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I really want to be Batman
July 16, 2008 8:42 AM   Subscribe

Is Batman Possible? "There's a quote from Neal Adams, the great Batman illustrator, who said Batman would win, place or show in every event in the Olympics."
posted by gwong (130 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
Figure skating? Really?

He's a gymnast, swimmer and weightlifter?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:52 AM on July 16, 2008


If you flip to the back of Scientific American, Marvin Gardner now sells X-Ray goggles and whoopie cushions.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:54 AM on July 16, 2008 [4 favorites]


I love Neal Adams. Nobody has ever drawn Green Lantern, Green Arrow or Batman better.

That being said ... Neal believes that the Earth is expanding.
posted by grabbingsand at 8:56 AM on July 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


He's a gymnast, swimmer and weightlifter?
Yes.
posted by Karmakaze at 8:59 AM on July 16, 2008


I bet James Bond would kick his ass at the biathlon.
posted by cog_nate at 9:00 AM on July 16, 2008


If ten dudes with sticks rush an unarmed Batman ... Batman wins.

If ten dudes with sticks rush the unarmed greatest, fastest, most bad-ass, real martial artist that ever really lived and breathed on this planet ... Dude Nos. 1 and 2 probably go down, but Dude Nos. 3, 4 and 5 win. Not to mention the other five guys.

can't f'n wait for the movie, though
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:00 AM on July 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


All we are saying is give Batman a chance.
posted by Bromius at 9:01 AM on July 16, 2008 [3 favorites]


I bet James Bond would kick his ass at the biathlon.

Not after Batman has Oliver Queen shoot Bond with a kryptonite-tipped arrow.
posted by Greg Nog at 9:02 AM on July 16, 2008 [6 favorites]


But Batman doesn't have the body type to win, place, or show at every event! Yeah, okay, maybe he wins the shooting events regardless of body type. But how can you be a top marathon runner, a top sprinter, a top weightlifter, and a top gymnast all at the same time. You need massively different body types and muscle development!

It just doesn't make any sense! They should stick to plausible things like taking Superman in a fair fight.
posted by Justinian at 9:05 AM on July 16, 2008 [4 favorites]


Not after Batman has Oliver Queen shoot Bond with a kryptonite-tipped arrow can of Pabst's.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:05 AM on July 16, 2008


If you flip to the back of Scientific American, Marvin Gardner...

Martin.
posted by pracowity at 9:06 AM on July 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm going to break with tradition here and read the article that we are commenting on. I thought the overall point was interesting--probably 12 years of training to become Batman, and then you can maintain the Bat-life for perhaps 2-3 years.

But it's doable, for a while, if you have the skills and the money. All we need is for Bill Gates to find the right candidate, support his training, and give us a real-life Batman for a while. With a cape, a cowl, and a little Windows logo on either shoulder.

Hopefully it'll be Batman XP. Batman Vista would just walk beside old ladies and say "You are about to enter a dangerous part of the city. Are you sure you want to proceed? Yes or no." Maybe he'd help you out in a jam, but eventually even the good guys would team up to beat him down.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 9:07 AM on July 16, 2008 [20 favorites]


Everyone wants to BE Batman.

No one, however, is willing to BECOME Batman.

Huge difference.
posted by yhbc at 9:08 AM on July 16, 2008 [5 favorites]


I hope this guy realizes now that he's wrong.
posted by camcgee at 9:10 AM on July 16, 2008


They should stick to plausible things like taking Superman in a fair fight.

Batman never, ever, fights fair.
posted by Artw at 9:14 AM on July 16, 2008 [3 favorites]


Brandon Blatcher: "Figure skating? Really?"

Didn't you see the beginning of Batman and Robin?
posted by octothorpe at 9:14 AM on July 16, 2008 [3 favorites]


Everyone wants to BE Batman.

No one, however, is willing to BECOME Batman.


Everybody wants to go to heaven. Nobody wants to die.
posted by The Bellman at 9:16 AM on July 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


E. Paul Zehr seems to be a smart guy, but is he the World's Greatest Detective? I don't think so.
posted by Faint of Butt at 9:17 AM on July 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


I have real doubts about how Batman would do with the urine testing.
posted by Artw at 9:19 AM on July 16, 2008 [3 favorites]


No one can be Batman for longer than a couple of days because someone would shoot his leotarded ass. Bang. Deadman in a funny suit.

So that's 15 to 18 years training, a few days of prancing around in a utility belt, and then an eternity dead.
posted by pracowity at 9:20 AM on July 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


Martin.

Your rite. My falt.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:21 AM on July 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


Neal believes that the Earth is expanding.

Wow, just...wow. It's fascinating to listen to someone seem logical and normal, then verbally make these huge, ridiculous leaps and accusations. Pseudo-science for the win.
posted by davejay at 9:24 AM on July 16, 2008


Batman never, ever, fights fair.

Exactly. See, all the fun is in thinking about how he would cheat or subtly sabotage the other contestants!
posted by spiderwire at 9:24 AM on July 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


No Olympics for you Batman.
posted by netbros at 9:26 AM on July 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


. . . 12 years of training to become Batman, and then you can maintain the Bat-life for perhaps 2-3 years.

