Dec 21, 2014

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 most 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.


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.


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. 


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.

Mr. Miyagi Has His Doubts

While deep in study I struggled with the following question, for days it occupied my thoughts. Could Daniel really have won the title all on his own?

When Daniel is suddenly thrown into this world of karate tournaments and martial art training he is woefully prepared. His skill level compared to that of Johnny's is as stark as night and day as evident by the can of whoop-ass Johnny opened up on Daniel at the beach.

We know Daniel was mostly self taught and probably was still at a white belt level.

"Learn from book?", questions Mr. Miyagi.
Johnny on the other hand was a black belt. He was the defending All Valley champion, a two time winner of the under 18 Golden Trophy, was referred to as "Mr. Lawrence" by Sensei Kreese, and even had earned the right to stand at the front of the class and warm up the other students.

The question begs to be answered, was Daniels's training such that he would be able to bridge the gap between his own skill level and that of Johnny? Daniel only had seven weeks to prepare for the tournament. Was that really enough time to train to do battle with a bunch of angry black belts that want nothing more than to slake their thirst with your blood?

The conclusion I came to was no, not even close. Mr. Miyagi had his doubts as well as evident by his comments at Daniel's birthday party.
"I just don't know if I know enough karate.", laments Daniel.
"Hmmmm, feeling correct.", answers Mr. Miyagi.

Yes, Mr. Miyagi does go on to tell Daniel to trust the quality of what he has learned and not the quantity but it still shows Mr. Miyagi had his doubts. 

Lies and Anger Management

Daniel struggled with himself throughout all three Karate Kid movies. Telling lies almost came second nature to Daniel as well as the need to control his anger was always present.

It isn't hard to imagine someone who thought nothing of telling a lie would be easily drawn into a scheme to fix the All Valley tournament and would call off a romantic relationship for cash. Once on the dark side it is hard to make it back into the light.

The un-truths begin almost immediately with the whole black eye "fell of my bike" incident early in Karate Kid 1.

Then of course there is that bike he supposedly crashed on, a "Miyagi turbo".

We are also treated early on to a display of Daniel's rage. Quick to react, slow to think, Daniel attacked Bobby after a rough tackle during the soccer tryouts. It could have been laughed off but Daniel decided to unleash the beast.

Proof that Daniel had a gift for taking action before actually thinking things through.

In Karate Kid 2 Daniel spends his college fund to accompany Mr. Miyagi to Okinawa. A friendly gesture however what Daniel should have done would have been to stay behind to take care of Mr. Miyagi's house. Knowing that his house would be in good hands and taken care of would have calmed Mr. Miyagi's already heavy heart.

Finally, Karate Kid 3 gives us another good example of how Daniel struggled with telling the truth, always putting his desires and need for glory ahead of being honest with those around him.

The Price of Fame

"It's the price of fame Mr. Miyagi, got to get used to it." Those were Daniel's words during the parking lot scene at the beginning of Karate Kid 2. It must be easy getting used to fame yet difficult to let go once you have tasted it's sweet nectar.

Such was the case in Karate Kid 3.

Daniel's need for fame drove him mad, much like my pursuit of truth nearly did to me. However where I have survived my journey into darkness Daniel did not. Where I emerged with only scars Daniel is in the midst of turmoil even to this day. (More on that later.)

Where my madness only affected me, Daniel's journey into madness hurt another as in the following example from Karate Kid 3. Daniel's thirst for glory brought out the worst in him to the point he yells at the one he said to only a year earlier, "You're the best friend I've ever had."

Not only that but when Mr. Miyagi tries to make Daniel understand the worth of karate in simple terms Daniel struggles and cannot put his need for fame aside.

And finally, at the All Valley itself. Daniel as we know ended up on the locker room table injured from an illegal kick to the knee by Bobby. This was a perfect chance for Daniel to bow out of the tournament and save face and get the upper hand on the Cobra Kai.

