If you thought lifting Thor’s mighty hammer was hard, wait until you try… leaping elegantly over a box.
In Avengers: Infinity War, which finally hit theaters after a decade-long buildup, Captain America and Co. made two-and-a-half hours of brawling with super-powerful arch-enemy Thanos look natural—and, when Thanos was sitting things out and letting his minions do the work, downright easy.
But in real life, even the simplest combat stunts take hours upon hours to learn. All the Crossfit classes in the world can’t prepare you for Superhero 101, which I learned firsthand when I got behind-the-scenes stunt lessons from the cast of Marvel Universe Live: Age of Heroes. The show blends all your favorite Marvel heroes into a live-action adventure that’s overloaded with parkour skills, comic battling, and plenty of pyrotechnics.
Even the most basic building blocks of superheroism can be a challenge, and well-honed gym strength and athleticism can’t prepare you for the challenges that await you when you tangle with Marvel’s best. They gave me a crash course in hand-to-hand combat, weapons combat, parkour, and stilts-walking, and, without fail, every single task proved much harder than I could have expected.
Call Me Captain Struggle
The act of throwing a punch seems basic in your average boxing class at Rumble or Everybody Fights, but it’s not that simple for a Marvel superhero—mostly because they’re faking the whole thing.
It’s actually an artistic, well-timed dance and your target has to be precise: Too close to really hitting your faux opponent, and you just may hurt them, too far, and boy do you look fake.
Weapons? Those are even harder. Again, you’re dancing as much as dueling when you wield the kali sticks, a pair of lightweight sticks that can be used to simulate swords in training.
If you’ve ever watched CW’s “Arrow,” you’ve seen star Stephen Amell practicing with the sticks with his mates, executing a basic pattern called “Heaven 6.” The Marvel heroes make it sound simple, but it takes at least a few days, if not more, to master.
The parkour skills, meanwhile, are an exercise in agility and trusting your body. The Marvel heroes can execute flips and running, flying stunts with ease and fluidity.
They didn’t make me try anything death-defying, though, just asking me to run and leap over a box. It’s about timing, and you’ll want to make sure you’ve honed your hip mobility, too. After several attempts, I get it down, but that first try? Not quite.
At least I thrived when they told me I could use brute strength and hoist Thor’s hammer.
Well, sort of—that still takes its own type of superhero skill. I’ll just stick to training to look like a comic book hero.
By Ebenezer Samuel