So you'd have to keep apprentice Batmen in the training pipeline and graduate one every two or three years. Kind of like a sped up Phantom (who had about a twenty year career), or the Dread Pirate Batman! I can see the recruiting posters now.
posted by Standeck at 9:33 AM on July 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


Martin Gardner is Wayne Enterprises' property management executive. He's in charge of buying and selling real estate, as well as building houses and hotels. He excels at buying low and trading high. He goes to jail frequently, but frequently seems to get out free, unscathed, and with no record, after which he takes a walk on the Boardwalk.
posted by ardgedee at 9:36 AM on July 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


Didn't you see the beginning of Batman and Robin?

Saw the trailer, wasn't that enough?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:39 AM on July 16, 2008


he's taking on 10 people. If you just estimate how fast somebody could punch and kick, and how many times you could hit one person in a second, you wind up with numbers like five or six.

This guy isn't thinking like a bat. First of all, you OBVIOUSLY want to hit, punch or kick someone such that they themselves take out other opponents. Swinging one guy around by his feet is a great example that can easily clear 4 or 5 attackers per revolution. If you then release that guy such that he knocks over a bowling-pin-like arrangement standing farther off, you've also bought yourself some time.

But this is only if Batman is caught unawares and in a place and time not of his choosing. Batman actually exists in Gotham City and he knows every nook and cranny. Any smart flying rodent is going to have hidden devices honeycombing the city, ready to save him on a moment's notice. Ten guys attacking in the old warehouse down by the docks? Press a button and, voila, robotic bees sting them to death! Ten guys attacking you at the unveiling of the Holy Crap Diamond? Speak the codeword into your communicator and, voila, the canisters of instant cement open and engulf them. And so forth.

Basically, he's forgetting that not only is Batman strong, fast and rich, he's also smart and well-prepared.
posted by DU at 9:42 AM on July 16, 2008 [4 favorites]


But how can you be a top marathon runner, a top sprinter, a top weightlifter, and a top gymnast all at the same time.

Thank you. I now have a completely awesome picture in my mind of one of the figure-skating dudes trying to do a 400lb clean-and-jerk, a huge weight-lifter puffing across the track after everyone else has crossed the finish line, one of those little pommel horse guys trying to dribble through a crowd of basketball players twice his size, and Wang Zhizhi playing table tennis.
posted by straight at 9:44 AM on July 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


Batman is the best at everything.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 9:46 AM on July 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


But how can you be a top marathon runner, a top sprinter, a top weightlifter, and a top gymnast all at the same time.

A ninja could do it, and Batman > Ninjas.
posted by Artw at 9:49 AM on July 16, 2008


Doesn't the Earth technically gain some mass every day from absorbing all the impacting meteorites and stuff?
posted by autodidact at 9:54 AM on July 16, 2008


Batman wins by the power of editorial fiat everything else is just gravy.

The big question is, could Batman take Squirrel Girl, who is blessed with the most powerful editorial fiat in the Marvel Universe.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 10:01 AM on July 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


It would depend who was editing it...
posted by Artw at 10:04 AM on July 16, 2008


I would be more impressed if Batman could win, place or show in the Preakness, Belmont and Kentucky Derby.
posted by MegoSteve at 10:04 AM on July 16, 2008


I would be more impressed if Batman could win, place or show in the Preakness, Belmont and Kentucky Derby.

Oh, that's easy. He's a billionaire. He could just buy all the horses. And the tracks. And the jockeys. Again, he doesn't fight fair...
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:09 AM on July 16, 2008


So according to the article (all the way at the end) you can figure out how many people could be Batman by multiplying the percentage of billionaires by the percentage of decathletes.

So, worldwide we get the numbers (I actually round down to 6,600,000,000 population for the calculations):
Billionaires in the world 946/6,602,224,175 (from Forbes, 2008) = 1.43e-7
Decathletes in the world 39/6,602,224,175 (2004 Olympics) = 5.9e-7

Multiply them together and you get this: 8.469e-16
So, exactly 0.00000559 people, worldwide, could be Batman.


In America we have three decathletes for 2008, 469 Billionaires, and roughly 300,000,000 people. So:

0.00000001 percent of the population are decathletes.
0.000001563 percent are Billionaires

Which means that there 0.00000469 Batmen in the USA. (1.563e-14*300,000,000).
posted by oddman at 10:15 AM on July 16, 2008 [5 favorites]


They call him Batman because Batshit-Crazy Man is too long.
posted by owtytrof at 10:20 AM on July 16, 2008 [4 favorites]


I would be more impressed if Batman could win, place or show in the Preakness, Belmont and Kentucky Derby.

Oh, that's easy. He's a billionaire. He could just buy all the horses. And the tracks. And the jockeys. Again, he doesn't fight fair...


Plus he's got Robin, who could be the back half of the horse.

I can see the lead-in page…

Random crowd member: “Holy smokes! That really fucking weird looking horse is actually going to win!”

Caption: Could this be the strangest Batman story ever told?

Editors note: You’re fired.
posted by Artw at 10:26 AM on July 16, 2008 [3 favorites]


The title would have to be "A BATMAN NAMED HORSE", though a 60s batman story referencing a 70s film would be kind of odd.
posted by Artw at 10:30 AM on July 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


So, exactly 0.00000559 people, worldwide, could be Batman.

But in the infinity of parallel universes, that could add up to a significant number of Batsman.
posted by DU at 10:31 AM on July 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


If only he had some kind of cat-like adversary we could do some awesome quantum physics quipping. Wave function collapse, pow!
posted by Artw at 10:38 AM on July 16, 2008


How many 5 year olds could Batman take on?

