Sep 29, 2012

Home study course

I was having lunch with Daniel recently and he wanted to show me something he had been hanging on to for awhile. It was the above advertisement for the New Orient Karate School.

He said he had seen it in a local newspaper back in New Jersey before he and his mom moved out to California. He had considered taking the home study course but right about the same time his mother suggested he take karate classes at the YMCA.

He hung on to the advertisement even with the move out to Reseda.

Later it became even more important to him because of the irony of the cobra on the advertisement and all the trouble he had with the Cobra Kai.

We got a good chuckle out of this while enjoying our lunch.

Notice Daniel is wearing a jacket in this photo so it must have been taken during a rehearsal.
Cool photo nonetheless.

Sep 22, 2012

Karate Kid timeline - version 3.0

A - Saturday, September 3 - The Larusso's leave New Jersey and start their trek west.

(Thursday, September 8 - Most likely the day the Larusso's leave the Canyon Portal Motel and push-start their car as we see in the opening scenes.)

B - Saturday, September 10 - The Larusso's arrive in Reseda. Daniel meets Freddy and gets invited to a beach party for the following day. Daniel meets Mr. Miyagi as well.

C - Sunday, September 11 - Adios a Summer Beach Party. Daniel sees Ali for the first time as well as is introduced to Johnny Lawrence and the Cobra Kai.

D - Monday, September 12 - First day of school. Soccer tryouts after school and Daniel sees Ali again as well as learns her name. "Ali with an i."

(Tuesday, September 13 - Most likely the day Mr. Miyagi comes to fix the Larusso's leaky kitchen faucet.)

(Some time between Saturday,September 17th and the end of the month we get the first scene at the Cobra Kai dojo, as well that same day Daniel is bullied while riding his bike home and his mother confronts him in the back alley of the apartments as to what is going on. Within a day or two of that incident we get the scene at school where we are introduced to Susan and Daniel decides not to confront the Cobra Kai despite Ali's urgings.)

E - Friday, October 28 - Halloween Dance and another beating for Daniel and the hands of the Cobra Kai. Mr. Miyagi steps in and somewhat saves the day.

F - Saturday, October 29 - Trip to the Cobra Kai dojo to make peace and the agreement is reached to settle the score at the December 19th tournament. Daniel begins his training with Wax On Wax Off.

G - Monday, October 31 - Confrontation at school as well as the first day of Take a Worm for a Walk Week. Daniel asks Ali out for their first date.

H - Saturday, November 5 - Daniel and Ali go to Golf n Stuff for their first date.

I - Friday, November 11 - Daniel's training continues with Sand the Floor.

J - Saturday, November 12 - Daniel catches a fly with chopsticks and continues training with Paint the Fence.

K - Sunday, November 13 - Daniel continues training with Paint the House. Mr. Miyagi finally reveals the secrets of the training techniques Daniel has unknowingly learned.

L - Monday, November 14 - Daniel and Mr. Miyagi go to the beach where Daniel learns balance in the surf and Mr. Miyagi practices the Crane Technique.

(Either Tuesday, November 15th or Wednesday, November 16th Daniel asks Ali out on the 2nd date. Also, either on the Wednesday the 16th or Thursday the 17th Mr. Miyagi takes Daniel to the lake where he practices balance and blocking on the bow of Mr. Miyagi's row boat.)

M - Friday, November 18 - Betrayal at the Country Club. Daniel later heads to Mr. Miyagi's where he learns about Mr. Miyagi's diffictult past.

N - Saturday, November 19 - Daniel begins training on his own.

(Sometime in the next week Mr. Miyagi teaches Daniel the proper way to punch.)

O - Sunday, December 18 - Eve of the All Valley. Daniel has his birthday party and gets #1 and #2 birthday present from Mr. Miyagi and later finds Ali at Golf n Stuff to make peace.

P - Monday, December 19 - All Valley Tournament.

