I have a six year old little boy that thinks its fun to punch and kick and make karate sounding noises. He thinks its so cool that he does not care who he tries to hit or where on their body he hits them. He has kicked the four year old little girl at our home, knocked the three year old down several times and has hit grown men in their privates with a pretty powerful punch.
To try to help him understand that Karate is more than kicking, punching and making noises I have used the classic, Karate Kid as a form of education.
Daniel, the teenage boy has lost his father and if that’s not bad enough he and his mom move from the east coast to the west coast; leaving behind all his friends. While my son is not a teenager, he has experienced more grief in his young life that more adults so he can relate to how Daniel feels.
Daniel wants to learn Karate so he can defend himself from the beatings he is receiving from local bullies. During one of the beatings, Daniel’s apartment handyman witnessed the attach and intervenes. Daniel is so impressed by Mr. Miyagi’s fighting that he begs for lessons. Mr. Miyagi eventually says yes and begins training Daniel in more than karate; he also helps Daniel learn to deal with life.
To accomplish this there’s the classic line “wax on/ wax off” as Daniel waxes cars. There’s Daniel working on the deck and painting the fence, not traditional karate lessons that help Daniel learn the basics of karate. It’s these scenes that I use to help my son learn there’s more to karate that fighting.
One sad moment in the movie is the reminder of how people were treated during World War II. As Mr. Miyagi served our county in the war he lost his wife and child in a Japanese concentration camp. While my son is to young to understand about the war, he is old enough to understand that adults get sad when they lose people. My son shares the lose of a baby brother so this gives me an opportunity to discuss remembering those we love.
What better way to bring home the message that using your brain is just as important as brutal fighting that watching Daniel fight in the karate tournament. Daniel makes it to the finals and in this match Daniel takes a bad blow to his knee making it impossible to continue the match, or so everyone though. Mr. Miyagi uses a special pain suppression technique on Daniel’s leg and Daniel returns to the match.
It’s here that all of Daniel’s training comes together as he balances on his good leg , kicks his opponent with the good leg, and lands on it. One major balancing technique. Daniel wins the match and is awarded the tournament trophy. For my son the movie helps with showing that protecting yourself and your family is important, but do so by using your head and not your feet and fists first.
Check out any of these sites to get your very own copy of the movie