Do You Want to Be a Superhero?

Shutterstock / Slatan

When we think of superheroes, the images that come to mind might include Superman flying high over Metropolis and Spider-Man swinging from wrist-spun webs — or lasers shooting from alien eyes, magical weaponry and ancient mystical powers.

However, some superheroes are known for having created their superpowers: Batman, Green Arrow, Nightwing, The Punisher and others. They forged their formidable skills through rigorous training and relentless dedication. And we can all do that. Can’t we?

Building Your Own Superhero 

For now, go ahead and forget about what you’re going to call yourself, be it Lobster Man, The Speckled Rooster, The Far-Out Ranger or something else. Also, rappelling from rooftops, supercomputing and doing detective work are a separate deal. So park all that and focus on the skills you’re going to need to be worthy of being called “super.”


A punch that packs a wallop is a given for any superhero, so training in Western boxing or karate is a must. Here are some suggested drills:

  • Heavy bag: Punching combinations for 1 minute with 30-second rest
  • Knuckle push-ups: 45 seconds with 15-second rest
  • Focus mitts with a partner: Have your partner call out combinations and occasionally swing a mitt at your head so you can practice head movement, as well. It’s better to get “dinged” when training in your secret lair than when your arch-nemesis fires his superpowered laser at your head.


If the super-criminal in your town sends all his henchmen at you, you are going to need to create some distance between opponents. A mix of short-range punching and longer-range kicking should do the trick. You’ll need to add some of your karate kicks and maybe some kung fu and taekwondo techniques for good measure. You’ll need to be able to kick in all directions. This is a great way to practice that

  • Part 1: Set up four folding chairs and put them in the following positions: front, rear, left and right. There should be a chair in every direction with you in the center. The chairs represent opponents. Your foot should be higher than each chair's back every time you kick.
  • Part 2: Practice front kicks, side kicks and rear kicks in the direction of the chairs. Start slow. Eventually, try standing on one leg and kicking in three of the directions for 15 to 30 seconds, then do the same with the other leg.

Throwing, Grappling, and Ground Attacks

Let’s face it: You can’t punch and kick your way out of everything. At some point — and it is usually when the super-villain unveils his ultimate creature, cyborg or conjured demonic entity — the fight is going to get close. How close? Close.

You need to train in a grappling art, both for the necessity of escaping if you are pinned to the ground with the beast trying to crush your body and for the spectacular climax of when you throw the giant brute into the super-computer that controls the villain's whole network. BLAM!

To make all that happen, you’ll need to become an expert in judo, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, shuai chiao or wrestling. Also, working out on your unsuspecting servant staff won’t be good enough, so you’ll need to head down to the local school and practice incognito. Mat up one end of the secret hangout so you can practice solo drills or invite over the neighboring town's resident hero and get some practice and superhero networking in all at the same time.

Sizing Up a Great Cape

Practice diligently. Unless you have a sidekick, it’s all up to you. With no superpowers, there is little margin for error, so be your own worst critic. At some point, you’ll be standing high on a rooftop with your cape billowing in the wind as you survey the city below — at least until your spouse tells you to snap out of it, get the heck off the coffee table and go practice your martial arts.

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