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  • Mitchell Rothbardt

The Film That Changed My Life

Sometimes you see something that says it all.

Something that strikes you differently, even though you may have seen it before.

Buddha is credited with coining the phrase, “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” I have had occasion many times in my life to believe in the truth behind Buddha’s statement.

I had another occasion over the Thanksgiving holiday as I watched a movie I’ve seen many times, first when it was released over the summer of 2008.

It even contains one of my very favorite quotes. (I’ll let you know what it is later.) As I watched, it struck me how deep, meaningful and enlightening this film really is.

I am talking of course about the brilliant “Kung Fu Panda”.

The film that can change your life

If you haven’t seen it, let me quickly describe the plot.

Po, a rather clumsy and rotund Panda bear is an avid fan of Kung Fu and especially of history’s finest Kung Fu team, the Furious Five. When Po hears an announcement that the true Dragon Warrior will be chosen, he obviously assumes it will be one of the Furious Five. The Dragon Warrior will be allowed to learn the ultimate secret to Kung Fu power by reading the secret Dragon Scroll.

Through a crazy series of events Po, who has never learned Kung Fu, is chosen as the Dragon Warrior. He must now train to defeat the evil and powerful Tai Lung, who desires nothing more than to read the scroll and become the Dragon Warrior himself.

No one, least of all Po himself, believes he is capable of defeating Tai Lung until he finally understands what the Dragon Scroll has told him. In an incredible battle he defeats Tai Lung, saves China and gains the respect of his Master and the Furious Five!


So how can this movie change your life? Here are three lessons the great “Kung Fu Panda” can teach you.

1) Do what works for you.

When Po is declared the Dragon Warrior he is a complete beginner at Kung Fu. His teacher, Master Shifu, attempts to teach him Kung Fu the same way he taught the Furious Five. It doesn’t work. After all, how could you expect to teach Kung Fu to a panda the same way you’d teach a tiger, a crane, a snake, a mantis or a monkey? That’s silly isn’t it?

It’s only after Master Shifu figures out how to teach to Po’s individual strengths that he really starts becoming the warrior we know is inside him!

The Lesson: We all have strengths, weaknesses and situations that are unique to us. The situation of a working mother with 2 kids that take dance lessons and play soccer is a lot different than that of a 22 year old who works part time and goes to school. When people don’t take these types of things into account it can lead to problems.

2) Go to work.

The big turning point in the movie occurs when Po’s father (a noodle shop owner who is, curiously, a goose) tells him the secret ingredient in his special “Secret Ingredient” soup. Do you want to know what it is?


There isn’t one.

This brings us to the quote I told you about earlier:

The Lesson: Everything you need is inside you. There isn’t any special diet, workout or supplement that is going to get you what you want. It’s got to come from you. You know if you’re really working hard. You know if you’re really engaging with the lessons that are being taught. You’ve got to do the work and stop expecting shortcuts.

3) Accept who you are. 

This falls in line with the first two lessons. Once Po realizes that everything he needs is already in him, he fights Tai Lung using the unique strengths he has. He’s no longer trying to be anyone other than himself AND HE’S KICKING A$$!!!!

He finally accepts that he’s a Panda and everything that goes with it.

The final straw is when Tai Lung, who is starting to realize he can’t win, desperately exclaims, “You can’t defeat me! You’re just a big fat panda!”

In response Po shoots back, “I’m not A big fat panda. I’m THE big fat panda!” and delivers the final knockout blow.

The Lesson: The only way to grow and achieve what you really want is to accept who you are. That doesn’t mean you are satisfied, but it does acknowledge your situation, your strengths and weaknesses, and if you actually take the time to think about it (and you need to) it clarifies your values!

It’s also incredibly empowering! How do you think Po felt when he said that?

He feels like a BADA$$!!

It’s only once you accept who you are, that you can truly start to feel the same.

Mitch Rothbardt, CPT, Egoscue PAS, PN Level 2 Lean Eating Coach Castro Valley Fitness 2861 Grove Way 510-755-9191

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