What about grizzly bears, armed only with a knife? (That's right, the bears have knives!)
posted by blue_beetle at 10:39 AM on July 16, 2008


Artw - I am picturing a horse wearing a mask, as modeled by Ace, the Bat-Hound.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 10:42 AM on July 16, 2008


Well, obviously it would have to be the crappest and most obvious pantomime horse style outfit, with, like you say, an ace-the-bathound style mask.
posted by Artw at 10:52 AM on July 16, 2008


I think I can weigh in on this, as the founder of the Church of Batman, Scientist.

The answer is yes. Whatever the question is. It's always yes.

That being said, Man Bat is surprisingly good at the luge.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:02 AM on July 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


But how can you be a top marathon runner, a top sprinter, a top weightlifter, and a top gymnast all at the same time.

That's easy. He's Batman.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 11:18 AM on July 16, 2008


I am fully, completely, and totally prepared to be part of creating a real Batman.

My proposal is this: given the difficulty the Dark Night has in maintaining both a nocturnal and a daytime existence (as noted in the article, he must be a really tired guy) I think we should have two people being Batman at any given time - one on the "day shift" and one on the "night shift."

I believe I have the right training, aptitude, and ability to be "day shift" Batman - the rich playboy who uses his guise as a wealthy layabout to gather information.
posted by never used baby shoes at 11:20 AM on July 16, 2008


Tough on your parents though.
posted by Artw at 11:25 AM on July 16, 2008


Tough on your parents though.

On that note: Least I Could Do
posted by never used baby shoes at 11:31 AM on July 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


Batman drinks Powerthirst?
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:52 AM on July 16, 2008


I used to work at a comic book store, and I'm fully aware I'm treading into Elijah Price territory by descending into this little fray.

This is a video of O Sensei, who by the time this was filmed was into his 70's, being gang-tackled by at least ten guys, martial arts students in their physical prime.

I know it seems staged, but there are quite a few videos of similar feats by senior practitioners of Ai Ki Do, who, to get to be senior practitioners, have to go through a series of tests along the lines of "OK, everyone rush me at once! With knives!"

The irony is that Ai Ki Do has no offensive moves, which is why Stephen Segal, one of the most accomplished Americans in the art, looks like an idiot when he fights. Well, that and the greased back ponytail and squinty tough guy look that resembles a constipated Clint Eastwood. He can handle a zillion guys rushing him at once, but he has to flip them into tables or do fake punches to "take them out" in camera-friendly ways.

Batman is like Stephen Segal taped to Kimbo Slice. You can try dog-piling on him with sawn-off pool cues, but he's going to put all of you on your back with Ai Ki Do, and then kick you into a coma with Tae Kwon Do when you try to get up in ones and twos. Yes he knows both. Also Ninjitsu, pankration, Krav Manga and any number of other Internet Tough Guy favorites. After all, he's the goddamn Batman.
posted by Slap*Happy at 12:26 PM on July 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


Scientific American: quickly becoming the new New Scientist.
posted by koeselitz at 12:27 PM on July 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm Batman.
posted by rand at 12:38 PM on July 16, 2008


kowselitz: I'm not familiar with New Scientist, but if you're talking about how SA's gone downhill, preach it brother. Now their covers are stupid stuff about what color alien plants would be, or sensationalist nonsense about living forever.

The Mar(v|t)in Gardner jokes up top are incredibly depressing to me because Scientific American would never publish Mathematical Games today. Those columns helped keep me sane before the internet and Metafilter.
posted by JHarris at 12:46 PM on July 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


I would be more impressed if Batman could win, place or show in the Preakness, Belmont and Kentucky Derby.

Ride, Bat-Hombre, ride!
posted by SPrintF at 12:48 PM on July 16, 2008


I know it seems staged, but there are quite a few videos of similar feats by senior practitioners of Ai Ki Do

Please show me more, because that one seemed completely, utterly staged.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 12:50 PM on July 16, 2008


But in the infinity of parallel universes, that could add up to a significant number of Batsman.

Technically, an infinite number of Batmen.

Thats alot of brooding, insane billionaire ninjas.
posted by Avenger at 12:50 PM on July 16, 2008


Oh, no. Twenty times no.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:52 PM on July 16, 2008


He just got his ass kicked in the superhero tourney. 58.4% Buffy, 41.6% Batman.
posted by Tehanu at 1:18 PM on July 16, 2008


Here's Segal (check out them 'burns!) in a brief documentary about rondori, or the art of not crapping your pants when getting the bum's rush.

Ai Ki Do demonstrations all look incredibly fake, because the "attackers" also know Ai Ki Do, and are taught how to take a fall gracefully before they learn a single stance. With that in mind, here's a phone cam vid of someone using it in real life in the middle of a riot.

Gawd, I'm such a nerd for this stuff...
posted by Slap*Happy at 1:32 PM on July 16, 2008


He just got his ass kicked in the superhero tourney. 58.4% Buffy, 41.6% Batman.

Well, I guess that's all I need to know about Redeye.
posted by Artw at 1:52 PM on July 16, 2008


Ride, Bat-Hombre, ride!

