Finally, Ralph Macchio explained one of the most highly debated points in the original movie The Karate Kid: was the crane kick actually legal at the tournament? Macchio put forward a strong case for the kick during an interview with Jimmy Fallon.
Ralph Macchio talks about the crane kick controversy.
Macchio was questioned about some fan theories and rumors about The Karate Kid during an appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on January 5.
The “The Final Word: Cobra Kai Edition,” segment allowed the actor to answer one of the biggest debates about the hit film of 1984.
“At the end of The Karate Kid, you famously win the All Valley Karate Championship with the Crane Kick,” Fallon said. “I hate to bring this up, but people have asked if the kick was actually legal.”
Macchio explained how the move had been questioned by fans and he had some views on it. “Here’s my theory. Here’s the truth. I’ve been fighting these theories for a long time,” he noted.
The actor said he believed that LaRusso had Mr. Miyagi as a mentor, the “ultimate teacher” calling him “the human Yoda.” He went on to say, “You don’t bet against Yoda, you don’t bet against Miyagi, that’s number one.”
“Number two, I would say, is LaRusso … how did he train?” Macchio asked. “He trained over a couple of weeks by doing housework. He never really had the opportunity or the privilege of having a sparring partner. His opponent was battle tested, so to speak, and trained for years for this event.”
In the last fight, he added, “LaRusso was injured in the last fight by an illegal leg sweep from a teammate of said opponent. Not to mention that if you look at the video, Jimmy, the referee not only says ‘point winner’, but also says ‘win is win’. ‘ The opponent, who shall remain unnamed at this point, literally probably ran into the kick.”
“LaRusso had nothing to do but defend himself,” he said.
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Macchio hated the word, ‘The Karate Kid.’
During the “The Tonight Show,” appearance, Fallon also asked Macchio about the rumor that he didn’t like the “The Karate Kid.” title.
This rumor, it turns out, is actually real.
Macchio explained, “I thought – and I wasn’t the only one – that it was a pretty cheesy title for a movie directed by the guy who did Rocky and all that stuff,”
“Maybe it was a premonition,” he said. “Maybe I thought if I got the part, I’d have to wear the damn thing for the rest of my life.”
The actor had no feedback when Fallon asked, “What do you think the movie should have been called?” but shared an alternative title that director John G. shared with him.
East Meets West in West, proposed Avildsen.
Fallon and Macchio also decided that this would have been a much worse (and more confusing) solution.
Macchio told us, however, that the film internationally had a different title. “I think it was called The Moment of Truth in many countries when karate had a negative connotation in certain territories,” he explained.