Tatsu Maki Sen Pu Kyaku! L.U.F.A.S’ Second Competition Winner!

On May 14th  your friendly neighbourhood Rogue Advisor set the task to create an original Street Fighter Character to win a rather humble prize.

Using the awesome Hero Machine 2.5 you, beloved reader, had the challenge to create a unique awesome character.

The response was even better than before, thus even though the deadline for entries was the 21st, the colossal task of selecting the best from so many awesome characters has taken yours truly until now to decide who will become the proud new owner of a little plush Ryu.

Without further ado let us peruse and pontificate upon these marvels of pugilistic creation

Old Man Tang

Old Man Tang by Orest Chekansky, Minsc, Russia.

Old Man Tang. By Orest Chekansky, Minsc, Russia.

Special Moves

Drunken dodge: press down twice; the old drunken master falls flat on his back, ducking under most attacks, he takes a second to recover, leaving him vulnerable.

Staggering charge: Down, forward down, forward; the charge causes minor damage but puts Master Tang on the other side of his opponent.

I’m not that old; Hold back one second then release forward – Tang spins his staff through the air at his opponent, but it has limited range and may just drop on the arena floor.

Have a drink on me: Press down, forward down, then forward – he proceeds to sup from his wine flask and then proceeds to spit it in his adversary’s face, stunning them, this gives him a chance to get close for his next move.

The drunken coup de grace; If he can get close enough, he can grab with light and middle punches, after which he somersaults over his opponent, and then proceeds to strangle them with the cord on his wine flask, whilst drinking out of it.

A brave effort but not the best i’m afraid Mr Chekansky, after inspecting the 203, (an even better result than the last number of entries. Yay.), I only wanted to include the one’s with Bios. The Bio wasn’t a prerequisite for the competition but extra detail brings the character to life. Still though 5th is still better than never posted.

Ax L Lee

By Daniel Ingrey, Brighton, UK.

By Daniel Ingrey, Brighton, UK.

Special Moves

Rock you like a hurricane: QCF + kick. Ax. L performs a roundhouse which he follows up with a hit by swinging his famed guitar, “Skeggöx”. Type of kick determines strength and speed of the attack.

Bat out of hell: QCB + punch. Ax. L summons a colony of bats that swarm at the enemy by hammering out a high-pitched riff on Skeggöx.

Raining Blood: Hold back for two seconds, forward + punch. Ax. L runs at his opponent and unleashes a barrage of punches. The punch chosen determines the distance.

Reign in Blood: Hold back for two seconds, forward + kick. Similar to Raining Blood, but this time Ax. L will jump in the air before landing and unleashing a combo of punches. Punch chosen determines distance again.

House of Pain: Back + middle punch. Ax. L swings Skeggöx forwards by holding the neck of the guitar. This counts as two hits.

Bio: Ex member of an 80s hair metal band, Ax. L turned to the Street Fighting circuit to make rent after his band’s declining sales in the 90s.

Nice try Mr Ingrey, but I can’t help but feel you’ve attempted to appeal to my love of 80’s and rock. Nice puns with the move names, very Slayer.

Kunio Maeda

By Adrian Bennett, Kansas, USA

By Adrian Bennett, Kansas, USA

Special Moves

Brass MonkeyPress down for a second then up for Kunio to perform a backflip that avoids any special attack.

U-BootPress forward and any kick button to perform a drop kick that will floor the opponent for one second.

Flaming Dr.PepperHold back for one second then forward and any punch button whilst close to the opponent, Kunio will burst into flame, grab his opponent and suplex them.

Hangman’s BloodWithin grappling distance of the opponent, press forward, down then down forward and all three punch buttons. Kunio whips off his tie and wraps it round their neck and power slams them into the floor.

Sake BombWithin grappling distance of the opponent, go through a full 360 degree rotation of the D-pad then press punch. Kunio will pick up his opponent, shake them around like a cocktail then tombstone them into the floor.

Bio: Kunio was the greatest bartender in Kyoto, he learned all his moves watching wrestling shows constantly whilst at work. He discovered he was immune to fire when a Yakuza racketeering operation burned his bar down with him tied up to a chair inside, because he refused to pay them.

A very unique character, your friendly neighbourhood Rogue Advisor researched each of the moves; they are all real cocktails, thus I provided links for those beloved readers who enjoy a tipple. Nice angle Mr Bennet, but the stiff competition you are up against is legendary.

The Force

By Cyntac Wong. UK

By Cyntac Wong. Brent, UK

Special Moves

Kamehameha – LP/MP/HP: Fan Service for the DBZ Fans: Unleashes a ball of pure energy of differing power and speed (seeks at Max Power level and causes double chipping damage).

Iron Skin – HP + HK + MP + MK: Hardens the skin of The Force into Iron reducing Damage by 1/3rd for the duration of the effect and allows him to shrug off attacks (50% at Max Power Level).

Quad Slash – LK/MK/HK: Strikes out four times with his double Katana blades with each slash hitting harder and further. (each Kick hits at a different angle making it useful as an anti air attack).

Mind Flay – LP/MP/HP: Reaches out with his mind and grabs his opponent. (each punch activates a different type of throw. LP – Crush and Head Bash MP – Off Screen Throw HP – Ragdoll and Mind Snap).

Can Fly – by pressing LP + MK

Max Power Level – LK+MK+HK: The Force activates a reservoir of power being saved for troubled times. This gives him increased speed, damage resistance and damage. No chipping damage is taken and there is a small regenerative effect. Lasts 30 secs.

Hyper Combos: (consumes 1 energy bar),

Gaia Strike LP+MP+HP: Summons a Giant Fist rippling with energy and lava from the ground that smashes his opponent causing multiple hits and high damage. (if done whilst flying this comes from space with flames from re-entry thrown in).

Lightning Strike LK+MK+HK: The Force summons great bolts of lightning that arc out and strike the opponent at range while they swirl around him in a great column. This gathers rocks, street furniture, bits of buildings as well as his swords. The lightning bounces around these and The Force fires the whole death dealing bundle at his opponent.

Mega Combo: (consumes 3 energy bars),

Street Justice – LP+MP+HP: The Force reaches out a short distance with his mind and grabs his opponent. He closes and strikes them multiple times with his blades, and then launches them skyward with a kick after a flurry of elbows and knees. As the opponent stunned flies upwards he teleports above them nailing them with a Gaia Strike of pure energy he has created around himself ending at his fist. The opponent flies down with The Force driving them faster into the ground with the Gaia Strike and causing a huge impact.

If carried out with LK+MK+HK after launch he summons every last ounce of energy and detonates an H-Bomb an inch from their face. (causes more damage but renders him unable to use Hyper Combos or Max Power Level).

Bio: Able to manipulate Forces like any other Telekinetic except he has taken this down to a fine art by learning how to manipulate Small Nuclear Forces.

Able to create energy at will by simply fusing two hydrogen atoms together harnessing the energy that creates along with other vigorous chemical reactions.

A deep knowledge of science and chemistry has led to a number of other skills that are limited only by his imagination. This imagination has been tempered by study of the modern arts of comics and anime.

Fusing his own flesh into harder metals and conjuring items shaped of pure energy. Taking these materials and increasing their density 1000 fold to create impenetrable armour and devastating weapons.

This however calls up a huge effort to achieve and the huge amounts of energy yielded by one fusion are held in reserve and unlocked as he fights. Conservation of energy applies and he will eventually run out of this power leaving him with simple TK powers.

It takes hours of meditation to achieve a single fusion which must be done light years away from earth. To rush this would be too dangerous. When gearing up for a huge fight 3 or 4 fusions may be needed but in a pinch he can draw energy from any other matter.

He is untrained in serious fighting styles but actually uses gravity and other forces to unbalance his opponent, slow their movements and help predict what they will do next.

WOW! What a detailed and amazing entry from Mr Wong. The inclusion of powerbar details very nearly got you the prize, and the Bio is brilliantly in depth. A truly believable Street Fighter character.

Behold! To The Victor Go The Spoils!


