How would one become Batman?
February 20, 2007 11:47 AM   Subscribe

Let's say you wanted to actually BE Batman...

In an earlier question, someone asked whether Batman had any superpowers, and the consensus was essentially that he did not, but instead had genius-level intellect and a mastery of a simply enormous set of disciplines.

Which makes me wonder - what exact disciplines, specifically, does Batman have at his disposal? Everyone says he's a master martial artist - but are there any specific types, schools or techniques that've been specifically attributed to him in the comics? Karate? Tae Kwon Do? How many, exactly, has he actually used or been said to know? Any by-name specialties he's been specifically credited with, be it in forensics, acrobatics, etc.? If one actually WANTED to be Batman, say they had from about the age of ten to do so (that's when the Waynes were murdered, right?), is there any way they could do even a tenth of what Batman does by the age of, say, 27? (Was that when the Year One stories take place?)

Don't worry, I'm not some thirteen-year-old trying to "be" Batman, I'm just intensely curious about this question.
posted by Ash3000 to Media & Arts (33 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
 
Batman Begins deals with this exact question, and is a pretty good movie too. I'm not sure how faithfully it follows the comics, though.
posted by jtfowl0 at 11:53 AM on February 20, 2007


Yeah, Batman Begins was great, but it pretty much only scratches the surface of the issue - the most specific information I was able to learn from the wikipedia entry was that he learns 'ninjutsu'.
posted by Ash3000 at 11:57 AM on February 20, 2007




In Batman Begins, Batman practiced the Keysi Fighting Method, also known as Keysi or KFM.
posted by ND¢ at 12:12 PM on February 20, 2007


He's also really, really rich. Which helps with a lot of stuff.
posted by GuyZero at 12:15 PM on February 20, 2007


You'll also have to have your parents murdered right in front of you. So you can develop just the right sort of psychic trauma that will drive you to your goals.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:20 PM on February 20, 2007


Well, he's the world's greatest detective and is a master of forensics and has mad computer skillz. Not to mention an enormous fortune that allows him to launch his own private satellites such as the ill-fated Brother Eye. I believe some of his gadgetry is developed by super-smart scientitians that work for his family company.

But for specifics, you might want to put your hands on any DC-endorsed RPG products. I think there is some HeroClix version of Batman and maybe that has some statistical and reference data. And of course there's the Batman Sourcebook for the old DC Heroes RPG. I'm not sure that this cites specific skill types, but it, along with the core manuals, does give us some interesting tidbits:

"Batman (Intelligence of 12 APs) is twice as smart as Superman (INT 11 APs). Most other hero INTs range from 5 to 10; ordinary people have 2 APs in all stats.

Sergeant Rock (BODY 6) is as tough as Batman.

Batman (STR 5) can lift 1500 lbs (5 APs of weight) without pushing. He can throw a grizzly bear (5 APs of weight) 10 feet (0 APs of distance). In the new edition the Joker (STR 4) is no longer twice as strong as the Batman. In fact, he's not nearly as good as the Batman in anything except WILL (both have 12)."
posted by Midnight Creeper at 12:22 PM on February 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


The Batusi. 'Nuff said.
posted by miss lynnster at 12:37 PM on February 20, 2007


Batman can THROW a grizzly bear?! Lift 1500lbs?! Isn't that superhuman?

What's the Joker's crazy points?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:43 PM on February 20, 2007


Batman's a scientist.
posted by ND¢ at 12:45 PM on February 20, 2007


Strong bomb-carrying skills
posted by exogenous at 12:53 PM on February 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


Seems like "Zora" in Act 2 of this episode of TAL came about as close as anyone can.
posted by hypocritical ross at 1:00 PM on February 20, 2007


As far as specific fighting skills, off the top of my head, he learned western boxing from Wildcat, and re-learned martial arts under Lady Shiva. But at one time or another he's studied (and mastered) just about every fighting style on the planet.

You'd have to be awake 27 hours out of every day to accomplish 10% of what Batman has, mainly because he's only aged around seven years in the last 68.
posted by Gamblor at 1:07 PM on February 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


Also, in JLA: New World Order, Superman states that he considers Batman to be "the most dangerous man on Earth."