Pff. If Batman just rides a horse it's no challenge at all!
posted by Artw at 1:53 PM on July 16, 2008


kowselitz: I'm not familiar with New Scientist, but if you're talking about how SA's gone downhill, preach it brother. Now their covers are stupid stuff about what color alien plants would be, or sensationalist nonsense about living forever.
I was upset at the slow, downhilll spiral of Scientific American for a while, too, until I discovered American Scientist. American Scientist makes Scientific American look like Popular Science.
posted by heathkit at 2:12 PM on July 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


I still weep for Horizon.
posted by Artw at 2:30 PM on July 16, 2008


And OMNI.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 2:43 PM on July 16, 2008


How can you be a top marathon runner, a top sprinter, a top weightlifter, and a top gymnast all at the same time?

Well, Olympic decathlon has endurance, sprint, strength and agility events. Someone who trains as a decathlete won't win the 100 meter dash against a sprint specialist, but he sure can run muggers into the ground.

--------------------

Zorro is an Olympic pentathlete. Cross-country running, riding, swimming, swordfighting (epee) and pistol.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 2:44 PM on July 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


But what's Norm Breyfogle's take on this?
posted by turgid dahlia at 2:44 PM on July 16, 2008


Doesn't the Earth technically gain some mass every day from absorbing all the impacting meteorites and stuff?

Well it's also bleeding away atmosphere into space all the time. I don't know what the balance is, though.
posted by rokusan at 2:53 PM on July 16, 2008


Well, I guess that's all I need to know about Redeye.

The Green Lantern is doing surprisingly well given that their comments gave me the impression that their demographic highly overlaps YouTube's.
posted by Tehanu at 2:54 PM on July 16, 2008


"...That really fucking weird looking horse is actually going to win!”
Caption: Could this be the strangest Batman story ever told?
Editors note: You’re fired.


Caption: The horse jumped over the fucking fence.
posted by rokusan at 2:56 PM on July 16, 2008


Batman Spartacus: The Infinite Identity Crisis
posted by Free word order! at 2:59 PM on July 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


American Scientist makes Scientific American look like Popular Science.

Whoa, I've never heard of AS, but if it makes SA look even worse than Discover, I'm definitely checking it out.
posted by DU at 3:03 PM on July 16, 2008


"If ten dudes with sticks rush the unarmed greatest, fastest, most bad-ass, real martial artist that ever really lived and breathed on this planet ... Dude Nos. 1 and 2 probably go down, but Dude Nos. 3, 4 and 5 win. Not to mention the other five guys."

No. We used to do this in the SCA rather a lot. Even I have managed to take out 4 people of only slightly lesser skill, and I've watched fighters with more skill take more than 4. If I was Batman I have no trouble seeing how I could take ten.

The key is be moving through people constantly and using dirty tricks so that a) they get in each other's way, and b) they constantly chase you rather than surround you. Also, I have no idea why but people seem to attack much more timidly when they have you out numbered. It's like they expect one of their buddies to make a move which they will play off of, and they don't want to get in the way of their buddy.

Having run this sort of scenario several ways it turns out the best strategy is to have the ten people come at their target one at a time, very rapidly. They will quickly tire the single opponent, and those "taken out" will likely recover before their turn comes again.
posted by Ragma at 3:03 PM on July 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


Here's Segal (check out them 'burns!) in a brief documentary about rondori, or the art of not crapping your pants when getting the bum's rush.

ISWYDT.
posted by the cuban at 3:09 PM on July 16, 2008


Synchronised swimming?
posted by pompomtom at 3:09 PM on July 16, 2008


Slap*Happy ,

I'm sorry, but the reason Aikido demonstrations look fake is because they are. The Uke all fall gracefully because they're not supposed to give any resistance. I don't want this to turn into a my dad can beat up your dad situation, but Aikido is essentially pretty performance art.

It's like systema or any of those arts that involve firing chi balls etc. They don't tend to work when the opponent doesn't know they're supposed to fall over when you touch them. (I'd probably click on the last link, it gets better around 2:08)

I was hard pressed to find any example of Aikido actually being used outside of a semi choreographed demonstration. Oh... here's one.
posted by Telf at 3:19 PM on July 16, 2008 [3 favorites]


They will quickly tire the single opponent, and those "taken out" will likely recover before their turn comes again.

Well, there's your problem. Those "taken out" should be dead or incapacitated.
posted by Justinian at 3:20 PM on July 16, 2008


No. We used to do this in the SCA rather a lot. Even I have managed to take out 4 people of only slightly lesser skill, and I've watched fighters with more skill take more than 4. If I was Batman I have no trouble seeing how I could take ten.

Yeah but in real life people don't automatically die when you touch them with a stick.

Sorry for being a jerk in this thread.
posted by Telf at 3:21 PM on July 16, 2008


Zorro is an Olympic pentathlete. Cross-country running, riding, swimming, swordfighting (epee) and pistol.

That's a great way to look at it. The modern pentathlon was based on real world experience -- "The modern pentathlon was invented by the Baron Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the modern Olympic Games. As the events of the ancient pentathlon were modeled after the skills of the ideal soldier of that time, Coubertin created the contest to simulate the experience of a 19th century cavalry soldier behind enemy lines: he must ride an unfamiliar horse, fight with pistol and sword, swim, and run."

No. We used to do this in the SCA rather a lot.

LOL. In the SCA, they generally frown upon tackling people, kicking them in the teeth and stepping on their necks, do they not?
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 3:23 PM on July 16, 2008


Batman doesn't take any shit from baristas, either.
posted by turgid dahlia at 3:27 PM on July 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


How can you be a top marathon runner, a top sprinter, a top weightlifter, and a top gymnast all at the same time?

