Itís no secret that Comic Book Characters kick ass, with the rising trend in superhero movies pretty much anyone who watches them will be impressed by the display of the heroes (and villains) martial prowess; and if you are anything like me you will get all upset because you arenít a chiselled badass with witty one liners.
But just how practical are they? For the purposes of this article not exceeding the entire length of this magazine I will be taking a cursory look at one of my personal comic favourites Batman.
Going from Batmanís Bio courtesy of http://batman.wikia.com/ Batman started his Physical and Mental Training at 11 and had mastered full body control at 18, which you know is achievable if you look at the way Shaolin monks can train and condition themselves from a very young age.
In terms of fighting style Batman has no end of them; he is a master of 127 different styles (a tad ridiculous) and is feared and respected through the entire superhero community. His prowess was displayed in Batman: Year One where he takes out an entire SWAT team with a mixture of Martial arts, theatrics and stealth.
Courtesy of DC Comics: Batman Year One
You are probably sitting here thinking; well what bearing does this have on me as a Martial Artist? Iím not the Batman and never will be.
My tenure as Batman was short livedÖ
Well thatís true but the fantastic thing about Batmanís martial arts skills is that he has one weapon in his arsenal which we all (hopefully) ownÖ his mind.
Going toe to toe with some absolutely over powered people with just his knowledge of martial arts is going to be tough. What Batman mostly utilises and what you can use too is tactical thinking.
It is one thing to be able to pull off a variety of very badass looking kicks and punches, but anticipating your opponents next move, using the threat of your footwork and body stance to maneuverer them into a position, which you can exploit will take a lot of work and time. If you can master the mind-set of a true Martial Artist, with enough training you will easily learn those techniques.
As a Martial Artist I often get disheartened when I spar someone better than me or I watch a professional such as Jet Li on the camera.
But neither Jet Li nor Batman would have got to the level they are today without what I think are the most important qualities of a Martial Artist.
Without challenging yourself as a Martial Artist you will never grow as an individual, it is all too easy to practise those techniques which make you feel like Batman but what about those really gritty ones that you just canít do and end up ignoring?
Use your Patience to continue trying the technique, practice with friends or ask your instructor to help.
Stay dedicated, canít exactly get that throw or kick right? Practise it 50 times a day. Keep calm, if you are anything like me you will get angry, upset or feel inadequate if you canít make the grading benchmark or you lose in sparring but every loss is a lesson and every lesson helps you improve.
Most importantly never give up. Be it your cardio slowing you down or your opponents are so good you suspect they secretly fight crime in spandex, you have only truly lost when you lose the battle in your mind.
Courtesy of quickmeme.com
Now, being patient/dedicated and calm isnít going to be the only thing to help you in a martial arts session, hell my Grandmaís local Vicar has all those qualities but sadly he isnít much use in a fight, she absolutely destroyed him. You need to actually be in fairly good physical condition and a half decent fighter if you want to come out on top.
Letís take a look at how Batman typically trains. Once again using the handy http://batman.wikia.com/ there is a section on how he does it.
ďBatman began his physical and mental conditioning when he was 11 and then intense physical training and weight lifting at age 12Ē
Okay so thatís a little hard-core, but letís break it down. Obviously this is in the realm of fiction but to be any good at Martial Arts my own personal belief is that you need to train in general fitness as well as whatever art you happen to do.
Cardio exercise is very important, sparring an opponent can often come down to lasting longer than them in order to attain full releasÖvictory. Flexibility is also crucial, being able to lift your leg to at least your waist and have a wider range of motion A) gives you more options when you are sparring and B) can help you resist a submission, just try not to let yourself get a dislocated joint.
Being conditioned through intensive workouts lets your mind and body adapt and cope with physical punishment so when you do get punched in the face or have your spine broken by Bane you will have a slightly better coping mechanism.
ďWayne abstains entirely from drinking alcohol, though he presented Bruce Wayne, his alter ego, as a borderline alcoholic (he created this illusion by drinking ginger ale and pretending it was champagne). Batman's refusal to drink was directly linked to keeping his body in its absolute best.Ē
Alcohol is pretty bad for sports people. Alcohol in itself is a diuretic which means it makes you produce more urine, leading to more toilet breaks, leading to dehydration (Lots of pee = Oh dear). This is bad because you need to be hydrated when you exercise as this aids the bodyís flow of blood throughout the body.
After drinking alcohol the liver canít produce as much glucose (or as I like to call it fight fuel) which means you have low levels of blood sugar, less energy means you will not be at your peak training capacity.
That being said, training can be a kickass hangover cure.
Batman doesnít drink because it hinders his training and overall ability to fight crime, I see no problem with moderation but in order to progress forward we all need to cut back on the Friday drinks!
Batman trains in every style imaginable, in every way possible in order to counter any weaknesses he may have, to be prepared. To be more like him donít just train in the stuff you love, train in the stuff you hate as well. If you suck at kicking, practise those kicks stretch off and kick some butt! If you find grappling hard do some strength training, learn some techniques and practise.
Train your very hardest, never give up and who knows, perhaps you can be the Hero we needÖ
Tim WoodAuthor: Bear Martial Arts Team