Wax On, Wax Off

It’s another Cool Shirt Friday. Here’s the clip for context:

I could write about the meaning of this scene, but another Blogger has already done it, and done it extensively. You can check out that post here. And you check a bunch of other thought-provoking articles at the aBookShelfz Blog.

My favorite excerpt from the, “What is the Meaning of “Wax On, Wax Off”?” post was this:

“Some of the most famous scenes in the film involve Miyagi’s rather unorthodox way of teaching karate to an eager student — by having his student perform back-breaking, tedious chores around the house like sanding a wooden floor, refinishing a fence, painting a house, and most notably, by waxing cars. Miyagi explains the process of waxing a car as if it were a Zen meditation: “Wax on, right hand. Wax off, left hand. Wax on, wax off. [Miyagi makes circular motions with each hand] Breathe in through nose, out the mouth. Wax on, wax off. Don’t forget to breathe, very important.” The labor-intensive projects go on day after day, week after week. Daniel’s patience finally wears off and he explodes, accusing Miyagi of turning him into his “goddam slave” and breaking his promise to teach him karate. Daniel comes to realize that through this labor he has been learning important karate defensive blocks.

You’ll have to disregard the salacious definitions you will find on Urban Dictionary, because the meaning of “wax on, wax off” is a rich multi-layered metaphor that is profoundly beautiful and meaningingful. Early in the film, Miyagi provides a critical clue when he tells Daniel, “Not everything is as [it] seems.” The essence of “wax on, wax off” is that one can learn valuable lessons from seemingly simple or mundane tasks. Or expressed another way, it means learning something important as a byproduct of doing something that is partially or completely unrelated —without realizing that you are learning something. Genius.”

I remember watching the earlier Karate Kid films during my childhood. So when I had see that the team over at Art History 101 made the shirt that I used as the image for this blogpost, I had to pick it up. It was a limited edition shirt, and I’ve got one of the very few that were created, but there are tons of other Cool Shirts that you can select from at their store or on their website.

Until next time, I’ll continue always being a student and continiuing to learn; even through menial tasks.

-Cool Shirt Guy, Signing off




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