Tough Guys

Back when we were initially discussing this concept, I had the boys get some instruction in close-quarter combat.  John (my youngest) already had a black belt in Kenpo, but Max had managed to avoid being hauled off to dojos and subjected to years and years of kata practice via the clever ploy of being born and going through his formative years while I still had a full-time office job.  But he and I both realized that a little research would be in order for this project, and John had already encountered an instructor whom he thought would be perfect.

So Max got himself a crash course in asskickery with Shihan Jacov.

Part of what we learned was that tough guys don’t just happen.  It’s kind of a full-time commitment.  If you watch the linked video, you’ll see that there are punching bags hanging around in the dojo from rather massive steel beams.  When Jacov was waiting for us to arrive, or talking on the phone, he would idly hit these steel beams with his fist.  He wouldn’t even falter in his conversation; in fact he generally wasn’t even paying attention.  He would just smack that beam so hard that it rang like a gong.  Sometimes he would head-butt it.

He wasn’t angry — in fact, I don’t think I ever saw him angry.  He was just ritually building the calluses and deadening the nerves in his hands and forehead (and no doubt compacting the bone density) against the day — should it ever happen — that he would need to strike an opponent.  From what I could gather, there had been times when it had been needed.

You can see in the video that his hands are more like paws — thick pads of scar tissue and callous.  Out of curiosity, I once waited until he was out of the room (so as not to embarrass myself) and I tentatively tried punching one of the beams.  It did not ring like a gong.  In fact, it barely made any noise at all.  So I gritted my teeth and punched it harder.

I still only managed a mild “thonk!” sound, but I also split the skin open on two knuckles, which bled like crazy.  The girl behind the counter gave me a paper towel.  “Stick to the bags,” was her advice.

I got the impression I wasn’t the first to be that stupid.

In any case, we got some great instruction and guidance.  I was allowed to shoot a small video of a gun disarm.  We had brought some Airsoft pistols to practice with; gassed up, and capable of inflicting a sting.  For the purposes of making the video more entertaining, I added some muzzle flashes and sound effects in post.  Why not?  We had ’em, in fact we’re using some of our muzzle flashes in the comic too.  They’re just special effects.  But adding them to the video did spark some amusing comments from YouTubers who thought we’d actually been practicing with real guns.

Yeah, I can be stupid.  But not that stupid, thanks.  🙂

 Jacov Bresler Demonstrates A Gun Disarm.

Bob out.

Artist’s Notes: OK, I have to take a second and talk to you guys about one of the hardest ‘unseen’ jobs in storyboarding- blocking and continuity.  Most comic books don’t bother with this kind of consistency but since I’ve adapted a cinematic storytelling style for this project I wasn’t about to get all half-assed about it.  What the hell am I going on about?  Well It’s hard to explain but I want you to have an appreciation of the fact that I had to block this action and angle these shots in a way that was consistent with the reality of how it actually could be filmed in real life.  Angles are usually arbitrary unless you have asymmetrical subject matter- like a vehicle, with a driver’s side and a passenger’s side.  Or a character who’s left-handed or right-handed.  You can’t just have a guy be right-handed in one scene and then left-handed in the next.  You’ll notice that Max here is left-handed, as I am in real life, and I keep that consistent, for him and for everyone else.  The point is, that consistency is extremely difficult to maintain – but I do it because, in a subtle way, it makes the action more real.  And only shitty storyboard artists would ignore that kind of thing.

Also, these muzzle flashes were borrowed from the extensive Detonation Films stock footage library- and I think they look pretty good!  As we progress, I’ll point out other instances in which I used DF FX (as opposed to drawing it myself.. cause I’m lazy!)  -Max