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The Greatest Martial Arts Movie Ever Made
 

 

The Premise

Phil could solve his blocking difficulty with a little extra work at the dojo. But what makes Groundhog Day the greatest martial arts movie of all time is its premise: the idea that you must do something again and again and again and again. . . ceaselessly, until you get it right.

Phil is unable to block any punch or slap thrown at him. Still this is a small hiccup in his quest for mastery.

In karate, mastery comes not from learning fresh material but perfecting what you already know. Of course, it's exciting to be taught something new. But this is a junior pleasure, something to keep the kids' class going. If you stay in karate long enough, you know most of the curriculum.  Progress is then dictated by how you polish your technique and understanding, and discover new insights.

Phil is the hotshot tournament star, who is full of his own accomplishments. He is a massive ego with little understanding of self or empathy for others.

To advance to his next rank, Phil has been apparently told by his teacher (never seen in the movie) that he has to really learn a kata inside and out. Let's call that kata Groundhog Day. A perfunctory and even a technically skilled performance will not be enough for him to progress. He will have to keep repeating his kata until he masters its every nuance.

 

 


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