Mentoring and the Karate Kid

150 150 Ellen Ensher
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Everybody learns in different ways. Some of us are more auditory, or visual or kinesthetic. I love to use media clips to demonstrate learning points. I find it is a great way to keep people awake (a prerequisite to learning anything!) and employs another modality of learning.

I recommend watching the original Karate Kid movie for some great themes related to mentoring success strategies. Here’s an example:

In the movie, the Karate Master has the protégé perform a series of laborious tasks and chores seemingly unrelated to karate. The protégé gets pretty fed up and really can’t see why he is doing things like sanding the floor, painting the fence, or waxing the car. Until finally the mentor helps him put it all together and basically shows him that he had a master plan and was helping the protégé to develop important muscles so that these skills would become automatic for the protégé when he needed to use him. It would be fun and useful to watch this movie and discuss it with your mentoring partner.

Here are some questions to consider:

1) Have you ever had an experience like this that you can relate to where a mentor, boss, or teacher required that you do some tasks that seemed trivial but later on you realized were actually part of your development?

2) Recall the last time you had to teach someone something- did you ever use the building block approach like the Karate Master does?

3) What else worked about the relationship between the karate kid and his teacher?

4) What didn’t work or made you uncomfortable?

5) What other movies have themes related to mentoring?