Preparation Planning Execution – The Way of the Bat

When you make dangerous situations the norm,

When you have skills for exceptional out of the ordinary situations,

when you’ve trained and put hundreds of hours in

then

… like Batman you are well prepared.

Part soldier

Part cop

Part man of mystery

Batman makes unknown, hostile and dangerous environments part of his everyday world.

When a dangerous situation appears and everyone is running away in a panic,

Batman is the calm focused creature of the night heading into the heart of the storm.

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The opening moments in the Batman Arkham Asylum video game –

when all hell is breaking loose,

Batman walks into the shit, calmy – like its just another day.

Already strategising, communicating with Alfred or Batgirl and wading boldy into the chaos all around him

Dealing with each problem, each new threat

one punch…

and one step at a time.

It is that fine line of crossover from fiction to reality

going against ones natural instinctive response

– walking into danger rather than away from it-

And reminds me of emergency service workers, police, ambos, fire fighters and also special forces.

People who wade hip and neck deep into danger

People who wade into daily shitstorms as part of their normal routine.

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Being comfortable and prepared

in uncomfortable, unpredictable and highly dangerous situations takes many hours of training

…and exposure to stressors

It takes a certain kind of individual to be up to the challenge.

Most of us go to pieces in such volatile unpredictable situations.

Even then, the most prepared Bat-person in the world can still go to pieces under pressure.

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All of us are fallible, even the mighty Batman fails –

but the important part…

is being Prepared

and Turning Up

to face a challenge in the first place.

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Boldy striding forward, one Bat step at a time.

Preparation, Planning, Execution

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Preparation

Planning

Execution

This is the way of the Bat.

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GET REAL AND GET ANGRY

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Anger gets a bad rap.

“Don’t be angry!” – People who Talk

Anger is a great mobilizing force, channelled correctly it’s a torrent of pure emotion harnessed like wild horses drawing a carriage.

When mother nature gets pissed expect hurricanes, floods and tsunamis son, ain’t nothing subtle about it. It’s wild and uncontrollable and anyone who tried to stop the rage of nature would be a damn fool.

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You add focused purpose to anger and it becomes like a gigantic river travelling through a hydro dam. That pure unrestrained emotion and all it’s wild chaotic energy can be focused and directed with the right tools.

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We can always learn from the natural world, and we can always learn from Batman and his angry wrathful nature. Sometimes it’s wild and chaotic, othertimes his wrath is measured, focused and sustaining. There is a time and a place for both ways and it’s wisdom to know which to use and which to hit “ignore” at any time.

If I was not an angry son of a bitch I would not be writing these blogs. You can make peace with who you are, your situation in life and all the crazy ass things that happen, but anger ain’t all bad. And you are not wrong to be angry with the many injustices that exist in the world.

You are not wrong to get angry when you see people doing dumb lazy things when they damn well know better, and you are not wrong to get angry about your own un-ending dumb behavior, I know I do.  It’s called having standards and values, you know like a certain rich angry SOB who lost his parents, and dresses up to scare the criminal element, but underdeath is a highly moral individual.

Humanity is stupid, we grow smarter one mistake at a time, one bat-step at time

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Anger used poorly is a fit of rage that turns into momentary impulsive violence or accidental murder, then jail time and the destruction of everything valuable in our life (our self, our family, our life).

Anger used well is Dirty Harry spending weeks tracking down that scumbag criminal who got away, when every other lazy fuck wants to forget about it, and move on.

power to the people you fucks

Anger used well is peaceful protest, people standing up for their civil rights individually and collectively in a consistent organized manner.

Anger used well is Kratos taking down the Gods of Olympus for being soft lazy lying sons of bitches, especially that old lecherous bastard Zeus.

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Anger used well is taking that inner rage and channeling it into a force for something useful, something purposeful, something good – or at the very least something productive.

I’m not saying it’s easy to do. 

I struggle with it daily.

I am saying IT CAN FUCKING BE DONE.

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Many a time I’ve taken out a momentary fit of pure unreasonable Hulk like rage on a punching bag. Or smashed some old bricks in the backyard with a sledge hammer. Our bodies were made to move and the last thing anger likes is trying to be suppressed.

Fuck that, it doesn’t work.

Don’t listen to anyone who tells you it does, as they are full of some Feel Good Grade “A” Bullshit.