Yuki Shiori

Natalie Raymond, Forest Gate, UK.

By Natalie Raymond, Forest Gate, UK.

Special Moves

Suriru Ni Odoru Enjeru Tachi, (Angels dancing in the thrill): By repeatedly hitting LP button she unleashes a flurry of slender throwing daggers, each causing tiny amounts of damage, (about as much as a blocked special move), and only have a range of roughly 2/3rd the screens width.

They render her immobile whilst she throws them, reducing her defences.

Itoshiki Rival, (Beloved Rival): This is a taunt move, by pressing back twice and LP or LK, she will flick her hair back in a provocative manner, blow them a kiss and giggle girlishly.

It leaves her vulnerable but if she pulls it off it will enrage the opponent, causing them to charge blindly at her. Very handy to do before the following move.

Asu E Tatchidaun, (Touchdown to tomorrow): She can jump onto the edge of the screen and jump off again, effectively double jumping like Chun-Li does, if timed properly she can somersault and land directly behind her opponent if they are close enough, (see above).

Kuraishisu-Ikari Wo Komete Hashire, (Crisis-Run with Anger): This is a charging technique, tap forward twice to close the gap, if timed correctly this works very well with the next move.

Wasurenaide, (Don’t Forget): In close proximity to an opponent  especially a grappler or wrestling type, press forward twice rapidly. Yuki will blow a powdered substance in their face, stunning them for a few seconds, the effects having made them forget where they are and what they were doing.

It does no damage, and has an extremely short range, virtually point blank. But does allow her a brief advantage.

Akuma To Tenshi No Kisu, (Devil and Angel’s Kiss): By pressing down, forward down, forward then any punch in one smooth movement, Yuki will throw one of her manrikigusari, (the ninja-tastic weapons she has in  each hand), which will momentarily stick in them

It has a range of about 2/3rds of the screen, and causes damage damage based on which punch used, but LP is faster.

She has about a millisecond before her opponent instinctively pulls it out, but if she’s fast enough and presses the same D-pad and punch button, the other will stick into them and she will then she will spin, pulling both of the weapons out of them causing additional damage. The manrikigusari then return to her hands.

Mayonaka No Etoile, (Midnight Opera): Press diagonally away, down then back followed by either all three punches or kicks.

This is a teleportation move; she’ll disappear in a puff of smoke and reappear either directly behind her opponent if all three punches were used, or as far away from the opponent as possible if all three kicks were used.

This could be anywhere on screen calculated by the greatest possible distance from the opponent.

Konya Wa Hurricane, (Tonight a hurricane): Press down, forward down then forward + any punch, this is kinda like a hadouken move but the little hurricanes she releases are quite slow, more often than not that’s the point if the move, like most of her other moves, to tactically position her opponent for the actual attack she wishes to use. She can also perform this whilst jumping, the release of the small hurricane allows her to stay in the air for a short time.

Misuteriasu Naito, (Mysterious Night): Press LP-LP back LK+HP, the screen will go dark for a moment, the only thing to be seen are a flurry of blows from Yuki in rapid succession, leaving her opponent on the floor. Similar to Akuma an evil Ryu’s special move.

Bio: Her birth name was Yuiko Tanaka and she was raised by fairly wealthy parents in one of the more pleasant districts of Osaka, she never had to want for much and this led to her becoming undisciplined and lazy.

She was an only child, so without any siblings she was spoiled rotten by them. Even allowing her to set up a music recording studio in her home and starting an all girl band with her equally lazy and rich friends, she was the vocalist and sometimes rhythm guitarist. They were called ‘The Blade Runners’, and actually had quite a following.

At one of their gigs in a fairly high profile venue called ‘Boomers’, they played one of their best gigs ever, they seemed totally professional. Fortunately for them a talent hunter from Toshiba EMI was at the gig, and they were about to get a contract for at least three albums.

That night they celebrated, a little too hard. Full of booze and recreational drugs Yuiko grabbed a bottle of water from the bar and decided to walk the six miles home to sober up enough that her parents hopefully wouldn’t realise that she’d been up to stuff her parents would have her grounded for.

After the first mile and a half she decided it was a bad idea and started trying to hitch a ride home. A limousine pulled over and offered her a ride. In the back of the limo she engaged in polite conversation with a portly man named Kobayashi San, who had two silent large ‘friends’ with him. They said not a word, she reckoned they were his carers at first, as Kobayashi San was so old.

It all seemed pretty hospitable at first, as far as she was concerned, anyone with a limo was rich and therefore respectable. They weren’t, they were kidnapping her. The two silent ‘carers’, she now realised were in fact hired thugs. They quickly bound and gagged her, she struggled as best she could, but with all the alcohol and drugs in her she didn’t put up much of a fight.

For days, maybe weeks she was like this, not knowing where she was, only knowing something was happening when she was manhandled from the car.

Once off the car her bonds and blindfold were removed, when she looked around she saw why they were no longer necessary. She was far North, she knew that because she was surrounded by snow capped mountains. Whilst lazy in her studies, she knew well enough the geography of her own country. She was in Hokkaido. Hundreds of miles from home.

Her kidnappers locked her in a cabin and left her there with the bare minimum of living utilities. This was far removed from the luxurious lifestyle she was used to.

As soon as she was locked up, she overheard the kidnappers making some phone calls, luck was beginning to find her, the hangover was gone now she could think clearly and the cabin walls were thin and she could hear almost every word. They were holding her for ransom, but what they did not realise is that they had taken the wrong person.

Yuiko knew this meant she wasn’t valuable to them anymore. She had to escape. And fast, she scanned the ramshackle hut for anything to get her out.

There weren’t any windows and the door whilst weak was reinforced with iron bindings and plenty of chains and other locks. Desperately searching she found only a broomstick  At least she could give one of them a whack before they killed her.

As she sat there, resigned to her fate, a ray of sunlight made her squint. It originated from a very weak looking ceiling. She could hear her kidnappers arguing outside, luck was with her again, she had some cover noise.

She made haste piling up the crappy and sparse furniture in the cabin to climb up to the ceiling and began bashing it with the broomstick. The ceiling gave way easily but the arguing outside had stopped and she could hear the bolts and locks being opened on the other side of the door. This brought her more precious time.

She climbed through the ceiling to the roof and had feeling of horror, all around was vast fields leading only to mountains, and she still had to make an eight foot drop without breaking her legs and somehow outrun large thugs to getaway. After sizing up the jump, she slowly positioned herself at arms length dangling from the edge of the roof, but she couldn’t find the courage to let herself drop, that was until she heared the door open and the thugs, not realising she was on the roof start ransacking the cabin looking for her.

This gave her all the motivation she needed, she let go of the roof and fell awkwardly, dislocating a shoulder. That wouldn’t stop her from running as fast as her legs could carry her. She ran faster than she thought she could ever run, partly due to fear for her life and partly from all the cardiovascular exercise she’d had dancing on stage and in nightclubs.

By the time the thugs realised where she had gotten too, she had a good head start. the thugs were on the roof, guns at the ready, but they made the mistake of simply jumping straight down the eight foot drop, the first one landed running, gun pointed in her direction, the second landed badly, twisting his ankle and misfiring his gun, shooting his colleague in the butt, slowing him considerably, but not quite enough, he was still closing the distance.

As he closed the distance he began to fire, most bullets missing except for one, hitting her in the calf, flooring her. She got back up and tried to hobble away. As the thug was reloading his gun a flash of thrown steel came out of nowhere, neatly impaling his trachea and slowly choking the thug to death on his own blood. She heard a blood curdling scream from the cabin and then another.

Then an old man suddenly appeared next to her as she lay on the floor, blood gushing from her calf and looking exhausted. He threw her upon his shoulder and with speed she never thought possible ran towards the mountains.

For weeks the kindly, yet mysterious and a little scary old man nursed her back to health in a secret training compound high in the mountains. They had many conversations during this recovery period. Turns out his name was Kage and he was the last of the Yuki clan of ninja. With no one left to pass his ninjutsu secrets to he offered to train her. She happily accepted, never wanting to feel that weak or afraid again.

