Every fan of “The Karate Kid” knows the legendary final scene in which Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) and Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) face each other at the All Valley Karate Tournament, which has returned several times, in the final time in the Netflix spin -off series “Cobra Kai”.
Proponents of the popular long-held fan theory that Daniel is the real tyrant of the series, however, might consider the tournament a prime example of Daniel’s degeneration, as there is some evidence that the crane kick Daniel used to knock out Johnny and winning the tournament was actually illegal. But is that really true? Here is everything you need to know.
In episode 1 of “Cobra Kai”, Daniel and Johnny meet for the first time since the 80s in Daniel’s dealership. There, despite Daniel’s efforts to keep it polite, they immediately begin to bicker, while Johnny says of Daniel’s winning move, “It was an illegal kick.” He wasn’t the only one: In 2009 and 2013, Barney Stinson popularized the claim in How I Met Your Mother’s by stating several times that Daniel’s kick was unethical and illegal.
In 2018, Macchio The Wrap revealed that he agreed with fans who said the kick was illegal and said “no slaps in the face” were clear something when the referee made the list of things not to be done. “
He went on to explain and also commented on the theory “Daniel is the real tyrant”:
But was it really illegal as Macchio claims? Well the answer is a little complicated.
The answer as to whether or not kicks are allowed seems to have been answered before the tournament begins. As Daniel’s friend Ali tells him on the way to the showdown, every blow above the hip – especially the head – counts: “Everything above the hip is a point: head, sternum, kidneys and ribs.”
In addition, as described in a YouTube video by FLMFilmStudios, several participants – including Johnny – kick their opponents in the face several times in the tournament before Daniel does.
However, as FLMFilmStudios explains, contrary to what Macchio – and others – say, the referee never said “no slaps in the face”. The closest thing to it was when he didn’t give Johnny a point when he slapped Daniel in the face. However, Johnny hit while Daniel and a few others kicked.
It’s also worth noting that years later, in Cobra Kai, the grown-up Johnny is very likely to tell his student Miguel to kick his opponent with the crane in his own All Valley karate tournament. Miguel does this twice, and gets a point both times that brings him to the semi-finals.
In the end, viewers inevitably have to suspend their disbelief to see the All Valley Karate Tournament, if only because of so many miscellaneous Events that happen in this scene, mostly from Cobra Kai members, are against official rules, including lack of athleticism. ScreenRant breaks it down:
Also, according to the article, given his injury, which only worsened during the bout, Daniel probably wouldn’t have been able to compete in real life at all: to see if everyone was able to fight. This includes, in particular, provisions for injuries resulting from ‘cumulative effect of injury sustained in a previous fight ”.”
Given all the evidence fans can see on “The Karate Kid,” the answer to the long-asked question of whether Daniel’s tournament winner Crane Kick was illegal seems to be: probably not. But in the end it has to be taken into account that it is a fictional film. And regardless, Johnny Lawrence is a bit of a hypocrite one way or another.
Season 3 of “Cobra Kai” has set the stage for yet another tournament-style showdown in the future, but how exactly it will turn out is not yet clear. Make sure to tune in for season four of the series when it releases on Netflix on December 31st to find out.