Putting a lid on steam means eventually something is gonna ***explode***.

Suppressing anger is a short recipe for toxic pathology and can lead to deep psychological issues that will inevitably express themselves in involuntary ways at the worst possible times. None of them with good results.

Once that chemical chain kicks off in your body, anger is going to motivate you one way or another.

Better to be prepared and know how you can use it, rather than give in to our most base impulses, which have their time and place, and have been with us for thousands of years from the times of our hunter/gatherer ancestors.

 

WHERE’S MY BAT-CLUB OLD CHUM?

Some days I want to fucking cave someones skull in.

That might sound horrible to you

and it is…

it’s disgusting,

it’s appaling to our “civilized” minds…

but it’s also as natural as breathing oxygen or going for a peaceful walk.

We each create and destroy with the same two hands

Our bodies and our biology are built for action, whether it’s peaceful action or live and die action – those chemicals that power us do not give a damn what you are doing, or how you are doing it.

They are neutral, adrenaline has no “ethics”.

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So I prefer to so day a few good deadlifts, or punch the fuck out of a heavy bag, rather than punch the fuck out of a person, and I have to admit, quite often I want to… and there are even healthy ways of doing that like joining a boxing gym or grappling class for example where you can express your natural bodily instincts without ending up in prison or dead as a fucking doorknob.

No.

You gotta have an outlet – a channel for that raw energy – which is what anger and all emotions are – a form of energy seeking to be expressed.

Natural agression (even more more for so men, with our particular specific chemical make up) has to find a way, it’s nature.

You can move into alignment with your own nature, or be used up by it. If you want to see the worst results of anger left unchained, of people with little to no impulse control – go visit a local prison for some examples.

Nature is hunter gatherers, you’re either killing your dinner or fighting off an attacker of some sort – those instincts are in us and not going anywhere. You make peace with that or you try and explain it away with some kind of bullshit that ultimately ends up hurting you and those you are responsible for. Anger, or Emotional Energy without focus is chaos, but with discipline that same anger can serve a purpose.

MANS GOT TO KNOW HIS LIMITATIONS CLINT EASTWOOD

The unseen forces that shape us as individuals we often have little to no influence upon.

If we are caught in a raging river, the best we can do is “go with it” rather than struggle against it and hasten our own demise. There is an eternal aspect to anger that is impersonal and inescapable, it’s part of us and always will be.

Ares 1 mad as hell and not gonna take it any more

Instinct would tell us to struggle – to survive – but flailing about without focus only gets you fatigued and drowned that much faster.

Anger is eternal – it’s a force of Nature, you can try and supress it, but it’s as stupid as trying to suppress a hurricane.

It just doesn’t work and it’s a waste of life to even try.

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Batman is an angry son of a bitch (no disrespect to his parents intended) but what he also is, is highly trained, focused and disciplined. He makes anger work for him. He makes anger his bitch.

Focused training and discipline are tools. They are like the reigns on those wild horses, that when used properly direct all that energy and fury in a specific direction. They are your best chance at harnessing chaos, but life doesn’t come with any guarantees.

MAN OF BATS

So other than dressing up like a giant bat and punching crime in the face, how in fuck do we let that natural anger out?

There are a lot of different ways, and everyone has to find what works for them. Some types of anger are momentary and impulsive, other types of anger are more lower level, but move up or down in that chemical hierarchy in your body – so it’s good to find several different ways to move and feel with your body.

*A tough workout – vigorous physical exercise gets at the way our bodies chemisty was made to be used. Our fight or flight instincts can be utilized for intense brutal workouts that leave you so spent you simply have no anger left in you afterward. It’s my #1 method, but I know it’s not everyone, and should not be used everyday. Everyday workouts should be lighter, or go hard on a punching bag for a short time and you won’t be fatigued for your everyday responsibilities

*Writing and Song – Some of the best hip hop music on the planet was made by some people genuinely angry at circumstances of their own lives, or the society they live in, for damnm good reasons. It’s not an easy route, but it’s a valid one. If writing seems soft and gentle to you, well its fucking difficult and I say go listen to some George Carlin or Chuck D if you have that erroneous idea. Writing your thoughts and ideas down, or speaking them aloud is a way to not let them to take you over, to become a master of the magic of words is not for everyone, but songs are a kind of magic, they weave a spell for good or bad over those whom would be influenced by them. Minstrels are not to be fucked with, so don’t call them soft.