Sep 21, 2012

Karate Girl

Karate Girl Review
(by KMiller 6-1-12)
Background info
Rina Takeda made her debut with High Kick Girl. While the film was not as impressive as many had hoped, it did help put Takeda on the map. In KG, she pairs up with the original High Kick Girl team and also adds a younger star to the mix, but would they be able to learn and grow from their past mistakes, or simply repeat the same ones over again?
I’m going to be as nice as I can here. I have no idea who wrote the story, but it is awful. The whole movie revolves around a belt. I get it’s the prized Kuro-obi of a skilled master, but it is really enough to create an organization around and kill people for? Can one belt really make or break a school’s reputation? I mean, can’t it just be reported as stolen? What I’m trying to say here is that there isn’t enough for the audience to feel connected to the story or the characters.
The characters don’t fare much better in KG. Takeda doesn’t show any more depth to the character she played in High Kick Girl, granted she didn’t have a lot to work with. The sisters that are pit against each other really has no emotion, and in kinda unnecessary, to be honest. Of course, the biggest offender of character is the main villain. I cannot, for the life of me, understand why he makes such a big deal about this belt. On top of that, he kidnaps the youngest sibling and trains her to be a killer, yet decides both her and the older sister must be killed to end the family name itself. Why!?
I can tell you that KG is a lot better in this department simply because of the toning-down of one certain aspect: slow motion. High Kick Girl was used this effect way too many times, and it made me hate the fights every time they came up. Just trust me, it was really awful.
Now, with the assistant director or High Kick Girl directing KG, things are a little better. I’m not saying the fights are going to be memorable or thrilling, just better. There are some nice athletic feats from both girls, but the pacing is still too slow and some hits don’t connect at all. If you tolerated High Kick Girl, KG won’t be as bad, but it still can’t hold up to other films of this day.
Own it, Watch it, or Skip it?
KG takes a few steps in the right direction, but it still doesn’t have what it takes to be taken seriously. The plot needs to be much better (I’d associate with a Buddha head more than a belt) and the action still needs improving. I think that Rina can be a great asset to Japanese cinema if they know how to use her (and this means no more schoolgirl outfits. I thought this was a sequel to High Kick Girl for the longest time.)

I’m really hoping that Japan finds its identity in the martial arts genre, but it has a long way to go before the rest of the world will take it seriously. High Kick Girl was awful, but KG does enough right that if you want to see what Rina is capable of, I’d suggest it over High Kick Girl.


Sep 19, 2012

Karate Kid swastika

(by Bob Kerstetter
Japanese maps display hundreds of swastikas. You also see them elsewhere—not everywhere, but elsewhere—on decorative containers, fans and building edifices, as examples.

A swastika consists of two equal length lines perpendicular to each other and aligned at their centers. Half the distances from their centers to their ends the lines bend at right angles, all in the same direction to the left or to the right.

In modern western experience, the swastika represents the hatred and violence of the Nazi party. In the 1920s, the German Nazis adopted the swastika as their symbol. After the party gained power in the 1930s the swastika became the emblem of Germany. To those outside the Third Reich the swastika soon signified humanity at its worst. The Nazis rotated the swastika 45°. The angled ends of the Nazi swastika pointed to the right.

From their beginnings in India, swastikas meant be well, be good in your higher being and other healthy things. Even the Nazis understood this, but as Aryan superiority.

As adapted by Buddhism, one of the major faiths originating in India, the swastika symbolized eternity. The Buddhist meaning of the swastika traveled from India to China to Japan.

On maps of Japan, swastikas mark the locations of Buddhist temples. The angled ends of the Buddhist swastikas point to the left or to the right. There is no rotation. There is no tie between Japanese Buddhism and Nazism.

Japanese pronounce their word for swastika as manji.

Sep 13, 2012

Rendezvous in the cafeteria

That'll be $2.50. Oh, for both. $3.75.

All day today I've been walking around in my Daniel Larusso jacket with $3.75 in the pocket. I was hoping that either in the grocery store or at the burger place they would charge me that amount so I could take the money out and say, "three seventy-five".

Sep 12, 2012

First day of school and soccer tryouts

I've always thought that Daniel could have come up with a better excuse for the black eye than "I hit the curb with my bike and then the curb hit me."

I think a better excuse would have been "We were playing soccer on the beach and me and this other guy went up for the ball. I got the ball but he got me."

That's just me thinking out loud but I think that sounds much better.

Sep 11, 2012

Adios to summer beach party


at first sight

Something wicked this way comes

Sep 7, 2012

The Larusso's head west

What route did the Larusso travel as they headed out west?

Well, we are only given a few clues in the movie and in the book but I think I have come up with a route that is the most plausible with the information we have.

So how did I come up to my conclusion as to their route and the dates of their trip? Well, it was actually easier to start with their arrival in Reseda and work backwards retracing their steps. 

