What we can learn from the Karate Kid

Most of you know that Court and I have recently moved into a new place and we are still in the process of getting everything set up.  One of the things left on our to do list is the cable, so in the mean time we’ve had the pleasure of watching and re-watching some new and old movies of ours.  A couple of the most recent movies we’ve watched were “The Karate Kid part I,” and the most recent “Karate Kid” movie, which by the way if you haven’t seen either of these I highly recommend them.  I’ll give a quick overview of the movies for those who haven’t seen them.

 In both movies the main character moves to a new city where they don’t know anyone and have to start from starch.  Both of them end up meeting a girl, who already has the interest of another guy.  Long story short the guy who is interested in the girl turns out to be the bully or nemesis of the main character.  Which by the way the nemesis also knows karate and is a local bad ass.  The bully proceeds to pick on the main character and beat them up from time to time.  During one of the beatings the maintenance man of the building the main character lives in intervenes and defends the main character from the bully.  Awed by this both of the characters asks their defender to teach them Karate or Kung Fu.  In both stories the teacher has an unorthodox method of teaching.  In the original Karate Kid movie Mr. Miyagi (Teacher) has Daniel (Main Character) perform laborious chores such as waxing cars, sanding a wooden floor, refinishing a fence, and painting Miyagi’s house. Each chore is accompanied with a specific movement, such as clockwise/counter-clockwise hand motions. Daniel eventually feels frustrated, believing he has learned nothing of karate. When he expresses his frustration, Miyagi reveals that Daniel has been learning defensive blocks through muscle memory learned by performing the chores.  As for the newest movie Mr. Han (Teacher) has Dre (Main Character) spend countless hours taking off his jacket, hanging it up, dropping it, and then putting it back on again. After days of this, Dre refuses to continue, until Han demonstrates to him that the repetitive arm movements in question were Han’s method of teaching Dre defensive block and strike techniques, which Dre is now able to display instinctively when prompted by Han’s mock attacks.

Now I’m sure you’re probably thinking what in the world do these movies have to do with Functional Fitness.  It’s quite simple really; we spend hours upon hours performing exercises and movements that seem to be easy to the untrained eye.  Movements like the clean and jerk, snatch, pull ups, presses, dead lifts and even squats seem to be easy, until you are instructed to perform them correctly.  In both these movies the main characters were so caught up in learning how to kick and punch that they didn’t understand the importance of the foundational movements their teachers were trying to teach them.  Unfortunately we see this quite often as well, whether it’s a new member being introduced to the movements or a veteran who’s been performing the movements for years.  Take the dead lift for example; it’s as simple as picking an object up off the ground.  Now most of the time it’s not a matter of the persons strength that limits them, but it’s a matter of their technique.   Without learning how to properly stand, set the midline, and pull a person will most likely not fulfill their full potential and could eventually injury themselves.  If you have ever seen a power lifting competition or have watched the World’s Strongest Man Competition on TV, you’ve seen these extremely strong athletes lifting hundreds up to thousands of pounds off the ground.  Now what you don’t see is the counts hours those athletes have sent lifting nothing more than a barbell or broomstick to work on their technique. 

So what is the point I’m trying to make with this long rant?  At Surge Elite Performance & Fitness we measure everything, we score reps, time, distance you name it we mark it done.  I think a lot of the time we can all get wrapped up in the score keeping.   “If I’m not first today I failed, or if I was the slowest time of the day everyone will notice, what if I don’t have Rx’d next to my name, ect….”  There are going to be days for all of us that we’re not the best of the gym.  We can be king or queen of the gym one day and the very next day be the goat.  This is the great thing about Functional Fitness, it forces you to constantly keep striving to get better in every area.  There are those day’s where we need to slow down and work on technique and form while the majority is doing heavier or prescribed weight, or finishing faster.  We are only as strong as our foundation, therefore without a strong foundation our house will eventually crumble.  Just like Daniel and Dre we all want to be able to kick and punch, but we must first take the time to lean the foundations of the movements.

What do you think?  What are some movements that hinder you and need to slow down and work on?  Let us know, post comment to the comment section.

5 Responses
  1. George

    You guys got that right,I felt like a goat yesturday. Lousy technique. Had a weak rack due to poor flexability that moved the weight to far forward on my front squat and thrusters putting extra prssure on my knees and not allowing any depth on the bottom. Anyway it allowed for lots of burpees. Oh by the way how do burpees relate to wax off wax on ?
    Side note did get 50 burps in today. Alternated between a strict pullup and a burpee. Steady not fast 12 minutes. Going to go for 50 a day for the 50 days.

  2. Luv-2-run

    I’m almost always the goat. 🙂 Unless it involves running! But the ever increasing list keeps me busy and working out! So it’s a good thing to have something to work for or toward. 😉

  3. My OHS yesterday were really tough! I just didn’t seem to have any stability. I knew they were not great, but yesterday proved to me that they need a lot more attention! My other nemesis are shoulder press, bench press, etc….. 🙂

  4. Aaron

    I think I need to work on my squat technique. There is something about the initiation of my squat that never feels quite right. When the weight gets heavy, it feels like I just drop down like a sack of potatos instead of initiating the squat from a powerful position. Then, at the bottom, it feels like I am fighting to stand from my butt rather than driving with the quads. The que to rip the floor apart on the upward moition doesn’t fit with the way my current technique feels during the upward drive.

  5. Signer

    Too often I am caught up with my time or number of rounds completed. It’s a good point!!!

    I hate the dead-lift but I know it’s a matter of my poor technique.

    Also, George just reminded me I owe 50 burpees….