Cameron Diegle

Life Lessons Learned from The Karate Kid

Other than the movie Rad, no movie molded my childhood and left a lasting impression more so than The Karate Kid. I found an interesting article that came up with some life lessons we can learn from Mr. Miyagi, Daniel-san, and The Karate Kid. I’ll highlight my top 3 favorite lessons from this list.

  1. “Either you Karate do ‘yes’ or Karate do ‘no.’ You Karate do ‘guess so,’ *squish!*”

 When Mr. Miyagi asked Daniel if he was ready to learn Karate, Daniel’s response of “I guess so” irritated him to no end. The old man compared Daniel’s noncommittal response to walking down a road: walking on the left side of the road is fine, walking on the right side of the road is fine, but walking down the middle of the road will eventually get you squished. The lesson here is “Do or do not. There is no try”. When you decide you want to do something, you need to attack it with a 100% of your heart and mind, and have specific goals that you want to accomplish and then set out to do them. From most goals, giving it a shot for a week or two isn’t going to get you results, and thinking about it only half of the time isn’t going to get you where you want to be either.

  1. “First learn stand, then learn fly. Nature rule, Daniel-san, not mine.”

Daniel desperately wanted to learn how to do the Crane Kick after just a few lessons. Miyagi responded that there’s a specific order of things in Karate just like in nature. It is nature’s progression that allows animals to survive in the wild, and its Karate’s progression that would ultimately allow Daniel-san to succeed as a student. Had Miyagi put the kid up on the stump and forced him to learn a Crane Kick before anything else, he might have failed miserably and given up. Instead, he taught Daniel progressively more difficult strikes, balancing techniques, and blocks, built up his confidence, and only then did he allow Daniel-san to learn the Crane Kick. Your life is no different. If you want to get stronger for example, don’t go to the gym and load 300 lbs on the bench press. Instead, start with a small amount of weight, learn the proper movement, and progress steadily each week, getting stronger and building momentum until you reach your goal.

  1. “Hey, what kind of belt do you have?” “Canvas. JC Penney, $3.98. You like?”

When asked by Daniel-san what kind of belt he had, Miyagi gave a sarcastic answer that was also quite deep philosophically. How in the world does one of the best Karate teachers out there not have any idea what level belt he is? Because at the end of the day, it just doesn’t matter. Having a class system to determine your level is nice, but don’t let it be the only benchmark you use to determine your success. Competitions, contests, and achievements are great motivators to help you move forward, but never forget that the only person you’re really competing with when it comes to your health for instance, is yourself. Who cares if you ran in a 5k race but got beat by a 10-year old girl? Suck it up, remember your time from this race, and make sure you run your next race at least one second faster. No matter how big, slow, or weak you are compared to those around you, it really only matters if you’re getting healthier, faster, and stronger compared to the You from yesterday.



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