In the comics and films, we are inspired by great characters such as the Incredible Hulk, Iron Man, Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, X-Men and more. In real life there are heroes that aren't always law enforcement, military, firemen and civil rights activists; some of them are incredibly gifted athletes that show character in ways beyond their sport such as old-time wrestlers, boxers, gymnasts, strongmen, Baseball Players & Football Players that went above the call of duty to do heroic things that weren't always danger savvy but inspiring a generation to become more than themselves and strive to be the very best at what they can accomplish. Here is my list of these very individuals that busted through thick and thin to make things possible for a fresh face when their time came up.
When it comes down to it, nobody in America had higher regards than the late-great wrestler Frank Gotch. America's Golden Boy in the days before Babe Ruth was a man of great potential and embodied the spirit of America's break into the 20th century by taking on all-comers as what's known as Catch-As-Catch-Can Wrestling (a style that is similar to today's Submission Style in MMA). Growing up in the state of Iowa, he learned his craft from quite possibly the greatest wrestler in American History of his time Martin "Farmer" Burns who taught the lad everything he knows. Because of his teachings, Gotch became World Champion in a way nobody thought could be done. He challenged a man that was a hulking figure of the time George Hackenshmidt who was one of the most conditioned, feared and strongest wrestlers in his prime. Their match was considered one of the greatest in America and wrestled over 2 hours until "Hack" submitted to Gotch. Gotch not only one the world title but started a revolution of wrestling among the youth that brought amateur wrestling to schools and colleges across the country marking him one of the greatest heroes of the sport. He was agile, fast, strong, mindful and can cripple you at anytime. I consider him the Captain America of his generation. He died at the age of 39 in 1917 and left behind one of the greatest legacy's as a culture icon of what wrestling was when it was considered a legit sport.
Thor may be the very strongest character in Marvel with a Hammer but in the real world, no one on the planet can hold a candle let alone lit one compared to this man Lawrence Farman aka Slim The Hammerman. Like the Norse God, Slim was a towering figure among the masses, standing at 6'6 and weighing in his prime at 230 lbs. He worked at a Rock Quarry for decades and put his hammer to use on a per-ton basis which means within a given hour would've broken 10 tons and moved it from one base of the Quarry to the other to sell. He was spotted by an old man named Joseph Greenstein when in his prime was pound for pound the world's strongest man in the vaudville era of Coney Island, NY and was dubbed as The Mighty Atom. Atom saw this incredibly powerful young man and asked him to come up and see if he can bend a 6 inch spike for the crowd, nobody in that audience for years could bend that spike but something about Slim was different; he not only came up and bent it but did unlike any style that was used for bending. The old man asked Slim to bring his 16 lb. Sledgehammer to the show the next time he came. Slim brought it up that next show and proceeded to lever the hammer using the bottom of the handle not from standing from the ground starting at a horizontal level using only his grip and wrist strength. He pivoted it straight up to vertical and sat it down and repeated a few more times to show it wasn't a fluff and the old man was astounded. From then on Slim became famous for lifting (levering) the biggest sledgehammers ever by a human being holding the world record for lifting as heavy as 56 pounds (2-28 pound hammers at the same time) and an unofficial record of 75 lbs. No one before or since has come close and has inspired some of the greatest strongmen that are still around to this day. With arms that stretched, tendons that were as tough as adamantium and hands that were so strong that can crush the bones of another man and a hammer that nobody dared touched unless Slim gave the greenlight, he is a prime example of what hard work and incredibly gifted strength can bring to someone if they pushed themselves past the norm and go from ordinary to extraordinary.
Speed, Power, Agility, Strength & Coordination, these are just the tip of the Iceberg when it comes to talking about the great Bo Jackson. Back in the 80's and early 90's you couldn't get a glimpse of 2 major sports without Bo being a part of it. Remember those Bo Knows commercials? He was by far one of the greatest athletes in American History bar none. Nobody ran as hard as he did, no one had that majestic swing like he did and it all seemed like it came to an end way too short because of a big hip injury. He is one of those "what if" athletes that had the potential to be one of the fastest growing Hall Of Famers in both Baseball and Football where nobody can touch him. If he had no gotten injured, he would've easily been a 500 homerun hitter, a 8,000+ career rushing yards man, 300+ Stolen Base guy and one of the greatest touchdown rushers the NFL ever saw. He was a legend before he even stepped foot on a baseball diamond or the gridiron. To me, he had the embodiment when it came to speed like Quicksilver, the athletic ability of Captain America, an eye like Hawkeye and the physique like Wolverine. He did things nobody can understand, if steroids were the main issue back in his time he would be the first suspect because of how athletically gifted he was. He didn't lift much in the way of weights, he was just a genetically gifted man that had potential that went beyond planets.
Tarzan was in the Marvel comics, you don't believe me, look it up. A man that used his body with precision, accuracy, strength and more to survive in the jungle among some of the deadliest predators and used only his intelligence, a spear and the will to fight. He's what most athletes strive to look like, not the typical modern day bodybuilder with 24 inch arms, 40 inch thighs, 60 inch chests and 22 inch calves but that athletic realistic physique that represents all the major attributes one needs for athletic ability. The closest to Tarzan I can think of and have talked to once or twice myself is Erwan Le Corre. He lives and breathes the life of a man who bases his training on actual movement that is taught with efficiency, coordination, breathing and muscular strength/endurance. Using your body for actual use in the ways of balancing, swimming, lifting, throwing, catching, crawling and jumping when it's important and valued as such. In MovNat, it is important to learn the basic and more advanced style of movement in order to become stronger and more flexible in the body. With correct alignment and accurate strength and muscular contraction/relaxation you are using the body in a productive primal matter that is functional and useful in any given situation. Even the most basic movements such as squatting and crawling can be difficult for most people and establishing a foundation that gives you the brain capacity and coordinated skills to do some amazing things like Muscle-Ups, Jumping onto higher places, swimming against currents, rolling, stepping over and under and lifting/carrying a heavy object. Tarzan may not have super powers per say but he is one hell of an athlete that has taken down some mighty wild life and can among the apes of the jungle, Erwan is just as dangerous but even more intelligent and practical in how he moves his body and what he's willing to go through to tackle among life's obstacles. Practice moving like Tarzan and you can't go wrong.
There are others I can list here but I think you catch my drift and can understand the concepts of some of life's real heroes and people you wouldn't think that are similar to our favorite characters. Check these guys out, learn a little history or two and find out for yourself who else might have extraordinary abilities to do things that seem impossible but has a profound effect on what is possible.