I was watching one of the Batman movies the other day. There were several things he did as he was fighting the bad guys that I thought I’d like to be able to do, but it would require me to build my strength and flexiblity in certain ways.
The first thing I saw that I wanted to be able to do was the Dark Knight picking up a thug he had just knocked down and throwing him into the wall. I thought wow, that’s cool, and a good finish move.
Then, there was a scene where the Bat is jumping off of a platform down to his crawler. He pulls his legs up to clear the railing. It looked really cool. I thought, ummm, I don’t think I could bring my legs up to my torso like that and clear the railing.
It reminded me of The Avengers movie when Captain America jumps up and tucks himself into a ball behind his shield to protect himself from an alien grenade.
Seeing these things got me thinking. I need to work on my strength and flexibility as if I may need to do some (or all) of this stuff in a fight some day.
So in our martial arts classes, we practice things like front rolls and cart wheels. I get asked by new students why we do gymnastics style exercises in a martial arts class. The answer is to increase our ability to use our bodies in situations that may come up when defending ourselves. You’re not going to do a cart wheel in the middle of a fight, but if you’ve practiced that movement and find yourself knocked over with your legs going over your head, your body and mind will better know how to deal with it.
Some types of balance, strength, flexibility that are not gained or improved directly through things like punching, kicking, wrist locks, and throwing from a standing position. They need to be practiced in a different way.
Here’s an example: you could take a heavy bag and while standing next to it with it laying on the ground, pick it up and heave it to the side. Maybe even toss it into a wall or another hanging heavy bag. This is the kind of exercise that I’d practice if I wanted to be able to pick up a bad guy and throw him into the wall like Batman.
Cross fit seems like it would be a good way to practice for these king of situations. Parkour, too. You’re lifting other things and yourself in ways you may not normally do, but might be a bit like a fight in the street.
So think about it. What can you do to train your body like a super hero? What kind of skills do you need for real life situations?
Watch some movies and get creative. Take your body and your training to the next level.