular trendsports in Germany could be the answer - Tae Bo.

Door No.3 in our season's special

Door No.3 in our season's special

Christmas is coming and the goose is getting fat….or so a traditional Christmas carol goes. However, not only geese tend to put on weight in the winter months. The days before and after Christmas are generally fatal for figures, as shops fill with Christmas candies and the smell and sight of seasonal specialities is hard to ignore.

For those who can not resist tasty Christmas goodies, the only way to fight superfluous flab is by doing sport. This year, one particularly sweaty calorie burner has seen a revival in Germany – Tae Bo.

For years, Billy Blank's dark skinned body dancing up and down on a fitness studio video screen has been reminding occaisional studio-goers that the obligatory 20 minute cycle and quick, monthly work-out is simply not enough. Billy Blanks, the inventer of Tae Bo and his highly praised Tae Bo workout are extremely popular in the US. Various Hollywood stars such as Cher and Brooke Shields swore on the sport as the only way to really keep fit.

This year, Tae Bo – or the variants of Blank's registered trademark, such as Thai Bo, Fit Bo and Punch & Kick have been booming in German sport studios. Tae Bo is a combination of karate, boxing, aerobics and dance, and comes complete with pulsating music, and of course a well-trained trainer.

Tae Bo may be extremely popular now, but Tae Bo inventer Billy Blanks has been at it for more than a decade. The seven time karate champion, film star in 20 action films and general martial arts expert began developing his Tae Bo programme when he noticed that only few women frequented martial arts studios. To get women acquainted with martial arts, he thought up a routine that combined the cardiovascular benefits of aerobics, the spiritual of the martial arts, and the practical of self-defence.

The name of the sport comes from Tae, the Korean word for foot, and Bo, the Korean word for boxing.

The sport is a real calories burner, just the right thing for fighting any pre- and post-Christmas flab. For those who lack the willpower to start with this strenuous pastime, take a look at Tae Bo guru Billy Blank's background: "Despite dyslexia which would impede his learning, poverty, an anomaly in his hip joints which would impair his movements, a clumsiness which would earn him the taunts of his siblings and cause his coaches to think he would never amount to much, Billy went on to become the dominant martial artist of the 80s, a world renowned star of martial arts films and the top physical trainer in the country," his website states.