*Peaceful Protest Groups – Some nutters take it too far, but I’m all for the principle of standing up for what you believe in (provided it’s married to the common good, and not hurting poeple). I do not approve of dangerous or stupid stunts to get attention. I dont approve of asshole groups who piggyback their agenda onto someone else or hijack their protest to be public nuisances. I do approve of organized peaceful purposeful action, the INTELLIGENT kind that Dr King spoke of and utilized so eloquently.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.  – Martin Luther King

I do approve of focused sustained efforts for real world change. Long intelligent ruthless campaigns, not foolish nieve skirmishes. There is great strength in inner peace, and succumbing to your most base actions, inflicting violence on others in the name of “peace” is the ultimate hypocrisy and the stupidest of human actions possible.

*Clubs, groups and hobby activities – Joining a hobby oriented group that gets you out and about, meeting like minded others can be a productive way of using up energy that otherwise can fester into anger.

*Therapy – Therapy or the “talking cure” can do a lot of good for some people. It can also potentially make some people worse or just not work (such as Sociopaths). It has proven results at helping people if not resolve their deep seated anger, but at least identifying it, seeing it coming and developing strategies on how to address it and channel it rather than be used up by it. There are good therapists, and shit ones. Shop around.

*Seated Meditation and Moving Meditation – When I’m worked up the last thing in the fucking world I want to do is Meditate. I mean FUCK OFF! However…. it can be used a preventer, and I have to say that once learned Medtiation is VERY EFFECTIVE at Preventing outbursts of rage, and helps you regulate all those fun happy chemicals running around inside your body all day. A moving meditation such as slow walking and counting your steps, can also be effective, but mostly if i am that worked up I would rather run, punch a bag, swing a sledgehammer at some rocks or lift something heavy…. and do something relaxing later on.

*Find what works FOR YOU. I don’t know any magic formula. I’ve worked some things out in life by trying a lot of different things and figuring out that I really don’t like most things. From there I simplify down to the essentials. But first you have to at try some new activities, new ways of being to get out of your old habits and break into new ones. And it’s uncomfortable as hell!

 

THE DEVIL INSIDE

We all have the same two hands – love and hate, good and evil, the same natures in each of us. Those who would pretend otherwise are nieve fools too afraid to look into their own existential abyss and witness the eternal unforgiving  blackness within themselves, that left unchecked can consume you like a deep ocean vortex.

We all have the good and evil  left hand right hand available to us at any time. I’m a left hander, so I’m fucked right out of the gate.

robert mitchum hate knuckles

Inside of each of us are these two polarities. It’s not just a matter of how we use the energy each day, but how we combine the two polarities into a unified whole.

You can’t deny any part of your nature and expect to still be human. We can transcend and include our most base instincts, but they are always with us and they are NECESSARY parts of our condition.

We learn to be more like Batman by acknowledging rather than denying our true nature, by discipling and training ourselves to be smarter, stronger and more cunning today, than we were yesterday. If we fight a war, it’s a bitter campaign against our own ignorance, and if we have the Will of the Bat, we can beat back our own individual and collective stupidity one Bat Punch, one Bat Step at time.

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“Batman is a metaphor for the alchemy of our own soul. He symbolises how to integrate and transform our darkest impulses and direct them toward our highest good.” – JOHN SORENSEN

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WHAT IS AN ANTI-HERO?

An antihero can mean one of a number of things.

In Film an antihero is typically a flawed hero who tries to do good, but doesn’t really live up to the roles and expectations of a genuine Hero.

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Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart) in Casablanca to some is an antihero, but to others he is a genuine hero.

It is very subjective.

Another popular cinematic antihero is Clint Eastwood in Sergio Leone’s Fistful of Dollars. Clint played an outlaw as “Blondie” in the dollars Trilogy, while he played a lawful antihero in Dirty Harry.

But in the Dirty Harry sequels Clint increasingly became an un-lawful (rather than lawful) anti-hero, he became more of a vigilante with a badge.

 

Some actors are typically known for playing antiheroes like Lee Marvin, Charles Bronson , Kurt Russell etc while other actors such as John Wayne are known primarily for playing morally decent heroes.