3.7 metric tons of steroids and Jeff Goldblum's cloning machine.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:29 PM on July 16, 2008


Telf - There are 18 ways for batman to touch you with a stick from this position. 17 kill you automatically, the other one... hurts.
posted by Artw at 3:33 PM on July 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


Also, the above link posted by Slap*Happy is entitled Aikido in a Real Life Fight(Live).
unfortunately the full clip is available here as Kung fu vs 3 People, where one can clearly see the events are taking place in a Chinese speaking country. (And therefore probably not a display of Aikido) Not to mention that the clip is not what I'd call an impressive captured brawl.
posted by Telf at 3:37 PM on July 16, 2008


Batman and Superman did fight. Here's The Bat's version of the story.
posted by The Esteemed Doctor Bunsen Honeydew at 3:43 PM on July 16, 2008 [3 favorites]


Artw,

Well executed.
posted by Telf at 3:44 PM on July 16, 2008


"I'm sorry, but the reason Aikido demonstrations look fake is because they are. "

Nope, that's not at all true. Slap*Happy got it right above.

The Uke know how to fall, it's the first thing you learn- don't die when you're thrown across the room. That's why the demonstrations look so soft- everyone knows exactly what they're doing.

In practice, I've done my damndest to hit aikidoka in the head with a stick. I mean full on, baseball bat swings- and if one of those guys hadn't been skilled or had been faking anything, they would have been bashed in the head with a piece of oak. On every occasion I've ended up on my ass. I've done it from the other side too, and the black-eyes and bruises I've had when i missed or screwed up tell me that they weren't faking anything either.

it takes YEARS to get to any point in Aikido where it's actually useful in a fight. Prior to that, yeah, it's gentle dancing. That's much of how Aikido is practiced, slow repetition of technique to learn the body mechanics and build proper habits- habits that often go against every instinct you have when someone's taking a swing.

Aikido can be soft, pretty dancing with a partner who knows how to move, and at full speed, against an opponent with violence on his mind it's efficient and fucking vicious.

Even then, it still looks pretty.
posted by The Man from Lardfork at 3:46 PM on July 16, 2008 [4 favorites]


I was under the impression that Ultimate Fighting and Cage Fighting had pretty much exploded most of the more woo-ish claims about martial arts. Aren't the guys who win usually wrestlers who can hit people hard?

Did you watch Telf's video (the "doesn't know you're supposed to fall" one)? Any explanation of why the guy is so completely helpless against someone who, you know, actually takes a swing at him rather than falling down when he waves an arm in their general direction?
posted by yoink at 4:03 PM on July 16, 2008


Maybe he should try dressing as a bat?
posted by Artw at 4:06 PM on July 16, 2008


Yeah, Kiai isn't really Ai Ki Do... I don't think O Sensei taught that you could shout at someone to make them fall down, and this "Master's" students were hamming it up in ways Ukes just don't. So, martial arts crank is exposed as martial arts crank, film at 11.

And in China or no, those were textbook rondori moves, albeit a tad clumsy in the heat of the moment, and not Kung Fu. Old fat dude with poor technique held off four attackers until the cops showed up. Batman could do ten, easy.
posted by Slap*Happy at 4:11 PM on July 16, 2008


I'm not going to respond to any more Aikido stuff in this thread, I just wanted to correct the link in this comment.

I merely wanted to link to the original quote, which since I'm a moron I will just paste:

"There are seven working defenses from this position. Three of them disarm with minimal contact. Three of them kill. The other-- [KRAKK] --hurts."
posted by Telf at 4:11 PM on July 16, 2008


It's a good quote. Good enough.
posted by Artw at 4:29 PM on July 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


Ok, I've been scouring the internets for hours trying to find any real life examples of one man taking on multiple opponents unaided. I guess I was trying to make the argument that many of these ki/chi/qi based martial arts had some element of placebo effect. I didn't believe one man could easily decimate the lives of so many people.

This video proved me wrong. I apologize.
posted by Telf at 4:40 PM on July 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


[KRAKK]

My krakk call worked! Time to buy some crack!
posted by turgid dahlia at 5:05 PM on July 16, 2008


FWIW, I had a friend take out five guys. A couple of them had knives.
He's a pretty good martial artist.

Group attacks are about as orchestrated as "Let's get 'im!" So maybe two guys at a time are coming in. Even then there is a lot of hesitation with most of the people waiting to see what is happening, where to get a shot in, how to get in. It's kind of a clusterf**k. I've heard because of this that it's easier to to take on multiples (obviously not like 20 dudes).

So yeah, if you're smart, you attack first and move from guy to guy.

Also there is a 'hard' style to Aikido. Many people don't know there are multiple branches or fractions.

One last thing, if you actually closely study what Ueshiba did in some old videos. He will often faint, misdirect, or even attack first.
posted by P.o.B. at 5:36 PM on July 16, 2008


I agree with the Man from Lardfork, above.

Though Aikido isn't my primary art, I've trained with a very skilled aikido instructor and can tell you that he is the real deal. In more pointed terms, he could seriously put the whup up on someone, I have no doubt.

I'll also say that aikidoka train to use one attacker to block or range out a second attacker, facilitating their defense against multiple attackers. So a defense against 4 or 5 attackers is not that improbable by a skilled aikido practitioner.

