ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Valuable Lessons From the Karate Kid Movie Series

Updated on November 7, 2015
NateB11 profile image

I am interested in all things Entertainment, including style, movies, celebrities and TV, action, comedies and sci-fi and even video games.

Theatrical release poster for the original 1984 film
Theatrical release poster for the original 1984 film | Source


I guess everyone must be familiar with the storyline of the Karate Kid movies: The underdog struggling to deal with his bewildering new circumstances, facing multiple challenges, falling in love, gaining the support of his wise mentor, overcoming his fear, facing hate and violence head-on, growing his awareness and learning serious life lessons. Well, that's one perspective. The other perspective is that this series of movies is formulaic and cheesy bad. Well, I say it's cheesy good, and I'm a corny guy who likes sappy love ballads and love stories and inspiring stories in which the underdog wins. The Karate Kid offers valuable lessons in a package of simple storylines, action, and pretty good drama. I put forward here that the lessons taught in the Karate Kid series offer some things of deep value. Here we will explore the issues ventured and resolved in the Karate Kid stories.


The story's protagonist, Daniel LaRusso, has been moved to a new city by his mother and he immediately runs into trouble from the very beginning. Already bewildered by the adjustment to new circumstances, he runs into the local bullies. They, of course, torture and brutalize him. Meantime, his love interest is dating one of the bullies, only because the bully is favored by her rich parents. Daniel is not only the new guy and abused, he falls victim to class discrimination; Daniel is not Ali's parents' first choice for potential son-in-law. The bullies continue to terrorize Daniel, until the unassuming, Okinawan handyman at his apartments jumps to his rescue: Quite literally. The bullies chase Daniel all the way from a school Halloween dance party to his apartments and trap him at the fence. Handyman, Mr. Miyagi, climbs atop the fence and leaps into the scuffle, dropping every last one of the tormentors with expert Karate moves only a well-trained master could execute. Miyagi takes Daniel to his room and nurses him to health. Upon Daniel's pleas, Miyagi agrees to teach him Karate to handle his abusers.

It comes down to Daniel facing the bullies at a local Karate tournament. One of the bullies, upon the request of his instructor, intentionally injures Daniel's knee, putting him out of commission and out of the tournament. In the locker room, Daniel again pleads with Miyagi, this time to fix his bad knee, with Miyagi's healing skills. Daniel reveals that he will have no peace with the bullies, with Ali, with anyone or anything including himself unless he can face this challenge. Initially, Miyagi feels that what Daniel had already done was enough, he had faced the bullies, overcame obstacles, and gave his heart to it. But he hears Daniel and understands his pleas; he fixes Daniel's leg and Daniel limps back out to the tournament floor to settle the issue with his tormentor.


In the sequel, Daniel and Miyagi venture to the mentor's homeland of Okinawa to see Miyagi's dying father. There, the pair are met by Miyagi's old nemesis Sato who holds a deep and abiding grudge against Miyagi for having "stolen" his girlfriend. Sato and Miyagi are both masters of Karate trained by the same man, Miyagi's father. Sato is determined to settle this feud with a fight to the death, his anger and hate totally overcoming him. Meantime, Sato's sadistic nephew harasses Daniel and his brand-new Okinawan love interest, Kumiko. Miyagi is also reunited with his old flame, Yuki. In the middle of a typhoon, Sato's Dojo is destroyed and he is trapped in the rubble; Miyagi and Daniel rescue him and bring him to a shelter where Daniel, Kumiko, Yuki, Miyagi, and villagers had taken refuge. Outside, a girl is trapped atop a tall structure in the storm. Daniel goes to the girl's rescue, and Sato's nephew, in spite of Sato's request for him to help Daniel rescue the girl, shows his underlying cowardice and unreasonable hate, and remains in the shelter, refusing to help Daniel and the girl. Meantime, Sato, touched with great feeling by Daniel and Miyagi's compassion, rushes to help the girl and Daniel. Returning to the shelter, Sato's nephew is furious and still overcome with fear. Sato, cleansed by the experience of care and compassion which he, Daniel, and Miyagi shared tells his nephew that he had been wrong, that it is wrong to hate.


One underlying current of all of these movies is the problem of violence. One rather poignant scene in "The Next Karate Kid", with Pat Morita returning as Mr. Miyagi and also starring Hilary Swank as Julie, the protagonist (Julie) takes up training at a Buddhist temple. While there, Julie scoffs at the extreme measures the monks take to avoid violence, calling their practice of avoiding killing even pesky bugs "stupid". Miyagi passionately chastises her for belittling the monks' avoidance of harm and violence. He says to Julie that it is stupid when nations go to war with each other, that it is stupid when street gangs kill each other, but having respect for all life is not stupid. The scene shows Miyagi's deep and passionate reverence for life and Julie's awakening to the true meaning of her training.


With great and well-developed characters, the viewer cannot help but be drawn into the protagonist's (whether Daniel from the original Karate Kid, Julie from The Next Karate Kid, or Dre, from the 2010 remake) plight and Miyagi's wisdom and care. At the same time, the movies explore and reveal deeper issues that everyone deals with and to which we all can relate. Cheesy musical montages aside, the movies offer up valuable lessons about deep issues common to all of us.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)