An antihero in comic books such as Spawn, Judge Dredd Wolverine or The Punisher is neither good nor evil. Hero nor villain.

 

Comic books antiheroes often fall on the side of “good” in the moral compass.

They may be vigilantes like Batman who is both a genuine hero and antihero with a moral code – he does not kill nor use guns.

wolverine batman

Wolverine is another antihero with a moral code, who tries to kill only bad people, but sometimes ends up killing the wrong people, or gets brain washed by Hydra to kill other heroes pushing him temporarily into villain territory.

Antiheroes may be criminals who are morally decent, and are reluctant heroes such as Catwoman who are mainly interested in crime, but not at the expense of the poor. She steals from the rich, and often from rich morally repugnant criminals such as the mafia who are killers and slave traders.

catwoman by darwyn cooke

A true villain or super-villain is out for a particular agenda, or to serve themselves, thus are not anti-heroes. If someone benefits by the villains actions, it’s usually incidental. But some characters walk a constant line from Villain to Anithero and back again. The X-Men’s Magneto for example started as a villain but has been at times Villain, Hero, Anti-Hero and even a genuine savior to Mutants for brief periods of time.

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Some characters waver between being a hero, antihero and villain, such as Deadpool, who is a mercenary and does not pretend to be a hero.

While Deadpool is a mostly an amoral killer mercenary who accepts contracts for money, he doesn’t want to kill children, and he has teamed up with Wolverine and other X-men characters just as many times as he has fought against them. Despite being amoral, even a mentally ill maniac and basically he does not accept societies values and expectations, but he does have his own style and values he lives by, just don’t expect those value to match up to your own.

Deadpool has also teamed up with other characters like Spider-Man  and other Marvel heroes, but often betrays them or uses them to help him complete his mercenary contracts.

DEADPOOL SPIDERMAN COVER PARODY

An antihero then can actually be :
*A former hero
*A pure anti-hero – like the Punisher
*A reformed villain – like Hawkeye who has been a villain, hero and antihero

Even Captain America has been an antihero in the Marvel Civil War story when he went against the compulsory government superhero registration act.

For more on this topic and further examples check out the TV Tropes website, it’s a great resource for fun short reading and really valuable for doing research for articles and podcasts and what have you on niche topics.

Anti-Hero – TV Tropes

Anti-Hero / Analysis – TV Tropes

This alignment meme grid you may find helpful for practical examples of the contrast of heroes, anti-heroes and villains. All of whom can be Good / Neutral / Evil etc, and may shift into different alignments in different stages of their career in their given lifespan or fiction.

I don’t know who first created this D&D style alignment grid for Batman characters, there are loads of variations floating around, this version was featured on Comparative Geeks  a blog and podcast about many Geek topics, such as this excellent piece on my main man from Vulcan Spock — A Character Study
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If you’d like to read a longer article on Anti-Heroes and more speifically Batman, check out my feature article New Wave Anti-heroes, Rising Bodycounts and Batman
new wave antiheroes

 

 

BATITUDE FOREVER!

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As tempting as it to abandon this blog and move on to other things….

I can’t do it.

As much as I’d like to write about some other topics (which I have been) and not get back to Batman…

Well that’s just not fucking kosher in Gotham.

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When you’re a Batman fan, you’re a fan for life.

When you’re gripped by BATITUDE – for better or worse – it means there is no off position on the genius switch.

Sure it’d be *easy*

…not to follow through on the existing one hundred and fifty Bat-Drafts already in perpetual motion on this blog (and dozens more in good ol’ paper and pen journals)…

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…But that would be LAZY and SOFT.

Not difficult and challenging.

Easy soft and lazy ain’t the Way of the Bat.

The good news is I’ve done plenty more research in my time away from this blog. I have many topics to talk about. Expect infrequent updates, but a deluge of articles will appear just when you are least expecting them. Probably behind you………in an alley in Gotham at 3am.

I also have the fresh perspectives of more life lived.

The Good, The Bad and The Indifferent.

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So it’s time to crank it up a notch and get back to Gotham City.

To lurk around in the shadows.

To go places no reasonable man ought to be at a decent hour.

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Time to look into that dark existential abyss and say

“Here I am, this is what I am about. If you don’t like it. Then there is the fucking Bat-Door old chum”

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If you open that door, well there is no going back.