"I won't ever have balance that way.", whined Daniel.
Had Daniel bowed out gracefully he would have won the moral victory in the end and at the same time the Cobra Kai would have been disgraced. But again, the fame monster got the best of Daniel and he pleaded with Mr. Miyagi to fix his leg.

Daniel wasn't interested in moral victories, he had a pot of gold waiting for him at the end of the All Valley rainbow but to obtain it he needed to get back out to the big dance. 

Crane controversy

The Crane, or Crane Technique, never has there been a more infamous karate kick than this. And never has there been a more prophetic comment than the one made by the All Valley ring anouncer at the beginning of Karate Kid 2, "People are going to be talking about that last kick for years." And here we are 28 years later still talking about it.

When we are first introduced to the Crane it is by a master of the art, Mr. Miyagi.

When Daniel asks him if the move works Mr. Miyagi replies, "If do right, no can defense." Daniel then asks Mr. Miyagi if he will teach it to him but Mr. Miyagi rebukes him by saying, "First learn stand, then learn fly. Nature's rules Daniel-san, not mine." Daniel later goes off and tries to teach himself the Crane but with little luck, understandable considering it is a move meant for only the most advanced martial art practitioner.

We've all seen the above photo, it is as classic a Hollywood image as there could ever be. The problem however is that the move is as implausible as it is spectacular. Daniel holds his Crane stance way too long, giving away to his opponent the only logical and possible attack, a front kick. If the fight wasn't fixed how could Johnny, someone that had been through many karate tournaments and had won at least two that we know of, not see what was coming?

I believe Johnny did see what was coming because he and Daniel had practiced the move many times during their training sessions.

But perhaps the most damning evidence against Daniel's version of the Crane comes not from the All Valley but from Karate Kid 2. The sequel provides answers just as it did with other aspects of the theory. In Karate Kid 2 Daniel finds himself fighting another foe, Chozen. But this time as Mr. Miyagi said, "This not tournament, this for real." Daniel is now faced with a fight to the death.

 The result speaks for itself.

In Karate Kid 3 we also have a mention of the Crane by original Cobra Kai member Terry Silver, it is not complementary however.

"What, do you think you can rely on that crane crap?", joked Terry Silver.

And finally, to put all doubts to bed, here is what a proper crane kick is supposed to look like. Courtesy of Lyoto Machida in UFC 129 in April of 2011.

Daniel and Johnny's version of the Crane has been seen by millions worldwide I would have to guess and for that the two of them will forever be heroes. I cannot fault them their glory, I only wish I could look beyond it.

Daniel Trains Elsewhere

Daniel showed throughout all the Karate Kid movies that he struggled with patience, actually he pretty much had no patience whatsoever.

First, as soon as he saw Mr. Miyagi practicing the Crane Technique while at the beach he asked Mr. Miyagi if he would teach it to him. Mr. Miyagi had to explain it was only for the most advanced practitioner of the martial arts.

"First learn stand, then learn fly, nature's rule Danielsan, not mine."

Then while Daniel was practicing his blocking moves and his balance on the bow of Mr. Miyagi's boat he expressed his impatience by asking Mr. Miyagi when he was going to teach him how to punch.

"Learn punch once learn balance."

Its not out of the question to believe Daniel would seek training elsewhere if he felt he wasn't progressing fast enough under Mr. Miyagi's tutelage.

We get evidence of this in Karate Kid 3 when at the first sign of trouble Daniel heads and begins taking classes from original Cobra Kai member Terry Silver.


As you can imagine it did not go as smoothly as planned.

It lends credibility however to the theory that Daniel grew restless in Karate Kid 1 and when Johnny came to him with an offer Daniel jumped at it and added his own stipulations, one of them being Johnny had to secretly train him in anticipation of the All Valley.

That would explain how Daniel did so well and was able to take out four Cobras at the All Valley.

Johnny was the defending champion and a karate tournament expert, it is not a stretch to believe that with Johnny's help Daniel was able to defeat them. Johnny knew their moves, he naturally would have known how to take them out.