Probably the only weaknesses I found in the art as I experienced it were:

1. Little prone/supine groundwork training, so a degree of vulnerability to the kind of ground techs a jiu jitsu practitioner might employ and

2. Training against weapon strikes that fall along primary lines of attack, suggesting perhaps a degree of vulnerability against a skilled escrimador.

To be honest, though, these are areas of weakness in many of the martial arts taught today. That and the aforementioned tendency to train with partners who are taught to fall down and relent when you execute your technique on them, rather than resisting in a more realistic manner.

Of course, Batman has no such weaknesses in his batstyle.

*cues spinning camera and musical flourish segué*
posted by darkstar at 6:00 PM on July 16, 2008


Well, I haven't fought just one person for so long. I've been specializing in groups. Battling gangs for local charities, that kind of thing. You see, you use different moves when you're fighting half a dozen people than when you only have to be worried about one.
posted by kirkaracha at 6:34 PM on July 16, 2008 [3 favorites]


Pracowity had it right. The "possibility" of Batman ends the first or second time one tries to disarm a criminal with a bat-shaped boomerang, or shortly after one decides to brood on the ledge of a high-rise building while wearing a cape.
posted by millions at 6:34 PM on July 16, 2008


This is why Batman is the best superhero. He's just a guy, and a fucked-up guy at that. All the other superheroes (arguably) live in the realm of fantasy.

Batman may be the only true science fiction superhero. My definition of fantasy vs. science fiction: fantasy just is. Talking animals, magical powers, trolls and goblins--all are part of a world that has always been. I would label virtually any Disney cartoon, or Lord of the Rings as good examples of fantasy.

Science fiction, though, shows a progression, it tells you why things are the way they are. We get to this point now because we did this in the past. A movie that blew my mind as a kid was The Secret of N.I.M.H., because it begins as yet another Disneyesque talking-animal fantasy (albeit a very dark one). Then, halfway thorough, it takes a 90 degree turn and becomes science fiction--the rats can talk because they've been given a drug.

Frank Miller (and now Christopher Nolan) did a great job of making Batman a true SF story with The Dark Knight Returns. Batman can do this stuff because 1) he's a physical badass, 2) he's got the money so that he could conceivably buy all "those wonderful toys", and 3) he's crazy in the head, to put it simply, and therefore has endless drive and will.

I love Batman, and I'm so glad Christopher Nolan sees past the Burton/Schumacher Broadway-showtunes-DayGlo silliness of the first four movies.
posted by zardoz at 6:51 PM on July 16, 2008


Actually I would be using every damn trick I had before I got into it with someone. Batarangs, Bat Knockout Gas, Bat Stun Grenades, Bat Taser, rocks, beer bottles, etc.. Then I would spend most of my time posing looking cool, just so I could score some sweet supervillian cat-thief ass.
posted by P.o.B. at 7:06 PM on July 16, 2008


I'm mostly with Telf on the Aikido thing.

I never dug Aikido. Played with it a little. I found the mai-ai /tai-sabaki (distancing) concepts kind of interesting. But over all the fundamental training was seriously flawed I thought for most of the reasons Tefl outlined. Way too cooperative by nature and the practice resembles "technique incest." Not NEARLY enough sparring.

But there is another reason. The grappling concept of grappling and unbalancing from the outside (limbs and extremities) in, rather than from the inside (the body core, torso and spine) out. In other words far too punch focus was places on snagging a punching or grasping limb and contorting that into a throw. Rather than closing the distance PAST the extremities, and clinching, securing a hold, closer to the body. The clinch: Judo, Wrestling, Sanshou/Sanda, Sambo and even stand up JJJ tend to do the latter. Because it works. It's far easier to teach and learn and takes far less fine motor skill to pull off. Anybody that has done any kind of full contact competition in the grappling arts against skilled opponents finds this out immediately. I defy any Aikidoka to snag a punch by a competent boxer or kick boxer. I've seen this attempted. And I have seen several Aikidoka's get KTFO, too.

Now I understand that the REASON for much of this differing grappling paradigm in Aikido came from the old school Jujitsu training of empty hand against an armed opponent - a dude with a sword. And in that light it does make more sense. He is going to be focusing on keeping that distance. His arms will tend to be extended. You can't easily blow past a knife or sword and clinch. You get dead. However there is still too much fine motor skill involved for the average person to ever pull that off with a blade in play as well. I think the the FMA do that MUCH better.

Anyway. Aikido takes many many years. I'm talking 10 years or more for the "average" person to acquire the fine motor skills and timing to pull of the bulk of Aikido throws on resisting partners. But eventually it would work fairly well against an untrained person. Sure. Most people have god awful balance. Self defense wise in a one on one situation I think it would work just fine with just the foot work alone.

However against a trained athletic person who has good balance and is intelligent with their aggression it won't work at all by itself. I have never met an advanced Aikidoka that claimed it would work against trained opponents without serious cross training. And thus, sadly, in the opinion of many it ceases to be true "Aikido". Too bad. I think some BJJ, boxing, and Aikido you might just have something.

All in all practice like that is why Kano Jigaro split off from Traditional Ju-Jitsu to create Judo and why Judo kicked Jujitsu's ass during open randori back in the day. Why O'Sensi brought many discredited training methods back I don't know. I'll never understand.

My other problem was, as a boxer myself, I could not stand —COULD NOT STAND—how every single Aikidoka I knew punched. Worst punches EVAR! Seriously. Just awful. Most of these were thrown as fakes but I could see immediately they were not going to do shit to me and I just let them land. Supposedly Morihei Ueshiba said "Aikido is striking" But then again according some Aikido instructors Ueshiba said Aikido is everything at some point.

