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Interviewed by Dwight & Zonelle Thompson
"You can't exercise by sight
because your sight will make you quit.
You need to exercise by faith."
Motivational Fitness Trainer for TAE BO
Black belt award winner
Establised The Billy Blanks World Training Center
What Tae-bo is, first I started off with karate and boxing, and I combined dance and a lot of exercises together and make it exercise from the inside out.
When you take the letters. The T stands for totally commit yourself. To be the best you can be totally commit yourself.
The letter A stands for awareness.
And the letter E stands for excellent at your own level. Not anybody else's level.
The letter B stands for body. You need a body to perform those three things in.
And letter O stands for obedient, be true to God's word and be true to your body and you'll get everything you need.
I worked at a young age to be one of the best martial artists in the world.
At 16 I made the United States karate team and I was traveling throughout the world, and I won 7 world titles.
When you win one title, it makes you feel you made it, you know?
But I knew I was still searching for a way to fulfill my fulfillment.
I went out and won another title and it still didn't do it.
I went out and did something else, and it still didn't do it.
I was doing all kinds of things to fulfill my flesh.
I didn't understand it at the time.
I thought I was fulfilling the things people would have to do to survive in this world, because I didn't understand God's word.
Through that, I was always unsatisfied.
I was never happy.
At home with my wife and kids, I was never happy.
I thought I was missing something.
As I started to grow up in life and saw different pastors speak on God's word, I saw this Pastor--Dr. Frederick Casey Price.
When I got to be older-at the age of 39 years old-I saw Pastor Price on television.
When I saw him on television I heard him speak on faith, and I heard them speak on some of the things that happened in his life.
I went to my karate studio and asked if anybody knew where Crenshaw Christian center was.
A 17 year old boy did, and I went to church with him, and that day I received Jesus Christ.
And my life changed. ... My heart became peaceful.
I knew my life had changed.
God stepped in and took over.
All the things I thought I was going to take over and do,
God stepped in and eased my heart and my heart gained peace.
The next thing you know, I was trying to get my wife to go to church.
I would say 'come on let's go to church.'
She had a bad experience with church.
I was trying to get her to go to church.
She said 'no.'
I kept telling her how Pastor Price teaches on faith.
'Look at him on TV.'
His television show came on, and she put the cover over her head.
She wouldn't watch it.
One day he started speaking on some of the things that happened in his life.
I looked over, and her head came up from underneath the cover, and she said, "Billy, take me to the church."
I took her to the church.
I took my daughter and wife to church, and that day they received Jesus Christ.
And then my son, my son watched me, and he saw a change.
My family saw a change in me.
They saw what God did in my life, what Jesus did in my life.
My son even gave his life to Jesus Christ.
Now, my whole family goes to church.
As I started to learn God's word I started to apply it to my life. I started to apply it to exercising.
I looked in the book of Hosea and the first thing I saw in there God said, "My people die for lack of knowledge."
When you look around the world, people struggle because they don't have the knowledge to fulfill what they want to fulfill in their life or gain their purpose.
God said, "People die for lack of knowledge."
I look at how I came up in high school.
As a kid I was misjudged and people look at your outsides.
They put me in special education.
(At age of 35 I found out I was dyslexic.)
So they stuck me in a class with kids who were mentally retarded and didn't have limbs.
As I went into the room as a kid sitting with the other kids that gave me an opportunity to see that there is more sitting in that wheelchair or that chair than just a body but people were looking at them from an outside, and I knew there was a spirit in each of us that wants to come forth.
People don't look at people from the inside.
They look at people from the outside because this is such a visual world.
I took it on as a young man to be the best I could be.
My inner man would have to come forth, and the way I had to do that is work on my spirit--not understanding what it was all about just watching my mother.
She's been a Christian for 55 years.
I use my mother's faith to where I wanted to be in karate.
She never turned her back on God.
I looked at her and said 'I want to do what she's doing,' and I took it and applied it to my life, and I got to be a karate champion.
As I started to be a karate champion I worked and worked and Pastor Price showed me how to take faith and operate it in my life.
All of a sudden Tae-Bo started to change.
Tae-Bo wasn't just a physical exercise anymore.
Not just about the body.
It was about your spirit.
If you got your spirit and will together, your body would automatically change.
That's how I started teaching it.
And this gentleman came in my studio and said, "Can you capture the same spirit in this room on video?"
He didn't say 'get this exercise on video.' He loved the spirit in my studio.
I said, "Sure."
I needed the opportunity.
He gave me the opportunity.
Exercise by Faith, Not Sight
"Walk by faith not by sight."
That's a good scripture for physical fitness.
To be in good shape, you can't exercise by sight because otherwise your sight will make you quit.
You need to exercise by faith--working towards a goal.
When you go into a gym you work to gain some success over your body.
But, most people don't understand why they quit.
What makes you quit?
If what you see doesn't coincide, when you look at the scale and what you see on if scale doesn't coincide what you think it makes you give up.
Exercise makes you people good as a person and gives you strength but because it doesn't coincide with your eyes, you quit.
That's the soul's mind taking over.
It doesn't matter if it's in my class or around the world, anywhere, the first thing I say is "First of all guys, I want to give my Heavenly Father credit for all I do and the Lord Jesus Christ to give me the opportunity to go out and reach and save lives."
To me, That's the most important thing.
I'm not a minister, but I'm a minister in the sense of exercising.
When people ask me a question, "Billy, how do you keep going?"
A lady came in my studio: "How do you, why are you on fire like that?"
That gives me an opportunity.
I eat Jesus Christ for breakfast.
I eat God for breakfast.
That's in me to say.
If you ask me why.
This is what he's done for me.
He's given me the opportunity to be the best for Him.
My thing in life is to show love.
What I'm teaching as an exercise instructor, my goal is to be able to take all the love off my myself to help someone else.
There was a situation.
I was doing an interview...and I kept saying, "I thank Jesus Christ for doing all this for me in my life."
'I thank God.'
'I thank God.'
'It's a blessing to be where I am today.'
I give the credit to God all the time.
The first thing he said, "You're always giving God the credit." He says this to me.
"What if a man is an atheist? What if a man don't believe in God?"
I said, "Well if a man doesn't believe in God, he wouldn't give himself that name.
You have that name, you must believe there is a God."
You know what, after we sat and talked and talked and talked and talked he was the first guy that wrote an article about me with Jesus Christ and talked.
He wrote the story like it was suppose to be, and he changed his whole attitude, and he was the person he was talking about.
He was the guy that didn't believe in God.
And it was a blessing to speak it.
Not in the way I was turning the guy off.
My goal isn't to turn a person off.
I don't tell people this is what you need to do.
I want to be a doer of God's word.
If I'm a doer, people follow me.
"Why are so many Christians overweight?"
To me that's a sad thing.
Christians have the power,
Especially if you know the Testament.
You know the Spirit of Life,
And you know God gave you one important thing to carry on in life: He gave you a will.
A will is to make a decision how you should take care of yourself.
To see Christians out of shape it's hard for me.
I'm a Christian.
I believe in God's word.
I know the power of God's word.
So all they need to do is take that and apply it to their life
Take God's word and apply it to their life in a physical manner, they'll be all right.
The body only profits a little from exercising but the spirit profits a lot.
A lot of Christians turn that around. They think they don't have to work out.
God will hold you accountable for your temple.
Your temple carries your spirit.
I believe when people see you on the street, this is such a visual world and people look at you and because people look at you, you have to keep your temple in good shape.
I know I'm in good shape.
People see me physically.
To the eyes I'm in good shape.
But when they see the inside of me the spirit of God that's even better.
Now I have everything tying in together.