Catholic Lessons from Karate Kid: Stirred Up Passions are the Devil’s Playground

Do you remember the ending of the original Karate Kid?

The members of the Cobra Kai dojo take turns tearing down Danielson. Former Special Forces John “Bow-to-your-Sensei” Kreese shows biceps but no mercy to Mr. Miyagi and Danielson.

Finally, Danielson, with the support of the beautiful teenage Elizabeth Shue faces down the blond beau “Johnny.” All looks lost. Suddenly Daniel, gets up on his one foot and does “The Crane.” In case you forgot, here’s what it looks like:


The heart of every 13 year old came alive as they watched Danielson kick the bad-boy Johnny in the face using that karate move named after a long-legged bird with streamlined bodies and large rounded wings. It’s the cheesy 80s version of “He shall strike Your heal and You shall crush his head.”

If you’ve never seen this clip from Karate Kid, watch it. The real deal happens at 1:30 in the clip below:

Balance of the Karate Kid

Mr Miyagi taught Danielson an important lesson: fighting is about balance. If you are off balance, you will lose.

Miyagi: [Daniel has just gotten his driver’s license and Miyagi has given him a car for his birthday] Just remember, license never replace eye, ear, and brain.
[Daniel has suddenly become quiet]
Miyagi: What matter?
Daniel: I’m just scared. The tournament and everything.
Miyagi: You remember lesson about balance?
Daniel: Yeah.
Miyagi: Lesson not just karate only. Lesson for whole life. Whole life have a balance. Everything be better. Understand?

Same goes in the spiritual life. If you are out of balance, physically, emotionally, mentally, you’re vulnerable to attack. The devil looks for imbalance. Like John “Bow-to-your-Sensei” Kreese, his gives his orders to his minions: Take him out.

We are at our worst when our passions are stirred up.

{There are eleven passions, according to Saint Thomas Aquinas and if you want an easy and fun account of these 11 passions, get my free ebook here and quickly read about them. It explains why you eat too much Ben and Jerry’s ice cream and other such things. You can download it free by clicking here.}

When your passions are stirred up

When your passions are stirred up, the intellectual part of your soul has a hard time keeping things under control. For example, when you are angry enough to chew nails, you start do things that don’t make sense. Later, you look back and say, “What was I thinking?”

The devil knows this! He has been observing frail human nature for a long time. Like a prize fighter, he’s going to manipulate your lack of balance. He’s going to study it. When your passions are stirred up, it’s the devil’s playground.

How do you stay peaceful and keep the passions chill?

Mental prayer and silence. You must on a daily basis turn off the all the noise and set your iPhone timer to 15-30 minutes. Sit there in the quiet and be with God. Talk to him. Converse. This quiet time is the source of true peace and a placid soul.

Don’t get off balance. If you become a person of quiet and prayer, you’ll make it through. When the devil comes around, you’ll be able to get on one leg and spread your arms (the Crane is kind of cruciform).

Watch the video again for details. (My sons (the four year old, seven year old, and eleven year old) usually want to watch that scene over and over about six times until they’ve had enough.

Question: What are your thoughts about “keeping balance” in the spiritual life? Are you balanced? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

PS: I don’t recommend you allowing your young children to watch the original Karate Kid. There are scenes that are harmful. But I let them see that final scene.

PPS: Don’t forget to get your free Thomas Aquinas book by clicking here.

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