Stick around.

Knuckle sandwiches are complimentary.

If you’ve got Bat on the Brain, then I guarantee you will find something of interest in this here space between spaces.

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All men have limits. They learn what they are and learn not to exceed them. I ignore mine. – Batman

 

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Be Conditioned Beyond Required Capacity – BE LIKE BATMAN

Whatever the requirements of your job, school or sport, I believe in the principle of being conditioned beyond the capacity which is required.

When I used to train in Ju-Jitsu, my conditioning was well below average.  I was not unfit, but I was not particularly fit either.

In sessions where we would do many shoulder throws and hip throws, I would often get winded, could not get enough oxygen.  This made everything harder, you basically start moving in slow motion and everything is a struggle. It was like walking through knee deep mud. Every move you made became ineffective.

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The solution? I read a an exercise regime called the Spartan Health Regime (along with other various books and programs before and since) which promoted a lot of old time strength training and conditioning methods.  One of the many exercises and training methods Spartan recommend was hill sprints, another was interval training.  I didn’t have any hills in my neighborhood, nor a car to drive to one.  That left interval training.

I started in my local park mixing up walking, jogging and flat out sprinting.  I’d never done any kind of running since being a kid in school where they made you run. So it was all new to me. After  a while I settled into a routine of alternating sprints with jogging, and also did a session each week of just jogging non stop for 45 minutes. Most days I also walked an average of two hours, as without a car you don’t have a choice.

This made an enormous difference to my overall conditioning.  My heart and lungs grew stronger and more efficient.  I could perform better in Ju-Jitsu class without getting winded.  Five or ten shoulder throws?  Hell twenty shoulder throws in quick succession would no longer wind me, and I felt great after classes, exhilarated rather than tired. I had more gas in my tank, and my bodies ability to use oxygen was more efficient during high stress activities.

But then I could not run so much because my shoes were wearing out.  I had to walk everywhere at the time as I had no car.  I usually walked 5-10 kilometres most days on average, so adding in the running was wearing out my only pair of shoes out rather fast.

I had no money back then to buy extras shoes just for running. That is a luxury now that I truly appreciate.

LIFE FINDS A WAY

Back in the day, I only had the one pair of shoes.  I didn’t know what to do.  Eventually I just started turning up to Ju-Jitsu class an an hour early, and running in the spare training area that was not in use, in bare feet on the matted floor. And sometimes I ran in my local park in barefeet.

“Where there is a Will, there is a Way”

I would do 45 minutes of interval sprints and jogging or just light running/jogging.  Then do a one hour Ju-Jitsu class. My jogging/intervals became a warm up for the class. Then the 30 minute walk home.

My conditioning got even better, my ankles and feet felt great running in bare feet on the soft Tatami straw mats.  I turned what could have been a set back (lack of money to buy shoes) into a strength.  Now I could perform even better in Ju-Jitsu class, each lesson I was able to perform whatever tasks were necessary, my body now conditioned well beyond the capacity required for an average one hour class.

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Running in bare feet also meant that my ankles got stronger, and my balance improved. I love to run in bare feet, but I stick to shoes anywhere in public as there is too many hazards on the ground that can cut your feet to bother with it. Sidenote: years later when I moved interstate, I got to do regular hill sprints and I  LOVED them to pieces. One of the finest overall conditioning methods available to humanity.

After you have run barefoot and cut your foot with broken beer bottle glass, you tend not to do it again. The bee stings were an annoyance, but glass is taking precious time away – time to heal when you need to be able to use your feet properly to do more important things. So you use what you’ve got, don’t make excuses – but also don’t fail to use your own intelligence too. I tend to do things the stupid way out of the gate until I slowly learn not to.

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Ever since then, I’ve embraced the principle of being conditioned beyond the capacity required for my job, or for whatever routine I do in the gym, or just in daily life, and I’ve never looked back.

If you always have a little gas in the tank, if you always have  a little extra strength, extra breath, power, mobility, speed and endurance, beyond what you need for each days tasks – then life and work becomes easier. It doesn’t matter what method you use so much, use whatever works for you. Over the years I’ve incorporated many different types of training into my exercise routines for various purposes. Any form of Progressive Overload where you build up gradually will do, there really are no limits to how creative you can get with these methods.