For five years, she trained rigorously under the kind old ninja’s tutelage and learned all the Yuki clan secrets. Ninja training she found was unique from clan to clan.

The Yuki clan’s teaching method involved singing to complete each technique, something that came naturally to her. When her training was complete, Kage renamed her, she was now Yuki Shiori, roughly translated into English; Snow poem.

When the the old man had nothing left to teach her he suddenly became very ill, as if passing his knowledge to her was the last thing he was fated to do before he expired. When the old man passed away, she equipped herself with a vast array of ninjutsu gear and buried her Sensei. Then made her way back to the cabin,

Two thugs corpses were there, so she looted them for money, and the limo was also still there, the corpse of Kobayashi San slumped by the driver’s seat door, throat slit from ear to ear and a wide eyed look of incredulity on his pale lifeless face. Looting his body was a true windfall, rolls of cash in golden money clips and expensive jewellery that she could pawn on her journey back to Osaka in the limo she had no qualms about stealing.

After weeks of driving south for weeks  she finally made it back to Osaka. She dumped the stolen limo, and headed straight for her parents house. At first they were overjoyed to see her, but they sensed the dramatic change in her and from then on were apprehensive around her, almost fearful.

Being 26 years old now, and having a shed load of looted gangster cash, she decided to get her own place, in the apartment above the bar where she had played her last gig. She got the old band together, her voice was even better than ever, almost preternatural, she barely even required a microphone to be heard.

But with paying rent on the apartment and funding the band without a proper day job she was rapidly running low on funds. Then she heard about the Street Fighter contest . . . . .

Double WOW!!! That seals the deal, that swings the prize and all the glory is your’s Natalie. Such an in depth biography has astounded your friendly neighbourhood rogue Advisor, and you are clearly a Bubblegum Crisis fan as all the moves are named after songs by Priss and the Replicants. How can i possibly deny the prize to such worthy entry. Let me know where you would like your prize to be sent to, or alternatively as we live a few towns apart I could deliver it to you in person and have the pleasure of meeting one of my beloved readers.

For those of you who don’t know what bubblegum Crisis is follow the handy link. It is an Anime not to be overlooked, although it often is unfortunately.

Until next time. Keep creating.

Suit Up

With Iron Man 3 out at the flicks, like a pandemic, Iron Man fever has hit the world, (Except china who seem miffed). If you haven’t seen it yet here’s a little teaser.

Your friendly neighbourhood Rogue Advisor wanted to delight you all with a comprehensive rundown of the myriad of different armours at his disposal.

Just one problem; every blogger and their freakin’ dog seems to have already produced such an article. Therefore, instead I shall up the ante, and science you upside the head as I am wont to do from time to time.

Thus, Level Up will ‘buck the trend’ and instead detail how Tony creates these multi-alloy masterpieces of sciency sexiness.

That’s right, beloved reader, today we learn some of the seemingly infinite amount of tricks up Mr Stark’s sleeve and get an insight into his extensive metallic wardrobe’s creation process.

Sciencing you upside the head Starktech style

Stark Tower, soon to be the Avenger's tower in Marvel's phase 2, is actually the Bitexco Financial Tower in Saigon, Vietnam.

Stark Tower, soon to be the Avenger’s tower in Marvel’s phase 2, is actually the Bitexco Financial Tower in Saigon, Vietnam.

All of our genius playboy philanthropist billionaire hero’s armours are not only constructed from an array of incredibly strong, (and almost all of them being fictional), alloys, they are also bolstered by force fields.

Each different masterpiece of Starktech is a self-contained environment, all of them massively enhancing strength, and other attributes dependant on the model.

Every armour has pretty much every communications and navigations system you can think of, from radio to radar to sonar and of course, the sexiest parts, the assorted on-board weaponry.

They even have a filtration system if you need to take a whizz.

Genius that he is, Stark has multiple energy systems set up, and then some back up power systems such as solar energy, just in case he hasn’t kicked enough ass that day and wants to declare war on Latvia.

The first appearance of Iron Man, March 1963. The MK I armour was actually made of real iron.

“Is it the suit that makes the man, or the man that makes the suit?”

A bit of both. Stark’s armors are not as rigid or solid as they appear, Iron Man’s armour is actually pretty complicated. It is not made out of anything truly solid.

Despite appearances they aren’t thick, encumbering plates, like medieval armour. The structural integrity of the armour is actually a powerful force field permeating each of roughly two million individual, yet working in unison, individual cells.

Each is a tiny and almost sentient unit in its own right; contributing energy and computing power for itself and being a team player with all the other cells in the entire armor; this is why each suit can take substantial damage and still remain highly functional.

Instead, each of the individual cells shift and maneuver unseen to optimize the suits attributes, this also keeps each suit lightweight and flexible.

The armour’s unique composition, the two million aforementioned microscopic units, each has the approximate mass of a grain of sand and are manipulated during the manufacturing process, reshaping them and giving them as large a surface area as possible to optimize their effectiveness.

Iron Man Chill-axing

Our main man wouldn’t be able to relax like that in the armour if was as solid as it looks.
Each suit is as comfortable as wearing a bathrobe.

Whilst Stark designs every aspect of every suit, the production of each armour is must be entirely automated, individually cell by cell. A system created, developed and supervised by Stark every step of the process.

During creation a specialized ‘pre-programmed’ bacteria is utilised, they consume a specifically pre-determined amounts of selected metals.

When it has gobbled the precise portions of each, it then arranges itself on a ‘pre-tagged’ area, a solid template called a ‘chip-wafer’, (manually constructed by Stark himself), then the little fella expires, leaving a miniscule amount of the desired alloy for the tagged area, and always some gallium-arsenide.

The basic principle of the suit is holistic; each part contains the whole, as it were. When inactive, the entire suit can collapse on the microscopic level, the cells ‘folding’ in on themselves to take up a smaller volume, whilst of course having the same mass, like a three-dimensional accordion pleat.

The tome of manufacturing badassery.

All the details of the armor’s construction listed above are laid out in the Iron Manual. However, some armours which appeared after publication of the Iron Manual ignore the amazing ideas it contains, making the writers of those stories total dicks.

The consistent defining abilities of Stark’s armours are the jets installed in the boots and the flight stabilizers in the gauntlets. The repulsor blasters originated from the flight stabilizer and have proven time and time again to double up as an invaluable weapon. They essentially blast off a charged up and directionally manipulated array of magnetised particles, resulting in a force beam.

Another consistent trait are the chest-mounted array of tools / weaponry like the infamous uni-beam, other variations  include the vario beam and tri-beam. What was originally a spotlight has evolved into the proton beam, and  has progressed to develop various other weapons, primarily light and force-based.

Why Marvel? Why? Is it an 80's thing to put Iron Man on roller skates?

Why Marvel? Why? Is it an 80’s thing to put Iron Man on roller skates?

 Some unique armours

Okay, beloved reader, you’ve been suitably scienced up, your friendly neighbourhood Rogue Advisor, though he would cool y’all down with a peek at some of the stranger, weirder and sometimes bamboozling parts of the starktech armoury.

Iron Man 2020

Always nice to know what year folk are from when they introduce themselves, eh?

Iron Man 2020 AD  

This isn’t actually Tony, it’s Arno Stark. Not the illegitimate love child of Stark and Arnold Schwarzenegger, although I wish he were, for that would be a powerful being indeed.

The Iron Man from seven years away, (it was much further in the  future when it was originally published), is in fact Tony’s evil nephew.

Arno Stark inherited Tony’s armoury but instead of righting wrongs and being in cool teams like the Avengers, he turned mercenary and did very bad things with it, including going back in time to cause trouble for the modern-day heroes. Leading one to assume that the heroes of the future just aren’t worth the effort of hassling.

MARK XXVIII – Asgardian Destroyer Armour

Sometimes referred to a the Asgardian buster armour. One would assume, given the name, it's purpose is to 'bust' Asgardians.

