For nostalgic purposes, my husband and I recently re-watched the popular 80s movie, The Karate Kid. For those who have seen the movie, you’ll likely remember that although the iconic fictional character of Mr. Miyagi (the karate master who mentors the young, bullied Daniel LaRusso) was a man of few words, the words he did utter were often amazing or funny quotes full of life lessons, sage advice and timeless wisdom.

There are probably numerous memorable and inspirational Miyagi quotes worth mentioning. But one of the scenes that really caught my attention was when Daniel gets his driver’s license on his birthday. To celebrate, Mr. Miyagi gives him a classic, canary-yellow 1947 Ford Super De Luxe convertible. The excited and overwhelmed teenager hops into the car, ready to drive off with his outstanding gift. But Mr. Miyagi gives him that stern, all-knowing look and shares a simple but profound warning that a license never replaces the eyes, ears and brain.

Words of Wisdom

For Daniel, Miyagi’s words were an important reminder that just because he had acquired a piece of paper saying he could legally operate a vehicle, that license was not a substitution for using good judgment and situational awareness. As we all know, safe driving doesn’t automatically occur because you have a license in your wallet or your pocket. Safe driving requires all your senses and skills being carefully and intentionally put to use so you can maneuver a vehicle safely … while avoiding potentially unsafe people all around you.

Those six words could easily be transposed into the firearms world and firearms training and still ring just as true. In fact, Mr. Miyagi’s quote is an important reminder that a piece of paper allowing you to carry a firearm is also not a substitution for using good judgment and situational awareness. Much like vehicles, safe firearms use intentionally using your skills and knowledge … while avoiding potentially unsafe people all around you.

Worlds of Wisdom

With firearms training, it is especially important we have healthy reminders that the learning never ends. It’s not one class and then done. Owning guns and having them for personal protection is a massive responsibility and an important decision we must make every day. It’s a whole new world that requires sincere dedication and focus.

To help my students, I may just start to pull Mr. Miyagi’s quotes into my CCW classrooms. Of course, we say it countless times in the curriculum. But the unique simplicity of his phrase makes it even more memorable and useful: A license is never a replacement for the eyes, ears and brain. And since firearms training is a lifelong commitment, I may also use a few others from the one-of-a-kind teacher.