Karate Kid – Movie Review

Karate Kid:  Movie Review

By: Stacey Tuttle

“Kung fu lives in everything we do. 
How we put on the jacket.  How we take off the jacket. 
Everything is kung fu.”

 “Wax on, wax off” versus “Put on the jacket.  Take off the jacket.”  This seems to be the central debate surrounding the supremacy of the two Karate Kid movies.  Whichever your preference may be, the lesson is still the same; kung fu (or karate, depending on your preference) is in everything you do.  It’s not just a way of fighting or defending, it is every motion that you make.  It’s so exciting!  All of life can be done in such a way that can make you a better warrior, that is, assuming you are into martial arts.  I’m not, but I confess I wanted to be after I watched the Karate Kid…in 1984, in 2010 and every time in between. 

But what if we aren’t into martial arts?  Why is it that, martial arts or not, the idea that one thing can encompass every detail of our life is so inspiring?  Why do we love to find out that doing mundane, every day tasks actually has or at least can have a higher purpose?  I believe it’s because we are wired that way.   The Bible says in Colossians 3:23, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.”  It also says, in Matthew 6:33 that we should “seek first His kingdom and His righteousness” and then the rest will come.  In other words, our faith is not just a Sunday experience.  It should be the first thing we do, the all-encompassing thing that we do.  We should seek to be victors, righteous champions in God’s kingdom and we do that by doing all our work with all our heart and energy before the audience of our God.  

God is like our Mr. Miyagi, our Mr. Han.  He uses each mundane task in life to teach us holiness and righteousness.  He teaches us how waxing the car and putting on our jacket can be used to fight against the enemy.  And make no mistake, our enemy makes the relentless, ruthless, “show no mercy” enemies of the karate kid look about as fierce as Tickle Me Elmo.  

“You think only with your eyes, so you are easy to fool.”


The Karate Kid is easily duped, faked out by his opponent, because he hasn’t yet learned to trust his instincts.  He relies strictly on what he can see and is therefore easily faked out.  He has to learn to be proactive, not simply reactive.  He has to learn to anticipate the enemy’s moves. 

Similarly, Paul tells Christians in 2 Corinthians 5:7 that they must “walk by faith, not by sight.”  Why is that?  It’s because we too are easy to fool when we think only with our eyes.  We have been given the Holy Spirit to help guide us, to help us see through the fake outs, to help us learn to anticipate the enemy’s moves.  But we cannot physically see the Holy Spirit—it’s takes a sight that comes only with faith.  In fact, in Matthew 13:10-16 Jesus explains to his disciples that a person can see and hear without truly seeing and hearing.  It is possible to see but be blind to the truth.  Jesus tells his disciples, “blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear” (v. 16).  What makes the disciples able to see and hear what others cannot?  Their faith in Jesus. 

Please let the Karate Kid movies be an opportunity to encourage and/or teach these principles.  First, that for the Christian,

 Christianity is in everything we do. 
How we put on the jacket.  How we take off the jacket. 
Everything is Christianity.

 And second,

 If you think only with your eyes, you will be easy to fool.  We walk by faith, not sight.

 Questions for Discussion

  • How do you think the mundane tasks of your life can teach you holiness?
  • Do you think that the Karate Kid might have done “take off the jacket, put on the jacket” with a little more purpose/intention, if he had known the value it would have in his kung fu training? 
  • Now that you know that “take off the jacket, put on the jacket” (or whatever that might be in your life) has value for your spiritual training, will it change the way you do and the attitude you have about it?
  • Are you guilty of thinking only with your eyes?  Do you think seeing is believing?
  • How do you think learning to see with the eyes of faith can help you be more instinctive in your battle against the enemy, better able to anticipate his moves and less easily faked out?
  • Do you believe that, like the Karate Kid, you have a ruthless enemy who wants to destroy you?