Sometimes referred to a the Asgardian buster armour.
One would assume, given the name, it’s purpose is to ‘bust’ Asgardians.

Stark created this armour after Thor went a bit mental in Slovakia, causing so much strife that it had the potential to start World War III. Being the good chum Tony is, he figured he’d slap some sense into him before things got out of hand.

The huge suit was powered by a reactor utilizing an enchanted, super-dense material, an unknown element of unknown origin that was given to Stark by Thor before he lost his cool. The demigod’s intentions were for Stark to turn into a form of sustainable energy source, to be used for the good of mankind.

It allowed the armour to tap into the same energy field that gives Thor’s hammer its strength and also absorbed the son of Odin’s thunderous strikes, it then channeled them through an integrated matrix and send them right back at him.

The movie version looks way cooler. Spikes make everything look cooler.

The movie version looks way cooler. Spikes make everything look cooler.

Stark was giving Thor a brutal kicking but the reactor malfunctioned. Stark hadn’t had time to perfect or test the design given the urgency of the situation.

The tables turned and Thor ripped the armour off of Iron Man, utterly destroying it, but it was merely an exoskeleton. Stark being a man to know when to quit, made a swift getaway in his standard armour that he was wearing underneath.

Anti-Transformer Armour

Anti Transformers Armour

Stark will take on pretty much anything based on just a rumour.
Even giant transforming alien robots.

That’s right beloved reader, Anti-Transformer armour. The giant transforming robots from Cybertron.  Marvel have the rights to Transformers when it comes to comics, so they thought they’d try and pull off a crazy crossover.

Stark had heard rumours of giant alien robots hiding on Earth. Just a rumour mind you, he hadn’t actually encountered any. But he figured he’d go ahead and create a giant suit of armour, specifically to fight giant transforming robots incase he did.

The armour hadn’t been perfected by the time it saw action, it was tough to power such a massive suit, thus it ran low on energy really quickly and if supplied from an external power source was prone to overload.

Iron Man still managed to kick some Decepticon butt until he was beheaded by the Megatron himself. Stark pulled the old escape-the-Asgardian-maneuver and exited the over-sized armour but continued combat in his Extremis Armour.

The Sorcerer Armour, Model I, Mark I

Sorcerer Armour

The armour allowed Stark to ‘cast’ spells faster than any other sorcerer by channelling the Eldritch Forces through its energy system.

For a while, Marvel published a series of comics set in a parallel universe simply titled ‘What If?‘. In issue 13 the hypothetical story line involves a drunken Tony Stark encountering renown surgeon Stephen Strange, (Dr. Strange. sorcerer supreme). Our intoxicated hero severely damaged Dr Strange’s hands, rendering his surgical career caput.

Ridden with guilt and an epic hangover, Stark spends years trying to find a way to correct his mistake and fix Stephen’s hands. His efforts lead him to Tibet where encounters a mystical chap who goes by the ominous name Ancient One.

The Ancient One explains to tony that the rights to his wrongs on the good doctor could only be discovered in mysticism. Thus Stark undergoes through months of sorcerers training, learning how to draw power with incantations from the Eldritch Forces that in the regular universe would have been Dr Stranges vocation, Tony becomes Earth’s Sorcerer Supreme Champion.

To make matters worse an immortal evil entity, Dormammu, also known as The Dread One; Lord of Chaos, The Great Enigma, and Master of the Mindless Ones is on his way to cause whatever havoc immortal entities with multiple scary names like to engage in.

With a new agenda Stark sets about what he does best, making bad-ass Starktech armour. The suit was constructed from materials from different dimensions; the perfect melding of magic and science, specifically designed to enter the Astral Plane and kick seven shades of s**t out of Dormammu.

Until next time. Stay informed.



As requested by the infamous, nefarious and downright decadent Zsa-Zsa-La-Trine; your friendly neighbourhood Rogue Advisor presents one of Marvel comic’s gems. He looks cool and has a cool power.

There he is in all his finery. Powers Unknown.

There he is in all his finery.
Powers Unknown.


To avoid any confusion, this is Taskmaster. Powers known.

To avoid any confusion, this is Taskmaster.
Powers known.

The Taskmaster, (created by David Michelinie and George Pérez), is more often than not primarily portrayed as a villain rather than the anti-hero he really is. Real name speculated to be Tony Masters, is a mysterious figure believed to have been born in Brooklyn, New York City, and once went by the  alias Contingency T.

He made his first appearance in Avengers vol.1 #195, (May 1980),before making his full début in Avengers vol.1 #196 in which he was introduced as an enemy, and gave them a pretty hard time. Although the Avenger’s line-up, with the exception of Iron man, was fairly lame at the time.

Because of his notoriety he usually finds employment within criminal organizations as a training instructor. However, in Taskmaster vol.2 #3 (2011), it was revealed he was a sleeper agent for S.H.I.E.L.D. planted by Nick Fury for the purpose of intelligence gathering. During this time though, Taskmaster had trained quite the contingent of super hero imposters meant to discredit the real thing; Blood Spider the criminal version of Spider-Man, Jagged Bow and Death-shield were trained to be replacing Hawkeye and Captain America.

So what’s this groovy power you mentioned?

Checking out all his bad-ass equipment may give you a clue.

Checking out all his bad-ass equipment may give you a clue.

Photographic reflexes

Photographic reflexes is the ability to essentially copy any skill, talent or ability you see. Anything that you see, even video footage will be sufficient. As long as he spends enough time observing another’s physical movements, no matter how complex, he can then go straight ahead and duplicate them without even needing to practice. Sweet. The drawback to this groovy power is that the new knowledge he gained from each observation will replace his previous non-skill related memories.

Due to these powers he can almost imitate super powers. For example he has discovered that watching Martial arts movies on fast-forward he is able to briefly duplicate the moves at a greatly increased velocity, effectively giving him a limited form of super-speed.

He was previously a naturally gifted athlete who trained himself to superb physical condition. He committed the fighting styles of:

Captain AmericaDaredevilElektraHawkeyePunisherTigraUSAgent, Spider-ManAnt-ManBatrocBoomerangBushwackerBlacklashGenis-VellCableDeadpoolFalconFataleFirestarIron FistJusticeMoon KnightPower Man, SilverclawSilver SamuraiShatterstar,  and Wolverine to memory, as well as many others.

As well as fully utilising his ability to copy the fighting techniques of others, he had mastered hundreds of forms of unarmed combat, both ancient and modern, and had created some of his own original techniques as well. As if that wasn’t enough he is skilled in the use of all conventional weaponry, an unerring marksman, master of swordsmanship, gymnastics with aerial acrobatic capabilities and adept at sleight of hand. This is not an individual you would ever want to get in a ruck with.

He has often shown the ability to actually predict an opponents next move before they make it if he has studied their fighting style enough. Opponents who are skilled at improvisational fighting styles, or who have a more random unpredictable style are less likely to have their moves predicted by Taskmaster. He is a master strategist and tactician, which he has used to great effect against Captain America and Iron Man during the siege of Asgard.

In addition to his already formidable abilities, he went about training his body to be in peak physical condition and engaged in intensive regular exercise. His strength, endurance, stamina, reflexes, and agility are on the level of an Olympic athlete. That means he can lift 440 lbs / 199.6 kg, that’s close to half a ton. Due to the intensity of his training he was nearly the physical equal of Captain America, and that’s without all the super soldier steroids.

He then went about recruiting a top team of scientists to recreate duplicate version of the weapons used by super-humans, which after having studied their skills, could utilise them with just as deadly efficiency as their respective original wielders.  Among such combat based finery was a copy of the Black Knight’s sword, Daredevil’s multi-purpose billy club, Hawkeye’s trick arrows and bow, a .45 calibre Colt automatic similar to the Punisher’s, and a shield designed like Captain America’s but it was not forged from Adamantium, therefore wasn’t indestructible; it was made from an Osmium alloy, the same alloy that the X-Men’s Colossus‘ flesh morphs into.

That's kick-ass guy with kick-ass gear. Take note y'all.

