Hello and welcome to anew series for The Bioneer: Humanly Possible. Here, I’ll be focussing on thecoolest feats, powers, and skills from fiction to see if anything like them isremotely humanly possible.
And to begin with,I’ll be looking at the bullet-fu or gun kata seen in movies like John Wick, TheMatrix, Equilibrium, and anything directed by John Woo. Not to mention gameslike Max Payne and My Friend Pedro.
Here’s the problem:martial arts movies have been accused of being redundant. What good is it to bea top class living weapon, when someone can just pull a gun on you? Of course,a gun fight is typically far shorter and less balletic than your average kungfu throw-down! And thus, gun-fu was born: highly stylized gunplay that turnsshooting people into a highly choreographed dance. Where the hero somehowmanages to dance through bullets, often in slow motion, while usually firingtwo guns at the same time.
So: is it humanlypossible? Can you really dodge a bullet? Or at least take on a squad ofhenchman in cool style with any chance of success? Can you do anything toincrease your chances of not being shot in a gun fight?
Can You Dodge a Bullet?
Let’s start withdodging bullets. The short answer here is that no, you cannot dodge a bullet.
This is physically impossible,due to a number of different factors: not least the fact that it takes too longfor signals to travel through your nervous system. The very fastest nerveimpulses travel at roughly 250 miles an hour (though this depends on the typeof nerve) and the time it takes for a signal to travel from your brain to yourhand is around 0.3 seconds (a blink takes about 0.1 seconds).
This isn’t evencounting the amount of time it takes for the visual information to travel fromthe eye to the brain, such that we know we’re going to need to dodge.This takes about 13 milliseconds. What’s more, is that this information isactually “delayed” to be for the amount of time it takes for the brain toreceive information from the proprioceptors of the foot. In other words, allinformation is delayed until the point in time that it takes for our lastsensory input to reach us. As Michael from VSauce explains in an excellentvideo, this is so that all the information from the body arrives at the sametime and doesn’t appear out of sync! It also means that taller peopleunfortunately have slower reactions.
Now, consider that atypical handgun fires at 2,500 feet per second. Thus, in 0.3 seconds, it hastravelled 750 feet.
Bottom line? You’renot dodging that! In fact, as many bullets travel faster than the speed ofsound, you wouldn’t even hear the gunshot until you were already hit!
Can you guess whensomeone will shoot and thus anticipate the trajectory? Almost certainly not, asthere are simply too many variables to predict here , even with just oneopponent!
It should come as nosurprise then to learn that there is no real life gun kata. There are martialarts designed around fighting with guns, using them as bluntinstruments. Likewise, there are correct stances and methods for usingfirearms. Of course, many self defence techniques also focus on disarming armedassailants. But as far as a real life gun kata is concerned? Nope, doesn’texist.
So, someone puts a gunto your head and you’re dead right? Well, not quite!
Your One Shot: The OODA Loop
In a reallyfascinating experiment, two participants of “equal skill” were faced oppositeone another. One had a gun, one did not. The unarmed subject was instructed tostand with their hands up, and to attempt to disarm their opponent as soon asthey saw an opportunity. The gunman meanwhile was instructed to fire as soon asthey saw the other person move.
You would think thatthe unarmed participant would lose every time. However, almost the exactopposite was true: in nearly every case, the gun toting operator lost.
Keep in mind that thisexperiment was not published in a peer reviewed journal, but was conducted atthe Suarez International training facility and reported in Black Belt Magazine.So take it with a pinch of salt. But that said, there is actually a goodexplanation for what may be going on here.
We cannot dodgebullets due to limitations in the processing speed of the human brain. But thatis also the limitation we can use against an opponent. Why? Because ifsomeone is pointing a gun at you and hasn’t already fired, then they are likelywaiting for you to do something. That now means you can plan ahead: you knowwhat you’re going to do next whereas they have to react. Visualise a plan ofattack first, and you might just pull it off.
This is due tosomething called the OODA loop. First outlined by military strategist ColonelJohn Boyd, this acronym stands for Observe, Orient, Decide, Act. These fourstages are considered essential when taking any action, and are estimated toeach take at least 1/4th of a second. By preplanning, you canessentially therefore gain a small advantage over your opponent. This is called“getting inside the OODA loop.”
