You can have all the natural talent in the world, but if you’re going to be the best at anything, whether it be an Olympic athlete at Sochi or a professional StarCraft player, you will need to train. Sure you can go to a 24 Hour Fitness and get your Zumba sweat going, but imagine if you were heading for the stars or into battle with a rival ninja clan, you’re going to need to work it out in something a little more specific.
The Dojo (The Matrix)
“I know kung fu.” The iconic line uttered before one of the most memorable training scenes in movie history. Neo knew he could kick some serious ass, but his true objective of learning to believe was a bit of a climb, and it began with this epic skirmish with Morpheus. Saying “come at me bro” hasn’t been the same since.
Battle School (Ender’s Game)
While your typical high schooler is stressing about prom court and homecoming, the kids at Battle School were working on formations, learning to fire light guns, and play a real life version of StarCraft. You better hope your APM is high enough or you’ll find yourself frozen before you can say, “Shut up, launchie.”
Aside from living in the sewers, the Ninja Turtles also had the bulk of their training take place there as well. Master Splinter was not only a father figure to the heroes in a half shell, but their martial arts sensei, and his sewer dojo was the home of such teachings. Because nothing teaches more discipline than living under the loud, busy streets of New York City and living off a diet of pizza.
Danger Grotto (Generation X)
The kids at Xavier’s Second School for Gifted Youngsters were known as Generation X. Left in the care of Banshee and Emma Frost, Generation X worked out their teen angst against each other. The Grotto was an arboretum that held it’s own secrets and was appropriately named by Miss Jubilation Lee.
The Obstacle Course (Starship Troopers)
“I’m from Buenos Aires and I say kill ’em all!” Let’s be honest, this was probably one of the more useless training areas of them all, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that it was pretty damn cool. Imagine American Gladiators, but with all of the courses engulfed in flames. Again, I’m not sure how this prepares you to fight against an race of predatory aliens, but the course was cool enough to intrigue me into wanting to try myself.
The War Room (DC Universe Online)
This state of the art facility is connected to the main wing of DC Universe Online‘s version of the Watchtower where anyone who plays the Hero class can go here to sharpen their skills against holographic enemies. Consider it the DC version of the Danger Room, but a version you can actually explore.
Mr. Miyagi’s Garden (The Karate Kid)
A true underdog story has to have an iconic place where said underdog catches a glimpse of their full potential. In the Karate Kid’s case, that would be Mr. Miyagi’s yard, where Danny would learn the arts by doing things like painting fences and waxing cars (or was he just scamming free labor?). Daniel would eventually go on to front kick his way to a karate tournament victory, and Miyagi’s garden is 100% to blame for that.
Danger Room (X-Men)
The uncanny forces of Charles Xavier used this special room to simulate battle sequences. We often saw the X-Men using this room to simulate battles with Sentinels, one of their most formidable foes. Objects within the Danger Room are simply holograms with forcefields around them, so they don’t themselves don’t pose a true threat. However, there has been one known death in the Danger Room, and it came from a student leaping off of a holographic cliff. So as you can see, gravity and heights still operate to the same tune in the Danger Room as they do IRL.
The Room of Requirement (Harry Potter)
Dumbledore’s Army ended up being a badass force to be reckon with, and that’s due in large part to this secret room. Also known as the Come and Go room, the elusive edifice would take the form of anything the inhabiting wizard or witch needed it to be. Right now we could use a room full of buffalo wings…
The Capitol Training Center – Hunger Games
The interesting thing about the Capitol’s training center in The Hunger Games was that you basically had to train with the people who you’d eventually end up either killing or being killed by. Yes, perhaps it could be advantageous to see how skilled your opponent is before hand, but you’d have to imagine it’d be pretty harrowing for the less confident tributes, who were pretty much witnessing previews of their upcoming death every training session.
What’s your favorite pop culture training facility? Let us know in the comments below!