Iron & Silk (1990)
Teacher Hei: When you have a visitor in China, at first you offer him tea and something to eat.
Mark: Oh, sorry. Here you are.
Teacher Hei: No, thanks.
Mark: But you just said you wanted something to eat.
Teacher Hei: No, I said you should offer me some.
[Mark takes it away]
Teacher Hei: What are you doing now?
Mark: But you said you didn't want it!
Teacher Hei: But you have to leave it here, that's habit.
Teacher Hei: You must master each stroke before you go on. Otherwise everything you do will be so-so.
Teacher Mark: Tell me about it. Everything I touch turns to so-so.
Mark: [voiceover] I hate to admit it, but when I graduated from college, I thought I was ready for anything. That is, until I stepped off the train in Hangzhou. Here I was in a country of a billion people, and I didn't know a single one. This place was different than what I'd expected. It wasn't at all like what I'd seen in the Kung Fu movies. No one else I knew stayed up all night to watch that stuff, but I was hooked.
[screaming, Kung Fu movie clips with English subtitles]
Mark: The hero was always small like me, but he moved like the wind, triumphed over evil, and brought the bad guys to their knees. And - he always got the girl.
Mark: [voiceover] I tried to memorize exactly how Teacher Hei looked at that moment. I thought of Sinbad, Teacher Pan, and Ming. I couldn't concentrate on the book I was reading. It was America that suddenly felt like some exotic dream and China that was real to me. There is a saying that it's the height of stupidity to look for the donkey that you're already riding on. I had come halfway around the world looking for places that existed mostly in my mind, and while I didn't find what I'd expected, I did find that I was riding on that donkey all along, and that eating bitter lets you taste sweet.