I just finished watching the original three Karate Kid films with my husband — one a night on our weekly date-nights at home.
The films majorly influenced his life growing up, instilling in him a love for martial arts and finding peace and balance on a spiritual path. I, on the other hand, remember watching the first one as a child, but that was really about it.
Something about the character of Mr Miyagi left a lasting impression, however, and I guess there is no coincidence that all these years later, having now been on my own intense spiritual journey for almost a decade, that I found him again in adulthood.
For those who may not know, the films follow the story of a rather temperamental teen boy called Daniel who finds a Karate teacher, spiritual guide, best friend and father figure in the character of Mr Miyagi; an older gentleman from Okinawa, who resides in the USA. The films follow their journey together — as Daniel grows older through his teenage years and Mr Miyagi imparts his wisdom, knowledge and karate skills to him — culminating in a karate battle at the end of each film.
The two things that touched me deeply about the movies was firstly the relationship between Daniel and Mr Miyagi which was just absolutely beautiful to watch unfold, and secondly the gentle soul of Mr Miyagi himself; the true embodiment of a spiritual master in his ways and in his being.
Mr Miyagi reminded me of many lessons that I have learnt the hard way on my own spiritual journey and captured new thoughts for me to ponder over and meditate on.
Here are 10 quotes from Mr Miyagi with the deeper, spiritual meaning that I personally derived from them, that I believe, if implemented can help human beings to live a more enlightened and conscious way of life.
1. “Lesson not just karate only. Lesson for whole life. Whole life have a balance. Everything be better.”
As a Sufi, I believe that the middle way is always the better way — the point at which your scales are tipping neither one way nor the other.
Whether in our own health, relationships, career, political views or pretty much anything really, it is important to understand that too much of one thing can be extremely harmful.
When we are able to establish balance in all aspects of our lives, in mind, body and soul, then, as Mr Miyagi puts it, “everything be better”.
2. “Daniel-san, lie become truth only if person wanna believe it.”
Although the context in which Mr Miyagi used this statement was about other people believing a lie about his character, I took this much more personal and related it more to my own being.
As a believer in the idea that we are all creators of our own reality, this quote immediately reminded me of Henry Ford’s words: “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t — you’re right”.
Through conditioning from the very moment we are born, we grow up with a set of ideals instilled into us, which ultimately result in what we believe about ourselves. We tell ourselves stories; we have a certain narrative of how we expect our life to go.
Our life unfolds due to the beliefs we hold, even when the beliefs we hold about ourselves are so far from our ultimate truth.
If you believe you’re not good enough, you won’t be good enough. If you believe nobody likes you, nobody will like you. If you believe the whole world is against you, the world will work against you. You get my drift, right?
You are what you believe you are. Always.
3. “Man who catch fly with chopstick, accomplish anything.”
I love these words so much!
On the surface, you may think that Mr Miyagi is just speaking about catching a fly with chopsticks. But when you delve deeper, you question what it would actually take to catch a fly with a pair of chopsticks.
Firstly, you’d have to wait for the right opportunity for a fly to drift along into your midst. But then, you’d need to have stillness, patience, perseverance, concentration and complete and utter focus in order to catch that fly.
This says so much about life. Those that have gone on to achieve their dreams and their life's purpose all did so by mastering the above qualities. If you master those, you too can achieve anything.
4. “Because Daniel, for man with no forgiveness in heart, life worse punishment than death.”
For your own spiritual growth, self-growth and freedom, most spiritual paths say that forgiveness is absolutely crucial. Forgiveness is the key that opens the doors to the life you were meant to lead.
Holding on to past pain, bitterness, resentment and even hatred, only ends up destroying the person who is clinging on and not letting go. It will manifest itself into many other aspects of that person's life too, holding them down when they were actually created to fly.
For the person who chooses forgiveness, as difficult and painful as that may be to do so (and trust me, I’ve been there), life becomes so much more beautiful than you could have ever imagined.
5. “It’s okay to lose to opponent. Never okay to lose to fear.”
There are two opposite forces that exist in this world: fear and love.
When we choose fear, we lose.
When we choose love, we always win.
And more often than not, we defeat pride in the process. Win-WIN!
