Internet Defense League


Thursday, 28 February 2013

Karate Kid

Since the 80s Karate Kid had often been considered the "Rocky" of martial arts movies and in some cases they are right.  You have the underdog fighter, his cuckoo but wise teacher and his arrogant opponent  This series was also directed by John G. Avildsen who directed the first and fifth Rocky films. It has had 4 sequels, a cartoon series, a video game, various parodies and a remake starring Will Smith's son, Jaden in the title role.  However a few things in the series most people have pointed out to be impossible.  I am here to find out if they are true. 

The story begins with Daniel LaRusso, a teenager from New Jersey before Jersey Shore made it look bad.  He and his mother moves to Reseda, Los Angeles. While suffering from moving blues he makes a few friends right away.  First being a kid named Freddy and the other named Ali, a rich girl from the hills.  However Ali just got out of a bad relationship with local bad boy Johnny Lawrence.  Daniel, the good nature he is tries to stop a recent altercation between the two and promptly gets pushed by Lawrence.  This prompts Daniel to get into a fist fight with Johnny that escalates in a Karate fight. However Daniel's YMCA style which involves one punch in the face, is no match for Johnny's spin kick as he is pounded to the ground not once but twice.  This starts a bitter rivalry between them as Johnny and his gang is proceeds to make his life a living hell.  During the recent scuffle, Daniel is saved by Mr. Miyagi, the handyman of his apartment complex.  Miyagi is an Okinawan living in America and knows various skills including Karate.  After saving Daniel he goes to confront the sensai of the gang's school at Cobra Kai.  Here he finds out the sensai, John Kreese is a former vietnam vet that uses sadistic training methods and unethical approaches to martial arts.  During said confrontation, Miyagi strikes a deal with Kreese:  The Cobras leave Daniel alone to train, in exchange they settle the matter once and for all in the upcoming tournament.  Using unorthodox teachings such as making Daniel wax his car collection and paint his fence, Miyagi teaches Daniel not only how to defend himself, but the true meanings of Karate.

Now there are various concepts throughout the whole series that seem not only ridiculous even for movie standards. Could It Exist In Real Life?  Before I answer I must advise never attempt to do this on anyone. This article is meant to research on the possibility.

Let's start with the well known one: Wax On Wax Off.  Throughout the bulk of the series Daniel is taught various chores in his "Training" Waxing cars, sanding floors, painting fences and painting houses.  This in the end, turns out that he is subconsciously being taught how to block in various ways.  Many people have complained and claimed that it doesn't work like that.  It does exist however in various ways.  For one you notice overtime that Daniel gets sore from a long time of work.  He is actually building muscle he never knew he had.  Second, the technique in subconsciously teaching blocks is known as muscle memory. Most people do not know this, but doing a long time of simple chores can actually be a better work out than lifting weights or excessive exercise. Many martial arts teachers often train their students to make their moves second nature to them.  To use combination of defense and offensive moves without even thinking.  That way the student can make quick decisions in a fight.

The Second is the Crane and Drum Technique.  For those who don't know the Crane Technique was an iconic scene in the climax of the first film.  It involves standing on one leg with arms raised like wings, raising the front lead leg up.  In this position, you either kick with your raised leg or you bluff and kick with the leg you are standing on.  Now before I say it can exist lets get the joke out of the way.  Despite it supposedly being an invincible move, simply catching the foot as Chozen demonstrated in 2 or as joked frequently kicking the stander in the groin often defeats the purpose.  That aside it does work.  In 2011 on UFC 129 during a match between Lyoto Machida vs Randy Couture.  Machida won the fight using the titular crane kick.  Something no one ever dared to try before out of fear of said joke examples.  Next is the Drum Technique.  This Technique was meant to dodge oncoming strikes, but LaRusso improved it by adding a counterstrike with each dodge. This can exist.  According to  The drum that inspired the drum technique represents the human upper body and arms.  The handle is centerline and the string with the miniature drum sticks represents relaxed arms.  Keeping one hand or the other hand in center-line will insure you successful blocking and striking with said technique.  Also remember this even it took Daniel a while to master this too so if you feel you can't do it right, don't get discouraged.  Just keep at it.  As the great Miyagi said "If come from you, always right way."

As usual debate, argue and let me know if I missed anything. Stay tuned for more.


  1. I ain't covering it for 2 reasons. One Kata which was the next signature move in 3 is too obvious and too easy of a subject to cover whereas the other techniques mentioned before were more complicated to understand at least too me ergo more interesting to cover in this CIEIR. And two, with the exception of Kreese and Silver's hammy performance, I never liked part 3 and would pretend that movie didn't exist. Hell I like The Next Karate Kid better. With that said, thank you for taking interest in this blog and feel free to check out my other pages.