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9 teachings from the movie Batman Begins
Can a Hollywood movie transmit something useful in terms of martial arts?
Everything can teach us something, the discriminant is the interpretation we give to what we catch through our senses.
A good martial arts practitioner should always be:
Openminded enough to catch even the smallest lesson from the most unexpected circumstances
Rational and smart enough to understand the difference between what could be possible / useful and what is completely impossible / useless
In addition to this he should test first person the new knowledge refusing what not work and embracing what is good:
In the specific case of "Batman Begins" movie, we can find (between all the classical absurdities and exaggerations of a fantasy story), an interesting attention to the martial aspect (in particular connected to the Ninjutsu)
Especially in the initial training part (when Bruce Wayne enters in the Shadow League), who wrote the scenography offers to the viewers an interesting selection of concepts and principles that belong to the cultural baggage of martial arts and self-defense
It is for this reason that we have decided to share something useful trough this unusual / unorthodox channel (read also The use of unorthodox methods).
A note by Master Kongling - It's useless to say that martial arts cannot be studied looking at action movies but sometimes can be funny and useful for the motivation (read also Workout music: how, when, why) to "steal" something from the world of epic imagination... so, if you want to know why Batman is so strong: continue reading... ;)
Ra's al Ghul teachings about self-defense
1) In self-defense there are no restrictions
"Death does not wait for you to be ready! Death is not considerate or fair!"
We always have to be ready (read Self-Defense: is it possible to always be ready to fight?): the danger can come out from everywhere (in our house, workplace, etc.), at any moment (late at night, when we are sick, happy, etc.) and it will have no respect of us (no rules, no honor, nothing, read What is the difference between real fights and combative sports).
2) Study the fighting scenario is fundamental
"Always mind your surroundings."
"You have sacrificed sure footing for a killing stroke."
In 6 Dragons Kung Fu we teach that a good warrior does not make differences between animated and unanimated elements of the combat scenario (read for example Improper weapons in a real situation): everything must be seen as a neutral element that, at the same time, can be exploited and / or a danger (opponents, weapons, walls, objects, etc.).
3) The deception is the most powerful of the weapons
"Theatricality and deception are powerful agents."
"And men fear most what they cannot see."
"You must become more than just a man in the mind of your opponent."
The correct implementation of deceptive tactics and techniques (from the negotiation to the faints in combat) is fundamental in self-defense and can cover even the biggest gap in terms of physical attitudes (read this practical and not violent application of deception in a real situation Self-defense: aggression in front of a supermarket).
4) Who control the fear can make fear
"To manipulate the fears in others... you must first master your own."
"To conquer fear, you must become fear. You must bask in the fear of other men."
"Feel terror cloud your senses. Feel its power to distort. To control. And know that this power can be yours."
"Embrace your worst fear."
One of the first requests that we ask our practitioners is to start to face their fears: gradually from the less incisive and irrational to arrive at the most intense and real. This is hard the first times but it can make us incredibly stronger; we gain a kind of awareness that who will want to face us will feel. At the end of this path, the practitioner becomes a totally different person and his security (if correctly managed) can force the less determined opponents to panic (read also Become the absolute zero).
5) Determination is everything
"The training is nothing! Will is everything! The will to act."
"Focus. Concentrate. Master your senses."
There is only one thing more important than training: it is the determination, the sum of the 3 core principles of 6 Dragons Kung Fu (preparation, discipline and concentration). Without the right presence and willing to act, any kind of combat technique or psychological trick will fail (read for example 4 Tips to effectively apply any fighting technique).
6) Emotions can make us strong but only if they are under our control
"Your anger gives you great power. But if you let it, it will destroy you..."
"You have learned to bury your guiIt with anger. I will teach you to confront it and to face the truth."
Emotions and sensations are extremely powerful tools if used consciously (even anger): in all the other cases they can become the biggest limit to our fighting effectiveness (read How to use emotions in workout and combat). The same reasoning can be applied in our daily life.
How Ra's al Ghul sculpted Batman's mindset
Although apparently extreme, many of the indications that Batman Begins' characters (like Liam Neeson Ra's al Ghul) give to Christian Bale (Batman) can perfectly overlap with some of the founding concepts of 6 Dragons Kung Fu: let's see how.
1) Learn to fight giants to have no difficulties with normal people
"You know how to fight six men. We can teach you how to engage 600."
If we think about it for a second, the exaggeration that a man or a woman can describe, defines his / her limits. The more we point high, the more we will reach, the lower we point the less we reach (read Combat skills: what we will learn). The goal is not to learn to face more than one people at the same time (read Forget everything you know about multiple opponents fighting), the real goal is to have no difficulties with one.
2) Invisibility is a matter of patience
"You know how to disappear. We can teach you to become truly invisible."
"The ninja understands that invisibility is a matter of patience."
In 6 Dragons Kung Fu, in terms of deception, we also study stealth techniques and one of the biggest mistakes that make the novice practitioner to be easily caught in any context (crowded or empty) is the absence of patience. Who wants to do not be discovered must become part of the endless and harmonic loop of the environment: if we do not "leave our mortal remains" we will always be discovered (read for example Be invisible in the crowd: preparation and clothing).
3) Learn from the errors
"And why do we fall? So we can learn to pick ourselves up."
Last but not least there is this quote worth of being mentioned (by the father of Bruce Wayne before and by Alfred after): each mistake is an experiment and can teach us something important, every bad experience must become Experience, a lesson that remains within us (read Measure ourselves with errors).
A note by Master Kongling - Why are there so many similarities between a Batman's movie and 6 Dragons Kung Fu? Have we copied everything? Are we geniuses / fools (depending on how you want to see it)? Nothing of this: the fact is that these concepts have a common source: effectiveness and martial tradition. I hope that reading this "unusual" article, you enjoyed as much as I did in identifying the similarities between a much-loved comic character (Batman) and 6 Dragons Kung Fu.
In the next article of this series, we will talk about other famous movies (just to do not always be "so serious").
In-depth video courses
Basic 6 Dragons Kung Fu exercises - The fundamental training to build the necessary body structure
Concentration and abstraction in combat - How to manage a real fight and the combat scenario
Concentration: reason and instinct - The connection between our human and animal parts
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