I trained with lots of Aikidoka over the years. Most were were awesome people. A were couple outstanding martial artists. But I have to say that was in spite of, not because of Aikido training. And with only exception all the guys I knew who did Aikido pretty much bailed on it for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in terms of learning a grappling art.
posted by tkchrist at 9:07 PM on July 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


(the film is bloody brilliant)
posted by ageispolis at 9:17 PM on July 16, 2008


I was under the impression that Ultimate Fighting and Cage Fighting had pretty much exploded most of the more woo-ish claims about martial arts. Aren't the guys who win usually wrestlers who can hit people hard?

It did. I find it ironic and telling that the TMA types who used to SWEAR how their master/sifu/sensei could kick Tito Ortiz's ass on Teh Street (tm) are all shilling BJJ Masters Classes. And/or calling their Karate/Kungfu/whathavufu "MMA" now.

But. But. It's only a sport!
posted by tkchrist at 9:18 PM on July 16, 2008


Not to mention that the clip is not what I'd call an impressive captured brawl.

My God. If that is how people fight there... then... I WILL BE THEIR KING!
posted by tkchrist at 9:22 PM on July 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


Salon's review of the film.
posted by homunculus at 9:51 PM on July 16, 2008


No one, however, is willing to BECOME Batman.

Until a man is twenty-five, he still thinks, every so often, that under the right circumstances he could be Batman. If I moved to a martial-arts monastery in China and studied real hard for ten years. If my family was wiped out by Colombian drug dealers and I swore myself to revenge. If I got a fatal disease, had one year to live, and devoted it to wiping out street crime. If I just dropped out and devoted my life to being bad.
posted by markr at 11:49 PM on July 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


Goddamn you markr, I came to this post for no reason other than posting exactly that. :D
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:22 AM on July 17, 2008


Your martial arts monastaries have Internet? That's sounds pretty weaksauce.

I am posting this by carrier pigeon, myself -- this one's name is Violet Xeni Doctorow the XXXIV, in honor of all the other brave pigeons who gave their lives for The Thread That Cannot Be Named.
posted by spiderwire at 1:16 AM on July 17, 2008


Ahh, once again Stephanie Zacharek proves she is the worst critic in the business. I can honestly say that she was one of the reasons I never renewed my Salon account.

Here's my take on being a critic. If you hate musicals, don't put yourself into a position of reviewing a musical. Your review will read like this: "This movie sucks because everyone starts dancing and singing for no reason, people don't really do that." That's a terrible review and anyone who writes it would not be qualified to give good reviews. As far as I can tell, Stephanie Zacharek hates movies in general, especially action movies and has no business reviewing anything.

Most of her reviews seem more about letting people know how much smarter she is than the general movie going audience member. Her reviews are usually like reading the most insufferable pitchfork music review wank sessions where the reviewer spends 3/4 of the piece talking about things that have nothing to do with the work they're reviewing.

Her reviews are only useful in that I can usually assume the exact opposite of what she says about a movie. I once read a review of hers that I agreed with and was so flabbergasted I considered writing her an email.

In conclusion, Stephanie Zacharek sucks and should never be referenced as a valid critic ever.
posted by Telf at 7:18 AM on July 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


Stephanie Zacharek should be given an acount and asked to tell us how she feels about Radiohead.
posted by Artw at 8:16 AM on July 17, 2008


The Dark Hype.

From the guy who brought you the I'm a Marvel...I'm a DC series.
posted by never used baby shoes at 11:16 AM on July 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


I wonder if Ms Zacharek has got any death-threats yet?
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 12:42 PM on July 17, 2008


Watchmen Trailer Strikes the Internets Early
posted by homunculus at 4:56 PM on July 17, 2008


It's... certainly got a lot of black in it.
posted by Artw at 5:06 PM on July 17, 2008


Better quality here.
posted by homunculus at 6:14 PM on July 17, 2008


Wow, Stephanie Zacharek is a terrible critic, and on top of that a terrible writer, too.
posted by zardoz at 11:05 PM on July 17, 2008


You see, you use different moves when you're fighting half a dozen people than when you only have to be worried about one.

I know quite a few guys who just do BJJ, but I know for a fact none of them think it's a good idea to start grappling with one dude while his friends proceed to kick you in the head. Because that's exactly what will, and has happened many times. So if you don't think you should take different tactics between one and many, then all I can say is good luck with your hospital stay.

Supposedly Morihei Ueshiba said "Aikido is striking" But then again according some Aikido instructors Ueshiba said Aikido is everything at some point.

Indeed.
posted by P.o.B. at 4:41 PM on July 18, 2008


You see, you use different moves when you're fighting half a dozen people than when you only have to be worried about one.

I believe that a facetious line line from the Princess Bride.

And the best tactic against a group is the judicious and prudent use of a flame thrower.

Or, IOW, to not believe the hype some full of shit Aikido Sensei told you and get the fuck out of there.
posted by tkchrist at 6:46 PM on July 18, 2008


tkchrist, et al., I have a question: does fighting on a semi-regular basis affect your, um, mental health at all? Are there any other long-term health effects you're ever concerned about?

