Lessons We Can Learn From the Karate Kid

There are two kinds of movies: the ones that merely entertain and the ones that carry essential life lessons. The 80s blockbuster hit Karate Kid is certainly among the latter. In fact, one of the most iconic movie quotes was uttered by Mr. Miyagi:

“First learn stand, then learn fly. Nature rule, Daniel-San, not mine.”

If you’re at a crossroads or facing a particularly difficult time in your life, why not look back at the some of the life lessons we can get from the movie:



To get amazing results, you must commit, just as Daniel did over the course of Mr. Miyagi’s training. But how does commitment work? According to the dictionary, commitment is a state or quality of being dedicated to a cause, engagement or obligation that restricts freedom of action. In other words, a commitment is a pledge to yourself and to others that you are going to put 100% into something you aspire to. Without commitment, you will waver, and achieving your goals will be harder.

Better yourself, the results will come after


Daniel did not win the tournament by focusing on elements that are out of his control, such as the score. Instead, he channeled all his efforts towards improving himself spiritually and physically. Control the controllable – yourself – and you will be successful. When winning becomes a habit, it will become second nature to you.

Achieving great things requires discipline and hard work


Everything that Daniel achieved in the movie was acquired through daily discipline and hard work. His journey was fraught with pain and sacrifice, but he emerged victorious in the end. Martial arts training is the same – you have to submit yourself to daily discipline and hard work to achieve your goals.

Respect the process


After only a few lessons, Daniel wanted to learn how to do the crane kick. Mr. Miyagi responded by reminding him that there is a process – a progression – in nature and Daniel is not exempt from it. Karate’s progression would ultimately allow Daniel to execute the crane kick; life’s progression transforms you from a beginner to a master. So start small and advance from there!

Learn how to be a survivor


In the movie, Daniel always had to contend with the town bully. However, he never gave up on his goal. He didn’t succumb to the Cobra-Kai’s abuses. He is a survivor. Being a survivor requires you to solve problems and move on. Own up to your failures, accept responsibility, and learn from them. Don’t give in to your circumstances – rise above them.

Did you watch The Karate Kid when it came out? Have you shown it to your kids? Do you think it taught any valuable lessons?

Jolene Rheault

Jolene works as a marketing professional but full-time as a mom. She lives in Highlands Ranch, CO with her 7-year-old son, husband, 2 cats, and a bearded dragon named Jerry.

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