It's almost impossible to watch (and/or be a fan of) The Karate Kid and not immediately want to test out the "crane kick" as soon as the movie is over. When I was a kid, my friends and I would constantly try out the iconic kick from the movie on each other, with varying results. One time someone was accidentally kicked in the nose and suffered a nose bleed, so from then on out our parents banned us from playing Karate Kid in the basement. It's a unique move, and it's one of the most memorable parts of the movie. But does it actually work?
Yes and no. Back in 2011, MMA fighter Lyoto Machida shocked the world when he knocked out Randy Couture with a version of the crane kick (or switch kick) that didn't include the elaborate hands-in-the-air position. Instead Machida went right to the kick for his fight, and while he didn't cite Daniel LaRusso (or Mr. Miyagi) as his inspiration, he did credit Steven Seagal with helping him in some capacity.
Here's some video:
First, the full scene from The Karate Kid leading up to Daniel's triumphant kick.
Next, the Machida kick in real time.
Finally, here's a video comparing the two kicks so you can see how similar they actually were.
Funnily enough, we can bring it all full circle by pointing out that Thomas Ian Griffith, who played the villain/fake mentor in The Karate Kid III, looks exactly like Steven Seagal in the movie, to the point where we've always wondered whether Seagal was originally offered the part or if the character of Terry Silver was inspired by the martial artist.
"You stole my kick, LaRusso!"
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