On Comics: How to Fight Criminals With Just 15 Years of Training!

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"Dark Knight" opens this weekend, and a lot of you are probably thinking about donning your own horns and cape and kicking a few local criminals in the balls. But be careful! A life of crime-fighting can only take you so far, before your knees give out and you get a concussion or something.

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Anyway, that's the premise of a (wacky!) new book by Paul Zehr, a professor of kinesiology and neuroscience at the University of Victoria. "Becoming Batman" doesn't come out until October but it's generated – if Prof. Zehr don't say so himself – a level of interest that's "through the roof."

So what does "Becoming Batman" offer the would-be masked marauder?

Here's some advice from a piece published yesterday in the Vancouver Sun:

"Even when he's at his peak, one of the major constraints hampering a real-life Batman would be his unwillingness to kill. This is the thing where he gets into a crazy amount of poise and training needed. It's much easier to seriously injure someone."

"It would require a man at his absolute physical peak, most closely resembling an Olympic decathlete, with three to five years of intense physical conditioning and 10 to 12 years of martial arts and motor skill training... He'd also need another few years working under incredible pressure and stress."

"The human body can only handle such stress for so long. By researching athletes such as Muhammad Ali, ultimate fighter Randy Couture and NFL linebackers, Zehr said he gives Batman a three-year peak before he is felled by serious injuries, such as repeated concussions."

In short, set aside a bunch of money and a good chunk of your life for training, buy a whole lot of armor, be prepared to land a serious sucker punch, wear a helmet, and prepare for an early retirement. Glamorous!

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