The Money Trail

To find the trail of cash I had to start exploring the sequels. Both Karate Kid 2 and 3 give us ample evidence that Daniel had recently come into a large sum of money as would be the case if he were to have accepted Johnny's pay-off.

As we know in Karate Kid 2 Daniel follows Mr. Miyagi to Okinawa buying a very expensive last minute ticket.

"Very expensive ticket.", said Mr. Miyagi

"Oh no, I got the money out of my savings account, its all taken care of.", replied Daniel.

Daniel would have bought his airline ticket with only one or two days notice, and keep in mind this was long before the days of the internet and last minute airline ticket websites. A recent search of no advance purchase airline tickets from Los Angles to Okinawa turned up fares ranging from $3,500 up to $6,000.

Perhaps Daniel could have bought that ticket with the money his mother had saved up for his college education as Mr. Miyagi had mentioned, however I have my doubts.

How much money could Mrs. Larusso have saved up? My guess is that Daniel and his mother showed up in Reseda with very little money if any. They pretty much had the clothes on their backs and a few items for their home.

That was the whole reason for the move to California, so Daniel's mother could get a better job and they could have a brighter future. But this trip to Japan came only 9 months from the time they made the move to Reseda. I doubt very much Mrs. Larusso would have been able to save up that much money for Daniel's college education in that short amount of time.

Daniel's mom even mentions during the Restaurant scene that money is tight.

 "What's with the karate place?", asked Mrs. Larusso.

"Oh, it sucks.", lamented Daniel.

"Good, because we probably couldn't afford it anyway.", said Mrs. Larusso.

But let's assume that she did have a good amount of money saved up and Daniel wiped it out buying his airline ticket. Where did he then get the money for a lease on the property we see him give to Mr. Miyagi in Karate Kid 3?!

To start up a business requires some serious money and I highly doubt there was any left in Mrs. Larusso's bank account when Daniel and Mr. Miyagi got back from Japan, if that really is where Daniel got the money to begin with.

On a side note Mr. Miyagi did give Daniel some of the money from the bar room bet he won in Karate Kid 2 however Mr. Miyagi bet $600.00 and the odds were 3-1. Mr. Miyagi therefore pulled in $1,800 giving roughly half of it to Daniel and keeping the other half.
So Daniel pocketed about $900 give or take. Some nice pocket money yes, but not enough to cover the start up costs of a business.

Hence the evidence is clearly there that Daniel had a large sum of money sitting in a bank somewhere that nobody knew about and he was eager to spend it. A guilty conscience perhaps?


Johnny vs Daniel, the Final Match

The final match between Johnny and Daniel is overflowing with evidence of wrong-doing. To the untrained eye, as was mine when I first looked for the leg tap, the fight seems normal enough. But for those who know where to look the truth is there, in every punch, in every kick, in every action and reaction. 
A conflicted Johnny

After Sensei Kreese tells Bobby he wants Daniel out of commission Johnny suddenly realizes his problems might have been solved. If Bobby takes Daniel out with a cheap shot and is disqualified Johnny is off the hook. Johnny's mind races with the possiblity and his face reflects it. 

Johnny's problems are almost solved when Bobby follows through with Sensei Kreese's orders and takes Daniel out with an illegal kick to the knee. Daniel however emerges from the locker room ready to do battle (thanks to Mr. Miyagi and some ancient Okinawan healing techniques) and Johnny can't believe it, he smiles and shakes his head in disbelief.

However once the reality of the situation sets in Johnny's demeanor changes quickly and soon we see Johnny clenching and unclenching his fists a total of six times. Johnny is nervous for the first time in the tournament.

Johnny is as stiff as a board, his arms frozen with tension. This is not the same Johnny we saw in earlier fights, something has changed him.

Johnny looks at Daniel with anger and resentment. Angry that Daniel couldn't let the tournament go, resentment that he had made this secret pact and is being forced to dump the title.

