The infamous Halloween scene whereby Mr. Miyagi comes to Daniel LaRusso’s rescue by knocking out his bullies was a challenge. Pat Morita’s stunt double in the film, a professional karateka named Fumio Demura, was accused of hitting the other actors too hard in the scene which led to many different takes.
Fumio insisted that if his own students were used in the scene, it would be done in one take. The exasperated director allowed for this and true to his word, the entire fight was reshot in a single take.
Pat’s Crane Feign
You might want to crane your neck while reading this childhood-shattering fact. The crane kick that Mr. Miyagi demonstrated to Daniel LaRusso became central and pivotal to the plot of the Karate Kid as LaRusso spent most of the movie perfecting it.
At forty-eight years old and not a professional karateka himself, the production crew decided that it was far too risky for Pat to stand on the pole and instead got a stunt double to don a bald cap and create the seminal movie moment.
Daniel Is Disqualified
As every Karate Kid fan knows, Daniel LaRusso crane kicks his way to victory, toppling the bully Johnny Lawrence in one swoop. Few movie endings can compete with this justice-is-served finale. However, any serious karateka will point out that this move would have more than likely have left Daniel disqualified from the tournament.
In karate tournaments, although there is contact, no move is meant to incapacitate or harm the opponent. Daniel’s crane kick would definitely have led to him being deemed unfit for the title.
Mr. Miyagi’s (Almost) Missing Drunk Scene
A critical scene in 'The Karate Kid' is Daniel LaRusso coming across a very drunk Mr. Miyagi. The studio believed the scene impeded the pace of the movie and called on the director, John Avildsen, to cut it out of the movie completely. Avildsen refused.
The scene cemented an emotional evolution in the relationship between LaRusso and Miyagi by exposing Miyagi’s vulnerability and depression over being widowed. Avildsen maintained that the inclusion of the scene led to Pat Morita’s Academy Award Nomination for Best Supporting Actor.
The Real Miyagi
The character of Mr. Miyagi had a real-life influence. Robert Mark Karmen, the screenwriter of 'The Karate Kid', found inspiration in the naming and characterization of Mr. Miyagi from Chōjun Miyagi, a karateka who developed a modern style for the ancient martial art.
The original Miyagi developed a style called “Goju-Ryu” – meaning “hard-soft”. It is never explicitly stated in the movie that this is the particular fighting style Mr. Miyagi teaches Daniel but bona fide practitioners have noticed definite similarities.