Lessons from The Karate Kid Movie

In the movie The Karate Kid when the karate kid goes to the Japanese karate guy and asks him to train him on karate, the wise experienced Japanese man asks the karate kid to paint his fence, wax his car and scrub his roof. He asks him to do one such task after the other. Each task involves so many repetitions of the same action and is exhausting. The karate kid then reaches a point where he gets fed up from all that and refuses to do any more ‘work’ for Miyagi, the Japanese guy, telling him that he has been using him to work for him and has not taught him karate. It is at this moment that Miyagi reveals the real reason behind such exercises he had tasked the karate kid with. He shows him how to use the moves that he has been practicing while painting the fence, waxing the car and scrubbing the roof in blocking attacks. It is then and only then that the karate kid starts realizing the true benefits of the exercises he had been tasked with carrying out and appreciates what Miyagi has done.

Similarly, a trainer may occasionally decide to temporarily hide the real reasons behind an exercise or activity and reveal them only after such activity is complete. This can allow trainees to focus on carrying out the activity and not let their minds go astray or be burdened or overwhelmed knowing they are attempting to achieve a particular thing they may consider perhaps as too difficult.

On other occasions however, the trainer may decide to reveal the real reasons behind an exercise or activity before trainees start carrying it out. And he may also explain to them why it works and how it would help them achieve the desired goals. This allows trainees to appreciate the activity they are about to get involved in and makes them exert more focused effort while carrying it out. They become more motivated as they keep the goal in front of them exerting their utmost in the hope of achieving it. When I used to deliver English language training I noticed that trainees exert way more focused effort in following my instructions and attempting to read slowly but correctly, when I have first explained to them why such method works and its effectiveness. Prior to that, when I just used to instruct trainees to attempt to read slowly but correctly they did not attempt to follow my instructions closely and usually didn’t mind making many reading mistakes while focusing more on reading fast.

A competent trainer would be able to use both methods well to provide the best training experience. He would explain in detail how and why a specific activity produces superior results when he needs to motivate trainees and have them follow his instructions to the letter. He would also be able to keep the real reasons behind some activities hidden and reveal them only after trainees have completed it in order to avoid overburdening their minds. It is up to the trainer to decide which approach to use. Sometimes a trainer may decide to reveal part of the reasons behind an activity or exercise while not revealing the rest of the reasons. Some such reasons may be discovered by the trainee himself long after the training is over as he witnesses striking improvements in his performance.