From the DC Database:

"Batman is a brilliant, virtually peerless, detective, criminal scientist, tactician, and commander; he is widely regarded as one of the keenest analytical minds on the planet and possesses an eidetic memory. Given his lack of superpowers, he often uses cunning and planning to outwit his foes, rather than 'out-fighting' them."
posted by Gamblor at 1:23 PM on February 20, 2007


Oh wait, this question has already been answered in a Forbes article:

But you don't have to be a billionaire to become a caped crusader. Using commercially available training, technology and domestic help, the average guy could conceivably equip himself to become a real-world superhero, provided he's got at least a couple million to spare.

The Training
Cost: $30,000
A good place to start would be an internship at the birthplace of kung fu, the Shaolin Temple in Henan, China. One month of training at the prestigious Tagou school costs about $740, including a private room and training with a personal coach. It'll take a while to get good enough to stop the Joker's worst thugs, though, so count on spending at least three years and about 30 grand for the trip.

The Suit
Cost: $1,585
We recommend a lightweight ProMAX OTV bulletproof jacket, which will cover your arms and torso for only $1,085. A decent Kevlar helmet will run about $500.

The Belt
Cost: $290
A decent nylon utility belt can be procured for about $10 from any martial arts supply store. You can also equip yourself with:
Climbing spikes: $70 (Black Diamond Spectre Ice Beak Ice Piton)
Small digital cell phone: $150 (Motorola RAZR, with cellular contract)
Ninja spikes: $10 (Set of three)
Throwing stars: $30 (Set of four)
Medical kit: $20

The Car
Cost: $2,000,000
...you'll have to armor up a Hummer
[this is Forbes]...For armor plating, you could use a composite material like silicon carbide, which will stop bullets but not weigh the vehicle down too much.

The Cave
Cost: $24,000 (for one year)
We recommend you find yourself a nice out-of-the-way warehouse. In the outer boroughs of New York City, a decent-sized ground-floor commercial space can be leased for as low as $2,000 a month, particularly in isolated, questionably safe neighborhoods


It goes on to talk about an alter ego and a butler. They appear to overlook all the scientific and detective training and also a working knowledge of criminology and a bunch of other stuff, but it is kind of s tupid movie-tie-in fluff piece anyway.
posted by ND¢ at 1:27 PM on February 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


Also, you might benefit from the use of one of these. Plus, you might want to hire the kid who designed it to make all your tech gadget needs.
posted by langeNU at 1:29 PM on February 20, 2007


All the above, plus having a much younger lover ward crime-fighting partner would tend to keep one on one's Bat-toes.
posted by rob511 at 1:43 PM on February 20, 2007


Yea, you could buy all the gear, and get a lot of marital arts training, but at the end of the day it would probably be next to impossible to stop crimes as they are happening like they do in comic books (where there is always some mugging going down in a dead end alley) and the lack of appropriate super villains would be a downer.

You may want to check out The Government Manual for New Superheroes, a fake guidebook in the humor section, and also, there is a This American Life episode where some girl decides at a very young age to become as close to a superhero as possible, and does a lot of training, and ends up working as a bounty hunter when she can’t get into the CIA.
posted by andrewzipp at 1:54 PM on February 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


He's got the money to afford the toys and to come up with a way of getting them without people putting two and two together to figure out he's Batman (Batman Begins covered this concept brilliantly).

The real problem is that he's both a brilliant scientist/detective as well as being a well trained martial artist.

Here's a possible explanation of how one might become Batman-like:

He was on his way to being a spoiled rich kid. His parents were both hard working intelligent people. So you could assume that he has good genes for learning and that he was being given a good education up until the moment his parents were killed. So, you might assume that he was learning another language (like French, perhaps?) and computer skills when his parents died. So he's got a leg up in that bit. Maybe he's even smart enough to have skipped a grade.

He'd have to learn computers and language during his middle & high school years also taking up a martial arts class. He'd then go to college in Europe, at say Oxford or Cambridge. He'd study forensic science and psychology. While studying, he'd learn learn pick pocketing, acrobatics, weapons and more languages. When school was out, he'd travel around Europe, learning local customs and generally expanded his view of the world. After graduation, he'd travel down to Asia to learn more martial arts.

Then he could return home, where he'd have to continue his studies of computers, science and psychology (although he'd have to do so through private lessons because Bruce Wayne couldn't be seen going to a college to learn about criminology).

