Tuesday, May 4, 2010


Okay, I just bought Super Street Fighter IV, played a few matches to try it out and am really hyped over it! But, no, I’m not going to review it. I know that I really like to review stuff, but this isn’t a video game blog. What I will do is relate how the Street Fighter franchise relates to my personal views of fitness and well – being.

When I was a kid, I’d play pretty much only one type of video game: fighting. And most of the time, the Street Fighter franchise would, more often than not, fill my video gaming needs. What this instilled in me as a little boy is a sort of idol worship for the characters I played as. My favorite is, and always has been, the Ryu character. I’m not sure what it was about him, outside of the fact that he’s the male poster boy for the franchise and is the favored character of many players out there, but I believe it was because he always seemed the most human to me, and that made me relate to him more. Sure, he throws fireballs and flies vertically through the air, but he didn’t have green skin and fangs, or was bald, had an eye patch and stood nearly seven feet tall.

He was designed as a simple, Japanese fighter wearing a tattered gi of sorts. That’s it. Of course, he didn’t look specifically Japanese. He had a more generic, square – jawed hero look to him. In fact, some might even argue that he looks more Western than Asian in most of the artwork that depicts him. In any case, I knew he was Asian, same as me, and when I looked at him, he didn’t necessarily look Japanese. In a way, I could kind of see myself in his character design and so wanted to be exactly like him growing up.

Of course, he wasn’t my only childhood idol. As a kid, I’d chew up many things in pop culture, including comic books, action movies, anime, and, of course, video games. I liked (still do, actually) Batman, Goku, Bruce Lee, and other characters and celebrities. But I’m not writing about them right now; I’m writing about Street Fighter.

Ryu gave me a particular vision of the future that I wanted to inhabit; a future where I was like him, or at least close enough that I’d personally believe it. Of course, no matter how much I wanted to grow up throwing fireballs and launching dragon punches as a kid, I eventually conceded that I wasn’t going to be able to accomplish that. So, I went for the other aspects of the character. The tattered gi and bare feet were out, since I still wanted to be considered a normal member of society, so what we have left are the martial arts skills and buff physique.

In short, Ryu is a martial artist. He’s not a corrupt boxer, a psycho – powered terrorist, or a green monster. The basic story he’s usually given is that he wanders the world seeking out new challengers so that he can become a better fighter. He’s a martial artist, plain and simple; the original World Warrior. Well, I couldn’t travel the world like he did, but I could adopt his dedication.

As a kid, I tried out karate and taekwondo, and eventually settled on the latter. I trained in it for several years, but never attended any of the tests or whatever it is they’re called, so until now I only have a yellow belt. I grew tired of taekwondo because the instructors I got never really took many of their classes seriously, possibly because we were all very young. So what I did was took all the basics I learned and build upon it by myself. I would (and still do to this day) get any and all books on the martial arts I could get my hands on, read them cover to cover, and move on. I’d do this for videos as well. I started slowly amassing equipment for myself, such as gloves and a heavy bag, that I could use to train. Of course, many of these books also detailed how to become fit enough to perform the movements detailed well and compete in tournaments, so I started on a particular road to fitness.

And so this road has led me to this day. As mentioned in my “About Me” entry on the right side of my blog, most of what I know today about fitness and martial arts is “personal”, meaning self – study. I practice as much of it as I can, of course, and to this, still imagine Ryu performing his special attacks whenever I practice martial arts. But since I took all this so seriously, I am now taking a formal degree in human kinetics, actively writing a blog about all my personal knowledge, and sharing what I know to as many people as I can in order to propagate fitness and better living.

As mentioned, I had many influences throughout childhood that pushed me towards where I am right now, and the Street Fighter series has always been a huge part of it. I know for a fact that everyone has a childhood influence or dream. Something like, “I want to be a superhero” or “I want to be an astronaut”, but eventually gave up on it to become an accountant or a math teacher. Was this because they honestly thought making balance was more exciting than fighting crime or going to outer space or because they just gave up on what they wanted? I know this feeling very well because, until now, I still can’t launch fireballs from my palms, but I still work hard on my martial arts and physical fitness, and help others do the same. My childhood dreams mean a lot to me to this day, and I take them very seriously.

This is what Street Fighter has given me. What have your childhood dreams given you?

Credit goes to Gamefaqs and Gamespot for the many pictures I used in this post.

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Hello, I'm Noel Blanco and I write Fitness Philippines. I have been involved in physical fitness for more than 10 years now and am currently taking up graduate studies on Exercise and Sports Science at the University of the Philippines. You can contact me at fitnessphp@yahoo.com
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