Dec 19, 2014

Truth at the All Valley - a Conclusion

 
Originally posted December 19th, 2011.
 
Revised slightly December 19th, 2014.
 
"Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth." Henry David Thoreau

28 years ago today, December 19th, 1983, the most legendary karate tournament ever held took place, the Under 18 All Valley Karate Championship. And interestingly enough love, money and fame all played a role.

However today I hope truth will play a role as well.

My intent with this study is not change anyone’s love for the greatest movie ever made, the Karate Kid, but rather to enhance it by bringing to light a secret I believe is contained within the story. For me this discovery has made the movie more satisfying, the story and it’s plot more intense, and the outcome of the Karate Kid and it’s sequels even more interesting.

I believe I have done a thorough study and I hope I have expressed my thoughts and my ideas sufficiently enough for even the ardent Karate Kid fanatic.

I feel however that I must give this warning, if you read further you do so at your own risk. Once your eyes have been opened you will never look at the Karate Kid the same again.


Forward

I've been a fan of the Karate Kid since day one. I vividly remember sitting in a Mann theater in the summer of 1984 watching what was for every kid around my age, I was 12 at the time, the ultimate "good triumphs over evil" movie. And with high school looming on the horizon and all the challenges that were sure to come, I felt if Daniel could overcome adversity then so could I.

Fast-forward about 25 years and thanks to a lazy day in front of the TV and a lucky find on a movie channel I found myself rediscovering the film I loved so much as a kid. I had watched the movie a handful of times since the 80's but this time something caught my eye and I was transported back to 1984 and engrossed in the movie all over again.

While watching the movie intently I started to notice things with the story that didn't seem to make sense, small things I had missed as a kid. Maybe now as an adult my mind searched for flaws as I do with the rest of the world. However this discovery of imperfections only made the movie more interesting and my desire to watch it again even more intense. I think that very same day I rushed out and bought a DVD copy of the movie, I had some studying to do.

As I began watching the movie, now at my leisure, some of these imperfections that I had noticed earlier became more abundant. Mostly these were issues with the relationship between Daniel and Ali as well as her relationship with Johnny, a love triangle I suppose. For example, why was Ali so cold towards Daniel at the arcade the night before the All Valley? And if she despised Johnny so much why did she dance with him at the country club that fateful night? At the time I thought these were just trivial things of the heart, however I would soon discover that these were pieces to a puzzle of an underlying story I never could have imagined.

There were other issues that crept up as well, issues more dark than teen-age love affairs. Irregularities with Daniel's training and with the All Valley tournament, issues that led me deeper into a study of the movie and its nuances. Pretty soon a blog was created (thekaratekidblog.blogspot) where I could keep track of my thoughts and the results of my studies. My ideas were progressing but still I lacked hard evidence, something key that would allow the mysteries of the movie to reveal themselves.

I delved deeper into study and turned to the Internet to see if others had done any Karate Kid research. I didn't come across much, a couple of fan websites and message boards but they were mostly debating the morality, or lack there of, of the upcoming Karate Kid re-make. Really nowhere did I find any serious Karate Kid research. My studies continued and became intense enough to where my life seemed almost completely consumed by this search for the truth.

Around the same time a pilgrimage was taken to California, a trip to some of the sacred sights central to the story. The South Seas Apartments and the Cobra Kai dojo, all designed to bring me closer to the story and the hidden meaning contained within. Sadly no secrets were discovered, however the pilgrimage did provide my soul with some much needed nourishment.

Then one day I came across a comment or two on a mixed martial arts message board where someone had claimed Daniel had tapped out of the final round match against Johnny. I was intrigued since I had never heard of this before. Others contested that he definitely had not but it sent me immediately back to the film to find out for myself. After watching the final fight scene numerous times I couldn't understand what they had been debating, not at any time did I see Daniel tap the mat. I was confused and decided to lay the issue aside until hopefully new evidence would present itself.

I pressed on with my studies and a few days later found myself on YouTube watching any and all Karate Kid videos available. It just so happened I came across a video that offered up interesting facts and trivia about all three Karate Kid movies. And much to my astonishment suddenly there it was, right in front of my face, the tap that everyone had debated! But no wonder I had not seen it earlier, I was looking for Daniel to tap the mat while he was laying on the ground, not tap his leg while he was standing up.

This leg tap though could not be interpreted as a sign of Daniel giving up. It occurs as he is lining up for the next round shortly after Johnny has scored his second point. If Daniel were giving up he simply would have walked off the mat or had Mr. Miyagi throw in the towel. No, there was something more to this, this had a deeper meaning. Especially seeing as Johnny's next move was to attack Daniel with an elbow to the leg in the exact spot Daniel had just tapped a few seconds prior.

This was Daniel giving Johnny a sign, this was the two of them were working together.

Could it be? Did the two of them have a plan?

My mind conjured the impossible. Did Johnny throw the fight?!

I had to pick myself up off the floor, I had to take a moment to collect my thoughts. Was this possible? Did Daniel and Johnny actually fix the outcome of the All Valley Tournament?

Suddenly this world I had thrown myself into had just become even more upside down and mysterious than before.