This quote reminds me to always choose kindness, to always choose peace, and to always choose love regardless of what my ego desires and no matter what it is that I stand to lose.
6. “If come from inside you, always right one.”
Everything in this entire Universe is energy, and energy doesn’t lie.
Our sixth sense detects that energy and gives us that ‘gut’ feeling when something feels right, or when something feels off.
Many times in life I’ve ignored my own inner instinct, even when it’s literally been screaming at me — only to go on and have to face some of the most challenging times in my life.
But now, through many trials and tribulations, what I’ve come to know is that the inner voice inside of us comes from somewhere beyond us, and it always speaks truth.
To live in a more enlightened way, we need to learn to stop ignoring it and drowning it out. It’s time to start listening.
7. “First learn stand, then learn fly. Nature rule Daniel-san, not mine.”
Nature is the perfect example of patience.
Look at a child growing in the womb, sprouting from practically nothing and growing into a whole human being over the course of 40 weeks.
Look at the tiny acorn, which can take hundreds of years to reach full maturity as a vast and beautiful oak tree.
In today’s world especially, we chase instant gratification. We want to run before we can even crawl. But in natures perfect example, what we see is that it takes time, patience and perseverance to become all that we were meant to be.
Whatever it is that we’re seeking to achieve, we must learn to understand that results don’t come instantly. We must take it step-by-step, day-by-day until we’re able to look down from the summit and see just how far we have come.
8. “Because sometimes what heart know, head forget.”
Did you know that the human heart starts beating in the womb, before any other organ is even formed, including the brain?
This leads me to believe that the heart holds much more spiritual significance than we give it credit for, and when it comes to the ‘head vs heart’ debate, our heart will always guide us to where we need to go, despite what our logical brain is telling us.
Our brain wants to keep us safe. Our heart wants us to be free.
When we’re facing a crossroads in life, our heart and the stillness that comes from within us will always guide us right . We just need to learn to drown out the chatter of the mind.
9. “Fighting always last answer to problem.”
On my spiritual path, myself and others who walk alongside me, study the lives of the peacemakers throughout history; those seemingly ordinary people who came to this earth with a purpose beyond what they’d ever imagined, and left this world having created true, everlasting and peaceful change.
These include people such as Nelson Mandela, Mother Theresa and Gandhi — figures that embraced non-violence in their approach to creating a better world.
For me, this Mr Miyagi quote reinforces that fighting fire with fire can only ever lead to more destruction than what the initial fire would have caused. But that to quell the fire with water, will lead to peace all around.
We must learn to not live in a reactionary way — and I know with social media and the world we live in today when all we see is reaction everywhere — it can be pretty difficult to do so.
But if we’re able to drown out that outside noise and come to a place of stillness within us, we will be able to embrace action instead — and come up with actual solutions to problems we are facing, without the need for violence.
10. “Ambition without knowledge is like a boat on dry land.”
Okay, so this quote is actually from the fourth film which I haven’t yet watched, as my husband said it’s a waste of time (I will decide that for myself at some point, FYI!). But, Mr Miyagi still features, and I came across this quote from the film online, which I just had to include.
Many of us go through life with all these big dreams and ideas just floating around in our heads. But only a small minority will actually put together a plan of action, attain the knowledge needed to achieve those dreams and embark on the journey to getting there.
Without knowledge, and of course, without action, you won’t be going anywhere. You will be the boat on dry land.
If you truly want to succeed at something, whatever it may be, you need to get up, get to work, push that boat out to the shore and start rowing. It’s the only way.
I know Mr Miyagi is a fictional character, but his words and wisdom are timeless and have been reiterated again and again in different terms by various spiritual masters all throughout history.
As Rumi said,
“The lamps are different, but the light is the same.”
In this same way, the messages may come from different people, but their truth is the same.
I took away a lot watching the Karate Kid films, hence me writing this article, and some ideas that I hope you’re able to take away from this piece for a more enlightened way of life include:
- To find balance in life
- To cultivate patience
- To believe in yourself
- To trust yourself
- To have faith
- And to never give up
Be ever blessed on this journey to a better, happier, more conscious life.
I’m off to get me some karate lessons — Mr Miyagi style, of course!