A Lesson From Kung Fu Panda – Tucson Personal Trainer Blog

Sometimes great life lessons can come from odd places. In today’s post, I’d like to share one with you. Since our kids are grown and out of the house, children’s movies don’t generally come across our radar, but one recently did… Kung Fu Panda. The nudge to see it actually came from a book I was reading that convinced me to check it out. Considering the genre, the movie had some incredible gems.


In case you haven’t seen the movie, it’s a cartoon where the main character Po, a panda bear obviously, becomes a master in Kung Fu. In the movie we get to see his diligent practice, his great teacher, and the wisdom from the Dragon Scroll, which contains the “key to limitless power.” AKA, the ‘secret ingredient’. When Po first looks at the scroll, he is disappointed to see there is nothing written on it. It’s just a mirror, and Po can see the reflection of his own face.

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This brings him to his epiphany, “There is no secret ingredient. It’s just you.”


Robert Kiyosaki is a son of Japanese immigrants and author of many best-selling books. In his most well-known release “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” he tells a story his dad used to tell about how the Japanese recognize three powers: The sword, the jewel, and the mirror.

The sword represents the power of weapons. This one is pretty self-explanatory: The US has spent trillions of dollars to become the world’s super-power for a reason. The jewel represents the power of money. Kiyosaki makes a little joke about the ‘golden rule’…


“Yu know the ‘golden rule’ right? He who has the gold, makes the rules.

The mirror represents the power of self-knowledge. And, according to Japanese legend, this is the most treasured of the three.

The mirror is also the most challenging power to fully utilize. When we are around people who we dislike, one of the main reasons we feel this disdain is because, the part of them we dislike the most, reminds us of something we dislike about ourselves. This is nothing new. Thousands of years ago Jesus said…


“Wy do you see the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the splinter that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite! First take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye.” Luke 6:41-42

Similarly… when something terrible happens to us, the most uncomfortable thing to realize is that, oftentimes, that thing was ultimately caused by something of our own doing.


Ugh, that mirror is a total buzz-kill sometimes…


I’v mentioned this in previous writings, but one of the things that never ceases to amaze me in all my years of coaching, is the difference between the people who come into our system and get great results, versus those who don’t. It’s not like we write super-secret programs that we only share with our top students. As a matter of fact, all of our programs (including the ones for the most advanced classes) are written all over the white boards in the gym. We even email programming every week so students who are out of town can still see them and not fall behind. Even a non-paying visitor can come in and clearly see everything we do. There are no secrets here.

So, why is it that month after month, year after year, so many achieve great results and others don’t?


Ugh, that mirror is a total buzz-kill sometimes…

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How Do We Use The Mirror?


Instead of asking ourselves, “Why is so-and-so not doing XYZ?” Or, “Why is this person/thing not giving me what I need and/or not doing what I want from them?” A better question can be, “Who am I being that this is happening this way?”


Is this always the absolute correct answer? Certainly not. Sometimes people just suck. Sometimes awful things happen. I’ve just found over the years that when I take on the arduous task of looking at the log in my own eye, that it gives me a much more powerful place to stand in order to come up with better solutions.

Until next time,


Jerry Trubman is a coach, clinician, author, blogger, and powerlifting state champion. With over two decades of lifting experience, he has devoted himself to seeking out better answers, and distilling them into practical programs that produce great results. Jerry has coached “Team Protocol” to 4 National Powerlifting Championships in the 100% Raw federation. He writes the internationally-read blog, “The Healthy Addiction” and lives in Tucson, Arizona with his wife, Marie, and dog, Asher.

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