Kiado-Ryu Karate

Jul 20, 2020 - Feature of the Week

Lessons From Heartbreak Ridge

Life lessons come to us from all avenues of the human spectrum. The movie Heartbreak Ridge starring Clint Eastwood offers a poignant lesson for all of us, a lesson which, if applied, can certainly enable us to live a better, more productive and substantive life.

In the movie, Eastwood plays the role of Thomas Highway, an aging Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant, tasked with straightening out a Recon (Reconnaissance) Platoon in the Second Marine Division, a platoon comprised of a bunch of out-of-control, defiant and arrogant losers, which is hardly the case of any real Marine unit of any size but, nonetheless, it makes for a good movie, however unrealistic the plot.

Other than enjoying the movie simply as entertainment, there is a theme that constantly is repeated during the film, an important theme, a theme every person can grow from if this theme is applied to one’s daily life, especially in cases of great challenge, chaos, distress, headache and heartache. That theme, continually espoused by Gunnery Sergeant Thomas Highway to his men in overcoming their challenges is, “Improvise, Adapt, Overcome.”

“Improvise, Adapt, Overcome!” How germane is this three word maxim for today’s world and its plethora of global challenges via COVID-19, riots, violent demonstrations, criminal behavior, lawlessness, hate, destruction, governmental malfeasance, scientific incompetence and insufferable upheaval? As individuals tasked with the necessity of coping with and surviving this present amalgam of mayhem, these three words—“Improvise, Adapt, Overcome”—ring loudly, clearly, truly.

“Improvise, Adapt, Overcome.” Memorize this phrase. Let it sink into every pore of your psyche. “Improvise, Adapt, Overcome.” Let it become a mantra of survival in a world gone mad and blind. What it is telling us to do is find a way, make adjustments and conquer this enemy. It is great advice, worthy advice, meaningful advice. Why? Because if we don’t improvise, if we don’t adapt, if we don’t overcome, we run the risk of being overcome, perhaps irreparably and permanently. Serious stuff.