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Fridge / The Karate Kid

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The Original Films

Fridge Brilliance

  • Why does Daniel choose the Crane Stance and kick in the final round? As has already been noted, the move is obvious and nigh-impossible to execute. Simple: Due to the "Sweep the leg" thing, Daniel's left foot can no longer support his weight, but rather than throw in the towel, he gambles everything on a desperation move, the one move he actually has a chance of performing. And it works.
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  • In traditional Okinawan karate, only family members were taught- it was literally passed from father to son. So Mr. Miyagi sees Daniel as the son he might have had, and his father saw Sato as a second son to him.
  • The reason Sato did a Heel–Face Turn. Ya sure the practical reason was that Miyagi saved his life despite being all antagonistic towards him. However Fridge Brilliance suggests that it goes deeper than that. He also reclaimed his lost honor by helping Miyagi and Daniel save the bell girl. In other words he honored a life debt which freed him from his decades long disgrace.
  • In the second film, Miyagi doesn't want Daniel to come along, giving such reasons as the high cost. Then they reach Okinawa and the fight with Sato flares up again. Perhaps Miyagi's biggest reason was not wanting Daniel to get caught in the middle of it.
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  • Ever notice how Sato doesn't directly attack Daniel, it's because he has no quarrel with him. Chozen's actions against Daniel directly are his own doing and not on Sato's orders and the reason Sato doesn't encourage or interfere is because he's honarable enough to leave the quarrel between Daniel and Chozen. The exception being when he was betting during the ice break challenge, only because Miyagi was betting too.
  • It seems highly unlikely Daniel, even with a couple of months of training with Mister Miyagi, would have been able to beat the Cobra Kai dojo. However, there's multiple factors at work. 1. Daniel is working (however unknowingly) on perfecting his technique through disciplined repeated repetition. 2. Kreese is teaching his students raw brutality over discipline. 3. Kreese disqualified his second best guy in order to cheat. 4. Lawrence is clearly freaked out and upset about how the fight is going in the final round. Daniel's victory is as much about Miyagi being a better teacher and Kreese being a self-destructive fraud as it is about being better than his opponents.
    • Plus, the Cobra Kai dojo isn't a neighborhood institution. It's very possible they've only got several months ahead of Daniel themselves. It's not like they've been training since childhood under Kreese.
  • The crane kick from the first movie is presented as a nigh-unblockable move, when done correctly, that Daniel uses to win the tournament. (It is actually not particularly difficult to avoid or block. In fact, as any martial artists can testify, it is a rather silly move, given that the kicker's stance is inherently unstable. It is also pretty obvious what kick – a jumping front kick – is going to follow.) In the fight with Chozen in part 2, he tries the move again, only to have Chozen block it easily. Miyagi mentions to Daniel that his own father taught him the crane, and the man was also Sato's teacher. It is very reasonable to assume that Miyagi's father taught Sato the move as well, and Sato passed the move - and how to block it - to his nephew.
  • In Karate Kid II. For years, it seemed that Sato has been trying to break the log that he and Miyagi found when they were young and has been unsuccessful in doing so. During the storm, he is pinned down by a board that is the same weight and size as the log and uanble to move. Yet Miyagi breaks it and frees him, you then remember the breathing technique Miyagi taught Daniel to help him focus and concentrate. Sato has not been able to break the log all this time because he has been so consumed by anger and rage over what happened that he cannot concentrate on anything else whilst Miyagi has let go of the past and that is what enabled him to free Sato.
    • There's also the fact Sato assumed Mister Miyagi was a Dirty Coward for leaving instead of fighting him to the death. Seeing Miyagi break the log, it becomes clear Mister Miyagi just didn't want to kill his best friend. Seeing the proof Mister Miyagi is far superior at karate, he's left humbled as well as aware of just how close he came to death (or at least humiliation) all those years ago.
  • Another Karate Kid 2 one: There's an assumption of a Translation Convention or just being convenient for the audience that everyone in Okinawa seems to be speak English so Daniel can talk to them. Except, the movie bothers to justify it. Mister Miyagi's village is built next to a United States Air Force Base (well, the reverse is true) and Chozen says, "It's good business to speak English." They've had about thirty years to learn English if it was constructed right after WW2.
  • The "drum" technique in Karate Kid 2 is just a roundhouse punch. The thing is, it actually is explained to be the "basis" of karate and this is a blindingly obvious truth if one realizes it. It is an incredibly simple but effective way of hurting someone badly. Also, the drum is a visual metaphor for what one has to do to throw them effectively. Which fits into Miyagi having many ways to teach fighting techniques.
    • Also, why does everyone in the village have one of the little drum tools? It seems a local tradition that would make sense at fights given it is apparently the village karate originated.
  • The various karate stances say a lot about the characters:
    • Miyagi's preferred stance is a variation of the basic Sanchin Dachi, with the hands held low and open. It's a very defensive and non-aggressive stance... But in karate the open hand can be used to spear the opponent in the throat and other vital target. Basically, he's telling his opponents to not force him to destroy them.
    • Kreese uses a sideways stance with his fists held high-it's a very aggressive stance, good to charge at his opponent and punch them, fitting his aggressive style.
    • Terry Silver's stance is basically Bruce Lee's classic stance with closed fists, fitting his "cool" image-but being not an awesome and wise martial arts master but a Corrupt Corporate Executive who also practices karate he utterly fails to use it appropriately as the counterattack stance it actually is.
    • In the first movie Daniel uses a midway stance with his left hand held forward and the right fist at the ready. It's a more aggressive stance than Miyagi but still mostly for lateral movement-he's more angry and aggressive than Miyagi, but is learning that karate is for defense only.
      • By Part III he's turned more frontal, with the forward fist held low. It's a more advanced and defensive stance, reflecting his progress in technique and, once he got away from Silver's influence, mind.
    • Johnny's stance is closer to Kreese, but with his fists held lower-like Daniel he's close to his master, but not as aggressive.
    • Chozen's stance is sideways, with fists low but close to the body. Very aggressive but basic, as expected by someone trained by Miyagi's training companion but far more psychotic than Daniel.
    • Mike Barnes' stance is completely sideways, with the left fist held forward and the right one behind. His stance is even more aggressive than Kreese', just as he is quite more psychotic than he is.
    • This can be extended even to the remake: after fending off Cheng and his goons the first time while defending Dre, Mr. Han assumes a frontal horse stance while keeping his hands in a x-block, sending the very clear message of "I could have destroyed you but will only defend this kid and myself". They don't listen until they've hit each other multiple times in the vain attempt to hit him, but they can't claim they hadn't been warned.
  • Miyagi-do is a rather unhortodox style, with no use of belt rankings, being only taught to family or very close people with use of the classic Wax On, Wax Off method, and almost no use of competition and an emphasis on "Karate is for defense only" while maintaining moves capable of crippling or killing an opponent. This is actually explained when Miyagi says his ancestor learned martial arts in China: technically speaking Miyagi-do isn't Karate but a style of Tode, the Kung Fu-derived Okinawan martial arts developed and practiced in secret when the Ryukyuan government first and the Japanese occupiers later banned martial arts (the use of chores for training being a way to teach the moves without being spotted by a passing guard or informant) that eventually transitioned into modern Karate after the ban was lifted. Miyagi-do never made the transition, so they didn't adopt belt rankings, maintained the traditional use of chores for training, and never switched the focus from defense against a potentially armed and murderous aggressor to sport.
    • Miyagi-do has one aspect of modern Karate, namely the use of kata in training after the student has learned the basics. The reason is actually hinted at in the second movie by Sato and Chozen's connection to Gōjū-ryū (the students of Sato's dojo wearing their patch]]: Gōjū-ryū is derived from Miyagi-do. While out-of universe Miyagi-do is based on Gōjū-ryū and he's even named after their founder, in the film universe Chōjun Miyagi was apparently a member of that Miyagi family, and while he made the transition to modern Karate he also taught kata to his family, that included that part in their teachings while Chōjun allowed Miyagi-do practitioners to enter his school at will.