- Round 1 - Johnny comes out kicking, he doesn't look like someone who plans on losing this fight. 7 seconds into the first round though Johnny pauses during his attack which gives Daniel a chance to drive a punch to Johnny's chest taking the point. Did Johnny pull back on purpose? I believe so. Johnny loses his first point of the entire tournament.

- Round 2 - Here again Johnny holds back. After knocking Daniel to the floor 4 seconds into the round Johnny actually waits for Daniel to get back up. Johnny could have easily gone for the point, (notice Johnny is leaning forward ready to pounce while Daniel is on his heels and in no position to defend himself) but instead he decides to give Daniel a break. Johnny never gives anyone a break, more evidence that something wasn't right. Johnny missed his chance and Daniel later takes another point.

- Round 3 - Before this round Johnny is sent over to his sensei for attention to a bloody nose. After Sensei Kreese utters the most famous three words in all of Hollywood history, "Sweep the leg," Johnny comes out with a vengeance getting his first point and knocking Daniel to the ground in a staggering 2 seconds flat. That's even faster than Frank Dux's Kumite knock-out record of 3.2 seconds.

- Round 4 - Johnny toys with Daniel in this round for 12 seconds but ultimately gets his second point. It seems Johnny is back to his old self.

- Round 5 - Next point takes the title. Will it be Daniel or will it be Johnny? Johnny has scored the last two points in easy fashion, he has Daniel on the ropes. But what happens next?

Johnny realizes he needs to tone things down. Since he has taken the last two points decisively he can't slack off and give Daniel an easy point, that might make things look like something is up. But what can Johnny do? He does some quick thinking and comes up with a plan that will allow him live up to the terms of the agreement he has made with Daniel and one that also help him save face. Instead of losing to Daniel he decides to try and get himself disqualified.

Bobby's disqualification in the semi-finals came from "deliberate and excessive contact." Johnny figures he might have luck getting out of this situation by doing the same.

Johnny first goes for a shot to Daniel's left knee 20 seconds into the round, the same knee that Bobby took out.  

When that doesn't work he goes for a shot straight at Daniel's face 31 seconds into the round. How much more blatant can Johnny get?

Still though the disqualification doesn't come.

Daniel catches on to what Johnny is trying to do and takes it a step further by trying to help Johnny.

The infamous knee tap comes. (more on the knee tap in a moment)

Even still, after three blatant cheap shots Johnny is not disqualified. He does however receive a warning from the referee that anymore illegal contact will result in a disqualification. This in a way seals Johnny's fate and forces Daniel to take the next step. Johnny certainly can't go with another cheap shot, he's just received a stern warning against such a move.

Daniel then does the unthinkable, he strikes a pose for a move he has shown Johnny before during their training sessions. One that Johnny however hoped would not be needed due to it's nature, a dangerous and difficult leaping front kick to his face.

If done correctly and timed right the two of them might be able to sell it to the referee and crowd and end the fight in spectacular fashion. If done incorrectly the fight might end with one of them being injured and the tides of history changing forever.

(the audio in the following video is in Spanish, which for some reason YouTube allows but all English versions of the same video have been deleted)

Mystery Punches

When I first began watching the Karate Kid after I decided to begin an investigation one of the first things that called my name was the training scene where Daniel begins to train on his own. The scene of him punching and blocking while on Miyagi's boat immediately went on my list.

In the above video we see Daniel out on the lake again on Mr. Miyagi's boat but this time blocking and punching with force and conviction.

Keep in mind however that Mr. Miyagi still has not taught Daniel how to punch, Mr. Miyagi told him to learn balance first. Did he teach himself how to drive a punch? Daniel hasn't done a very good job so far of teaching himself, why would we expect anything different with the punches? Could it be someone else was teaching Daniel how to punch? I struggled with this question for days, having many restless nights as my mind raced around the mystery. Further evidence came when Mr. Miyagi finally did teach Daniel had to punch.
After only throwing a punch or two Daniel starts dancing around and punching without focus until Mr. Miyagi has to take him down and give him another scolding.