That’s kick-ass guy with kick-ass gear. Take note y’all.

Taskmaster has come to blows and also teamed up with Deadpool a number of times; the two became friends when Taskmaster started dating Sandi Brandenburg, Deadpool’s Personal Assistant when both were employed by Agency X at the same time.

Two of the badest mofos in one scene. Nice.

Two of the baddest mofos in one scene. Nice.


Taskmasters work with Deadpool, and thus observing and learning from him, led to a considerable change in appearance; he designed a costume that could efficiently accommodate all his spectacular new gear and was modelled on tactical battle armour. He ceased to encumber himself with the arsenal of duplicate weapons. His primary arms became a pair of semi-automatic handguns and a Katana, which he wielded with deadly grace after having observed the Silver Samurai’s fighting style. But by far his most efficient piece of gear is a prototype wrist-mounted device, stolen from S.H,E.I.L.D., that can spontaneously generate solid energy shapes. It can even be used to duplicate Captain America’s shield and Spider-Man’s webbing. Nice.

Deadpool should feel very flattered.

Deadpool should feel very flattered.


  • The Taskmaster was not capable of duplicating a physical feat if the effort to do so requires a superhuman effort. For instance, he could never fly, have X-ray vision or any abilities outside the parameters that a human could attain.
  • His abilities were also limited in that they did not grant him an innate understanding of underlying disciplines. For example, as a child, he nearly drowned after imitating a dive because while he was able to mimic the dive, he did not know how to swim. Because of this, he has a fear of drowning.
  • Taskmaster was unable to copy the moves of Alex Hayden ,(Agent X), for unknown reasons
  • When Taskmaster copies something new, it pushes old memories out of his brain in a form of amnesia.

Until next time. Stay informed.

The Good the Bad and the Unforgivable

Sorry, beloved reader, the title of this post is somewhat misleading; there is little good involved, apart from maybe laughing your abs into a six-pack at what follows. Here at Level Up our geek glands rage 24/7, whether it be for fantasy, Sci-Fi, RPGs or comics. But whenever there is good, there must be bad. A sad and kind of Taoist truth. Nerdy entertainment does seem to be a metaphorical yin-yang rollercoaster of laughter and tears. Today it’s tears I’m afraid. Your friendly neighbourhood Rogue Advisor has searched high and low for the most terrible, offensive and downright awful. For every Batman or Tony Stark, there’s a Kylun or a Typeface. Prepare to be impressed / unimpressed by characters that had to be created whilst drunk, high or threatened at gunpoint.


A crappy Thundercat rip-off with crappy powers.

A crappy Thundercat rip-off with crappy powers.
Essentially he is a humanoid tape-recorder.
How very 80’s.

Once a member of the British mutant team Excalibur and looking like a humanoid lion pretty much explains this blasphemy in printed format. He basically, being rather cat-like, had slightly better strength and agility than most and better senses. His main power wa to be abl to mimic nay sound. That’s it. That’s his angle, that’s what got him in a superhero team that defends the entire UK against super-powered threats. He also had magic swords that could not cause harm to the pure of heart, these lame blades turned up in later comics when the writers realised that he was so very rubbish. Needless to say, even with the new swords, he didn’t last long.


You'd think he'd be much groovier with a name like that.

You’d think he’d be much groovier with a name like that.

So, what can this Wraith character do? Can he become ethereal / incorporeal? Is he some sort of demonic other-worldly monster? Maybe even a soul-sucking, hell-born beast to be feared by all mortal men? Nope. Hector Rendoza’s ‘fearsome’ power is to have invisible skin. The X-Men took pity on him after he had been beaten s**tless by some normal, genetically average, humans. In a fight that he started. He nearly died from his wounds, but it was really easy to see if he had eaten that cheesecake you’d been saving in the fridge. He can transfer his transparent epidermisery to other people, making him the only mutant so terrible that his own body is trying to offload the X-gene. There were other characters in the Marvel universe called wraith too, all of them a damn sight more useful. There was John Wraith, he had military training, an extended lifespan and could teleport. There is also Brian DeWolff, known as Wraith, an ex-policeman with psionic powers and then we have Zak-Del Wraith who is immortal and has a gun that can transform into any kind of gun imaginable. Why Marvel? Why did you create Hector Rendoza the kid with invisible skin?




That’s right, beloved reader, freakin’ Jihad. Marvel comics presented us with is genie in a Fantastic Four storyline, where the bright green turbanless behemoth sent them on an item retrieving mystical quest. The character was a little controversial, his first appearance was eleven days before the September 11th attacks, and Jihad was a character bent on world conquest. For reasons I cannot fathom he hasn’t made an appearance since.


Unemployment is hard to deal with in the USA apparently. It drives people to use giant lettering as weaponry.

Unemployment is hard to deal with in the USA apparently. It drives people to use giant lettering as weaponry.

The economy is the real villain in this tale. Ex-US Army soldier Gordon Thomas went home to become a sign smith. The American dream. But alas, poor Gordon’s dreams were shattered when he was laid off from his job at ‘Ace Signs’ when a man named George Finch takes over the company. Mr Thomas does what anyone else would do in that situation; he wrote a giant ‘R’ on his forehead, for ‘retribution’, called himself Typeface and went on a rampage with an arsenal of giant letters. The saddest part of this tale is that he actually kicked the crap out of Spiderman. He then changed the ‘R’ on his spam to an ‘A’ for ‘Annihilation’.

Squirrel Girl

She is kinda sexy. Anyone else developing a squirrel fetish?

She is kinda sexy. Anyone else developing a squirrel fetish?

Doreen Green is her name and she can communicate with squirrels. Yup, that’s right beloved reader, once again Marvel comics have subjected us to more lameness. For some reason though, she is extremely accomplished in the area of villain butt-kicking. Teamed up with her squirrel companion Tippy-Toe, she has defeated Doctor Doom, a task that the entire of the Fantastic Four have difficulty with and in another story line the bushy-tailed duo have even defeated Thanos. For those of you who don’t know who Thanos is, please follow the handy link to discover how incredibly powerful and god-like he is. But give credit where credit is due, the Marvel writers had to be pretty creative to pull off those stories.



What can I say about this guy? Really?

It’s DC comics turn to bow their collective heads with shame. This character covers the trendy topics of racism and AIDS in one horrifying package. He is basically a vampire, which generally are powerful enough critters to take on super powered folk. The skinny albino blood sucker was created, laboratory style, by a white supremacist group to rid the world of anyone who wasn’t a honky. This is accomplished by giving them AIDS, which he managed to infect some of the members of the New Guardians with. Thanks DC.

These characters are terrible. How can it possibly get any worse?


Armless Tiger Man

Pfft. Ha. ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

Pfft. Ha. ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

Yes, beloved reader, we’ve saved the ‘best’ for last. Armless Tiger Man is a man – wait for it – with all the power of an armless tiger. Like our feline chum Kylun, Gustav Hertz has the augmented agility, strength, senses etc. of that great hunting cat, the tiger; but without the baggage of having arms. Who needs the encumbrance of four limbs? Especially prehensile ones. This extremely bipedal chap was a WWII villain who lost his arms whilst working as a machinist. Quite appropriately he then vowed vengeance upon all things industrial. He was eventually caught by the Gestapo who sent him to America to wreak his two limbed, anti-machine hatred.

Until next time. Stay informed.

The Legend of You

It should really be called the Legend of Link, not the Legend of Zelda.  Coming from humble beginnings he struggles against monsters, dungeons and awkward Nintendo puzzles. But that teasing, troublesome tart Zelda never even gave our hero a flash of boob for all his daring efforts.

You deserve better Link. I'm sure there are plenty more pointy-eared princesses out there who would be gagging for a bad-ass adventurer like yourself.

You deserve better Link. I’m sure there are plenty more pointy-eared princesses out there who would be gagging for a bad-ass adventurer like yourself.

What kind of legend are you?

