I lifted weights on and off for about six years of my life and I did not enjoy one damn bit of it. Sure, I can believe that people who legitimately enjoy pumping some iron exist. However, I think that most of us are programmed by self-indulgent celebrities and infomercials to believe that we all absolutely need to have a “Situation” or else. Nonetheless, can most of you truthfully say that you dig going to the gym?
Besides a few bulging veins, a person really does not gain much from hitting the dumbbells. Maybe they’ll get a few turned heads at the beach and a false sense of being stud-cock; however, for me, those benefits were never worth the grueling hours that I spent in the gym. Therefore, the way that I approach exercise now is by asking myself one question: how can I stay in shape and keep a smile on my face at the same time?
In response to my question, here are three methods of exercise that not only show you a kickass time but also teach you something that you can actually use outside of the weight room:
1. Aikido – Familiar with Steven Seagal? I’m sure most of you have seen at least one of his bargain bin crapfests (Fire Down Below, Exit Wounds). Well, despite Seagal’s mountain of cinematic incompetence, the man is legitimately an absolute badass. As a 7th-dan black belt, Seagal’s badassness is entirely a result of his Aikido training. Aikido is a Japanese martial art that was created by Morihei Ueshiba in the early 20th century. Similar to jujitsu, the intention of Aikido is to defend oneself from an attacker without actually harming the attacker (and this an Aikido philosophy that is viewed as the ultimate force of peace). Each Aikido technique intends to redirect the attacker’s momentum (rather than resisting it) with very minimal effort. To put it bluntly, you can be a skinny bitch and still kick ass.
2. Parkour – This is certainly the most unique of the three examples listed. Parkour is defined by Americanparkour.com as “the physical discipline of training to overcome any obstacle within one’s path by adapting one’s movements to the environment.” In layman’s terms, parkour is doing utterly insane street acrobatics that will put your ass in the hospital if you dick them up. In order to practice parkour all you need is access to a public city environment and a lack of sanity. Parkour was originally founded by French stuntman/actor David Belle, who went on to employ his skills as a star in two popular French action movies (District B13, District B13: Ultimatum). Additionally, you may have seen parkour used in movies like Casino Royale (the opening African chase scene), Live Free or Die Hard (the ventilation shaft fight), and you will also see it used in the upcoming Jake Gyllenhal action-adventure film The Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (which David Belle did stunt coordination for). By the way, check out this clever video of “paper parkour” for a little preview to the videos below. These people are literally some of the most badass souls on the planet. The video below provides examples of their real-life parkour movements.
3. Krav Maga – From what I have observed, Krav Maga is fast becoming the premier self-defense program in the United States. Originally developed by a Jewish man named Imi Lichtenfeld, Krav Maga is the primary form of hand-to-hand combat used by the Israeli Defense Forces. Krav Maga is a form of self-defense specifically designed for realistic situations. Employing no rules of combat, the intention of Krav Maga is to immediately neutralize the threat and sit the attacker’s ass down as soon as possible. Shots to the balls are legitimately encouraged (seriously, I have trained in Krav Maga). The reason for following no rules of combat is that the real world isn’t a damn sparring ring. You don’t know if your attacker has any kind of weapon or if he actually intends to kill you. For example, I was taught how to disarm a gun-wielding attacker in a Krav Maga class. Additionally, Krav Maga teaches you to defend yourself against multiple attackers. I actually saw a class at the Krav Maga school that I attended where one dude had to defend himself against literally five people…yes, he got his ass handed to him. Lastly, let me tell you, the grueling cardio workout alone is worth the training.
Doesn’t lifting weights suddenly not seem nearly as badass as it used to?