Where did Daniel obtain this new found confidence or should I say over-confidence? Daniel has been quite timid with all of his training so far, but now he starts throwing punches almost at random?

Due to Daniel's cockiness and the evidence of him throwing punches before Mr. Miyagi taught him how, I believe Daniel was secretly training with someone else. I believe it was Johnny who was secretly moving Daniel's training forward.

Hard to fathom but a conclusion the evidence supports.

The Leg Tap

As I said earlier, the leg tap was the key evidence that sent me on my wonderful journey.

I wouldn't believed it had I not seen it for myself.

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. This was Daniel giving Johnny a sign. 

(leg tap happen at 2 minutes 42 seconds)

And suddenly it hit me, here was the missing evidence I was looking for to tie everything together. Here it was, right on the screen for all to see. Daniel had given Johnny a sign. Johnny was in on it, Daniel and he were working together.

Did Johnny throw the fight?

Watch and judge for yourself.


It took a few months for the tempest to be unleashed but once it was Daniel's world suddenly became one full of danger.

At the beginning of Karate Kid 2 we see Daniel pull up to Mr. Miyagi's house in a bad tuxedo and a damaged car. Daniel places the blame on Ali, which isn't completely untrue. But he tells Mr. Miyagi she has left him for a UCLA football player. Another lie I believe.

My theory is Daniel and Ali's relationship continued on after the All Valley, Daniel riding high on the glory of his victory. And with a pocket full of cash to boot. But Johnny grew tired of waiting for him to call things off with Ali and he and his Cobras paid a little visit to Daniel after the senior prom. A couple of baseball bats to the engine and the front grill of the car can be quite persuasive.

Daniel, upon learning of Mr. Miyagi's sudden need to travel to Okinawa, felt a shock wave travel through him. What if Johnny and his friends came to pay Daniel another visit, maybe this time wanting the money back? Daniel realized he would not have Mr. Miyagi there to protect him as he has had over the past several months.

Daniel feels his life might be in danger and decides to tag along with Mr. Miyagi to Japan, although it took quite a bit of begging on Daniel's part. And another little lie about studying Okinawa history didn't hurt either.
But time is a cruel mistress, and with the passage of time truth has a way of making itself known.

Fast forward to current day and we can see what has become of our two heroes.

Johnny's life took a turn for the worst after his high school years. Unable to let go of the glory that should have been his Johnny became recluse. Unable to function in society Johnny sought comfort in a life off the grid.

Johnny currently lives in a trailer in the Californian desert somewhere. Still friends with his Cobras Johnny watches tape of the final fight every day, an attempt to exercise the ghosts of Larusso I suppose.

Johnny still dreams of what should have been, what would have been had he not thrown the fight. Perhaps it should have been Johnny who struck the pose of a crane. Then it would have been him who hoisted the trophy and came away with the girl.

A dream some might say, however if you were to ask Johnny I would imagine he would say it is more like a nightmare.

Daniel's situation is different yet similar.

Daniel returned to New Jersey in later years and currently has a nice house and a loving wife. However he too struggles through life, full of anger and guilt thanks to a glory he enjoyed but deep down knows was not deserved.

Daniel has turned to the bottle for comfort and partakes a club life where he tries to fit into that life of fast cars and fast women he once tasted in California.

Anger is still a part of Daniel's character. Unable to let it go he frequently gets into fights and even still breaks out the Crane every now and then.
Sadly domestic disputes are a part of life in the Larusso household. Mrs. Larusso knows of Daniel's second life and doesn't approve, on more than one occasion Daniel has had to spend the night "sleeping off" his guilt in an alley way not too far from his favorite club.

Time is a cruel mistress indeed, so is truth. Neither are inescapable forever as both Johnny and Daniel have discovered.

