5 Very Stupid Things Hollywood Taught You About Fighting
Deep down, we like to think we've subconsciously absorbed so much knowledge from pop culture that we could hold our own in a fight, despite having no real training and, like ... objectively the worst bodies. But even if we could absorb skills through movies, we'd still be screwed. In reality, John Wick's bulletproof suit would fail him, the parkour ninjas from the 47 different Assassin's Creed games would all break their necks, and Rey would kill herself the first time she used a lightsaber. Here's why.
Wearing Boobplate Armor Makes It Easier To Kill You
Once upon a time, the fantasy genre was rife with hot women in chainmail bikinis, which offered about as much protection as wishful thinking. Today, the genre has mostly matured, and many female characters are given proper suits of armor ... which still feature lovingly sculpted metal boobs, for some reason.
Now, first of all, medieval armor wasn't simply a sheet of metal they stuck on your torso before marching you off. It was generally worn with padding beneath, for both comfort and safety. There's no point to "skintight" armor, and boob holders are even more unnecessary when you're swaddled up like the Michelin Man under there. Secondly, the whole point of armor is to deflect incoming blows -- as in, bounce them away from your tender bits. But if your breastplate has two big round mountains on either side, the enemy's sword is going to slide down them, right into the center of your chest.
As Tor's Emily Asher-Perrin explains, a strong enough blow to the chest can kill you, armor or not. Even falling down in a piece of unpadded boob armor would cause those metal cups to dig into your chest, resulting in some serious damage. If our boobless readers are having trouble picturing the problem, imagine a jockstrap that individually wraps the penis and each testicle separately, instead of putting the whole unit behind one single protective sheet of hard plastic. Then imagine somebody kicking it.
Both Lightsabers And Bat'leths Are Terrible Weapons
If you've never imagined yourself in a lightsaber duel, then you might as well leave now, because you're either a liar or a robot, and we will tolerate neither. But despite the name, lightsaber blades are made of plasma. And the amount of energy required to produce that plasma would also be enough to light the entire room on fire the second you flipped it on. It would be like trying to wield an exploding bomb. And if that energy could somehow be contained, (like, say, because of the Kyber crystals that you beautiful nerds are already rushing to mention?), the deal is still off the second two lightsabers touch. Two beams of piping hot plasma crashing into each other would lead to magnetic reconnection, which is a fancy scientific term for an explosion that results in fricasseed dork.
Oh, but don't think you're getting off light here, nerds who prefer their stars of the trek variety. Now we're going to look at the Klingon Bat'leth. You'd think this would fare better. It's not some goofy magical laser sword, just a mean piece of metal meant to be thrust into some dirty Romulan's chest. OK, but here's how you hold it:
It's basically a stick with a couple of pointy bits on the ends. And pointy sticks do indeed hurt. Everything checks out so far. But imagine hitting someone from that pose: You'll get almost no strength or reach from your limp thrusts. If your fight hasn't been pre-scripted for television, you'd be lucky to give your opponent a paper cut. At best, you could lift a Bat'leth up and swing it down like a far less effective ax ... but that's so unwieldy that whomever you're fighting would surely perforate you halfway through the process. Maybe the Klingons are trying to give their victims a sporting chance?
You Probably Won't Walk Away From Being Shot While Wearing A Bulletproof Vest
Your name is Gareth Goodguy, and you are a good guy. You are in a standoff with Billiam Badguy, who is (try to look surprised here) a bad guy. You both draw your pistols and fire. You both fall. But only you get back up. See, you swung by the Good Guy Store before the fight and picked up a bulletproof vest. It's a good thing bad guys don't have that technology! You get to stroll away feelin' dandy, while Billiam hacks his life away into a gutter. Justice prevails!
While bulletproof vests do of course absorb bullets, all that energy still has to go somewhere. So getting shot feels like taking a 90 mph fastball to the chest -- it might not kill you, but it will give you a nasty bruise, knock you on your ass, and possibly even wind you. Injuries caused by bulletproof vests doing their job even have their own name: behind armor blunt trauma. And BABTs can mean anything from lacerations to fractured ribs to damaged vital organs. That's better than dying, yes, but you're not strolling away from that with a quick pun and a wink to the camera.
Doing An Assassin's Creed-Style Dive Into A Pile Of Straw Would Cripple You
The Assassin's Creed games all feature a move called the Leap of Faith, wherein the hero dives off of a tall building into a pile of hay (always conveniently located at the base of any good tower), then hops out and goes about their day without so much as a single bystander screaming "JESUS CHRIST, ARE YOU OK?!"
But while the move undoubtedly looks cool, it would actually result in nothing more than piles of mangled assassins rotting quietly in haystacks. According to some especially nerdy scientists at the University of Leicester, it would be safe to jump into hay from a maximum height of about 12 meters (or 39.3 American Freedoms). You could probably survive a jump of up to 50 meters (164 feet), but you wouldn't be in any condition to parkour away from pursuing guards afterward. Any building taller than that, and the deceleration would be too much too quick for all but the most gelatinous assassin.
As a general rule, it's safe to assume that even a three-story building is taller than the safety limit, and the towering spires of Assassin's Creed are well beyond that. We know, it's almost like video games are unrealistic. Do try to learn to trust again some day.
Dodge-Rolling Only Makes You An Easy (Undignified) Target
So you're playing Dark Souls, Bloodborne, Zelda, Tomb Raider, Batman: Arkham Whatever -- pretty much any game in history, really. A big guy is running at you with an ax. Time to dodge-roll!
Surely, real battlefields of yore were also full of warriors gracefully tumbling out of the way of their opponents' blades. Why, look at this modern recreation wherein ... huh.
Yeah, it turns out that if your opponent isn't locked in a laughably long video game animation, it's the easiest thing in the world for them to adjust their swing while you're flailing around on the ground. In real combat, dodging is all about keeping your movements as simple and efficient as possible, so as to not leave any openings. Look, you probably weren't going to get in a sword fight with a maniac anyway, but on the off chance your Saturday night goes awry, we're just saying: Don't somersault.
Listen, honestly, it's still a good idea to wear a protective vest even when you're playing paintball.
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