Ron Thomas, who played the part of the Cobra Kai thug Bobby Brown was one of the only four people on the set who were trained in martial arts. Thomas was so well trained in fact that he brought with him a black belt in Ju-Jitsu.
His experience in martial arts allowed convinced director John Avildsen to allow Thomas to choreograph all his own fight sequences.
Mr. Miyagi the Thief
It seems that Mr. Miyagi didn’t have the materials or finances to make or sponsor a black belt for LaRusso. In the registration scene where the official is explaining that only brown belts and above are allowed to enter, Mr. Miyagi spots a black belt in a gym bag and sneakily pilfers it under the guise of correcting the spelling of his name to the registrar.
While asking the registrar to change his name from ”Miyaji” to “Miyagi”, he sneakily hands the belt to Ali Mills.
Mr. Miyagi Beats a Samurai
Toshiro Mifune was the sort of actor that one automatically would assume would be ideally suited to play the character of Mr. Miyagi. A native of Japan, Mifune was renowned for starring in numerous samurai films.
Now, whereas producer Jerry Weintraub was reluctant to cast Pat Morita for his comedic background, director John Avildsen found Mifune “too serious”. His naturally imposing demeanor didn’t translate well into the character of the much kinder Miyagi.
The Moment of Truth…or Something
Directly translating English movie titles doesn’t always work out the best, therefore, some clever titles have to be thought up by the marketing teams. Take 'Leaving Las Vegas' for instance. In Japan, this was titled 'I’m Drunk and You’re a XXX'.
Yeah… In France, they felt Karate Kid wasn’t going to work and retitled the movie to 'Le Moment de Vérité' (The Moment of Truth). Fortunately, French movie audiences recognized it as Karaté Kid and it quickly replaced the far less catchy title.
Do Not Go to the Dark Side, Daniel-San
While seeming more like a revenge movie at first glance, 'The Karate Kid' has a deeper meaning behind the rivalry between Daniel LaRusso and Johnny Lawrence. It is observed that both children are quick-tempered and impetuous and fuel the friction between themselves.
'The Karate Kid' then becomes more of a tale of having a benevolent and wise teacher to help guide this misspent youth in a healthy direction. Mr. Miyagi is a beacon of patience, teaching LaRusso the ways to control himself while Kreese teaches Lawrence negatively.