BFT: Many would ask “what else is there for Billy Blanks to achieve?” You’ve sold over 500 million videos and you have global success and you seem to have reached a lot of goals and overcome a lot of obstacles – what keeps you going to keep pushing for more?
BB: What keeps me going especially now is I look – I’ve made over 100 something videos and DVDs and then you have all these other physical fitness trainers who made all these DVDs — think about that…we have all these gyms and all these exercising bikes and we have all this stuff but our country – 60% is obese with all the technology we have in physical fitness, why isn’t it changing the world? To me that’s my goal.
We have all the stuff but it’s still not getting people to the point where they can change themselves and to me when you look at physical fitness, most of it is trendy. Physical fitness is not a lifestyle to most people, it’s a trend because people put it off as a trend “well here’s the new thing that’s in,” and when you stop looking at it [as a trend] and start having people realize that physical fitness is a part of your life and it’s something that you should have.
When I was growing up in school, gym class was very important for kids now it’s not and kids couldn’t care less and I believe because of that now you’re starting to the back-end — and you know with former president Clinton during this thing [project we’re working on] we found out that the kids of these days won’t live past their parents; that’s how bad it is.
BFT: That’s sad and we heard about that too but we would’ve never guessed that being the case because we were active growing up but we definitely see the impact of cutting out physical activities in schools, the increase of video games and sedentary lifestyles and it’s really sad and unfortunate.
BB: It is because I think these kids are stale they have no interest because when you look at physical fitness and when it’s talked about it’s always about losing weight is not about how to make you perform better, it’s not about it’s a good communication tool that it can help you be a better person, it’s not about that – everybody’s teaching physical fitness to people about how to lose weight and kids don’t care about that. Try to get a kid off the computer see what happens [laughs] and do you know why – because it’s a good tool that they can communicate with.
Most parents blow their kids off anyway “get on the computer;” they become friends with the computer and they learn how to communicate through the computer so I always tell people, “if you get kids to communicate through physical fitness they’ll treat it the same way, you just have to get them used to doing it”. That’s my goal to get into that [area] and help these kids beat this thing going on because it’s crazy.
We have so many different DVDs, so many different gyms, so many different physical fitness programs and we still have 60% obesity in the country; and I hate to even put Tae Bo in as a trend but we’re the trendsetters, we set the trends for the rest of the world but we are the most obese country in the world.
BFT: Speaking on Tae Bo how does it make you feel to know that you have helped so many people but at the same time what you did and accomplished really revolutionized the fitness industry?
BB: Well it’s a blessing but like I said I can never take God out of the picture because without Him I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing so it’s really a blessing to do what I do. I always tell people “it’s a privilege and an honor to be able to get in front of you and talk to you about physical fitness or even teach,” because I’m held accountable for what I do and that’s what I told my class a couple days ago, I said “I want to teach you all this stuff and I’m going to get it off my chest because this is what I’m supposed to teach you and now it’s up to you…so when it comes to the end of time and I have to leave my body I’m going to be held responsible for what God has given me,” he’s going to say “Billy, I gave you a gift what did you do with it?”
So I look at that all the time and I don’t shy away from that so when people say “how did you become successful?”, “how do you get to where were you are?” I say “I know I had to work hard to do what I do but God gave me a gift, he gave me a gift of communication and being able to love and help people,” and that’s what I get out of it; when I see people smile, when I see people changing their lives that’s the best present you can get.
BFT: Now there’s also a quote by Max Lucado he said “out live your life” and it appears that you’re on your way to doing that and your family is also going to carry on your legacy – so how are your children and your family building on the foundation that you set for them?
BB: Well you know it’s so awesome I have a brother and a sister that have probably one of the biggest gyms in California right now ; he’s my baby brother Michael and he started watching me and now he has Magic Johnson and everybody coming into the studio teaching them how to get in good shape. He started off doing what I was doing but he actually change the name and called it ‘Drenched,’ and it’s nice to be able to see them reaching out helping people and that’s the legacy and it’s a blessing that not just teaching your family but I have people all over – I have over 5,000 instructors in Germany and a lot of instructors all over the world teaching Tae Bo and to me that’s a blessing to be able to see people reaching out touching and saving people’s lives. I don’t take it for granted that’s why I say God gave me a gift to reach out and help people. I want to give it the best that I can do it and not give up until I leave this earth…so that to me is awesome and it’s a blessing.
BFT: So as of right now you said you moved away for five years and recently came back – what are you up to at the moment?
BB: What I’m doing at the moment is building a new studio right now that’s going to open up pretty soon in Dana Point, California; it will start there first and eventually end up in the valley, a franchise of it, but I’m developing that and I’m developing new workouts all the time — developing Tae Bo workouts and new ways for people to communicate through the computer with physical fitness and that’s what I’m going towards now; so my thing is to be able to create a new workout, which I’m creating right now — I can’t say too much about it but I think it’s going to revolutionize fitness too. And being that I lived in Japan for five years and being able to study over there and work out with people there and come back here and working out with people here in United States I learned so much about physical fitness over the last five years and now my goal is to keep experimenting with it and then over the next year I’ll come out with this new program.
BFT: So you said you lived in Japan for five years what type of effect did that have on you as a person?
BB: A lot! I went to Japan and I had to learn a whole different culture; I can speak that language, I learned a lot about Japanese people, I learned a lot about this thing that’s called “Bushido”, Bushido is a “warrior mind” think like a warrior even if it’s in business, even if it’s in school – we don’t have it here in United States; that warrior mentality. So it was different going there and learning how not to sometimes show your emotions in certain ways. Japanese people are really good at that and then the eating, the healthiest people in the world are in that country, they live to 115 to 130 years old; so I learned a lot about eating and just about focusing and I’m back here in my country ready to put it out.
BFT: How can people follow you and stay connected to you with what you’re doing?
BB: They can go to BillyBlanks.com and go to TaeBo.com and go to Twitter and Facebook to get a hold of me then you see what I’m doing 24/7, where I’m going to be at in the country and whether I’m doing seminars or speaking engagements they can type into TaeBo.com and get all that.
BB: One thing I want to mention is that I definitely want to get back into doing movies too. So I’m finishing up a script called ‘The Preacher Man.’
BFT: Nice. We look forward to seeing that because you did your thing in the movies for a while.
BB: It was fun…a lot of fun and I believe now… since I’ve been in front of the camera doing Tae Bo; see back in those days I wasn’t in from the camera as much and now because I have experience in front of the camera and know how to project through camera I’ll be better in a little action, so I’m looking forward to doing an action movie.
BFT: Yeah we’re looking forward to it too; we’ll have to see that for sure!
BFT: Is there anything else you want to cover or anything else you want to add?
BB: I just want to say this, I know we all set New Year’s resolutions but I always say just remember where New Year’s resolutions came from; it was built because of people setting trends. Don’t let your New Year’s resolution be a trend, let it be a lifestyle change for your future. Take your past and let your past build your future, don’t let your past steal your future.
Most people live in the past and it takes away from the future; if they can reverse it and let the past build the future then they can do some awesome things. So I just like to say that to people, to keep working by faith, keep walking by faith and keep doing things they need to do to be the best they can be because there’s no end to what you really can do if you really want to do it.