Cinema can teach a lot, if you pay attention. While it is not recommended that you take all the different aspects of movies and apply them to your life, there are some good points made throughout the entertainment world. For instance, if you were to look at classic kung spiritual awakening movies fu movies, you would see that there are some principles of martial arts sewn into the movies. Even in the most comedic of stories, there are things that you can learn and directly apply to the way you think about learning, training, and mastering all forms of martial arts.
Look at movies where there is a master teacher, and a rogue student. There is something that will always be echoed in the narrative, and that’s the fact of committing to a lifetime of learning. Martial arts, no matter what discipline, takes a lifetime to master. There’s never a point where you stop learning or training. It is not like any other type of sport, where you are done at a certain age. This is echoed through the dialogue and principles that shape the main characters.
Regardless of your religious ideas, you will find that there is a harmony between spirit and fighting arts. Whether you agree with them wholeheartedly, or you use them to further your own involvement in religious studies, things outside of the physical matter. It’s within the spirit of fighting, that people get caught up with the physical, and not the spiritual balance that mastering the art forms takes. This may seem complicated, but it’s not, it’s a matter of balance, and one that is illustrated in movies quite well from the mouths of the teachers.
While revenge plots are slick, and there are a lot of fights that break out within the world of these movies, it’s not the main point of any character aside from the villains. If you pay close attention, you will see that the masters, trainers, and even heroes all want to find peaceful resolutions but are continually attacked into defending, and honoring the family, teachers, and more. Peaceful resolutions are the better solutions, but sometimes, they cannot manifest and self-defense rises above as the only resolution. Among the many prejudices and stigmas in our society we often find ageism. Despite all that has been achieved in terms of changing attitudes and removing this stigma, in so many areas of life, there is still too great a tendency to worship physical beauty and to associate it with youth. And this has bred among some of us a yearning to maintain youthful appearance at all costs, even to the extent of undergoing cosmetic surgery.
On television, ‘Where Are They Now? ‘ features seem very popular. Presenters guide us through nostalgic retrospectives of past sitcoms; we find ourselves looking at iconic actors in classic movies. Sometimes if they’re still living, those actors are interviewed for the programmes. Then we find ourselves contrasting their appearance now with their youthful selves. But what of us? This question might only arise if we look at old photos or home movies, or indeed if we are reunited with friends from twenty or thirty years ago.
Why is it that some people change their appearance over the course of time to such an extent that you would not be able to recognize them from their 20 year old selves? In their youthful selves you can see innocence, hopefulness, idealism, fresh dreams. Must several decades of life experience destroy all that? If it must, why is it that others are still recognizable decades later? – for these people, you can still see the same life in their eyes. Indeed, some improve their appearance with age. All those years of living and you can still identify the same sparkle in the eyes, the same soul, the same quality of life and individuality in them. In their features and their eyes you can clearly discern the spiritual essence which remains independent of the superficial advantages of youth – a depth which gains quality and appeal with experience of the world
This cannot be purely a matter of physical self-care. Is it then a spiritual question? And is the answer a spiritual one? It would seems so, if it is true that “the righteous… will still bear fruit in old age. They shall be fresh and flourishing”. (Psalm 92: 12-14). Consider the notion that we have inner and outer personalities, and sometimes we can look at someone in a moment of heightened perception and see their inner personality as if it had transferred to the outside. Whether this is positive, of course, depends, firstly, upon what life has done to you; and, secondly, how you have responded to it. And ultimately this shows in the expression in the eyes, and what that reveals of the soul within. And then we might see the words of the prophet Joel fulfilled, when he quoted God as saying: “I will pour out my Spirit on all people… your old men will dream dreams.