A Sensei Explains How Daniel LaRusso's 'Karate Kid' Crane Kick Actually Works

Philip Ellis
·1 min read

From Men's Health

Cobra Kai, the TV show which continues the saga of the Karate Kid movies from the '80s, has become exceptionally popular on Netflix in part due to its throwback nostalgia, but also for its intricately choreographed fight scenes and portrayal of karate. But how realistic is it?

In a recent YouTube video, martial arts expert and vlogger Sensei Seth addresses the crane kick, a famous (not to mention plot-convenient) move which has been performed both in the movies and the TV series, and was most notably used by Daniel LaRusso to defeat his rival Johnny Lawrence in the All Valley Karate Tournament.

Photo credit: Men's Health
Photo credit: Men's Health

Seth remarks that it is far from realistic that Daniel would so obviously telegraph the move by raising his arms up either side, making it obvious what he was intending to do, and leaving his body open in the process. He adds that nobody who practices karate in real life would aim for their opponent's face, either, as Daniel famously does in the climactic moments of the first Karate Kid movie, and would instead focus on the central torso.

"They made this work in the movie, and they made it look really cool, and they popularized it, the theory of it," he says. "How do we bring the proof to the theory?"

Check out the video in full to see how Seth adapts the highly dramatic move from the movie to a more achievable real-life setting, coming up with several variations inspired by both the movies and the world of mixed martial arts.

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