I feel like I should be clear that I'm not trying to be sarcastic. I got most of my fighting out years before I was capable of doing or receiving any meaningful damage.
posted by spiderwire at 7:11 PM on July 18, 2008


How to avoid a fight, or Run-Fu, should be the first thing you learn about fighting.

I think doctors have confirmed that damage to the brain occurs fairly early on into a boxers career. It really is just a matter of how much (boxing or brain damage you want to put up with). I quite enjoy the fights but would never let anyone I cared about put themselves through that.
posted by P.o.B. at 7:29 PM on July 18, 2008


Screw Superheroes -- Just Give Me Darkness (Spoilers).
posted by homunculus at 11:57 AM on July 19, 2008



tkchrist, et al., I have a question: does fighting on a semi-regular basis affect your, um, mental health at all? Are there any other long-term health effects you're ever concerned about?

I feel like I should be clear that I'm not trying to be sarcastic. I got most of my fighting out years before I was capable of doing or receiving any meaningful damage.


Great question, actually. Man I wish I had more time. I have thought about this often. Physically yes. There some health effects. Particularity on your joints and the compound effects of mild concussion. BUT. there are plenty of intelligent ways to practice to avoid all that. The most direct of which is to not do full contact fighting. Which I don't do anymore. You can get a great deal out martial training without bashing your brains against a dudes fist or knee. But. Honestly you have do a little of that to really KNOW the truth of it...I know that makes no sense. But it's true.

For most people Martial Pursuit at it's healthiest is either a cultural-spiritual thing or a means of physical expression. With this mental frame work carefully in place people don't develope that weird cult-ish over obsession with violence that can be mentally very unhealthy. I know. I've been there and back. It's fucked up.

Also. Might be chicken and the egg thing.

There are some arts that encourage and engender a form PTSD like dissociative rage. Some forms of Silat. Amongst others. I hate this shit. Yes. It can make you really fucked up. Few people have the ability to dissociate emotionally, be hyper violent, and come back well.

There are RBT systems (so called "Reality Based") that get guys all hyped up with training them in a more para-military style for "combat" rather than sport that also teach you to turn on highly aggressive states. I have known an usually high percentage of folks who are into those kinds of things to be a bit paranoid and tweaked. But were they to start with? I dunno. My feeling is training like the world might attack you any second is not all that good long term for your psyche. Unless... well... the world IS gonna attack you any second. Like if your in Falujah. But to me it all that stuff is not so useful or enjoyable on the the streets of your average city at say your average espresso bar and the like. Places where I like to be.

People who like to fight for sport. Well. The ring create a fairly safe boundry for violent dissociative rage. So this is a bit different. Most sport fighter are just highly competitive athletes that typical Traditional Martial expression just isn't enough. So they go to the sporting venue. But most pure fighters? The guys I know who are really driven—who eat, drink, and sleep fighting? Yeah. Well. those guys tend to be a little tweaked and all tend to be somewhat insecure people. I have noted four varieties.

1. Guys who got picked on or developed late. These guys are always wanting to prove something. Most tend to be technicians and are usually good coaches but they will tweak out if they perceive a "bully" in their midst.

2. Masochists/Sadists. Dudes who do really want to hurt people and don't feel normal unless they hurting or hurting somebody else. Almost all these types have some really horror show stories to tell about their lives. Every guy I've met like this was severely abused and is on the edge of some sort of mental defect. There are way too many of these guys. The technical term is DOUCHEBAG.

3. People who grew up poor and saw violence around them every day and using the ring as a place to channel that.

4. Hyper competitive Alpha males (a lesser extent - females). These can also be one or more of the above. But mostly they fell in love with the physical expression of fighting as a form of pure dominant male spirit. The can't sleep at night thinking anybody out there is better than them... at anything.
posted by tkchrist at 7:17 PM on July 19, 2008 [3 favorites]


Wow. Thanks.
posted by spiderwire at 10:57 PM on July 19, 2008


Batman wasn't the first self-made superhero. That distinction probably belongs to Doc Savage who appeared six years before Batman.

Doc Savage could kick anybody's ass, pursue scientific research, and play the violin, and he owed his remarkable skills to two hours of training a day. His training included running his fingers over finer and finer grades of sandpaper (to sensitize them) and holding his breath for longer and longer intervals. If you want to be a superhero, spend two hours a day on the Doc Savage method of self-development
posted by twoleftfeet at 1:52 AM on July 20, 2008


tkchrist has covered a lot of ground in his post. It also shows why Batman is such a great character and so much mileage can be had from him in the movies, comics, and cartoons. It's not so much his morality that drives him, but the damage to his psyche. Kind of like real life for a lot of people.

One thing I would add, but is implied in what he said. People seek out Martial Arts usually becuase of some kind of fear. (I suppose you would have to set aside Tai Chi for that to be true though.) There are plenty of arts, even physical ones, that don't involve the idea of hurting someone else, for expression.
posted by P.o.B. at 12:46 PM on July 20, 2008


real gotham city
posted by homunculus at 12:49 PM on July 20, 2008


Game Theory and The Dark Knight
posted by homunculus at 9:46 AM on July 22, 2008


Senator Patrick Leahy's cameo in The Dark Knight.

Awesome!
posted by spiderwire at 2:13 PM on July 22, 2008


The saga of George W. Batman
posted by homunculus at 11:32 PM on July 22, 2008


the u.s. army’s inflatable aeroplane & batman’s skyhook
posted by homunculus at 1:59 PM on August 12, 2008


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