Pat Morita, a comic actor by training, was everyone’s favorite on set. Fans of the film only know him as the solemn, focused mentor to Daniel LaRusso but Ralph Macchio recalls that he was “a stand-up by nature.”
Whenever he found an opportunity to make a joke, he grabbed on to it and always make everyone laugh.
Halloween Fight Night Curse 2
While shooting the Halloween fight, Rob Garrison, who played the role of Cobra Kai member Tommy, was severely injured by Pat Morita’s stunt double, Fumio Demura. Garrison recalled in an interview that “everyone remembers Ralph [Macchio] getting hurt” meanwhile Garrison was knocked out by what he called an overexcited Demura.
The move was scripted that a kick in the groin would cause Tommy to keel over and then a strike to the face would incapacitate him. This left Garrison with a broken nose.
The All-Valley Tournament Was Real
To create roaring crowds nowadays, a few clicks of a mouse will have the CGI do the work for a director. In 1984 this was not a reality yet, so extras had to be called in. For the All-Valley tournament, the script called for up to 1,000 participants.
To get around this, the studio hosted an actual karate tournament complete with titles and prizes. The competitors were instructed not to look at the cameras or the crew and compete in the tournament as normal.
The original script called for a responsive training dummy named “Mr. Hashimoto”. The idea was that Mr. Miyagi created this by using a broom and some clever hydraulics that would make the broom swing at Daniel LaRusso.
The execution of this contraption was a failure in real life. Instead, Mr. Hashimoto was scrapped and the scene was rewritten to Mr. Miyagi donning a baseball catcher’s outfit – vest and helmet – and having Daniel practice on him.
Pat E. Johnson trained all the actors in the basic karate skills used in the film. He recalled having trained Pat Morita and Ralph Macchio separately but with an equal intensity that elicited many complaints from both actors respectively.
This was by design as the singular, focused, and intense training was meant to create a hardship that would eventually foster a bond between Macchio and Morita.