The Marvel Universe

So like a lot of people out there, I really love the Marvel Universe movies. But recently I was speaking to someone and they mentioned how the movies are all the same, regardless of who the main characters are. So that got me thinking, is Marvel really cranking out the same plot with different characters and settings? Well let’s see.

Although Avengers: Infinity War is the most recent release–for this post–I’d like to focus on Black Panther. Personally, I love Black Panther. I loved Wakanda and the whole idea that there was this country that was covertly strong with high tech. Also that Wakanda seemed to have a thriving culture and a monarchy that was just and fair.

But lets take a closer look at T’Challa, the protagonist of Black Panther and King of Wakanda. When T’Challa’s father dies, he assumes the throne, as is his birthright. When Ulysses Klaue, a villain from the past pops up, it’s T’Challa’s responsibility to bring him in for Wakandan justice. Unfortunately, Erik Stevens, the “Killmonger” and T’Challa’s long lost cousin, brings Klaue back to Wakanda dead, and also to challenge T’Challa for the throne. Stevens wins, and brings chaos to Wakanda as there are some Wakandans that want to bring weapons of power to people of African descent around the world so that they may fight their oppressors, and then there are others that don’t. A huge battle ensues, and T’Challa is able to wrestle control back of the throne before the weapons are made available to the public.

So after that quick recap, I wonder, does this story bare any resemblance to other Marvel movies? A hero, a villain, the conflict? Hmm maybe Spider Man? A little bit of Iron Man, too? Maybe some Captain America and Doctor Strange as well?

But you know what? It doesn’t matter. It’s the movie’s differences that set it apart, and make it great.

And besides. It’s Stan Lee’s story. They’re all Stan Lee’s stories. And if he likes to repeat motifs, then why not? It’s not like they don’t work.

Jiu Jitsu and all its things…

So like most people that are of a “certain age” I decided I needed some type of exercise in my life, but I didn’t want to deal with the monotony of the gym. I wanted something else, something that was more of a challenge. And that’s when I came across a gym that focused on Mixed Martial Arts. I gave them a call and decided to give Brazilian Jiu Jitsu a try.

Changed my life.

How? Well, I’m a tiny person. Like real tiny. And maybe because of my small stature, I sort of shied away from full contact sports. But this! Jiu jitsu, was all up in my face. It took a little bit of an adjustment, having people sweat all over me. And I’m not going to lie, there were times when I got other people’s sweat in my eye and mouth. Thoroughly disgusting. But in the end, it was an experience. A growing experience that helped me learn what its like to be in bad positions, and how to get out of them. And between all the arm bars, triangles, and Americanas I learned I wasn’t as frail as I thought.

The second thing I learned in this sport, was that as crazy as it seems to those looking in, it is not as dangerous as one might think. Oh yes, there is a chance you’ll get hurt, but it’s the same as any other sport, maybe even less. Because when you’re training jiu jitsu, you’re training with a partner, and no one–no one–wants to hurt their training partner. So while rolling (training), you match intensity with your partner, and there’s hardly anyone that trains more than 85%. The only time one goes the full 100% is while competing. So what I learned, is there is a respect between teammates and an awareness and desire for their well being.

The last thing I learned about jiu jitsu is: It’s just fun. There’s nothing like it. Training–wrestling with a partner, trying to get out of certain positions, or trying for a submission. Failing, and getting submitted yourself, just to dust yourself off, and roll again. Then, finally, submitting someone for the first time. It’s awesome. It’s fun. It’s jiu jitsu, and really, there’s nothing like it.