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Kung Fu Panda = Healthy Life Style. Seriously?

November 14, 2011

 seattle kung fu panda




Seattle Kung Fu, Renton Martial Arts


Kung Fu Panda = Healthy Life Style. Seriously?

By Marlene Martzke

Who would have ever associated Jack Black as the voice of an overweight, clumsy, slacker panda named Po, with a healthy lifestyle of exercise, confidence and discipline? Can you say Dragon Warrior?


When Kung Fu Panda, a CG animated movie with all the sticky feel of bubble gum stuck to your shoe came onto the screen, it was pure entertainment. Little did anyone know, that this wise-cracking action comedy would motivate viewers from Seattle to New York to wonder about Kung Fu and ultimately start them believing that maybe the same dream might be obtainable for them.

Most of us are noodle folk. We hardly have the drive for regime aside from making sure we tune in at 9pm sharp for our weekly dose of The Office. Yet the sight of a plump panda that, through humiliation, training and discipline, becomes the ultimate Dragon Warrior has become an unwitting catalyst for adopting the regime of exercise and mental focus required in martial arts. This mindset is one that can carry through a lifetime.

In the words of Po’s adoptive goose dad Mr. Ping, “To make something special, you just have to believe it’s special.” Perhaps Kung Fu Panda, with all its hyperdrive cuteness, has an underlying message of hope and encouragement for all to become who they were meant to be. So, without getting all mystical and Kung-Fuey, like Po, we can find that perhaps our weaknesses can turn out to be our strengths.  We have control over our thoughts and feelings and assign them meaning. Thus we are always presented with opportunities for change and growth.

I’ve seen this phenomenon before. Having twin cousins who as kids were into as much of a healthy lifestyle, as well… the rest of us noodle folk. Their idea of a balanced lunch was a slice of bologna with grape jelly on white bread garnished with cheerios. However, it was the 70s and Kung Fu Fever hit with Bruce Lee movies and “Everybody Was Kung Fu Fighting” discoing on the radio. My cousins became hooked. Today they are martial art instructors and life long practitioners of Kung Fu, and into a life of healthy nutrition and mental conditioning.

Associated Press reporter Josh L. Dickey said upon taking his three year old to see Kung Fu Panda, “[M]y son wasn’t the only little one who was kung-fu fighting in the aisles when the lights went up. The truth is, they just about all were.” Seems it is happening again for a new generation.

So don’t let the gooey, joke-a-minute CG farce fool you. The Seattle Times David Germain writes, “[T]he filmmakers have delivered a real kung-fu movie in the guise of a cartoon comedy…. Directors Mark Osborne and John Stevenson said they intended their panda hero and his comrades… to be the animal-world equivalent of the Asian action warriors they admire.” Kung Fu Panda can be boiled down to messages of empowerment and a wholesome life path for those who can dig past the entertainment value into some real martial arts action.

Enough talk. Let’s fight!


Dickey, Josh L. (2008, June 13). “’Kung Fu Panda’ a cartoon, but is it for kids?” Associated Press.

Germain, David (2008, March 8). “Animated “Panda’s” heart full of real martial-arts roar”. The Seattle Movies.

Seattle Kung Fu, Renton Martial Arts


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