Fridge Logic

See The Karate Kid.

Fridge Horror

  • The second film makes it quite clear that the fight between Chozen and Daniel is to the death. That would be one hell of an awkward conversation Miyagi would have to have with Daniel's mother had he lost and Miyagi had been unable to do anything...
  • Given how violently unstable Kreese is, he very possibly could have killed Lawrence at the end of the first movie. Indeed, at the beginning of the second movie, which starts immediately after the end of the first, he is shown choking Lawrence in a headlock position, enraged at the latter's loss, before Miyagi intervenes.

2010 film:

Fridge Brilliance

  • In the 2010 The Karate Kid remake, Cheng was particularly jealous of Dre and Mei Ying's relationship. Keep in mind of China's one child policy and how there is a shortage of girls in China. Mei Ying might be the only girl that Cheng had a chance to marry.
    • Also the scene where Dre falls asleep on Mr Han's lap and his following hesitation to put his hand on Dre's shoulder made a lot more sense when we find out about Mr Han's deceased son who would have been around the same age as Dre.
  • In their first confrontation, Cheng gave Dre a black left eye. Dre's last blow the won the match landed over Cheng's left eye.
  • Dre asks Mei Ying to make a pinky swear. Notice that she looked offset when he holds out his pinky finger. It's because that's how you flip someone off in China.
    • This also gives Mei Ying's parents further reason to be pissed at Dre when he shows his pinky finger at the audition.
  • When Dre moves to China, he's maxing and relaxing all cool while shooting some B-ball outside of his school when a couple of guys who were up to no good, started causing trouble by giving him a black eye. Like father like son?

Fridge Horror

  • Fridge Horror: What would have happened if, instead of Mr. Han, Dre's mom had tried to intervene when the other kids were beating him up? They probably would have murdered them both.

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