If you are conditioned beyond the required capacity of your daily activities – job, study, homelife etc- you can get through the day without being exhausted, no matter what is required of you. You can complete a day of hard work, go the gym in the afternoon, and then Yoga at night without being exhausted and run down. You’ve got energy to spend with your brother, your kids or your partner. Instead you feel exhilarated, satisfied, and fulfilled. You sleep deeper, and awaken more refreshed.

bruce wayne in the lab batmans a scientist

WE CAN REBUILD HIM, STRONGER….FASTER

One of the things I love about Batman, is that he is conditioned beyond his required capacity. His body, his mind, fighting spirit – the whole shebang. You know that crazy dude has put the work in, so that when it really matters he has his training and conditioning to rely upon. However, Batman runs into new challenges and unique situations all the time.

How do you condition yourself to be like Batman, mentally and physically?

Should we mix up our training and do a whole heap of different things?

Should we attempt to do many things at a basic level, or attempt to do one thing well?

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In my opinion, we should specialize and work on one new thing at a time. Something that requires a degree of skill, learning, strength, flexibility, endurance and also helps you develop mental focus – all at the same time. For that reason I find any sort of SKILL based training that involves new learning (as opposed to just generic exercise) to be more demanding of ourselves, and have a greater sum total result for the time put in comparison to other activities. There are 101 things that fit this bill, it’s not up to me to choose what you do, that’s your business.

The more effective we become at any task or activity, the more we train that skill, the more presence and concentration we are able to bring to that task and other arenas of life

The more fitness and readiness we are able to bring to the table, the faster we are able to learn new things. The fitter we are, the better we learn, the better the flow of blood and oxygen to your brain and entire body – the better off you are. Good training, good practice makes you smarter, more alert, more aware. But too many people switch off when they are supposed to be learning or focused, when you should be at your most Switched On they are vacant and braindead.

Once we have fully learned the basics of our various modalities, we can combine multiple modalities into a single workout. But trying to learn how do a deadlift at the same time as learning how to throw a punch or kick in martial arts divides our limited attention. We focus on one or two things at a time, bringing all our attention and focus to that activity.

 I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times – Bruce Lee

Even in skills that require constant movement or transitioning from one movement into another in a series of infinitely variable combinations such as in dance, martial art or Yoga, we still need to learn the pieces that make up that movement individually, as well as how to put them together.

Once we learn things, one at a time – really learn something – then we can put it together. Then I can have a day where I flow from a morning walk, a day of work, yoga or weights in the evening – effortlessly with full focus, concentration and attention. With energy to spare. With a bounce in my step and a cocky can-do Batitude – rather than my usual moody isolated default setting.

The more new things you learn, and learn well – the more things you are able to put together. The more new combinations of different types and modalities of exercise you can combine into single session, or single day. Building a cohesive whole that is unique to each of us.

But you’ve got to take the time to sloowwwwwwww down, learn something basic and simple, that works, in your own time, and get good at it. Not good according to what someone else can do, but good as in fulfilling your own unique potential for your body.

THE CAPACITY TO BE GREATER THAN YOU WERE YESTERDAY

Yoga, martial arts, lifting weights, bodyweight exercises, dance etc, every movement flows into another movement, and can be performed in almost any combination. You can take that same principle of flowing combinations into any endeavor in life. The more you do it, the more whole workouts, training sessions, whole days and whole weeks Flow together seamlessly.

Whatever you use, you do a *little* bit more than you need to, and your conditioning will be beyond what you require to function each day. We don’t need to go to extremes like Batman, jumping into one death trap after another, punching sharks and escaping burning buildings – we do what makes sense – no need to overthink it. No need to kill yourself just to get fitter and stronger.

elliott hulse be strongest version of yourself and inspire others

To be conditioned beyond our required capacity means that if we need to lift for example twenty to thirty kilos regularly at work, (around 45 pounds) over several hours, then we should have the capacity to lift 30-50 Kilos (110 pounds) repeatedly for several hours. This is something I did have to adapt to doing when I worked manual labor in a factory for several years. It’s also the reason I got into strength training as a practical requirement for my daily job.

