3 Take Aways from The Karate Kid


3 Take Aways from The Karate Kid

I saw The Karate Kid (2010) this past weekend.  It’s not Daniel-san or Mr. Miyagi or the Crane technique, like the original The Karate Kid.  Instead, it takes place in China, it’s got Jackie Chan, and they do Kung Fu.  In fact, I wish the title was The Kung Fu Kid.

It’s got some amazing scenery of the mountains and the city, and some incredible fight scenes.  But it’s not all eye-candy.  It’s got story too.  It’s the story of a “boy meets bully.”  Dre, the new kid in town, becomes the target of a bully.  It’s also the story of a “boy meets girl.”  Dre’s love interest is Mei.  It’s also the story of a “boy meets teacher.”  Dre gets schooled in the ways of Kung Fu by Mr. Han (Jackie Chan), a humble maintenance guy, who becomes his teacher, friend, and father figure.

Here are my three take aways from The Karate Kid

  1. A true friend is somebody who makes your life better.   This was one of my favorite lines from the movie.  It’s so simple, but so true.
  2. Sometimes you have to earn your respect.   There are many times in life when you have to prove yourself – either to yourself or other people.  I find this pattern is especially true when you’re changing places or changing jobs.  Sometimes it means finding your fit.  Sometimes you are a fish out of water.  Other times, it’s a real growth opportunity.  My greatest growth came from my greatest challenges.
  3. Life will knock you down.  You can choose whether to get back up.  This was another one of my favorite lines from the movie.  Life is unpredictable.   You’ll face setbacks.  Things don’t always go as planned.  Sometimes life can really seem unfair.  At the end of the day, it’s not what happens to you, but how you respond.   One of the most important things you can do when you get knocked down, is get up again.  This is how you build your resiliency for whatever life may throw your way.  And, as my Mom always told me, whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

I liked this movie on multiple levels.  It was already a classic story, but I was surprised how well this movie was done.  From the actors, to the scenes, to the story lines – it’s solid.

Photo by Marvin Kuo.


  1. […] True Friend A true friend is somebody who makes your life better. — Karate Kid (2010) via 3 Take Aways from The Karate Kid | sourcesofinsight.com […]

  2. Hi J.D.,

    Sounds like a great movie.

    I agree. A true friend does make our life better, and when we find or have one, it’s a relationship that needs to be treasured. True friends don’t come along too often.

    I also like your mom’s advice. She sounds like a very wise woman.

  3. How timely…
    Just witnesed #1 and #3 in massive amounts. Hope I’ll be given a chance for #2 too.

  4. JD,
    Sounds like a great movie to see!! I remember well the first Karate Kid movies…

    That third point, our response…can make all the difference in how we come away from any “situation” life gives us…. (and a great thing to remember).

  5. @ Barbara — Friends really do make the world go round. I think they really help amplify life.

    @ Alik — I’m sure you will. I think the key to #2 always starts inside out — respect yourself first. It sets the bar.

    @ Lance — It was great. I ended up liking it more than I thought I would, and some of the scenes were really impressive. It was good stuff.

  6. Hi JD,

    I haven’t watched that film since I was a kid, when I didn’t really appreciate any of these lessons……might have to make an appearance at my next movie night!
    Great insights, many thanks,

  7. What a nice take away from this movie! Yeah, life will knock you down. You can dwell on it or get back up stronger than before. One of those things that will either break you or make you. Your mom is totally right! Thanks for sharing.

  8. The magic number -3 in action again ! What an elegant way to derive wisdom even through movies. I liked the Karate Kid, but have never looked at it as a lesson learning exercise. Simply wonderful !

  9. @ Kate — I like the blend of this movie – action, drama, comedy. It’s like life 🙂

    @ Justin — Thank you. I think one of the keys is bouncing back stronger. My Mom’s always been a trooper.

    @ Michael — Three take aways is a simple way that I can get more out of any movie. A few years back, I started using it to get more out of my training … and then it worked for books and movies too.

  10. Hi JD .. it’s not a film I’m going out to see! But your 3 point take on it is really good to know .. a true friend is someone who makes your life better – so important for us to be like that to our friends. Being new is something we experience throughout our life .. schools, uni, work placements, clubs, etc etc .. hospitals too .. it is definitely a place to grow .. quietly bide our time and blend in – but watching and absorbing the opportunities or positives that will occur.

    Life will definitely knock you down .. and as long as you’re not dead .. the knowledge base we’ve acquired is there and we need to get up and shake ourselves off and get on with things.

    Love the way you can distil most things .. into your three point ways …. thanks useful for me this post today .. have a great week – Hilary

  11. @ Hilary — A lesson I learned early on about friendship was “be the friend you want to have” and friends to make life better. I think they especially help when you get knocked down.

