Wax on, Wax off – By @Osagie81
Wax on, Wax off
Once upon a time I was working on a project with some junior staff who became disillusioned by the repetitive nature of the tasks they were doing.
Using what I thought to be a timeless pop-cultural reference I tried to tell them that there was long term value in perfecting these tasks.
‘It’s Wax on, Wax off’ I said.
They looked at me blankly.
‘Like in the film Karate Kid.’
The response was one of feigned recognition, tinged with more than a dash of pity. ‘Aah. The film with Jaden Smith…’
My words deserted me.
So… for those charlatans who might not know be familiar with this masterpiece, the original Karate Kid film sees the eponymous karate kid, Daniel LaRusso – affectionately known as Daniel-san – doing a host of menial jobs for his karate sensei neighbour Mr. Miyagi, with the promise of martial arts training in return.
After a while Daniel-san gets frustrated with the lack of actual karate training, thinking he is being taken advantage of to do all the odd jobs Mr. Miyagi can’t be bothered to with.
Mr. Miyagi then blows Daniel-san’s little mind by showing him that he has learned some karate moves through what seem like chores – painting the fence and house, sanding the floor, and most memorably, waxing the car in a specific way.
‘Left hand, right hand. Wax on, Wax off.’
Turns out, in addition to being a great car waxing method, it’s also an efficient karate blocking technique.
I’m reminded of this scene now that I’m back in education at the SCA, because even though the exercises are often noodle-bakingly challenging, and the mentors’ collective experience is intimidating; I have in my mind a clear picture of the day that it all clicks into place, the day I’m here for, the day of that ‘Oh snap, I know karate!’ moment.
Right now I am Daniel-san and Marc and the SCA mentors are Mr. Miyagi, teaching new skills and drills and helping me form habits that will hopefully lead to creating better work.
And in case you’re wondering, Marc hasn’t made any of us to wax his car. Yet.