Growing up as a geeky guy, I’ve had the usual day dreams of many a nerd, dork, geek and dweeb before me. The idea of being a hero, being strong, being cool and running the legendary Mt. Midoriyama. Which led me down a path in which I’m pretty happy with today, and much better health than I’d ever had in my life. So what if some of the characters I wished to be like were fictional and in different worlds, maybe even acquired their strength and abilities through some accident or a gene from birth, it doesn’t mean that I can’t at least reach for their brass ring.
As a youngling I idolized many figures with physical prowess beyond the dreams of your average controller warrior. They weren’t always fictional powerhouses given or born into their abilities such as The Hulk, or Superman, not even the more realistic aspirations of Batman or Bruce Lee. It didn’t really matter who it was, one thought unknowingly crept in the catacombs of my subconscious. “What’s it like to be strong?”. So I began my journey to find strength… at least that’s what I’d like to write. I really just did the same thing any kid my age did, that was to play pretend… at least until I was put in Tae Kwon Do. My first steps as an asthmatic youngster to be like my favorite martial arts movie stars. Extending the musings of my imagination into a more realistic venue.
Of course this didn’t lead to a rock hard body capable of amazing feats, like knocking people 5 feet back with a one inch punch. First of all, Tae Kwon Do is all about kicking… endless and endless kicking. Second it was a little school behind Hong Kong restaurant. So stamina was there, but whatever muscular solidity I would have had was covered in just as much greasy delicious squishiness that fried rice and sweet and sour pork provided. And as the years went on, I lived the life of an average teenager and college student, meaning that the Chinese food increased and the exercise fell by the way side as girlfriends, school work and jobs filled that gap. Leaving me at a disappointing flubby state more akin to the Blob than Colossus. Until I really decided to make that change on my own.
So what if Captain America is a fictional character from the 40’s that was given his powers by a serum, Chris Evans pumping iron to live up to the American dream after his metamorphosis is pretty real. He was also the first body goal I had 2-3 years ago. And while that ideal has faded, my aspirations of strength have not; with many fictional characters fueling my will and my drive to keep pushing, even though it would be easier to just give up. I know I won’t be able to rip gods in half like the Sentry, throw fireballs like Ryu and I’m too heavy and no where good enough to be the featherweight champion of Japan like Ippo Makanouchi. Yet watching Hajime No Ippo actually inspires me to get out there and start running. And even though I’ll never be a titan like Eren Jaeger, I can still play pretend while squatting 305 lbs. and put myself in the mindset to squash the goals I have and aspire for more.