I still remember Jackie Chan’s old movies I watched when I was a kid. There was no cable or satellite at that time (hmm, I feel old now…).
Chan in white Chinese training suits always ends up getting a master with or without knowing. Chan is told to do some boring housework such as cleaning, carrying firewood etc that he is not really motivated to do.
One day the master comes in and with his walking stick, he slaps Chan’s body here and there. Reacting to the master’s “harassment”, Chan naturally moves this way and that way. Then he and we, the audience realize that the housework he has been doing is the actual training to master certain Kung Fu movements.
This morning when I came to the kitchen and saw how my kids loaded the dishwasher last night, I was not impressed.
To be fair, I shouldn’t get disappointed at their performance. Instead I should work on myself more to train them better. It’s a continuous challenge and I learn a lot by working with kids.
It is an art to load the dishwasher “properly”. It’s like a puzzle. If you are an advanced loader, you know how your dishwasher works so that carefully place a certain item at a certain spot in a certain way. And it comes from your experience which means the consistent observation, analysis and testing. As you gain your experience, you become a more skilled dishwasher loader.
Either you are Jackie Chan or a worker in the kitchen, the lesson is that the ordinary daily life is full of important trainings. How to place an object, why? What is the purpose of this current move and what will be the consequences? What is the cons and pros of this option?
And often what you have learned stays quietly within you. It’s so quiet you don’t really know the value.
But when the master comes and starts poking you, your hidden ability starts emerging. With some brush-ups, you quickly become a fine martial artist.
That’s why Zen monks do the all housework as a great part of training. It’s not what to do but how.
And, as a guide, I guess I should keep harassing my children now and then!