I thought to myself that if the match were fixed there would have to be more evidence than just this leg tap, there would have to be a lot more. Why would they have done this? I needed answers desperately and I realized some intense study lay ahead. I wasn't sure if I was up to the challenge but I couldn't just turn my back on everything I had just seen. I had to get to the bottom of this or it would drive me mad. Perhaps I would be driven mad either way but I was willing to take the risk for something this important.

I figured the only way to get to the bottom of things would be to start from the beginning, take the movie scene by scene, look for evidence, create a timeline of events and set the stage for what could be the most important discovery in Hollywood history. I would also have to accept whatever reality the evidence would present.

While I searched for answers I found myself on a joyful quest, one that took me deeper into this world of martial arts mastery, innocent and not so innocent love, self discovery, joy, pain, personal triumph, and dark secrets.

Little by little though it all came together, ultimately it was easier than I thought. The answers were all right in front of me, in front of anyone who seeks enlightenment. A conclusion is what I came to, one that made the Karate Kid experience even more intriguing and satisfying than before, one that made the story deeper and more intense than ever.

What I found was the truth, a truth that was hidden, hidden at the All Valley.

Timeline

The first step in my investigation was to create a timeline of events. I figured if I were going to delve deep into this story to find answers I would need to understand the time frame in which these events took place.

To complete a timeline I first needed a starting point, a date I could base everything else off of. That date was solid, December 19th. I knew this was the day the All Valley Championship took place, but what year? The movie as we all know came out in 1984. Some might say that that would be the year the events took place while others might argue that the events took place at the end of 1983 seeing as the movie came out in the summer of '84. Karate Kid 2 however puts this debate to rest.

The sequel picks up where Karate Kid 1 leaves off and six months after Daniel wins the All Valley tournament we see him pull up to Mr. Miyagi's house in a bad tuxedo and a damaged car. Of course we all know the story and soon Daniel and Mr. Miyagi are off to Okinawa where later they find themselves in the midst of a Pacific typhoon.

A quick search of Pacific typhoons and we learn that in 1984 Typhoon Holly hit Okinawa hard in the month of August with winds upwards of 80 mph. This coincides with the Bon Festival which takes place in Okinawa in the month of August and plays a crucial part in Karate Kid 2.

In August of 1985 no typhoons hit Okinawa, only a tropical storm named Lee that passes with only moderate winds. From that we can safely say the events of Karate Kid 2 took place in 1984 therefore the events of Karate Kid 1 took place in 1983.

Now I could put a timeline together.

Once I found a calendar for 1983 I could piece together the dates of the events falling between the Halloween Dance on Friday October 28th and the All Valley tournament on Monday December 19th.


 
-Friday, October 28th-
The Halloween Dance and subsequent beating of Daniel at the hands of the Cobra Kai. Daniel is saved by Mr. Miyagi who later offers to help Daniel smooth things over with his "friends."

-Saturday, October 29th-
Trip to the Cobra Kai dojo, the agreement is reached to settle the score at the December 19th tournament, and Daniel's karate training begins with "wax on, wax off."

-Monday, October 31st thru Friday, November 4th-
Take a Worm for a Walk week.

-Saturday, November 5th-
Daniel and Ali's first date.

-Friday, November 11th-
Daniel's training continues with "sand the floor."

-Saturday, November 12th-
The catching of the fly with chopsticks and "paint the fence."

-Sunday, November 13th-
Daniel spends all day painting Mr. Miyagi's house while Mr. Miyagi spends the day fishing. Later that evening Daniel realizes he has been learning basic karate techniques the entire time.

-Monday, November 14th-
After school Mr. Miyagi takes Daniel to the beach to "learn balance" in the surf while we get our first look at the Crane Technique.

-Tuesday, November 15th thru Thursday November 17th-
Sometime during these three days Daniel asks Ali out on their second date. Also Mr. Miyagi takes Daniel to the lake where Mr. Miyagi fishes while Daniel practices his blocking moves on the bow of Mr. Miyagi's boat. They have a nice discussion on the meaning of karate before Mr. Miyagi dumps Daniel into the lake.

-Friday, November 18th-
The fateful night at the Encino Hills Country Club.

-Saturday, November 19th thru Saturday, December 17th-
We know little of what happens during this four week period other than Daniel tries to teach himself the Crane, he also practices blocking and punching on the bow of Mr. Miyagi's boat by himself. Later Mr. Miyagi teaches Daniel how to punch properly and gives him a scolding for joking around too much. Also towards the end of this four week period Daniel has his birthday, receives his driver's license and gets #1 and #2 birthday present from Mr. Miyagi.

-Sunday, December 18th-
Daniel goes to Golf n Stuff to "find balance" with Ali and to show off his new car.

-Monday, December 19th-
The Under 18 All Valley Karate Championship.

Once I had the basic time frame down I could get a hold of the facts and ask myself some tough questions. Why would Johnny agree to fix the outcome of the All Valley? What did he stand to gain? Was it Daniel's idea or Johnny's? Or were my ideas way off the mark and Daniel actually did beat Johnny fair and square? I had to continue digging and not stop until I had the answers. 