So he'd have from 10 to 17 to do computers, language and basic martial arts. Let's say 17 to 21 to get his college education and 21 to 26 for martial arts in Asia. He'd even have one year to return to America, continue his education and set-up his Batcave before hitting the 27 year old cutoff point.

The name of the game is transferable skills. For example, when if learned pickpocketing first, that dexterity would help in weapons training or that learning Tae Kwon Do might help him learn Judo.
posted by jaybeans at 1:58 PM on February 20, 2007


I'm going to be a wet blanket here and point out that there's a glaring problem preventing somebody from doing this.

Ignore the whole billionaire parents murdered before your eyes thus instilling a near-psychotic drive to punish bad guys set of circumstances.

The sad truth is that nobody is really capable of fighting more than one person at a time. You can always pull isolated stories off the news of an ex-marine beating up a few potential muggers, but these examples are pretty rare. They're obviously exceptional BECAUSE they make the news. Based on a stat I just pulled out of my ass, I'd guess that 9 times out of 10 even ex-marines (or SEALs, Rangers, UFC champions, police officers etc) would get stomped by multiple attackers.

Even trained black belts, boxers, and kung fu fighters have problems taking out single untrained opponents of similar sizes. The idea of one person taking out 7-8 thugs consistently is ridiculous. Humans aren't capable of training themselves to that level. Once you're tied up fighting one person, the game is over.

And batman wouldn't be able to get around NYC (or Gotham) fast enough.

I'd give up hope of becoming Batman and settle for becoming the Punisher. You can take out a lot more people with an assault rifle and grenades than you can with bare fists and chi.
posted by Telf at 2:51 PM on February 20, 2007


Related question.

Batman's in the top handful of martial artists, a world-class criminologist and forensic scientist, and he's generally expert in science, engineering, business, womanizing, and every gadget and vehicle known. He's humanity's self-appointed protector against super-being hegemony, and, as such, has counter-measures to neutralize every super-being, his closest allies not excepted. He's forever keeping tabs not only on Gotham City, but the rest of the planet. He remains in top physical condition, on top of all of these fields, goes all over the universe with the Justice League, personally patrols Gotham, and trains sidekicks.

I feel pretty good about saying that no one could be as good at so many things, or as productive as Batman.

That said, starting from age 10, one should immediately begin daily meditation, exercise, martial arts training, and study everything (for the first three years, emphasize languages, reaping the advantage of the critical period.)

At age 18, go to Annapolis, majoring in military strategic studies, but squeezing in all the operations research, chemistry, systems engineering, behavioral science, legal studies, management and as much more science, languages and engineering as you can. Get into Navy SEAL training.

When your required service is done, start a business and multiply your riches while studying criminology and forensic science and otherwise filling any gaps in your education.

Then it's Batcave time.

I know it may sound odd to entangle oneself with military commitments when the premise is that you're sufficiently super-rich as to hire all your own trainers. But I don't think I'm going out on a limb to suggest that, regardless of expense, one would have difficulty reproducing the training programs that a military academy and a special forces branch already has.
posted by Zed_Lopez at 3:14 PM on February 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


What I wonder is, at some point, does learning get FASTER though?

With speed readers, they gain incrementally until they hit some magic point where, whammo, suddenly they're flying through the pages. IN theory, maybe that's how the learning works. Once you learn enough disciplines, suddenly, all the connections start making sense. Like a unified field theory of learning.

Maybe that's the batman secret. Or he's taking tons of anti-alzheimers drugs to compensate.
posted by rileyray3000 at 3:26 PM on February 20, 2007


But I don't think I'm going out on a limb to suggest that, regardless of expense, one would have difficulty reproducing the training programs that a military academy and a special forces branch already has.

Really? I don't know about the feasibility of doing it in a low-profile way, but it seems to me you could hire those very same special forces instructors for the right price. Arguably you'd get better training since you could pull in expertise from all sorts of different services (mossad, SAS, spetsnatz, SEAL) whereas joining a service, you'd be locked into a single "school."
posted by juv3nal at 4:33 PM on February 20, 2007


you could hire those very same special forces instructors

I didn't make my point clearly. The closest thing we have in the real world to a training program for would-be Batmans is a military academy plus special forces training. My thought is that even our hypothetical 18-year-old Batman-in-training could not design a better program for himself than these institutions already have. And that Batman needs the leadership and group dynamic experience he'd have a hard time getting alone. (Yes, he's principally a loner, but he also knows there are problems he needs help with.)