There is a legend inside us all, but nobody is born that way, we all have to start somewhere.  Heroic tales of regular folk rising to the challenge, facing all the trials that Hyrule / London / New York / Tokyo etc. can throw at them and coming out on top. Heroic tales wouldn’t be nearly as inspiring without all the effort they put in to conquer hardship, yet come out on top. Yay for the underdog.

Our multi-talented hero will even go so far as to risk a time / space paradox that could potentially destroy the known universe by learning the Song of Storms from a man in the Kakariko village, then travelling back in time and playing the Song of Storms in the windmill in as a child; so that same man learns the tune and can then teach it to Link in the future. What lengths will you go to in order to reach your goals?

So what can we learn from this damsel rescuing, dungeon delving, Paradox dodging, all round awesome adventurer?

What can’t we learn from Link? He’s a freakin’ legend. But we need to be ‘realistic’ about things, so here’s how we apply his heroic endeavours the Level Up way. Yay.

Find your motivation then explore everything

First you need to figure out what you want. Finding the motivation was easy for Link; he unwittingly found a sword, got a quest from a talking tree, busted his way through a bunch of dungeons, did a little time travel via an ocarina, kicked Ganondorf‘s ass and rescued the prudish princess.

Adventurers back in these days were total bastards. They'd barge into your gaff, uninvited, smash all your pots looking for your hidden rupees, and once totally looted be on their merry way.

Adventurers back in these days were total reprobates. They’d barge into your gaff uninvited, smash all your pots looking for your hidden rupees, and once totally looted and vandalised, they’d leave the legal tenant of the property rather disgruntled and in poverty, and be on their merry way.

There are literally thousands of fitness routines, skills and proficiencies out there; even ways to become smarter, so explore everything. Decide which attribute or skill you wish to work on, but make it something you really want, something fun or even something profitable. It really has got to be something you want though. Nobody ever succeeds getting in shape for the sake of it, or learning a new skill unless there’s a good reason or desire for it. Once your goals are defined, add the all important motivation. Like wanting to do serious strength training to be able to lift all those pesky rocks that seem to cover the entrance to anything useful in Hyrule, or training for a specific skill such as archery to clear those dungeon critters at long-range, or get up close and personal with some Swordsmanship. Then the motivation should fall sweetly into place. Once you have  a specific goal in mind, and the motivation has dug its heels into you, it’s on to the next nugget of Hyrulian wisdom.

Use the right tools for the job

Link's inventory clearly demonstrates my well-informed point.

Link’s inventory clearly demonstrates my well-informed point.

Link didn’t just charge straight through Hyrule, confront Ganondorf, grab little miss never-puts-out and ride off into the sunset. He had to run a gauntlet that covered all of Hyrule, in both past and present, each step of the way he was faced with obstacles that required him to figure out exactly what he needed for the task at hand. It wasn’t always obvious what he needed either; maybe a hook-shot to enter the forest temple, iron boots to navigate the water temple or a colossal hammer to smash stuff that allowed access to other areas.

The same applies to taking on a journey to learn and / or improve skills and attributes. There will be a lot of trial and error finding the correct method to achieve what you want. Always give new ideas a try, but be weary, there are many fads out there waiting to take your hard-earned rupees, be sure to research thoroughly and pay nothing up front. The minions of evil are trying their darndest to sabotage us and our quest to legendary status. They’re even making a profit from it. Check out these disturbing links: The Flex Belt, Ab Circle Pro, and my all time favourite ridiculous, ineffectual piece of rubbish Power Spin. Beware, beloved reader, these are the tools of the foolish, not the tools of the legendary.

As anyone can clearly see, this is f**king retarded. These are not the tools you're looking for.

As anyone can clearly see, this is f**king retarded. These are not the tools you’re looking for.

Find the right training for the results you want

Sounds a lot simpler than it is. You need to know what kind of training will garner the results you are after. You won’t be a great basketball player if you go powerlifting and don’t instead practice plyometrics. Not doing your research may lead you into fitness ruts, you could end up doing the same ineffectual workouts and be totally befuddled as to why it’s not working. Going to the gym and feeling obliged to bodybuild is a fine example of a fitness rut; Lifting heavy on a split body part routine whilst pumping yourself full of excessive amounts of protein aren’t the right tools to become an endurance athlete for example. I know how tricky it is to go to gyms and avoid the bodybuilding peer-pressure, don’t misunderstand me, beloved reader, there is nothing wrong with bodybuilding if that’s your goal, but these vile dungeons called gyms are full of meat-heads, jocks and gym-rats and are quite the environment of unspoken coercion. All you have to do to avoid this awful phenomenon is visualise those that have fallen for some fitness fad-trap, (cue Admiral Akbar), there will be plenty of them in there, and realise how sickeningly sycophantic they are; then have a great workout knowing you will reach your goals because you’ve dodged that misinformation bullet, whilst they probably don’t even know what they are working toward at all, and more than likely quit after a few weeks.

Most of you will probably want to train more sports / skill specific; muscular endurance and flexibility for Martial Arts, cardiovascular endurance to compete in marathons or for the true bad-asses, like Link, go and compete in the pentathlon with his swimming skills, constantly running everywhere, equestrian prowess, unrivaled marksmanship and expert swordsmanship, he’d totally own it.

Training can all be accomplished in the gym or at home, even outdoors if you don’t mind the inarticulate japes of the ignorant and sedentary that plague the streets. At home is my personal preference, that way I can avoid distractions from people who use the gym solely as a social gathering, and the gym-rats trying to ‘inform’ you. Plus home training always allows access to the equipment I require, without waiting for some rude guy using what I need to use and is unwilling to share. The choice of training environment will depend greatly on the skill you are improving.

Don’t be shy to use assistance or ask for help

Please don't kill me. Please don't kill me.Please don- What? Your helpful. You look like the nototrious soul sucking goth queen of Camden.

“Please don’t kill me. Please don’t kill me.
Please don-” “What? Your helpful. You look like a Camden skag head that levitates.”

Link asks for help all the time, even though he is truly bad-ass, he knows in his rather ample stores of applied wisdom, that he cannot complete this epic solo quest without a boost from some unlikely new friends. He enlists help from frog choirs to families that have been magically transformed into Skulltulas, from going through overly long trials and tribulations to acquire a new song from some twat who wants nothing more than to inconvenience our hero, to that brutally hard second race on Lon Lon Ranch to get Epona whose help is essential to help get him through his epic quest.

If you’re hitting it hard on the bench press don’t be shy to ask for a spot, that is assuming you don’t have a training partner, if not there can some agreeable and amiable folk to be found in the gym, far fewer than your friendly neighbourhood Rogue Advisor would like, but there are some helpful chaps and lasses.

Or if you can’t manage to perform pull-ups yet, don’t feel abashed, regardless of the disapproving looks you may get from the gym-rats, about using the pull-up assist platform on the gym’s machine, remember that those meat-heads and jocks had to start somewhere as well, so screw them and their arrogant criticism. They probably have erectile dysfunction after all the steroids they’ve pumped themselves with. Or if you’re attempting pull-ups at home, work up to them gradually, start off with inverted rows, then maybe hit the pull-up bars with the assistance of resistance bands, like our hero Link, you will get there eventually. If you put in the effort, it really is just a matter of time.

The perfect assistance with pull-ups, especially when in a very spikey room. EEK.

The perfect assistance with pull-ups, especially when in a very spiky room. Does Batman know he has this?

Don’t bite off more than you can chew 

Link didn’t strut straight up to Ganondorf / Ganon thinking he could take the gargantuan villain on right away, he knew he had to work up to it. And work hard he did, numerous dungeons did he delve through, gathering all the items and power ups he would need to face such a deadly adversary.

Unlike the gym-rats, Link is quite capable of taking on this guy. He's done the training, done the research and selected the right tools for the job.

Unlike the gym-rats, Link is quite capable of taking on this guy. He’s done the training, done the research and selected the right tools for the job.