I would hazard to guess that all of us have gone through similar situations at one point or another in our lives and our hearts go out to them. Hopefully they can salvage some type of existence far removed from the ghosts of the All Valley.


In conclusion I can come to only one conclusion, that is Johnny and Daniel were in on it together at the All Valley tournament.

Not only that but Johnny secretly trained Daniel so he could make it through the early rounds of the tournament and then to the final match. Once there Johnny threw the final match and allowed Daniel to hoist the trophy.

Johnny did all of this for the love of woman, for Ali's love.

In the end not all turned out they way they wanted. Daniel was reckless, hell-bent on entering the tournament the next year even against Mr. Miyagi's wishes causing permanent damage to their relationship. Daniel also had a guilty conscience and blew through the money Johnny had given him as quickly as he could. In the end his life became a shambles full of rage and anger.

Johnny's life became one of torment and pain, never able to re-coup his fame and never able to let go of what should have been.

Profound lessons are to be learned from these two men and their stories. May we not forget and may we learn from them, that is my wish for us all.

I also hope I have not tarnished the greatest movie ever for the rest of you. To me the movie is even better and more intriguing now, however I realize I was able to feel the excitement that comes with the journey of discovery and many of you will not, although I hope you will be able to obtain some level of joy from this whole experience.

Most importantly I hope your love of the movie will continue to grow now that you have seen the truth and will be able to rediscover the movies all over again. There is a certain excitement that comes with discovery, I hope it finds you.

And may you find balance in all things.



Dec 11, 2014

Tomoe Gozen

Tomoe Gozen  巴御前- onna bugeisha

Tomoe Gozen was a female samurai during the Genpei War of 1180–1185 CE. Though female warriors were not uncommon in Japan at the time, Tomoe is one of very few female samurai, highly trained and skilled in horseback riding, archery, sword fighting and she was also greatly skilled in the use of the naginata, which is a long staff with a curved blade at one end. Tomoe Gozen beheaded many enemies with naginata, because she didn’t believe in staying behind in battles, she was always at the fore front of any battle line.

 She was a senior captain under general Minamoto no Yoshinaka, and either his attendant or consort as well, depending on the source. Her surname is not known, as Gozen is simply a title, somewhat like “Lady.”
The earliest written source regarding Tomoe Gozen is from the 14th century Japanese classic, The Tale of the Heike, which in turn is derived from oral tradition. This source describes her as almost supernaturally strong, very beautiful, and surpassing her male colleagues in skill and bravery.
The Heike Monogatari goes on to say that Tomoe was one of the last five of Yoshinaka’s warriors standing at the tail end of the Battle of Awazu, and that Yoshinaka, knowing that death was near, urged her to flee. Though reluctant, she rushed a Minamoto warrior named Onda no Hachirô Moroshige, cut his head off, and then fled for the eastern provinces.
Some have written that Tomoe in fact died in battle with her husband, while others assert that she survived and became a nun.

She is among the most popular and widely known female figures in Japanese history/legend, and appears as the lead in at least one kubuki play, Onna Shibaraku.

(info borrowed from the-indigo-butterfly.tumblr)

Dec 4, 2014

Even though I'm not interested in sword techniques and sword fighting, I mean what are the odds I am ever going to find myself in a sword fight?

I do like however this advertisement from the Budo Ryu Kai, training in the out-of-doors adds a special touch and gets back to the roots of the martial arts.

Nov 19, 2014

artwork by erictanart.tumblr


Besuto Kiddo

artwork by Kevin M. Wilson

Nov 16, 2014

King Karate

I'm surprised that more hasn't been made of this comment about Johnny by Daniel.

"King Karate".

I've never seen any fan art come from this, or any comments at all really.

If Hollywood needs a movie ideas, I think a Karate Kid prequel is in order. They could call it King Karate and it would follow Johnny Lawrence in his early years, how he started taking classes at the Cobra Kai dojo, how his relationship started with Ali, etc.

It would be a blockbuster I think.