My body started out weak, and underweight for my height. I had plenty of energy from years of doing walking, running, yoga and martial arts. But I had no conditioned capacity to lift heavy things repeatedly for eight hours a day, five days a week with few or no breaks. I’d never done anything like it before. And doing so put me in a lot of chronic pain, as my body could not handle the work load. All I would do was work and sleep.

When our conditioning for life is inadequate, we are easily stressed, less reliable, we get sick easier, we work beyond our current biological capacity and are constantly getting run down and in need of repairs.

Training our minds and bodies to be adaptable, flexible, resilient and determined means accepting the challenge of becoming a better version of ourselves. A stronger version of ourselves. but we get there gradually, one step at a time. There are no shortcuts.

We have to take an honest look at ourselves, see where we lack, where we are a bit stupid and ignorant. I used to know nothing about yoga, nor martial arts, nor weight training before I started. Then we apply total radical honesty to our current abilities. I’m still quite stupid on all of those topics, but I know more than when I started.

It’s not about judging yourself or putting yourself down. Hell, if I had two arms today, but one arm tomorrow – then I work with what I’ve got. I don’t make excuses. I don’t complain. I don’t bother. If I’ve injured one part of my body, I work with another part of my body rather than doing nothing.

In one of my old jobs I used to take a guy who could not walk to the gym in his wheelchair. He would exercise his arms, lift some of his torso and do what he could. He worked with what he had. His grip was strong, his mind was sharp and fiercely determined. He didn’t let ideas like “can’t do it” or “too difficult” into his mind. There was no room for that in his thinking and self-belief.

I look at what I lack in ability and skill, in conditioning and then go about rectifying it, learning from whoever is useful in that field of knowledge. We’ve all got limitations.

We can only truly accept those limitations once we’ve explored to see what we can actually do, which is often beyond our present ability to imagine what we can do. It means getting uncomfortable, learning new things, feeling dumb and clumsy like a baby and a bit useless for a bit, but slowly incrementally learning and applying.

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I used to be able to lower myself from a standing position, into a wrestlers style bridge with my head backwards, nose (or chin) to the floor and hold that position for about five minutes. Or do a gymnastic style bridge with arms extended. But in recent years I’ve had chronic neck pain and have lost strength and flexibility in multiple areas from work related issues. It’s gonna take consistent persistent work to get back what I lost in Mobility. But I can get there again.

So, whatever your daily requirement in life – if you are Conditioned Beyond the Capacity required things will go smoooooother. You don’t have to be Supergirl or Hercules, you just that need that *little* bit extra gas in the tank, that little bit extra strength, flexibility and mobility and you’ll find that whether doing physical tasks or long hours at an office job – you’ll be able to focus longer, accomplish the same work with less effort, and have energy to spare when you go home after work, or after the gym.

The easiest way there is incremental progression. Walk a little further, run more often, lift something heavy etc. If you need to be able to walk for thirty minutes non stop at a fast pace, build up to being able to walk fast for say a full hour, then when your requirement to do thirty minutes comes up, you can do it easily with energy to spare. That was one of my old favorites, fast walking for an hour – I prefer it to running.

With practice things get easier. Your concentration improves. Your focus improves. I once read comic books for twelve hours non stop. Another time I was on a forklift for fourteen hours (just bathroom breaks), no food, no coffee, no nothing with full concentration and alertness. I don’t know a single person from my old work who can do that – without getting drowsy. There’s nothing magic about it  I credit my exercise habit, along with Yoga and Meditation (and reading lots of books) that increased my ability to concentrate for longer periods of time on monotonous activities.

You never know what you may be called on to do tomorrow, that goes beyond you every day expectations and current ability – so put a little extra time, a little extra effort in TODAY, to Condition yourself Beyond your Daily Requirements, your current expected capacity – and you’ll not only see the difference, you’ll be a little more Like Batman. Challenges will still come, life will still kick your ass regularly – but rather than cowering in fear – you’ll turn to face those challenges with a determined confident grin on your face.batman_in_the_rain_redux_by_jimlee00 x 400.jpg

 

IMAGE CREDITS

*Batman’s a Scientist and Batman lifting weights from Batman #232, 1971, DC Comics

*Batman in a mudhole from Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Animated Film, 2012, Warner Home Video

*Batman in the Rain by Jim Lee

*Elliott Hulse motivational image by Elliott Hulse