Posted by Nicci | Posted in Exercise Equipment, Exercise Videos, Videos, Way Back Wednesday, Weight Loss | Posted on 29-09-2010
Tags: As Seen On TV, Infomercials, P90X, Tae Bo, Total Gym, Tower 200, Way Back Wednesday
Mixed Martial Arts, or MMA, has become really big news in recent years. The UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) has come a long way from its early beginnings when it was misunderstood and compared with bare knuckle, no-holds-barred brawls. As people begin to understand the true martial arts and wrestling roots of MMA, however, the sport has enjoyed increasing popularity. This phenomenon spawned MMA-inspired apparel created by Tap Out, RVCA, and Affliction. Once found only through online MMA specialty shops, you can now find these t-shirts in any mall. The UFC, once condemned as a brutal sport of barroom brawlers, has launched its highly-trained fighters into household names. In fact, The SciMark Report indicates that MMA has inspired a new trend in fitness equipment. Acclaimed mixed martial artists and UFC fighters Randy Couture, Rich Franklin, and Bas Ruten are all currently endorsing infomercial fitness equipment.
So what does all of this have to do with Way Back Wednesday? As a huge MMA fan, I am really interested in the unprecedented growth of this sport. With so many MMA standouts selling exercise equipment through television marketing, I started thinking about the beginnings of martial arts as an infomercial fitness phenomenon.
One of the first martial-arts inspired fitness trends seen on TV was Tae Bo, marketed by fitness guru Billy Blanks. Designed as a blend of Tae Kwon Do, boxing, and aerobics, Tae Bo launched a cardio kickboxing craze. Even after the success of the initial Tae Bo series in the late 1990′s, Tae Bo continued to evolve, with Billy Blanks expanding the series to include Amped, T3, and Boot Camp videos and DVDs. Take a look at this clip from the original Tae Bo Basic video:
Now, I’ll admit that I was an owner of this original series, and these exercise videos did, in fact, work really well. The major drawback was that I felt like I had to constantly avert my eyes from Billy Blanks’s barely covered chest (I think it was cold in that studio) and from his embarrassingly tight, shiny pants. That’s more information about Billy Blanks than I need.
The martial arts inspiration continued with everyone’s favorite roundhouse kickin’ Texas Ranger, Chuck Norris, and his Total Gym. Even Tony Horton’s P90x includes a martial arts element through its Kenpo X routine. As the pure martial arts evolve into the highly popular mixed martial arts, Randy Couture, UFC Hall of Famer and repeat champion in two weight classes, comes on the scene with the Tower 200. Touted as “The Ultimate Workout,” the Tower 200 attaches itself to the fame of the Ultimate Fighting Championship and its most prized fighter.
As MMA continues to grow, I’ll be interested to see how its popularity further impacts fitness trends.