10+ Lessons Learned from the Karate Kid Movie

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karate kid with sensei

Dre with Mr. Han

I saw the Karate Kid Movie a few days ago. Really enjoyed it. As a kids karate sensei, I decided to look for positive things in the movie. Since there are so many lessons to be learned about life in this movie, I listed them. The list is called 10+ for a reason. I am giving you, my readers, a head start. I would like to make this list 20 Lessons Learned from the Karate Kid Movie. I put this challenge out to all of you. Pick your brains and contribute some more lessons and together we will build the world’s most awesome list of lessons learned from this movie–our list.

Lesson #1–Adapt to the circumstances. Dre and his mother moved to another land far away and with a different language. Although very difficult to adapt under these circumstances, Dre found a way. He started making friends and learning the language.

Lesson #2–Sometimes you have to fight to keep a friendship alive. Dre and Mei Ying had many challenges in their friendship. Their friendship was opposed by Mei Ying’s parents and by Cheng, the bully, and his crowd. Nevertheless they valued each others friendship enough to perservere.

Lesson #3–Everyone has their moments of weakness. Mr. Han was idolized by Dre. Even so, Mr. Han had his own demons. Mr Han’s weakness was exposed in the car scene. The victim of a tragedy involving his family, he was unable to overcome the grief.

Lesson #4–Grief and sadness can be overcome by throwing yourself into your training. Dre was wise enough to know what would drag Mr. Han out of his grief–focus on training.

Lesson #5–When blocking, be powerful and strong. Your first move in a self defence situation, usually a block, has to be strong to be effective. Mr. Han illustrated this with Dre.

Lesson #6–Life will knock us down, but we can choose to get back up. There will always be setbacks in life, but how we react to them is the true test of our character. Dre chose to rise to the challenge.

Lesson #7–A warrior’s spirit is not forged in one day. The hours upon hours Dre spent with Mr. Han, the relentless jacket drill, and the other brutal training methods are what forged Dre’s spirit.

Lesson #8–By confronting our fears we overcome the fear itself and gain respect from others. By facing Cheng and the others in the ring, Dre overcame his fear of them and earned the respect of Master Li’s kung fu school.

Lesson #9–Trust in your teacher. The sensei has many more years of training than you. You must follow his or her advice without question if you are to progress in the martial arts. Dre did not see the wisdom of the jacket drill at first, but he persisted because he trusted Mr. Han. Finally at the end of his rope, Dre understood the value of the drill when Mr. Han showed him how it worked in a real self defence situation.

Lesson #10–There are no bad students, only bad teachers. So true, as Master Li was affecting every student in his organization with his poisonous attitude. Every one of his students was once a white belt and had the potential to be a good person, if only guided by the right teacher.

Ok everyone, there’s the first ten. Bring it on!

Sensei Matt Klein

Find out more about our Sydney kids karate classes

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  1. Tayla Meath says

    I saw this movie the other day with a few other students from our club. I really enjoyed it..
    Lesson 11- Focus, it may not seem you are gaining knowledge, but constant drilling of even the simplest of things like hanging up your jacket can achieve those life skills like blocks you will most certainly use in the future.

  2. Wendy Leeming says

    Hi Matt,
    Great lessons taken from a great movie. We took the girls to see it during the holidays and they loved it. I grew up with the original and version and loved that too (can’t beat the original). April has all three Karate Kid movies and has watched them many times she also has even the Next Karate Kid with Hilary Swank in it, another great movie. I think another very valuable lesson to be learnt from this movie is the old favourite ‘Never Judge a Book by it’s Cover’ i.e. the old maintenance guy is not always what he appears to be…..he may just be capable of a lot more than fixing a leaking tap etc. This applies to everyone we meet. Do not only take people on face value because you could end up being the one with the disadvantage.

  3. Sinem says

    Balance: You can’t always work, work, work you must balance your life. In the movie Dre pulled his friend Mei Ying away from her constant practising so they can have some fun, they were skipping school to do it which is a no no but the ideas still there. You need to balance your school work with your karate, social time and resting time. Too much of the one thing isn’t good.

  4. says

    Hi Matt – what a great idea to extract positive ideas from this movie. I hadn’t plannned on seeing it, but you might have changed my mind! Great looking website by the way… Jan

  5. Sensei Matt Klein says

    Thanks for your feedback Jan. Look for the second post as we have about 10 more lessons from the movie lined up.

  6. arceli bell says

    I’m not really sure why Dre decided to provoke the bully. He didn’t have a plan nor the skill to fight one let alone a whole gang of skilled martial artists. I would say the lesson here is to try and deescalate a situation, rather than the other way around. I’m glad in the end, that he stood up for himself.

  7. Sensei Matt Klein says

    Good point arceli. Always avoid violence at all costs. Especially when outgunned.

  8. says

    I love lesson #6. It reminds me of Rocky Balboa’s inspirational speech in ‘Rocky Balboa’. So true and so important to accept…

  9. Sensei Matt Klein says

    Thanks for your visit Tom. I like this one too. So important not to give up, no matter what we do.