A Martial Artist's View of The Film: "Forrest Gump"


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When the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences does a Tom Hanks retrospective, I hope they pass quickly over the cute films, such as “Big" and “The Burbs, " and “Sleepless In Seattle, " entertaining as they may have been.

I think they should cut directly to a montage of the tough and gritty guys he has played in films like “Saving Private Ryan, " “Road To Perdition, " “Apollo 13, " and “Forrest Gump. "

Did I just say “Forrest Gump?"

Yup, I did!

I love this movie, because the title character is emblematic of who a martial artist is, and what he does.

Let’s start with who Gump is.

To say he’s average is overstating the case by about 20 or more I. Q. points. He’s what folks in a kinder, gentler era called, “Slow. "

That makes him perfect martial arts material, not because we’re dummies, but because we have to cultivate and retain “a beginner’s mind, " always. That’s Forrest’s specialty; he’s a here and now guy, which is just where you need to be to handle a fight or to avoid one.

Forrest also has a big heart. You can see it right there on his sleeve when he’s dealing with his childhood crush who seems to do everything in her power to crush his love into the ground.

He stands by his comrades in battle, and afterwards, when their bodies have been broken, and worse, their spirits, too.

Though “The Times Are A Changin" in this Vietnam era epic, Forrest never does.

Though most people mistake him for being dumb as a rock, he’s as solid as one, as he shows in scene after scene, as the decades come and go.

There is a story told by Pema Chodron, a Buddhist nun. She says there are three kinds of horses. The first is fast to respond to the slightest tension on the reins. This is thought to be the best horse.

Then, there is the horse that is a little slower to respond, but still reacts relatively quickly to direction and this is a good horse.

Finally, there is the worst horse. This one seems like a dolt, is slow as can be to respond to instruction.

Pema says we all want to be the best horse, the quickest and most responsive, but in reality, it is the worst horse THAT IS THE BEST PRACTITIONER.

He tries harder, and keeps trying, and while mastery comes slowly, when it comes, it is lasting.

In your martial arts training, you can try to be the best, like Bruce Lee or Chuck Norris.

But it may serve you better to model after the worst, someone like “Forrest Gump, " because like that box of chocolates he talks about, you never know who you’re going to become until you look inside!

Dr. Gary S. Goodman is the best-selling author of 12 books, over 700 articles, and the creator of numerous audio and video training programs, including “The Law of Large Numbers: How To Make Success Inevitable, " published by Nightingale-Conant-a favorite among salespeople and entrepreneurs. For information about booking Gary to speak at your next sales, customer service or management meeting, conference or convention, please address your inquiry to: gary@customersatisfaction.com


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