A similar trick Ilearned in Karate was to use a form of distraction by talking and thenattacking mid sentence. The human brain is naturally programmed to wait for theend of a sentence, and task switching in this interrupted manner takes evenmore time and processing. They’re still waiting for you to finish talking andyou’ve just hit them square in the face.
This is an example ofbreaking an adversary’s OODA loop through chaos and uncertainty. The more chaosand confusion you can cause, the harder it will be for your opponent to adaptand respond. Another good example is that if you suspect an intruder in yourhome, instead of creeping cautiously into the living room to confirm yoursuspicions, you might do better to suddenly jump and shout as you enter theroom – thereby startling them and gaining an upper hand.
There are other waysto get inside the enemy’s OODA loop too. One is to identify threats and orientyourself correctly before an encounter. We can of course accomplish thisbetter by training situational awareness: positioning ourselves smartly in aroom, being mindful of our environments, and learning to quickly scan forpoints of interest.
Remaining undetectedfor as long as possible is also a powerful strategy. I love the analogy of asubmarine. This vessel is far more vulnerable than a huge aircraft carrier orbattleship, but can potentially take out an entire fleet of each simply byremaining undetectable. I wrote an article all about using ninja concepts inthe modern day, so check that out if you’re interested.
So while you can’toutmanoeuvre a gun, you might just be able to use psychology to your advantage.Of course your own psychology must also be – for lack of a better word –bulletproof. You must be accustomed to making snap decisions under extremepressure, and remaining calmly aware of your surroundings at all times. Checkout my videos and posts on flow states for more on how to do this. Apparentlythe best performing marines are those that produce greater amounts ofneuropeptide y and DHEA which allows them to maintain a “metronomic heart rate”in highly stressful situations. We can improve our own ability to remain calmby using breathing techniques such as the fourfold breath, also taught tomilitary personnel. Engaging peripheral vision with hakalau meditation can alsohelp to keep us calmer, while also improving our ability to react to things inour field of vision.
A moment’s hesitationand you’re dead. And this is something that is conveyed well in John Wick: heis extremely efficient with every movement. And his unflinching expression istestament to how calm he is throughout even the most intense firefight.
So, is gun furealistic then? Not at all. And I highly recommend that if someone ever pulls agun on you, you do as they ask and then get out of there. All it takes is forthem to have a knee jerk reaction to pull that trigger and it’s game over.
But perhaps with theright psychology and strategy, steely determination, and decades of training,an assassin like John Wick could ever so slightly tip the scales slightly totheir advantage in a gun fight. And that’s still pretty cool.
And we can all benefitfrom situational awareness and understanding the OODA loop to apply in otheraspects of our lives.
Does Gun Fu work in real life? ›
Almost certainly not, as there are simply too many variables to predict here , even with just one opponent! It should come as no surprise then to learn that there is no real life gun kata. There are martial arts designed around fighting with guns, using them as blunt instruments.Is it possible to dodge a bullet? ›
Bullet dodging, Scientific American reports, is one such make-believe ability invented by Hollywood. Regardless of your speed and finesse, no human can dodge a bullet at close range. The bullet is simply traveling too fast. Even the slowest handguns shoot a bullet at 760 miles per hour, SciAm explains.What is John Wick's favorite gun? ›
HK P30L. In the inaugural John Wick film, we see our titular character dig up his old gear and guns. From an OTF knife to the various handguns for his return to work. His main handgun being the Heckler and Koch P30L.What fighting style is used in John Wick? ›
For most of Wick's bladed encounters, he relies upon a Filipino martial art known as Arnis. Wick favors a straight-bladed knife, like the double-edged automatic knife he takes on assignment in John Wick: Chapter 2, but many of his enemies wield the iconic karambit dagger.Who perfected gun fu? ›
John Woo originated the style that would later be called gun fu in the 1986 Hong Kong action film A Better Tomorrow.Can prop guns be real? ›
Prop firearms are either real guns or specifically made to be blank firing only. Blank ammunition has a cartridge that when fired produces realistic effects such as noise, smoke, a muzzle flash and recoil, they contain gunpowder but does not have a bullet.Will a bullet go through a human? ›
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, falling bullets can hit the ground at speeds greater than 61 metres per second (m/s). Bullets travelling between 46 and 61 m/s penetrate skin. Faster than this, and they can penetrate the skull.What can go faster than a bullet? ›
Speed of light—faster than a speeding bullet.Can a bullet break a skull? ›
Firearm bullets like 158 grain 0.38-inch special plain lead bullets can penetrate human skulls, but only on a single side. If a gun were equipped with 0.357-inch magnum semi-jacketed bullets or 158 grain 0.38-inch Special + P lead bullets, then the bullet can penetrate both sides of the skull.What is John Wick's weakness? ›
Anger and Revenge: John's determination in going after his target is both his greatest strength and his weakness as he often refuses to stop pursuing them, even when it would be in his interest to do so, or even wait for a better opportunity to strike.
