Confidence in Intuition
In The Karate Kid movie, Mr. Miyagi gives Daniel LaRusso the chance to trim a bonsai tree. Daniel wants to try but is reluctant for fear of ruining the tree. Miyagi tells him to close his eyes and trust himself. Concentrate on the tree and form a mental picture of it, Miyagi explains. Then just trust in the picture, and everything will be all right.
Antithesis of Budo Philosophy in the Karate Kid Movies
It’s often helpful to contrast what we want to show by viewing its opposite. The philosophy of the Cobra Kai teacher clearly is the antithesis of budo principles. This is vividly shown by the training creed recited by Cobra Kai students and their instructor, which states, in part, that fear, pain and defeat do not exist in the school.
The Cobra Kai students study the “way of the fist,” which stresses striking first, striking hard and showing no mercy.
Value of Friendship in the Karate Kid Movies
One of the major problems in life is keeping things in the proper perspective. Daniel shows a beautiful sense of perspective in the touching scene at the airport in The Karate Kid Part II when he shows up unexpectedly and explains why he wants to accompany Miyagi to Okinawa. When Miyagi asks where he got the money for the ticket, Daniel says he took it out of his savings.
Weren’t his savings supposed to be for college, Miyagi asks. Daniel doesn’t care. He explains that Miyagi is more important than college and is always there when Daniel needs him. The master continues to try to dissuade him, but Daniel persists, and the old man finally gives in. When Daniel thanks him, Miyagi says, “No, Daniel-san, thank you.”
Rules of Miyagi Family Dojo
A delicious blend of serious thought and humor is evident in Karate Kid Part II when Miyagi translates the two rules of his family dojo. The first rule is that karate is for defense only. Rule No. 2 is to first learn rule No. 1.
Direct Avoidance of Fighting in the Karate Kid Movies
The old idea that prevention is better than a cure applies well to self-defense. Conscientious instructors frequently remind students to avoid trouble by simply staying away from trouble spots or walking away from needless confrontations.
Direct avoidance of fighting is dramatized in Karate Kid Part II when Sato tries to set up a midnight battle with his rival. Miyagi tells Sato that the latter will lose sleep because “I no be there.”
On at least two other occasions, Miyagi avoids fighting by simply not responding physically. Once is when Chozen calls him a coward in public. In response to this insult, Miyagi just walks away. It reminds us of the old saying that the mailman would never get the mail delivered if he stopped to kick at every barking dog.
Another time in Karate Kid Part II, Chozen and his cohorts destroy a garden in an effort to provoke Miyagi. Daniel is ready to fight but is restrained by his wise teacher once he puts an end to the mayhem.
Indirect Avoidance of Fighting
This theme is well-developed in both Karate Kid movies. The first example is when Miyagi accompanies Daniel in the first film to the Cobra Kai dojo in an effort to stop the attacks on Daniel. Although a permanent truce isn’t possible, Miyagi succeeds in getting a postponement of any more confrontations until the upcoming tournament.
A novel way to avoid trouble is seen in Karate Kid Part II when a couple of troublemakers won’t take their beer bottles off the fender of Miyagi’s pickup truck. They lose all desire to fight when Miyagi breaks the necks of the bottles with a single knifehand strike.
Real life is not without parallel examples. The story is told of shotokan karate’s Hirokazu Kanazawa, who was challenged to a street fight. He consented but asked his antagonist if he might first warm up a bit. The troublemaker agreed, so Kanazawa began punching and kicking in the air. The challenger lost heart once he saw the speed and power of this extraordinary karateka. The fight never took place.
Not How to Fight, But When
Some law-enforcement programs use a text titled Not How to Shoot, But When. The parallel with the martial arts is clear. Although we should try to avoid physical confrontations, there are times when our skills should be brought into action. A careful review of the Karate Kid movies shows a distinct pattern in this regard.
Although Daniel needlessly gets involved in several fights, the character of Miyagi serves as a shining example of when to fight and when not to. In every case, …