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MFF Special: Analyzing Elektra’s Sandbag Training Scene in ‘Daredevil’

July 19, 2018

The cleaners are going to be annoyed.

The training montage in Daredevil might feature the most impractical training set up of all time. I know Elektra comes from a family of billionaires (in the movie) so I guess they don’t mind getting copious amounts of sand on their beautiful wooden floors and hanging hoists from an intricate system of tracks (or pipe) from their ceilings. However, it seems like a lot of unnecessary work and I have no clue who installed it — or who was going to clean it up after her training was done. There is a lot of sand on the floor after the training session, and if you’ve ever been to a beach you know that a tiny amount of it can get everywhere and turn your car, clothes, and bags into a cleaning nightmare.

After watching the clip too many times and viewing the behind-the-scenes documentaries (they have a neat set up in the studio) I have a solid guess as to what went into creating the intricate system of 13 sandbags being released from the ceiling via a system of timed hoists that work on a remote timer. I don’t think this was her regular training spot because it would be terribly impractical, so I’m guessing she had it installed after her father was killed. People make weird decisions when they want revenge, and it must’ve been confusing for the people in the household when she told them she wanted an intricate training system involving hoists, remote timers and enough pipe to cover the entire ceiling. Also, since the sequence is heavily choreographed, (she drew a red face on the final sandbag) she had to coordinate the timing and location of each drop and plug it into a remote system that controlled the hoists. This is something that would take a while to build, tweak and for the sake of her secret identity remove when they have dinner parties. Thus, Elektra wasted precious training time while she waited for a training rig to be built that would only give her a 35-second training experience.


Here are my assumptions

  1. Money wasn’t an issue so the equipment was custom and very expensive.
  2. She picked the room because of the size of it. It was probably the only room with enough space to house the sandbag trainer.
  3. Since we see nothing along the walls of the room (no counterweights, locking rails, belayed rope lines) I have to assume that everything was rigged on the ceiling. Trussing would be overkill, so I’m guessing whoever installed the sandbag trainer created a grid of speed rail that was clamped together and attached to the ceiling by steel cables in the studs in the ceiling.
  4. Electricians rigged the individual hoists to one system which allowed them to work on one remote.
  5. Since there isn’t a scissor lift or ladders in the room, the rigged hoist system helps her lower/raise the rope on each hoist so she can tie sandbags on to them.
  6. There are more bags left hanging after her training session is done. This means she has multiple remote settings. and can control each individual hoist to make everything easier for her (or overworked house staff).
  7. Each sandbag weighs 10 pounds and is attached to a very strong and thin rope.
  8. She (or a staffer) probably fills up the sandbags in the garage or garden and they are carried up to the room.
  9. 11 of the 13 sandbags are dropped directly down. There is zero swing when they land, so the drop has been perfectly timed to prevent bouncing and rope breakage. Also, something had to release the two swinging bags which means there are clamps that work on timers(?)

She left some sandbags hanging for a training session we didn’t get to see.

Here is what the sandbag trainer needed

  1. 13 hoists that work independently of each other while being on the same remote.
  2. A remote timer and control that is probably in an unseen pelican case in the corner of the room.
  3. 290 feet of speed rail to create the grid attached to the ceiling. I came up with this amount because she traveled an estimated 20-feet while training and the grid needs to cover the width of the room (20×30) because of the swinging bags – Watch this clip, because it’s exactly what I see it looking like.
  4. Two clamps on timers that release the sandbags during Elektra’s training.
  5. 130 pounds of sand.
  6. A shop vac or a large broom.
  7. One red sharpie.
  8. Slip-proof shoes to prevent her from slipping on loose sand.

There you have it! The sandbag trainer required a lot of work (and sand) and probably cost well over $20,000 to install. The whole thing seems terribly impractical, but it seems to work for Elektra because she has some legit skills and enough free time to set everything up. I doubt she cleans up the sand, but you can’t expect a billionaire heiress to be sweeping up sand when she is in revenge mode.

If you liked this random post make sure to check out my other stuff! Also, a big thanks to Brian Raftery at Wired for interviewing me about this dumb data.

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