What caliber is John Wicks P30L? ›
Heckler & Koch P30L
The model featured in John Wick is chambered in 9x19mm Parabellum and uses the same 15-round magazines as the original.
Why does John Wick tilt his gun? John Wick uses CAR, or Center Axis Relock. It's a method of Close Quarters Combat (CQC) shooting that claims to bolster weapon retention and speed of target transition in extreme close quarters.Who was John Wick trained by? ›
It is revealed in the John Wick comic book mini-series that he spent a significant portion of his adolescence in El Sauzel, Mexico. At one point, he was recruited by a Ruska Roma organized crime group and trained by its leader, a woman known as "the Director", in New York City.Who would win John Wick or James Bond? ›
In the end, both killers are the best at what they do, but when it comes to proficiency and pain tolerance, John has the capabilities to end Bond quickly. James' best chance would be if he could keep John at a distance and utilize his gadgets intelligently.Is Keanu Reeves a real martial artist? ›
A veteran in the world of cinematic martial arts, Keanu Reeves has certainly earned his reputation as a Hollywood badass. First learning a variety of karate and kung-fu for The Matrix franchise, Reeves has continued his martial arts training over the years.Is John Wick fighting realistic? ›
Action franchises like "John Wick," for instance, have a relatively high tolerance for unrealistic events. Though much of the fighting and gunplay in the film is true to life, no man (no matter how tough) could realistically fight dozens of trained assassins by himself.Who invented Gun Fu? ›
John Woo originated the style in the late '80s, with films like A Better Tomorrow and The Killer. He blended fast-paced martial arts with firearms to create one cohesive fighting system. Gun fu eventually made its way to U.S. shores, as films like Bulletproof Monk and Kick-Ass used it in a variety of scenes.What is Vash's gun based on? ›
45 Long Colt (EF Auto Ejecting, Double Action) is Vash and Knives' weapon of choice. The modern . 45 Long Colt cartridge has ballistic properties equal to, or even surpassing, those of a . 44 magnum cartridge.Can blank rounds hurt you? ›
While blanks are less dangerous than live ammunition, they are dangerous and can still cause fatal injuries.Can a blank gun shoot a real bullet? ›
Blank firing weapons are easily modified by owners, making them suitable for discharging live firearm ammunition or modified blank ammunitions. Two common methods are used for modification of blank weapons. After the modification, these weapons can discharge the live ammunition.
Do prop guns shot real bullets? ›
Some are rubber props (used for shots when actors are far in the distance) and others are airsoft guns that fire nonlethal pellets. Often, however, productions use real guns. Studios prefer to digitally create the actual firing in postproduction whenever possible.How many bullets can a human survive? ›
One Bullet Can Kill, but Sometimes 20 Don't, Survivors Show - The New York Times.Will a brick wall stop a bullet? ›
Bullets easily puncture most walls, doors, and floors. However, brick, concrete, and cinder blocks effectively stop most common calibers. But each bullet takes out chunks, so it can only protect you for so long.Can fat stop a bullet? ›
14 inches of fat only slows bullet
The 14 inches of gelatine only managed to halve the speed of the ball bearing, but not stop it. The Naked Scientists hypothesised that it would take at least twice as much fat to stop a bullet. “That is 72 centimetres [28.3 inches] of fat and is somewhat unfeasible,” they concluded.