We are only given a couple of clues in the movie as to their cross country route, same with the book. And from the study I did last year we know they arrived in Reseda on September 10th.

We know they stayed in Sedona, Arizona (just south of Flagstaff) at the Canyon Portal motel. According to the book their car wouldn't start in Nevada, and in the movie we see they arrive in Reseda during daytime hours, probably early afternoon.

From that I concluded that they probably spent the night in Las Vegas, why else would they have gone to Nevada? They didn't have to swing by Nevada if they didn't want to, they could have driven due west out of Arizona and straight into California. So from that information I figure they spent the night in Las Vegas, probably to see the lights after a day spent at the Grand Canyon. Plus, since they arrived in Reseda during daytime hours they would have had to spend the night in Nevada, it would have taken too long to drive to California from Arizona while at the same time including a side trip to Nevada. Had they done that they would have pulled up to the South Seas Apartments in the evening hours, not during the day.

We are also able to conclude that they came in to Arizona from the east, from New Mexico, instead of from the north, from Utah. We can safely say this because had they come down from Utah they could have gone right into Las Vegas, no need to go out of the way to Flagstaff. So if they came in from the east straight across New Mexico and Texas you have to figure they retraced somewhat the old Route 66 highway.

Now, the next step is to figure how much driving Mrs. Larusso could do in a day. We know she was doing all the driving because Daniel didn't have his license yet. So you have to figure she isn't going to drive more than 8 to 10 hours a day, more than that would have started to be dangerous as she would have started to get too tired.

So roughly 8 to 10 hours east of Flagstaff is Amarillo, Texas. That is my best guess as to where they spent the night roughly halfway through their trip now.

Next step was to look at what was 8 to 10 hours away from Amarillo. Here though I had to use a clue that was given in the book. The book mentions that the car had trouble and wouldn't start while they were in Michigan.

Michigan? Why Michigan? What does Michigan have to do with their trek west?

Well, the book mentions Michigan so we have to include it on the map. I figure the only reason they would stop by Michigan is if they had family there and they were going to spend the night with them. Otherwise Michigan would have been out of the way.

So, once I started to fill in the blank between Texas and Michigan I looked at what cities were on that route. There are several big cities but roughly 8 hours away from Amarillo is Kansas City. And roughly 8 hours away from Kansas City is Indianapolis.  

Now, I have no solid proof those were the cities they spent the night in but they are each roughly the same distance away from the next city along the mostly likely path so that makes them the best candidates for the cities where the Larusso's would have spent the night.

Next step, Indianapolis to Michigan. We don't have any idea what city in Michigan the Larusso's had family. So that is one reason I chose Indianapolis as their stop after Michigan since they probably left the family's house late, most likely having a good time and they wouldn't want to leave any earlier than necessary to beat the setting of the sun. And Indianapolis would have been only a few hours drive away most likely. 

Last step in the journey, New Jersey to Michigan. Could Mrs. Larusso had driven this in one day. At first I thought yes, but it would have been a horribly long drive, roughly 12 hours. That is a lot to ask one person to drive in one day. So I figure they took two days to cover that distance. A likely city they would have spent their first night in? My guess is Youngstown, Ohio.

Mostly because Youngstown is the first city you come into after exiting Pennsylvania and I think they would have felt getting through Pennsylvania their first day of driving would have been a worthy goal.

So this is my theory, my idea of the Larusso's trip west;
Saturday, September 3rd - leave New Jersey and spend the night in Youngstown, Ohio
Sunday, September 4th - drive to Michigan and spend the night with family
Monday, September 5th - leave family's house mid-day and drive to Indianapolis
Tuesday, September 6th - drive to Kansas City and spend the night
Wednesday, September 7th - drive to Amarillo and spend the night
Thursday, September 8th - drive to Flagstaff AZ, spend the night in Sedona
Friday, September 9th - drive to Las Vegas and spend the night
Saturday, September 10th - arrive in Reseda

Sep 5, 2012

The Larusso's New Jersey home

8 Franklin Ave, Harrison, New Jersey, another location to add on the list of holy sites for Karate Kid followers.

The Larusso's New Jersey home has been found! As I said in my last post, thanks to the investigation done by a fellow Karate Kid fan in New Jersey, Daniel's East Coast home has been located. Tucked away in Harrison NJ, (a stone's throw from Newark) the Larusso home is almost at the end of a street lines with 3 story apartment buildings.