Basically, leave your ego at the door when you enter the gym. I see way too often, guys slapping on the poundage on a barbell, that they clearly cannot lift properly. They pick it up swing it all over the place with awful technique and form, and gaining very little for their ‘efforts’. Their ego said “lift heavy”, this is good advice, but what is meant by lifting heavy is the greatest weight you can mange, not a vast amount of iron beyond your current capabilities. Remember it is the exercise itself that produces the anabolic effects we desire, the weight is merely there to offer resistance. With consistent training that resistance will increase when you train with perfect form. It wont increase if your cheating the movement by swinging, potentially risking injury, and looking foolish to anyone with even a smidgen of kinesiological knowledge. Behold, exhibit A:

But that’s not to say don’t push yourself a little harder each workout. If you can add some resistance, then do so. Strength training, or any kind of training for that matter is a slow progress. Kind of like geology; it takes time and pressure added in carefully measured increments. Always keep a record on an Excel spreadsheet, it’s a really handy tool to keep track of weights / reps / sets /distance etc. also it’s really nice to look back a few weeks through your training log, to see how well you’ve progressed. A good motivational tool.

Great for adding resistance to chins, pull ups, dips and completing the water temple.

Great for adding resistance to chins, pull ups, dips and completing the water temple.

A rest day is a rest day

I’ve heard way too much bullshit about ‘off’ day conditioning. The point of a rest day is to recover, that’s when the magic happens. All physical attributes grow during the days off, don’t add any more. If the training regime requires rest days, you must take them. That’s not to say do completely nothing on those days. Light activity, known as ‘active rest’, is a great tactic. Engage in some light activity such as walking, playing pool, and of course fishing. It’s when your resting after training and getting proper nutrition, that your body is making its repairs, leading to the attribute, skill and sports performance gains you worked so hard for in the workouts.

Even our intrepid hero takes a relaxing break from adventuring. Link knows the value of recovery.

Even our intrepid hero takes a relaxing break from adventuring. Link knows the value of recovery.

Never quit

Does Link simply hang up his sword, shield, bow, boomerang, ocarina, various masks and bottled fairies to call it a day? Nope. But that doesn’t mean be too strict. If your working hard, taking an extra day off as a reward is fine, having a filthy great cheat meal like a massive pizza is fine too. But don’t make a habit of it. Sure, the results of training are the rewards of our work. But without our little evils, we will end up wondering why it’s worth it, we are not machines. Yet. Viva Skynet.

Until next time. Stay informed.


Addressing the Target

There should be a boom in this wonderous and deliciously roguish art given recent TV programming and RPG rogue and / or ranger enthusiasts should start their larceny and / or geekiness glands pumping.

Oliver Queen. If you haven't seen the show simply titled 'Arrow', then I suggest you do so immediately.

This is Oliver Queen.
If you haven’t seen the show simply titled ‘Arrow’, then I suggest you do so immediately. Now.

That’s right, beloved reader, today your friendly neighbourhood Rogue Advisor will be taking you through kinesiological attribute enhancement for the noblest and most dextrous form of marksmanship.


So what makes a good archer? The same mighty stuff as any other athlete; firstly knowledge in one’s chosen art, then the discipline to apply the know how, followed by the hard work to see it all through to fruition.

We wont be going too deep into technique; trying to teach someone the finer points of archery from a blog would be like trying to teach a vegan how to prepare Halal. Therefore, beloved toxophilite, we will cover the very basics and then the juicy kinesiology. Yay.

1 – Stance: Stand perpendicular to your target, feet roughly shoulder width apart and straddling the shooting line. Balance your weight evenly over both feet, maintaining perfect posture but don’t stiffen your spine, it will need to remain flexible to absorb recoil. Place your back foot parallel with the line and angle the forward foot slightly toward the target whilst keeping a little slack in the knees.

2 – Nock: Sounds simple but there is a technique to this, all these stages matter. Nocking the arrow is the part where you place it against the bow-string and also preparing to draw. Be  sure that the index feathers point away from the bow, lay the arrow itself upon the arrow-rest, then snap the nock onto the bow-string under the nocking point. Simple. This process guarantees a consistent draw every time, assisting accuracy. Once your set, take the string in the first joint of the first three fingers of the drawing hand.

3 – Pre-draw: Raise the bow towards the target and lock the extended bow arm into position.

At a point like this you'll really want to be drawing faster. With enough practice it'll all happen in a flash.

At a point like this you’ll really want to be drawing faster. With enough practice it’ll all happen pre-trampling / goring rather than post mutilation.

4 – Draw: This is where the kinesiology comes in; pushing with the tricep of the bow arm and pull back with the latissimus dorsi, posterior deltoid and outer head of the biceps brachii of the drawing arm until the bow-string touches your nose and lips. Your elbow should stop behind and slightly above your shoulder, putting the resulting muscular tension on the mid-trapezius fibres.

5 – Anchor: The final stage of a correctly performed draw sequence. In the anchoring stage the drawing hand comes to rest against your face before aiming and releasing. The anchor point can be either the chin or cheek, whichever you feel most comfortable with.

6 – Aim: This really cannot be instructed, it will become second nature over time. Try to align the bow-sight with the target and try to factor in wind, distance and drift.

7 – Release: Squeeze all those muscles tight that you now are working to hold the position, open the drawing hand and let that arrow fly.

8 – Follow through: When the arrow leaves the bow, continue pulling the drawing hand along the base of your neck and allow the bow to move forward in your bow-hand. Then inspect your handy-work.

Hawkeye demonstrates the stance and by proxy those muscles used when performing it, that we will be focusing on.

Hawkeye demonstrates the stance and by proxy those muscles used when performing it. That’s what we will be focusing on.

The supplementary workout

Because that’s what it is. When you are training for a skill such as archery, the resistance training is an added bonus to hours of technical drills and target practice. This routine would be best practiced only once or twice per week, and not on consecutive days. Why are we focusing on enhancing the above stance? Because pulling back a bow-string isn’t an easy task, then to keep it steady whilst aiming is even harder. Therefore, beloved reader, we are strengthening the muscles involved so the archer themselves can maintain the stance for extended periods, allowing longer to aim with fresh perspective and therefore greater accuracy. Logic. Follow the handy links for exercise instruction, (sorry but Level Up still is bereft of recording equipment; stay tuned), and perform two to three sets of each.

Seated cable rows, (with isometric contraction): We begin the workout with focus on the lats and the mid-trapezius; they are doing the greatest deal of work. First the lats are the prime movers in pulling the bow-string back with the hands somewhere between a supinated and pronated grip, thus the choice of grip on the exercise. Once back there though, the mid-trapezius is holding everything steady for as long as it takes to make the shot. That’s where isometrics comes in handy, at the peak of each concentric movement hold that position of two seconds before repeating the movement; really focusing on the mid-trapezius. Go comfortably heavy on these; enough weight to manage 10 to 12 reps with perfect form.

Bent-over dumbbell flye: Next is the rear head of the deltoids. It has already been assisting the lats and traps on the pull, now we want them to become inexhaustible pillars of contraction. Be really carefull with form on this movement, keeping the lower back perfectly straight and be sure not to cheat / swing the weight up into position. Mid to light weight with these, perform around 12 to 15 reps on this movement.

Dips, (with isometric contraction): The tricep of the extended arm is stabilising the bow, thus we need to work the three-headed rear of the arm muscle with isometric work. Pause and hold at the lowest point of the dip, the mid-point of the movement and at full extension for 10 seconds. This tactic essentially takes the plyometric effect out of the equation, forcing the triceps to become stabilizing machines. Nice. Only perform one set of these for as many reps as possible.

Concentration curls: Just as the triceps have three ‘heads’ that make up the whole muscle group, biceps have two distinct ‘heads’. We will be focusing on the long head, (outer head), that is also assisting with our bow-string pulling. Go super light on these, they are the proverbial cherry on the kinesiology cake and nothing more. Aim for 12 to 15 reps.

Cable twists: Once the bow-string is pulled all the way back, any further turning to aim is done by the transverse abdominus. This little number will not only make the action of turning to aim quicker and easier, it’ll tone the waistline to heroic slimness. Sweet.

