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.
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
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.