Popular culture is typically perceived only as entertainment, but there are lessons embedded in many of these diversions, woven into lyrics, scripts, and imagery such that they are sometimes missed the first time. Either from repeated exposure or experience, it’s interesting when pop culture provides more than mere amusement.
Such was the case recently watching The Karate Kid (1984) and The Karate Kid, Part II (1986), starring the late Pat Morita as Mister Miyagi, the reluctant martial arts sensei, and Ralph Macchio as Daniel LaRusso, the eager student.
Writer Robert Mark Kaman included several simple yet important messages we can use in leadership training and personal development. Even most who’ve not seen the original film are familiar with the phrase “wax on, wax off,” the repetitive polishing motion Miyagi used to teach Daniel the first of many basic karate moves. Throughout the film, Miyagi instructed Daniel to perform apparently menial tasks, but each taught a valuable combat skill.