Monday, 30 December 2013

The Top 10 things you never knew about the Karate Kid!

So I'm sitting there the other night having one last quick flick through the channels before hitting the sack when ITV2 selfishly force me to stay up until the early hours because they choose that precise moment to show the Karate Kid! It doesn't matter that I have seen the film 897 times - when Daniel LaRusso and Mr Miyagi appear on my TV screen it is like a drug I simply can't say no to and it's time for one last fix (I promise!).

It is hard to believe that next year the film will be 30 years old. People say that nostalgia is a wonderful thing, but screw that - it just makes me feel old! In fact, the only other thing that makes me feel older is when I meet someone who was born in the 1990s.

But I'm prepared to give nostalgia a go and that's why I put together this Top 10 list of things you never knew about the Karate Kid!

10. "Sweep The Leg" is a song!
No More Kings used the famous line in their 2007 song 'Sweep The Leg'. Any self-respecting Karate Kid fan remembers the shock on Johnny's face when John Kreese tells him to go after Daniel's injured knee to win the All Valley Karate Championship, and follows up by asking "Do you have a problem with that?" Here, play the song as you read the rest of the list as it acts as a nice soundtrack...

9. Mr Miyagi didn't even bloody know karate!
I feel a little bit cheated here. All those years of practicing wax on, wax off and the man didn't even know a single move! Apart from some basic training on the film, actor Noriyuki "Pat" Morita openly admitted he had never formally trained in any martial arts. I suppose that goes a long way to explaining why he got nominated for a Best Supporting Actor role at the 1984 Oscars (yes, that's right Mr Miyagi got nominated for an Oscar!).

karate kid, wax on wax off, Mr Miyagi

8. In fact there were only two real black belts in the entire film!
Ron Thomas (who played Bobby - the guys who breaks Daniel's leg) and Darryl Vidal (who Johnny beats in the semi-final) were the only two real black belts in the movie. Of course, anyone who remembers the montage during the All Valley Karate Championship will clearly remember that Vidal (who was a 1st degree black belt during the film) sticks out like a sore thumb with his skills and easily would have kicked everyone's ass in that tournament. He was so bloody good that he even uses his own name in the film. In turns out that Vidal is actually the secret star of the film as it is him dressed in a body suit and a bald-head wig when we see Mr Miyagi doing the crane kick on the post at the beach. Cheated, again!

Mr Miyagi, Karate Kid, beach scene, crane technique

7. Webber-san?
Daniel's original last name in the script was "Webber" according to the DVD commentary. It just doesn't quite have the same ring to it now does it, although it's fair to say that former Manchester United striker Danny Webber would have some great football somgs from the terraces if the name had stuck.

Karate Kid, Mike Barnes, Daniel LaRusso, footballer Danny Webber, Danny Webber, Karate Kid III, Karate Kid 3,

6. Dutch is Steve McQueen's son
Dutch, who for me was always the baddest bad-ass in the Cobra Kai's, is in fact the son of acting legend and the king of cool Steve McQueen! He went on to appear in several films throughout the 80s and 90s but his real passion was always race car driving, and over the last decade he has enjoyed a good racing career competing in several types of racing from Motocross to the Baja 1000. A serious injury in the Daytona International Speedway in 2006 caused him to call time on his racing career and he now owns a custom motorcycle and race car company.

Steve McQueen, Chad McQueen, Dutch, Karate Kid

5. The fight scenes were real!
Well, sort of! During the scene where Daniel gets his ass kicked after the Halloween dance, William Zabka (who plays Johnny) is seen to throw a front kick at Daniel. The kick actually caught Ralph Macchio on the face and injured him. John Kreese would have been proud of that one. No mercy.

Karate Kid, Johnny, Halloween, Halloween dance scene, No Mercy, Daniel LaRusso, Cobra Kai, Skeleton costumes,

4. The Karate Kid was a comic character first
Long before Daniel LaRusso came along and made the name famous worldwide, a kid by the name of Val Armorr was already doing the name of The Karate Kid proud by taking on opponents like Batman no less! In fact, the movie makers had to get special permission from DC Comics who owned the rights to the name as The Karate Kid was already a character in their Legion of Superheroes series. There is a credit at the end of the film to DC Comics.
Karate Kid, Legion of Superheroes,

3. What if Rocky was the Best Around and Daniel-san had the Eye of the Tiger?
According to Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter Joe Esposito, the song "You're The Best" which appears in the All Valley Karate Championship montage was originally written for Rocky III (which explains the lyric "History repeats itself"). The song had been rejected in favour of "Eye of the Tiger".

You're the best around, eye of the tiger, Karate Kid

2. Charlie Sheen was originally cast to play Daniel LaRusso
Imagine if Tiger Blood was the winning formula rather than the Crane technique. That's what would have happened if Charlie Sheen had not turned down the role of Daniel LaRusso. Sheen claims his dad advised him against the role and told him to do a lesser film instead. To be fair, could you really imagine Sheen putting up with having to paint the fence? In the end a 22-year-old Ralph Macchio got the job and spent the entire making of the film trying to convince the cast and crew members that he wasn't lying about his age!

Karate Kid, Charlie Sheen, Daniel LaRusso,
1. The Crane Kick is not a real martial arts technique
That man Darryl Vidal steals the show again as he explains he came up with the idea for Daniel's memorable finishing move, and what's more - it's not even a proper martial arts move! Vidal said: "...the crane technique, as depicted in the movie, isn't a real move in any karate or kung-fu. Pat Johnson (the martial arts adviser on the film) told me what he wanted, and I basically said, "you mean something like this?" It is widely recognized, and I still hesistate when I tell my karate students that I made it up. But as you might have guessed, there is very little practical application to the technique." Bollocks, all those years of practicing the bloody thing and it doesn't even work!

Karate Kid, Crane, Crane Technique, Martial Arts, Steven Scaffardi, stand-up comedy,


  1. This is a great list, steven! I linked to it from our No More Kings Facebook page.
    (no more kings)

    1. Thanks Pete! Glad you liked it - the song is awesome! :)

  2. I knew #10, but the rest are a bit of a shock! I feel oddly betrayed by a few of them...

    1. I know what you mean! Childhood memories shattered!