Saturday, November 8, 2008

The Secret Ingredient is...

Just finished watching "Kung Fu Panda" with my son. I was really expecting alot from this movie because there have been 2 - count 'em - two write-ups in "Black
Belt" magazine about it. Both of them glowing reports.

The first article went more or less behind the scenes and the interviewer spoke with all the actors, directors, martial arts choreographers, etc. I love Jack Black. I can take or leave Angeline Jolie (homewrecker!) and Dustin Hoffman - always a treat. The second article was just a short write-up extoling the finished movie's virtues, while acknowledging, without shame, that their magazine gave this movie space in two of their recent issues because it was such a great martial arts movie despite the fact it's a cartoon.
So, I set out to get it today to watch tonight as my huband is in a pool tournament tonight. (Pool is his martial arts.) I watched and it was a good movie. But I was ready for a Karate Kid Part 1 type of movie after all the hype. I would recommend it, certainly, but I wouldn't have raved the way Black Belt magazine did.
I did not think the art was all that wonderful. It was good, yes, but not "all that" as they say. I remembered in the behind the scenes type article telling how the martial arts action was so realistic and that it was not drawn like a human would do it, but how an animal of the type portrayed would execute it. Okay...
But the one thing that I did take from this movie is that "you" are the factor that makes or breaks your martial arts journey.
Kung Fu Panda (Po) loves martial arts but is overweight, gets winded easily, and loves his food. (No, I was not the model for the character, contrary to the coincidence.)
His father also has a special noodle soup that everyone raves over and all assume it is becuase of his father's "secret ingredient". Po's father wants him to carry on as the family noodle business in a bad way. But Po loves, loves, loves martial arts and has no desire to be a "noodle man" like his dad.
When Po is chosen to be the "Dragon Warrior", no one is more surprised than he and he is given the coveted Dragon Scroll which allegedly contains the "secret ingredient" to transforming oneself into the Dragon Warrior.
When the scroll is presented to Po, he looks at it and is dumbfounded. There is nothing written on it! He can't believe it and thinks it is all a bunch of bunk. So he goes home to his dad to be a "noodle man" afterall. His father sees his dejection and finally tells him the secret of his famously good noodle soup's secret ingredient...NOTHING. That's right...people think it's special because of the assumed secret ingredient so it is. There is no secret ingredient. Po has an "Aha! moment", realizing what the empty scroll meant. The secret to becoming the Dragon Warrior was...yourself! You make or break yourself in your martial arts journey.
It's something I've known for a long time, but it's so nice to have the reaffirmation of a Disney movie!
Remember...the secret ingredient is YOU! (And that goes for any station in life - not just noodle soup and martial arts!) So, take a pinch of that!


Meg said...

Now I *have* to see this movie...I can identify with Po, as far as being overweight and easily winded! Definitely sounds like a movie worth investing in. Thanks for the review!

Martial Arts Mom said...

Meg, I think I still identify with Daniel in the Karate Kid more. I think the part that he doesn't even believe he's doing it is why I say that. But then again, Po feels the same way. I'm just not a "cartoon" kind of girl, but I set out to see this one specifically because of BB magazine's reviews plus because it was martial arts related. Definitely worth seeing though I don't know if I would have bought it had I already seen it. I wish I would have rented instead.

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