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The Karate Kid Movie- Parenting and Teaching Children

Excellent teaching skills were demonstrated in the movie ” The Karate Kid” starring Jaden Smith, Jackie Chen and Taraji Henson. Teaching and parenting are things that people usually do from a place of love.  Jackie Chen’s character(Mr. Hong) tells Jaden Smith’s character (Dre Parker) that there are no bad students only bad teachers.

I understand where Chen was coming from. As teachers and parents it is our job to find out and figure out what it takes to reach our children. Relevancy plays an important and significant role in learning. It is so much easier to learn when you can relate to the subject that you are learning, even if it seems so redundant and mundane. When you can relate the subject to something that your childern experience in life there is a connection that is made which makes learning easier.

Learning this way cooperates with how our brain naturally perceives and relates to information in the first place. Your senses, sight, hearing, taste, touching and smelling are design to take in information. This information then goes into the brain and the brain then looks for similar situations  and a way to classify this information from what it already knows.

In the movie, Chen had Smith do a seemingly unrelated exercise over and over and over and over and over again for months.  “When am I going to learn Kung Fu! a frustrated Smith complained. Every day he would come to train and ended up doing this exercise where he would drop his jacket on the floor, pick it up and hang it on a hook and then take the jacket off the hook and put it on. He must have performed this move thousands of times.

What Smith did not realize was that he was doing several things. One he was helping his body to perform the moves without thinking or being conscious of them. He probably could do these moves in his sleep. We call this muscle memory in dance. We practice the steps over and over and over again so that when we have to perform them the steps are already in the body and we don’t have to think about them anymore. We can therefore begin to focus on allowing the music to move through our bodies and add flavor and interest to the moves.

In addition Smith was developing his body, making it strong and fluid at the same time. He was learning concentration and focus as well as discipline and commitment. I am sure he thought to himself many times that this is crazy and he was just wasting his time. One other powerful thing he was developing was his will.

Chen was an excellent teacher because his intentions came from a place of love, purity, knowledge, skill and experience. He taught Smith to have compassion. No matter what life brings you,you will be able to get through it no matter how hard it may seem.  He took a simple thing like putting on a jacket and built Smith’s body and at the same time taught him the moves that he would need and related these moves to his every day life.

This is truly the mark of an excellent teaching. What is your opinion I’d love to know what you think and invite your comments below.

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