Its faster than a speeding bullet, its a Peregrine Falcon!Can a jet outrun a bullet? ›
The Air Force has 187 F-22 fighter jets and 20 B-2 bombers in its arsenal. Yes, that's right – the F-22 Raptor can literally fly faster than a speeding bullet!Is electricity faster than a bullet? ›
Lightning travels at 5920 km per second. That is faster than a bullet fired from an assault rifle- 1000 metres per second.Can a human punch break a skull? ›
If the hit person loses consciousness and falls, they may hit their head on the ground or a piece of furniture. The sound will be something like two snooker balls colliding. This might result in a fractured skull.
However, there are areas of thin bone such as the orbitae or the temporal region where knives may penetrate easily and even full-thickness skull will not stop a forcefully thrust sharp object.Can someone live with a bullet in their brain? ›
Gunshot wounds to the head are fatal about 90% of the time, with many victims dying before arriving to the hospital. For victims who survive the initial trauma, about 50% die in the emergency room.
What did John Wick's wife? ›
Background. Helen was a famous photographer who met her future husband John Wick at a restaurant. Wick, was working for Viggo Tarasov and his criminal organization as a hitman at the time.Which John Wick has the most kills? ›
John Wick: Chapter 2 (128 Kills)
Undoubtedly the deadliest movie so far, "John Wick: Chapter 2" tells us what happens to Wick after the first movie, leading up to his excommunicado status in the third film.
The P226 MK25 is identical to the pistol carried by the U.S. Navy SEALs, the fleet's special warfare operators. The railed P226 chambered in 9mm and engraved with an anchor on the left side of the slide is the official sidearm of the SEALs.How many bullets does John Wick get? ›
At the end of the day, John Wick fired 302 shots with an 80.1 percent rate of accuracy that amounted to 128 total kills. That dwarfs the still impressive 77 people he killed in the first movie, which he did after a Russian punk killed his dog.Does John Wick use an Ar 15? ›
John asked The Sommelier for something "Robust. Precise." So he recommended the AR-15, which John used in the assassination of Gianna. It appeared in the film John Wick: Chapter 2. He used the AR-15 in the catacombs battle that proceeded after he killed Gianna and fulfilled his Marker.Why do gangsters hold their gun sideways? ›
In theory, tilting a gun sideways—90-degrees counter-clockwise for a right-handed shooter—means that gravity works against the ejection of the spent casing.Does John Wick use gun fu? ›
The pulse-pounding method of violence executed by both Wick and his countless enemies is colloquially referred to as Gun fu. The term, interchangeable with terms like gun kata or bullet ballet, originated with the Hong Kong action godfather, John Woo.Why do seals hold their guns sideways? ›
Soldiers began tilting the weapons, so that the recoil sent the gun reeling in a horizontal rather than vertical arc, enabling them to spray bullets into an onrushing enemy battalion instead of over their heads.How much is a coin worth on John Wick? ›
In the first Wick feature, he pays a coin per body for corpse removal service of twelve dead bodies which equals out to $15,300 according to the current gold standard.What was John Wick before an assassin? ›
He was an orphan, and was taken in by the Tarasov Russian Mafia where he was raised as an assassin. He was so ruthless that the mafia boss Viggo Tarasov respected and feared him. At the beginning of the first film, Wick had been retired from being a hitman for five years.