Note that it’s not a full body workout, that would be entirely up to the individual archer whether or not they wish to pursue such levels of fitness. This supplementary workout is intended to strengthen basics.

Hopefully you feel a little more ballistically inclined.

Hopefully you feel a little more ballistically inclined.


Just to keep things concise and informative, beloved reader, I present the terminology of this fine skill in all it’s medieval jargonified glory.

  • Addressing the Target: The archer’s stance straddling the shooting line prior to shooting the arrow.
  • Aim: Visually lining up a sight pin to the center of the target; if a sight is not used, visual placement of the tip of the arrow on a specific point while shooting at a target over a given distance.
  • Anchor Point: The fixed position of the bowstring hand on the jaw or cheek while holding or aiming.
  • Archer’s Paradox: Situation in which the arrow flies in the direction aimed although its initial movement is in a different direction.
  • Arm Guard: Device worn on forearm and wrist areas of the bow arm to protect the arm from impact.
  • Arrow Plate: The piece to which the arrow rest is attached.
  • Arrow Rest: Device mounted just above the arrow shelf on the bow on which the arrow rests during draw, hold and release.
  • Arrowsmith: Individual specializing in making arrows and/or arrowheads.
  • Back: The side of the bow limb away from the string.
  • Bare Bow: Method of shooting which does not use a bow sight.
  • Billet: One of two short pieces joined at the handle to make a bow.
  • Blunt: Arrow with a blunt tip for use on small game.
  • Bow Arm: The arm in which the bow is held.
  • Bowyer: One who makes bows.
  • Brace/String Height: Distance between the pivot point of the bow and the string. AKA: Fistmale.
  • Bracing: Process of stringing the bow in preparation for shooting, by placing the bowstring loops into position in the notches of the bow.
  • Bull’s Eye: The center of the target or that part of the target face with the highest scoring value.
  • Butt: A mound of straw on which the target face is placed.
  • Cast: the speed with which an arrow is shot.
  • Clout: Shooting at a relatively long distance at a large target lying, or painted, flat on the ground.
  • Composite Bow: Bow composed of two or more materials, such as wood and fiberglass. Invented by H.W. Allen in 1966, designed with an eccentric pulley system to maximize pull weight poundage at mid-draw and minimize stacking at full draw.
  • Bow Creeping: Undesired forward motion of the bowstring from the anchor point immediately prior to release.
  • Crest: Colored bands on the arrow used to identify a set.
  • Director of Shooting: The individual in charge of shooting. AKA: Field Captain; Lady Paramount.
  • Double Round: Shooting the same round twice.
  • Draw: The process of moving the bowstring with nocked arrow from brace height to the archer’s anchor point on the face.
  • Drift: Deviation in the flight of an arrow due to wind.
  • End: A set number of arrows which are shot before going to the target (typically 3, 5, or 6) to score and retrieve them.
  • Face: The side of the bow nearest the string. AKA: Belly.
  • Finger Tab: Leather device worn to prevent blistering on the surface of the three drawing fingers.
  • Fletching: The stabilizing feathers attached to an arrow between the nock and crest. See vane.
  • Follow-Through: The act of holding the release position until the arrow has struck the target.
  • Freestyle: Style of shooting using a bow-sight.
  • Flu-Flu: An arrow with large or spiraled fletchings, which increase drag and reduce the arrow’s range.
  • Grip/Handle: The center portion of the bow where the hand exerts pressure during the draw.
  • Grouping: The arrangement of the end of arrows on the target face after they have been shot.
  • Hanging Arrow: An arrow that does not penetrate the target, but dangles from its point.
  • Hen Feathers: The two feathers on either side of the index feather. Traditionally, these feathers are not as flamboyant as the index feather.
  • Hit: An arrow which embeds itself within one of the scoring areas on the target face.
  • Holding: The act of maintaining the bow and arrow in a stable position at full draw prior to release.
  • Index Feather: The feather at right angle to the slit in the nock of the arrow and usually a different color from the remaining feathers. AKA: cock feather.
  • Kick: When the bow shoots with a jar to the bow hand.
  • Kiss Button: A contact point on the bowstring for the archer’s lips to touch as to insure consistency and accuracy of the anchor point.
  • Let Down: Releasing tension after drawing without releasing the arrow.
  • Limbs: The energy-storing parts of the bow located above and below the riser.
  • Longbow: A long, relatively straight bow that preceded the recurve bow in many cultures.
  • Nock: Device on the end of the arrow opposite the point, made with a groove for holding the arrow to the bowstring when placed in position for shooting.
  • Nocking: The technique of placing the arrow on the bowstring in preparation for shooting.
  • Nock Locator: The stops on the serving of the bowstring which mark the nocking point for the arrow.
  • Nocking Point: The position on the string where the arrow is placed. Typically marked by the nock locator.
  • Notch: The slits at the ends of the bow for the string.
  • Overdraw: Drawing the arrow beyond the face of the bow or drawing the bow to its point of maximum stress on the limbs.
  • Peeking: Undesired motion of the archer’s head at time of release in an attempt to follow the arrow trajectory into the target.
  • Plucking: Undesired lateral motion of the string hand and arm away from the bowstring at time of release.
  • Point/Pile: The tip of the arrow that pierces the target. Classifications include: target; field; broadhead; and blunt.
  • Point-Blank Range: Distance at which the archer may utilize the center of the target as an aiming point.
  • Point-of-Aim: A technique, whereby the archer uses a mark unattached to the bow and usually on the ground as an alignment point.
  • Pressure Point: Place on the arrow plate against which the arrow lies and exerts pressure when the arrow is released. It can be cushioned or spring-loaded.
  • Quiver: Any device designed to hold arrows not being shot.
  • Range: Area designated for target or field archery.
  • Rebound: An arrow that bounces off the target face.
  • Recurve Bow: Bow manufactured so the ends of the limbs deflect toward the back of the bow to increase leverage when the bow is braced.
  • Release: The act of putting the arrow into flight due to a release of pressure on the bowstring. AKA: Loose.
  • Riser: The areas of the bow just above and below the grip.
  • Round: Term used to designate the number of arrows to be shot at specific distances at specific target faces or targets.
  • Self Bow: A bow made of one piece of wood or raw material.
  • Serving: Protective thread wrapped around the bowstring where the arrow is nocked.
  • Shaft: The body of the arrow upon which the nock, fletching, and point are mounted, and the crest is printed.
  • Shooting Line: The line straddled by archers during shooting which indicates a specific distance from the target in target archery.
  • Sight/Bow-sight: Adjustable device attached to the bow which facilitates the aiming process for the archer.
  • Skirt/Petticoat: The outermost perimeter of the target face outside the scoring area.
  • Spine: The measured deflection of an arrow when depressed by a two-pound weight at its center.
  • Stabilizer: Weighted device added to the riser of the bow and designed to reduce torque and absorb shock upon release.
  • Stacking: Disproportionate increase in bow weight during the last few inches of the draw.
  • Stave: Full-length piece of wood used to make a bow.
  • Tackle: Equipment used by an archer.
  • Target Captain: Individual at each target designated to determine and call the score of each arrow and pull them from the target.
  • Target Face: The scoring area of the target.
  • Tiller: Device for holding the bow at draw and to inspect the curvature.
  • Toxophilite: Individual pursuing the sport of archery, as a participant and/or student.
  • T-Square: Device used to measure brace height and locate the nocking point on the bowstring.
  • Trajectory: The parabolic flight pattern of an arrow following release.
  • Tuning: Adjustment of arrow rest, pressure point, string height and nocking height to improve arrow flight; includes determination of correct spine.
  • Vane: A term used most commonly when fletching is made of plastic or rubber instead of feathers.
  • Weigh/Draw Weight: The bow manufacturer’s determined number of pounds required to draw each bow’s string at a given draw length.
  • Windage: The effect of wind on the arrow’s flight.
  • Window: Viewing space between the side of the bow and the string at full draw.
You should now feel able to select a perk. Yay.

You should now feel able to select a perk. Yay.

Until next time. Stay informed.