‘The Karate Kid’ is an exemplary case study of hindsight. There were a few close calls that could have turned this classic into a forgotten VHS.
One example of this is the casting of Ralph Macchio. The producers were so impressed by Macchio that they scrapped naming the titular character’s surname from Webber to LaRusso to better represent Macchio’s Italian heritage.
Mr. Miyagi Claims He Is Not Japanese
Mr. Miyagi makes a curious statement about his nationality when telling Daniel LaRusso where he’s from. Instead of saying his country is Japan, Mr. Miyagi claims his country is Okinawa.
This might have to do with some residual Okinawan pride as it was a sovereign nation before becoming annexed by Japan in 1879. This is further complicated by the scene where Mr. Miyagi has a little too much to drink and reveals he fought for America in the war.
Kreese Puts a Crease in Quickbooks
Martin Kove reprised his role as cruel karate instructor John Kreese for a 2018 Quickbooks commercial. How do Cobra Kai and Quickbooks come together? Well, in what we hope is not an official backstory, Kreese explains that his uncontrollable rage and frustration was due to not having a handle on Cobra Kai’s bookkeeping!
Kreese concludes that thanks to Quickbooks getting rid of his frustration, his far kinder karate school is now called… Koala Kai. As we said, we hope this isn’t an official backstory!
It’s amazing how granted the average movie-goer takes CGI nowadays. One of the more legendary scenes in 'The Karate Kid' is Pat Morita instructing Daniel LaRusso to catch a fly using a pair of chopsticks. Ralph Macchio explained what a painstaking process this was as it involved several flies, tying them to fishing lines so as to keep them within the frame.
Eventually, the crew settled on simply switching up camera angles to make it appear as if Daniel had nabbed the critter. Pretty fly for a karate guy?
Zabka’s Green Belt
While William Zabka seemed to pull off amazingly convincing karate moves in 'The Karate Kid', he was one of the cast members who had absolutely no martial arts training prior to filming. However, unlike Ralpha Macchio, Zabka was hooked by karate and continued studying it, eventually earning himself a green belt.
Zabka, an accomplished high school wrestler, said he felt that wrestling gave the ability to “slide into martial arts training” and further exclaiming that it was “kind of a nice fit.”