STORY TIME: How The Karate Kid Helped Me When Growing Up
You'll obviously have noted that Cobra Kai is one of the biggest hit shows out there right now. Adults who loved the films are now reconnecting with their old masters nearly 40 years later, and kids are now getting a taste of what it's like in the world of the Karate Kid & Cobra Kai.
I'll admit, I was rather skeptical when I saw the new show being aired on YouTube. My first thought was to the many other franchises that had been wrecked by newer film makers and writers. Take Star Trek, Star Wars, Doctor Who, The Terminator -- it seems they picked the films with the most loyal fanbases, iconic in the 80's and 90's and dropped a large turd on them.
I sort of understand it though, in a weird way. I've read that films now have worked out a formula that works, and very few film makers are willing to step out of the normal-forgettable boringness of yet-another-marvel-movie to make something that IS really different and forward thinking. So, they just destroy our old hero's to make way for more plainer, more forgettable cast members to force their substandard and "safe" scripts onto us.
"Your old crew is dead now. You'll have to make do with Plain Jane and Normal Norman"
But, Cobra Kai blew this out of the water. In a way that I wasn't expecting. Not only have they given old cast members the real respect that they deserve, they have paved the way for a new generation of Karate Legends in a way that the audience really can connect with.
So Instead of making Daniel Larusso drink milk from the teet of a weird alien, later to die in an all out fight with someone he was never going to win with; he is now a respected car salesman and pinnacle of his community, albeit with his own flaws, shortsightedness and blindspots. Just like Johnny Lawrence. It's an epic series. I recommend you watch it.
But the Karate Kid is what I'm here to talk about. Yeah, good old Miyagi wisdom saved me in quite a few instances in my life.
You see, I was like Daniel in a way. I had just moved to a new town and I didn't really know anyone. I lived with my mum and had no father figure living with me. Back then not having a dad around was quite alien to people. The questions I used to get, "Is your dad dead?" Hah.
Anyway, not having a dad can bring its own set of problems back in those days -- in one part I wasn't really taught how to defend myself. So I was usually defending myself by using my face to soften the blow of my bullies punches, and my stomach to weaken the friction of their kicks. I just had no idea. I was usually the one that would end up running back screaming to my mum -- and the kids, they fed off that energy.
So I spent a great deal of my single digits running away from kids that wanted to knock the bejeezus out of me, only to see me running away crying to my mum. It's what kids got off on back in the day. It was a very physical time to be alive.
That was of course, until I watched the Karate Kid.
"You show good fight, win lose no matter, you get respect. No more bother. ~Mr Miyagi
Those words were what taught me the best lesson in my younger years. So I learned to kick and fight like a Karate Champ -- of course, heh, I didn't really know how to properly conduct those kicks and punches, and I was far from anything Karate, but it didn't stop me from trying out a roundhouse kick on anyone that tried to fight me.
In the end? I stopped being bullied. It all stopped completely. I was able to walk around with not a care in the world from anyone, and those that used to give me the hardest battles eventually became people that I would happily talk with in the future, and even daresay have a drink with.
One thing that I definitely learned from the Karate Kid was how to stick up for myself, and how running away was perceived in the wider community. Kids did it to me for a reaction, and because I wasn't going to fight back -- but since now it wasn't going to be easy for them they had to think twice about starting something.
I didn't need a protective father figure to show me how to conduct myself when I had the Karate Kid to teach me, and the lessons that I learned from it. I was never a bully. I would only fight when the need arises, and I'd always generally try and talk myself out of one before the shit hit the fan. I've also never had a physical fight since I left High School. No need to!
But then the rules change when you go from school and into the workplace. Learning social jujitzu is a whole other ball game. You go from being not messed with in school, to starting off on the bottom of the ladder again. Everyone taking lowball potshots from their mouths rather than their fists, knowing that now if you use your fists then the chances of police being involved is high.
I guess that's why The Wolf of Wall Street exists. Alas, that's another topic for another day.
The lesson will always be the same though. Face your problems head on and you'll never have many problems to deal with at any one time.