As seen in the opening sequence of the movie, and assuming Mrs. Larusso parked the car right in front of their building, they would have lived in the green colored building right next door to the burned out building. (More on that later.)

Last night I watched the opening scene several times and I am confident that the green building is where they lived. As Mrs. Larusso pulls away from the curb and you count the buildings on their side of the row there are 7 buildings down to the end of the street. (There are actually 9 but two of the buildings are tucked back behind the other buildings and are not visible in the shot.)

Also, as their car pulls out, visible on the oposite side of the street is the fire hydrant that is still there and the telephone pole, all of which is right across the street from the green building.

It warms my soul to find this street. I can easily picture Daniel playing out in front of their home, kicking a soccer ball around and practicing his juggling skills he would later use to break the ice to Ali on that California beach.

Sep 3, 2012

Karate Kid season upon us again

Today marks the official begining of Karate Kid season!

Running from September 3rd to December 19th, these next four months are holy months for any true Karate Kid'er.

And to celebrate today I have new information that I have found on the web to add to my Karate Kid Studies archive.

Thanks to a post on another Karate Kid fan website by a New Jersey resident who did some investigating, Daniel's New Jersey home has been found!

Estimated to be 8 Franklin Ave in Harrison NJ, the street looks much the way it did in 1983.

According to the New Jersey fan, the water tower that was at the end of the street in the opening scene of
the movie was torn down years ago to make way for a high school. (I hope they named that high school either West Valley High, or Larusso High.)

As we can see the blue building in the movie has been painted a peach/tan color, but other than that much is still the same.

I believe a pilgrimage is called for the next time I have a layover in Newark airport.

Night before the All Valley

Daniel and Ali share a kiss, at this point their 3rd, in Daniel's car the night before the All Valley.

And Johnny invited Ali to the tournament?

Chapter 25, pages 109-110

"How do you like it?"

"This is yours?" she asked, excited. Daniel nodded and displayed the keys.

"Oh, it's wonderful. Beautiful. It's the neatest car I've ever seen."

"You want to drive?"

"Me? Wow!" She kissed him on the cheek and ran to the driver's seat. They both climbed in for a drive.

Much later, they pulled up in front of Ali's house. Ali combed her windblown hair and asked, unnecessarily, "How do I look?"

"Really beautiful." He put his arm up around her shoulder and wiped a smudge from her forehead, pleased with the calm of the moment. He was uncertain about the future - their future and his. After all, there was the tournament in the morning, but at that instant, he knew he was where he wanted to be.

"I'm in the karate tournament tomorrow."

"I know."

"So I guess you are already invited."

Ali nodded, and Daniel's hopes sank.

"But I haven't accepted," said Ali. "However, I have decided to accept the very next invitation I get," she said impishly, smiling.

"Will you be my guest?"

"I thought you'd never ask."

"I'll probably get killed in the first match."

Ali's eyes twinkled.

"So we'll leave early."

What a girl, he thought, reaching to hold her warmly. Softly, the kissed good-night.

Daniel and the Crane Technique

In the book Daniel's first attempt at the Crane has a different outcome, one where Daniel almost loses his life!

Chapter 23, page 100-101

Then next afternoon, Daniel was back at the beach - this time alone.

With the utmost care, he made his way to the last piling and pulled himself up on its precarious surface. Carefully, between waves, he stood as straight and tall as he could and lifted his right leg into the crane position he'd seen Mr. Miyagi use, in time to greet the oncoming wave. At the last second, he flexed his left leg to jump, but he was too late. The powerful sea grabbed him and pulled him from the piling, slamming him into another one, making a gash in his head. He lost his sense of direction as the water tossed and dragged him mercilessly. He struggled against the clawing grasp of the undertow, barely escaping its pull. Continuously, the waves pushed him to danger while the undertow dragged him to the depths.

It took every ounce of Daniel's strength to overcome the forces of the icy Pacific, but some time later, coughing up salty water, Daniel pulled himself onto the beach, exhausted, spent.

It was then, semiconscious, that Daniel remembered Mr. Miyagi's words:

"First learn stand, then learn fly. Nature's rules, Danielsan, not mine."

How long, he wondered, lying half in and half out of the water, still unable to move. How long before he could stand?