Theory

At this point I had to develop my theory and put it to the test. Much like a scientist who comes up with a theory and then puts it to the test through experimentation and observation, I had to put mine to the test by taking the movie scene by scene, cataloging facts and events, and then develop an understanding of the actions and motives of the characters to see if they prove or disprove my ideas.

As I watched the film numerous times, and even the sequels, I kept asking myself, "If Daniel and Johnny did fix the outcome of the All Valley, what did either of them have to gain? Why would Johnny agree to it?" Johnny had the world on a string, he didn't need to agree to anything so dark.

Then it hit me, what was the one thing missing from Johnny's life? He seemed to have it all, but one thing kept his life out of balance. Ali's love. A love that was once his but somehow he had lost. He had been unsuccessful at getting her back although it was not for a lack of effort. He tried to be nice to her by saying "hi" while on the soccer field during gym class and he had even gone so far as to ask Ali for a truce while they danced at the country club. To which Ali responded by saying, "I'm not at war." An odd statement considering Johnny had brutally beaten up her new beau twice up to that point.

My mind kept lingering on events in the sequels. There was the smashed up car at the beginning of Karate Kid 2, there is a purchase of a last minute airline ticket shortly thereafter. Daniel seemed in an awful hurry as well to get out of town. Why? Was he in danger? And in Karate Kid 3 Daniel paid for a lease on a business property for Mr. Miyagi all by himself. Where did this money come from?

Then it hit me, as if a ton of bricks had suddenly fallen on my head.

Did Johnny actually pay Daniel to break things off with Ali? Did Johnny stoop to the lowest common denominator, money talks? That would explain the sudden influx of money Daniel seemed to enjoy in the sequels. Could that have happened? Johnny lived a life of privilege and would have had money to spare so I suppose it is possible. But what about the All Valley? Why would Johnny throw the fight? Could there have been another stipulation to agreement between the two, money and the All Valley title? Daniel did seem to crave a level of fame to compete with everyone else at his new school and the All Valley title certainly would give him that fame.

But there was another issue, in order for Daniel to win the All Valley he would have to make his way through the competition and reach the final, many a Cobra Kai would be waiting for him in the early stages of the competition. How would Daniel beat them? Was his karate level such that he could even make it to the final? There is a whole one month gap in the story from the time Daniel begins to take over his own training and the All Valley tournament. Daniel never had much patience when it came to training, always asking to learn things Mr. Miyagi thought were beyond his skill level. Is it possible Daniel sought training elsewhere? Maybe even from someone that was in on the secret, from Johnny?

And what about Daniel's car? It looked like someone had taken a baseball bat to it. Could Johnny and his Cobra buddies have done that? Maybe Daniel took a little too long to break things off with Ali. After the money and trophy were in Daniel's hands did he forget about the deal with Johnny and chose to continued his relationship with Ali, perhaps one that had turned sexual in nature?

And what about Daniel's demeanor in Karate Kid 3? He seemed to spin out of control, hell bent on entering the All Valley tournament again to regain his glory even though Miyagi told him not to. Quick to seek instruction elsewhere, Daniel begins training with Terry Silver, a founder of the Cobra Kai, and leaves Mr. Miyagi behind to the point he even yells at Mr. Miyagi bringing him to tears. Vanity and greed are two sins that Daniel seems to struggle with. Did vanity and greed drive Daniel's actions from the beginning?

At this point I had to take a step back and collect my thoughts, these questions and possible answers had popped into my mind so quickly it felt like a typhoon raging inside my head. I had to take things slowly, I couldn't rush through the work that laid before me.

I continued my investigation and took a cautious step into a dark world, a world I hoped I would later be able to emerge from unscathed.

Little did I know what awaited me.

I pressed on with my studies and my hypothesis. While doing so I took notes and found myself keeping a list of events and actions that seemed to lend credibility to my theory. Counterpoints to my theory were there as well but they were far outnumbered by pieces of the puzzle that seemed to fall right into place.

As I neared the end of my journey I narrowed down my list to the top 10 events that spoke the truth to me. 10 aspects to the story that would shock the Karate Kid world and make what was already an bold tale even more epic.

The Locker Room Confrontation

The All Valley tournament, a day of battle, a day of conflict and of reckoning. Will Johnny go through with the plan? Will he even have to? It's quite possible Daniel won't even make it through the first round as he mentioned to Ali the night before.

Right from the beginning though we get clues that lend credibility to the theory . Take for example the Locker Room scene, the first time the Cobra Kai and Daniel scuffle that day. Who leads the way into the locker room for the Cobra Kai? Is it their leader Johnny, the one who has the biggest score to settle with Daniel? No, its Dutch, Johnny is actually the last to make his way into the room.

 

While Dutch and Daniel square off Johnny is serious yet calm, even to the point he leans back against the fence door kicking his right foot up.

It has always struck me that Johnny was the last into the room and not the first, you would think that Johnny would want to be the first to have a shot at Daniel. I think Johnny had much on his mind at this point, probably wondering if he had done the right thing and whether or not he would actually be able to go through with this whole charade.

Clue number 1 that something was awry at the All Valley.