Since we're so far off into hypotheticals, if you want to posit that of course the 18-year-old Batman could create a better program for himself, well, that's fair enough.
posted by Zed_Lopez at 5:10 PM on February 20, 2007


some girl decides at a very young age to become as close to a superhero as possible, and does a lot of training, and ends up working as a bounty hunter when she can’t get into the CIA

Transcript here.
posted by Zed_Lopez at 5:15 PM on February 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


Since we're so far off into hypotheticals, if you want to posit that of course the 18-year-old Batman could create a better program for himself, well, that's fair enough.

No, I'm just positing that with limitless wealth, he could put together a special ops braintrust that collectively could create a better program for him.
posted by juv3nal at 6:06 PM on February 20, 2007


...and also fill that program with "fellow recruits" (read: more instructors, but "undercover" posing as trainees) to get the group dynamic thing if need be.
posted by juv3nal at 6:10 PM on February 20, 2007


Upon further consideration, I realize that the best bet for the aspiring Batman emulator would be to arrange to be born into the Wold Newton lineage.
posted by Midnight Creeper at 6:15 PM on February 20, 2007


I blew this question off at first cause people had covered all the bases... But then it dawned on me...

Batman is a savant. He is a highly functioning savant to be slightly more accurate. He reads a book and knows it, he hears something ans remembers it. He sees patterns everywhere, and understands them. This idea, is humanly possible (maybe) and makes him knowing so much pretty easy. The rest is in the training... and with enough time and money and drive to do it, he could be lethal. Especially if we go the savant route because learning where and when to strike would wouldn't take as much training.

Batman has a very rare form of autism.
posted by magikker at 10:19 PM on February 20, 2007 [2 favorites]


Which explains the rubber suit.
posted by flabdablet at 10:36 PM on February 20, 2007


Thank you miss lynnster - that was scrumptious!
posted by Pressed Rat at 6:18 AM on February 21, 2007


In the previous thread to which you refer, we concluded that Batman does in fact have a superpower - force of will.
posted by Caviar at 9:05 AM on February 21, 2007


You may want to check out The Government Manual for New Superheroes, a fake guidebook in the humor section...

I'm the co-author of The Government Manual for New Superheroes. I gave up reading AskMe a while ago because it was getting too addictive and I needed to batten down and work on The Government Manual for New Pirates. And what's my reward? I miss an AskMe thread where my book is invoked. Do you know how long I'd been waiting for this to happen? AGES.

Damn you, self-discipline! Damn you to a well-organized highly efficient hell!

Anyway, one of the key points of the book is that you cannot simply choose a superhero persona at random and become a successful costumed crusader. You must base your persona on your own strengths and weaknesses. If you were lucky enough at a young age to have witnessed your parents gunned down before you, then you will naturally have the preternatural drive and discipline to attain Batman-like levels of achievement.

If, however, you have the misfortune to be raised in a stable and happy two-parent home (a tragedy that may afflict as many as 3% of all future superheroes), you will have to reach for less ambitious goals. In those circumstances, there is no shame in leaping across the rooftops of your city as Slacktastic! or Captain Really Pretty Impressive, All Things Considered.

Even trained black belts, boxers, and kung fu fighters have problems taking out single untrained opponents of similar sizes. The idea of one person taking out 7-8 thugs consistently is ridiculous. Humans aren't capable of training themselves to that level. Once you're tied up fighting one person, the game is over.

This is factually incorrect. Numerous double-blind studies have shown that, when multiple evildoers engage a single hero in combat, the evildoers will take turns attacking (and being defeated by) the hero one at a time. A superhero's foes may be willing to destroy entire cities with orbiting space lasers, but they aren't cads.

There are certain exceptions to the one-at-a-time rule. If you have at hand a weapon such as a stepladder or a broom that will allow you to knock out several armed opponents with a single swing, your enemies will attack you in precisely the right combinations to be thusly knocked out. For evidence, I refer you to Drunken Master II or any other documentary depicting the real-life exploits of Jackie Chan.
posted by yankeefog at 3:38 PM on April 15, 2007 [2 favorites]


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