  12. Hi JD .. I’m learning that .. I certainly try with my own friends to be true and provide support .. and being part of a local community can help. People are essentially good .. and we need to remember that – we do what’s right for us .. Thanks for coming back to me on this .. Hilary

  13. Nice movie review. I’ve seen the movie and it was nice too… I love the line: you can choose to get back up… Becoz in life, it doesn’t matter how many times we fall but how many times we rise up every time we fall down. Life is beautiful!

  14. JD,
    I was upset that “The Karate Kid” was remade..so I planned on not seeing it. However, I was reminded multiple times that I teach to always have an open mind (Ha! my own words back at me!), so with an open mind I went to see the new movie.
    It was actually life changing for me. Isn’t *that* the way life works? When I am most reluctant, it turns out to be an important experience. I loved the theme of stay true to your beliefs, don’t let external change your internal when you are being true to yourself, and authentic friendships were portrayed so beautifully.
    I was wrestling with a few doubts, and this movie was one way that the Universe Answered me. A most entertaining way…

  15. @ happy — I really admire people that bounce back stronger and stronger. There is a lot to be said for failing forward.

    @ Joy — I wasn’t happy about a remake at first either … especially when it really was Kung-Fu, not Karate. It turned out to be way better than I expected so now both versions have a place in my favorite movie list.

  16. Always been clear on #2 and #3, but I certainly have seen the value in #1, going both ways. Sometimes being that friend for someone when they are down is the best way to learn what you need for yourself when you may be in that situation in the future. I’ve certainly learned that in the past 5 years being with someone with a chronic illness.

    Being present when you are on the other side of the coin (needing someone to earn your respect, for example ) provides just as much learning.

  17. great film

    “… Life will knock you down. But you can choose to get back up. Remember always strong…”

  18. Hii JD
    this film was awesome
    actually my father hates taking me to movies
    after so many months of release
    one day when he returned from tour he said
    karate kid he saw twice..he loved it
    so he wanted me to see it
    man the movie is awesome
    and jd
    u missed a important lesson
    in life smallest thing lies the most beautiful lesson
    like the coat thing in the movie
    and kudos To u
    nice movie review

  19. I appreciated the review. Very good job. I really liked how this movie mirrored the plot of the first Karate Kid. I think you’ll appreciate that, Joy, if you decide to give it a chance. To me, by following the plot line of #1 so closely, it was honoring its teacher, which is a very karate/kung-fu thing to do.

    If you’ve seen Jackie Chan in other movies, you might think of him as being a sort martial arts clown figure, because he is usually all about very broad, physical humor. I’m here to tell you that if you don’t see this movie, you will miss him in the role of his life–I think he should at least receive an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his work as Mr. Han in this film.

    The other key quote, that hasn’t been mentioned, will be one which anyone who has passed through the valley of the shadow of death, bereavement, connected to, or will connect to. W/o giving too much away, Mr. Han rebuilds, every year, the car in which his love ones were taken. On the annivesary of their death, he smashes the car again. With tears streaming down his cheeks, he stammers, “Every year I fix the car. Still, I fix nothing.” For anyone who has ever had the experience of getting stuck in the mourning process–this is a shattering moment in the movie. If you’re one of those, better watch it at home. But Dre pulls him out of the smashed car, and what happens next is a beautiful picture of redemption. You’ll just have to watch it to get the effect.

    One more thing. This director had an eye that previous versions didn’t benefit from. It’s not just the locations, although they are stunning. It is a much more beautiful film than its predecessors. As you can see, I was very taken with it. There are other cast members I haven’t even mentioned who did amazing work as well. Go see it! That’s all I can say. (I’ve really said enough, I think.) Sorry to be so long-winded.

  20. @ Drew — That is some fantastic insight.

    > “Every year I fix the car. Still, I fix nothing.”
    Beautiful and I’m glad you surfaced this. It’s a perfect quotable quote.

    It truly was an incredibly scenic movie.

  21. My 13 year old son and I love this movie. We just watched the DVD again last weekend.

    Jackie Chan truly shines. I think it is his greatest role.

    My one complaint: I would prefer that the alternate ending now showing on YouTube would have been part of the original movie.

    I think the deleted fight scene (very powerful and emotional) between Mr Han and the other teacher helps bring an important resolution to Mr Han’s struggle with grief and anger.

  22. Thanks for the heads-up, Paul. It does add a lot to the movie. I have a feeling it is going to be the opening scene of the sequel 😉 Marketing is the only reason I can think of for it being cut from the original.

    For some reason, I never noticed Mr. Han’s anger issue. I guess I just saw it as an extension of his own self-loathing. But I see it, now that you mention it, Paul, and I certainly see it in the deleted scene. Thanks again for bringing it my attention. May we all be blessed in the coming year with full healing and self-realization and not be stuck in pain like Mr. Han.

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