Although I am based in Lawrenceville, GA I travel a lot. Back in 2015 I was walking through the (George Bush) Houston International Airport and who did I notice sitting down ever inconspicuously? None other than Billy Blanks of Tae Bo fame. I felt like I knew him and that he was an old friend because my wife had been working out to his routines for many years. I basically shouted (not too loudly) out "Billy Blanks" with a big grin on my face. I went over to him with my hand extended and he grinned and shook it as introduced myself. Well actually.......if you know how us "brothas" greet each other.....we actually did the hand shake/shoulder bump cuz that's how we do. But anyway......I briefly told him the story of my wife working out to his DVD's in our living room and thanked him for being an inspiration of her fitness and workouts.
I also mentioned that I was a photographer and gave him my card and told him I'd love the opportunity to photograph him if he ever had the time. He said of course! He gave me his cell number and address to his studio out in the Dana Point area of LA and I said thank you and let him go. As luck would have it I was in Los Angeles a few weeks later and was able to get to his studio and capture him teaching a class as well as have him pose alone for me for about 30 minutes after that class.
He was very hospitable, gracious and a very likeable guy. No hollywood attitude. Just a real "down to earth" person and he's still doing what he loves. He whipped his class of about 8 people (that night) into a dripping downpour of sweat for sure. He had men and women in the class and they looked like they were ages 25-60 or so. It was definitely a HIGH ENERGY class with Billy blasting some real up tempo high hop beats to get everyone's blood pumping.
I've checked on his studio that I went to that day and YELP says it's now closed. :o( But I do see his website: http://taebo.com/ is still active. I am sure he is still teaching and inspiring people all over the world as he always have with his mix of martial arts and working out with his Tae Bo workouts.
It was a pleasure meeting you Billy and I wish you continued success. Thanks for taking a bit of your time to share with me.