What does Excommunicado mean? ›
1. to cut off from communion with a church or exclude from the sacraments of a church by ecclesiastical sentence. 2. to exclude or expel from membership or participation in any group, association, etc. an advertiser excommunicated from a newspaper.Which actor has the most Bond kills? ›
However the deadliest Bond was Pierce Brosnan - he killed 135 people in four films, an average of 33.8 per movie.Who was the most loved James Bond? ›
Sean Connery is by far the favourite Bond of all time with a staggering 36 per cent of the votes, with Roger Moore claiming second place with 18 per cent.What martial art does Denzel Washington know? ›
Denzel Washington, Matt Damon, and Melissa McCarthy have all trained in Filipino martial arts (FMA) for action roles in movies. It's an art that is known for self-defense techniques and the bluntness of its attacks.Does Chuck Norris have a black belt? ›
Norris has received many black belts. These include a 10th degree black belt in Chun Kuk Do, a 9th degree black belt in Tang Soo Do, an 8th degree black belt in Taekwondo, a 5th degree black belt in Karate, a 3rd degree black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu from the Machado family, and a black belt in Judo.What fighting style does John Wick use? ›
For most of Wick's bladed encounters, he relies upon a Filipino martial art known as Arnis. Wick favors a straight-bladed knife, like the double-edged automatic knife he takes on assignment in John Wick: Chapter 2, but many of his enemies wield the iconic karambit dagger.Can kung fu be used in a real fight? ›
Kung Fu — the combative and fighting methods, both armed and unarmed, developed in China — are absolutely effective. Or — as with any martial art or combative system — they can be, if taught correctly and trained correctly and with sufficient intensity.Is the gun sword real? ›
History. Historically, some flintlock pistols of the 17th and 18th centuries were constructed as gun-swords, with the barrel of the pistol attached to the side of the blade of a shortsword or dagger. A shell guard protected the firing mechanism when it was used as a sword.How does gun fu work? ›
This perk causes each shot in V.A.T.S. on a target after the initial target to do additional damage. Note that additional shots queued on the first target are not affected by the perk; this applies to Concentrated Fire. With Rank 3, every hit on the fourth target and beyond is an automatic Critical Hit.Are Energy guns real? ›
After decades of research and development, most directed-energy weapons are still at the experimental stage and it remains to be seen if or when they will be deployed as practical, high-performance military weapons.
Did China ban kung fu? ›
When the Communist Party of China took over, martial arts were mostly banned from being practiced by civilians, and Kung Fu was turned into Wushu (the performance art). The military on the other hand, was developing Sanda Kung Fu - the modernized combat sports form of Kung Fu.What martial art is useful in a real fight? ›
Boxing, Muay Thai, or Kickboxing
All are equally effective in a street fight. Since each of them incorporates different techniques, understanding the differences is important. Afterward, you'll be able to decide which art is right for you.
A Shaolin monk will not be able to beat an MMA fighter in an unarmed one on one combat especially in anywhere near the same weight class. There are various reasons to why a modern, elite MMA fighter would absolutely beat any of the historical monks. There is a huge gap between the Shaolin Kung-Fu and MMA.What is the oldest gun in existence? ›
The Heilongjiang hand cannon or hand-gun is a bronze hand cannon manufactured no later than 1288 and is the world's oldest confirmed surviving firearm.Does any military still use swords? ›
Though swords are no longer really used in a combat capacity, a wide variety of swords are still very much used in more honorary capacities – everything from the commissioning of officers to weddings. In fact, most officers in the military have ceremonial swords, and training in swords is part of officer training.Do real swords still exist? ›
The long-bladed katana swords, famously used by Japan's samurai, are still produced today by licensed craftsmen using traditional techniques.Do BB guns hurt? ›
At close range, projectiles from many BB and pellet guns, especially those with velocities greater than 350 fps, can cause tissue damage similar to that inflicted by powder-charged bullets fired from low-velocity conventional firearms.Who created gun fu? ›
John Woo originated the style in the late '80s, with films like A Better Tomorrow and The Killer. He blended fast-paced martial arts with firearms to create one cohesive fighting system. Gun fu eventually made its way to U.S. shores, as films like Bulletproof Monk and Kick-Ass used it in a variety of scenes.How painful are BB guns? ›
It's very common for players to feel a slight sting, similar to a firm flick on the arm. The pain is minor and typically fades quickly. While most hits are insignificant, a paintball can cause bruises and welts. The severity depends on the speed of the ball, the distance the ball travels, and where it hits your body.Are ghost guns a thing? ›
Ghost guns are unregulated firearms that anyone — including minors and prohibited purchasers — can buy and build without a background check. Ghost guns are unserialized and untraceable firearms that can be bought online and assembled at home.
Do microwave weapons exist? ›
There's no evidence that a microwave weapon exists, despite more than five decades of research on microwave technology. What's more, questions remain on how effective these weapons would be and how they would flow through buildings.Do magnetic guns exist? ›
The oldest electromagnetic gun came in the form of the coilgun, the first of which was invented by Norwegian scientist Kristian Birkeland at the University of Kristiania (today Oslo). The invention was officially patented in 1904, although its development reportedly started as early as 1845.