20 Fascinating Facts You Probably Didn't Know About The Karate Kid.

Though it was made over three decades ago, The Karate Kid (1984) and the life lessons Mr. Miyagi taught Daniel-San are still relevant today. True strength comes from the inside, winning or losing doesn't matter, and of above all, never forget to breathe.

Here are 20 fascinating facts you probably didn't know about The Karate Kid (1984).

1/20. Kyle Eastwood auditioned for the role of Daniel LaRusso. When he failed to get the part, his father Clint Eastwood retaliated by banning all Coca-Cola products from his movie sets, since Columbia Studios, who made The Karate Kid, was owned by Coca-Cola at the time.

2/20. Pat Morita was initially turned down for the role of Mr. Miyagi because apparently there was a policy that prohibited comedians from being hired for the role. He was later given the role because he did the best reading during the auditions.

3/20. The referee in the final match is Pat E. Johnson, a karate expert and former student of Chuck Norris. He instructed many movie stars in karate. He is credited as the "fight instructor/choreographer" for the film.

4/20. Former screenwriter Dennis Palumbo has said that he was offered the screen writing job for the film but reacted to the offer by saying he'd be "willing to do it if he (the title character, Daniel LaRusso) lost the fight in the end." Palumbo explained his reasoning: "You can't have Mr. Miyagi tell him, 'It doesn't matter if you win or lose,' for 90 minutes and then have to have him win." Palumbo went on to say, "But that's because I was being a moron... Now, they made four sequels to that movie, so obviously I was wrong."

5/20. In real life, Pat Morita did not talk with the heavy Japanese accent that he uses in the film as Mr. Miyagi. He can be heard talking in his "normal" voice on many of the DVD featurettes.

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6/20. Charlie Sheen turned down the role of Daniel LaRusso.

7/20. Karate Kid was the name of a character in DC Comic's "Legion Of Superheroes" who was a member of the Legion. DC Comics, which owned the name, gave special permission for the title to be used. There's a thank you to DC Comics for allowing the use of the name at the end of the credits.

8/20. During the scene where Mr. Miyagi is drunk and celebrating an "anniversary," he reveals that he served in the 442nd Regimental Combat Team of the United States Army. This was an Asian-American unit composed of mostly Japanese Americans (many of whom had been in internment camps) who fought in Europe during the Second World War and soon became the most highly decorated unit in the history of the American military.

9/20. The last spin kick that Daniel is hit with before he is saved by Mr. Miyagi actually hit Ralph Macchio and hurt him.

10/20. According to Pat Morita, he is credited as Noriyuki "Pat" Morita because the producers wanted to promote his Japanese heritage.

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11/20. William Zabka still owns the red leather jacket he wears in the film.

12/20. According to William Zabka, the character he portrays, Johnny, a big bully, still irks many people to this day, many people have tried starting fights and showing him he isn't so tough, to the point he has to convince them that role was specifically written for this movie.

13/20. The skeleton fight scene endured numerous takes because the actors complained that Fumio Demura (Pat Morita's stunt double) was hitting them too hard, which caused the scene to lose some of the choreography and authenticity. Fumio told the director that if he could use his own students they would get the shot in one take. The director agreed and they shot the fight scene successfully in one take. One of the doubles is a descendant of the legendary "King of the Frontier," Davy Crockett.

14/20. The yellow classic automobile that Daniel polishes in the famous "wax-on/wax-off" training scene, then later offered by Mr. Miyagi as Daniel's birthday gift, was actually given to Ralph Macchio by the producer, and he still owns it. The car is a 1948 Ford Super De Luxe.

15/20. Surprisingly, during filming in late 1983, Ralph Macchio was age 22. Some of the cast did not believe him when he was asked about his age.

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16/20. The studio wanted to drop the "drunk Miyagi" scene, feeling it slowed the pace down. Director John G. Avildsen argued for it and has felt it was the scene that got Pat Morita nominated for an Oscar.

17/20. Elisabeth Shue (Ali) interrupted her studies at Harvard to be in this movie.

18/20. The song Miyagi drunkenly sings during the "celebration" of his anniversary is actually fragments of the Japanese folk song "Back Street Life" written by Takeo Abe that actor Pat Morita often heard as a child.

19/20. The legendary Toshir Mifune auditioned for the role of Mister Miyagi. Although he was great in the audition (according to director John G. Avildsen in the DVD Commentary), it was felt that his version of Miyagi was "too serious" and played much like the samurai warriors he played in the Akira Kurosawa movies and he was turned down.

20/20. Mr. Miyagi is named for Chogun Miyagi, who became the forerunner of karate-jutsu in Okinawa, Japan. "Sensei Miyagi" as he was called, created his own style of karate-jutsu, which he dubbed "Goju Ryu", which means "hard and soft style".


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When you're a kid most adults will tell you one thing or another is "cool" and "fun." Odds are you're too young to form any kind of opinion on the matter one way or another. You're a kid, right? You don't know what you're eating for breakfast. However, when you get older and form that larger worldview, you realize that yeah, maybe that one time when you were a kid actually wasn't fun.

These are those stories.

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