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Summary: What discipleship looks like and what it involves.

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--Intro> In the movie, "The Karate Kid," the “kid,” Daniel, a high school student who is being harassed by bullies at his new school, meets Mr. Miagi, a quiet, Japanese custodian at his apartment complex who just happens to be a black belt in karate. Daniel asks Miagi if he will teach him karate. Miagi agrees, but only under two conditions: Daniel must be serious about learning, and be willing to do everything Miagi tells him to do. And, Daniel must never question Miagi’s methods or motives. Daniel agrees and shows up the next day very excited, eager to learn. To his chagrin, Miagi hands him a paint brush and paint bucket and has him paint a fence, with precise instructions in how to do it: only moving his hand straight up, then straight down. It takes Daniel several days to finish the project, while all the time he’s steaming on the inside, wondering what painting a fence has to do with learning karate. After finishing the paint job, Daniel reports back to Miagi, who then takes him around into the back yard and a filthy back porch. Miagi tells Daniel to scrub the porch, again describing precisely how he wants Daniel to do it, moving his hands in straight lines in parallel to the ground. Daniel scrubs the deck for several days, all the while growing more angry, as it seems he’s nowhere closer to learning about karate than he was before. Finally, he finishes the deck and this time Miagi takes him to a nearby piece of land where there sits three weather-beaten cars. Again Miagi hands Daniel an old rag and some car wax, explaining how he wants Daniel to do the job, showing him a circular motion with his right hand (“Wax on,” he says), and a circular motion with the other hand (“Wax off!”), then leaves Daniel to do the job. After several days of difficult work, Daniel finally looses his cool and defies Miagi’s second rule. He openly questions Miagi. “I thought you were going to teach me karate! Instead, all you’ve done is have me do your unwanted chores!” Miagi’s face turns angry. “Show me ‘paint the fence’, Daniel!” Daniel begins to move his hands up and down as Miagi throws a punch at him. Daniel fends it off with almost no effort, using the “paint the fence” motion. Next, Miagi shouts, “Show me ‘scrub the deck’!” Daniel begins to move his arms side to side. Again Miagi throws punches at him, but Daniel is able to easily divert them by using the “paint the fence” motions. Finally, Miagi orders Daniel to show him “wax on, wax off.” As Daniel begins to demonstrate the motion, Miagi unleashes a vicious karate kick, and then another one. Each time Daniel successfully fends off the attack. As Daniel stands still with his mouth open, in awe of having defended an attack from a black belt, realizing that he has learned by repeating these moves over and over for days. Miagi smiles, bows, and then walks away.

<>In martial arts, that’s called TRAINING.

--You choose a “sensai” (teacher) and devote yourself to him, learn from him, submit to his leadership. You join his “dojo,” his “house” or “school,” a socially-connected “family.” You even proudly wear his colors, his logo on your gee, your robe, and you’re unashamed to declare to the world how marvelously skilled your sensai is, and how you’re proud to be one his followers.


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