Friday, March 4, 2011

More Top Films: THE Karate Kid, (a review and two applications)

The original Karate Kid film from 1984 is a gem, not because of the fact that a put-down kid gains respect through a fight tournament, not because of the comeuppance that a bunch of bullies get, and not because it is an example of the best of the eighties. All of those would be fine for a good film. What makes Karate Kid great is the fact that it tells a universally understood story of a kid making the transition to adulthood; learning about things like respect, when to fight for what is right and more importantly, when no fight is needed.

The way that Daniel makes this transition so successfully is through the disciple/mentor relationship. In the beginning of the film, Daniel is faced with a new home, a new circle of friends and a new culture. He quickly gains something else that a lot of young people face in life: his own set of bullies. He needs help learning how to successfully coexist if he is going to survive. Help arrives in the form of a mentor, or teacher, named Mr. Miyagi. The relationship parameters are quickly established. “Teacher say, student do.” Daniel agrees, overjoyed with the help he being offered.

Things do not go exactly as he expected, however. Daniel begins to feel like he is merely being used as a slave. He thought he was going to gain some skills that would make him more popular and self-confident. Instead, he is just wearing himself out. When he voices his frustration with Mr. Miyagi, he gets no satisfaction. “I say, you do. No Questions.”

The fact is Daniel is learning discipline. He does not need to understand everything he is being taught. There are actually things that he will be incapable of understanding until he has learned them. He needs to work at doing, the comprehending will come later. He needs to become good at the basics, and then more will be possible to him. “First learn stand… then learn fly.”

In the end, Daniel is successful, but not because he has learned to better the bullies at their own game. He has earned their respect, but more importantly he has learned what respect and self confidence are really all about.

The Christian Application:

Since this film is all about discipleship, it is an informative movie for Christians. After all, discipleship is what Christianity is all about. We have forgotten that at times. Where Jesus commended His followers to make disciples, we have lately made it about creating converts. Instead of relational discipleship, we have made Christianity about mass marketing and self-help. Most Christians are more like the Daniel at the start of the film with his karate manual and silly exercises in his living room. Instead of mentoring and being discipled, we turn to books and videos telling us how to live the Christian life. This is not the way it was intended to be.

The Cross-Cultural, Missional Application:

This film is also helpful for people trying to make the transition into a new culture. Adaptation is hard work. They can try to understand everything they are asked to do: language learning, leaving our old way of life, cleaving to the new culture, forsaking family, phones and internet. In the end they don’t need to understand everything, they just need to be disciplined. The success or failure to live in another culture depends on how adapted one is to that culture. A poor adaptation results in ineffective communication, discomfort, and frustration. Not everyone is cut out for it, but the ones that are are not the smartest or most adventurous but the ones willing to do the work.

1 comment:

  1. As of late I have watched the film named "The Karate Kids". It is simply magnificent. Really I adore this sorts of motion pictures. As of late I have joined a Mixed Martial Arts preparing school. So my energy is so high Best Karate in Connecticut.


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