I can still remember the first time I saw the original Karate Kid. I was 14 years old and I remember after seeing Ralph Macchio in the role of Daniel-Son, I had the biggest crush on him. In fact, to this day, whenever I think of the original film, all I can think about, aside from Daniel getting beaten to a pulp before he wins the karate tournament is the classic line by Pat Morita, “Wax On, Wax Off.”
We saw Karate Kid at a drive in movie theater in Pennsylvania – near my parent’s summer home in the Poconos, that sadly was sold a few years later. Perhaps it was the fact that we saw the film in a special place (gotta say, I love drive in movies) or that Ralph was incredibly easy on my teen eyes, but either way, I was hooked on the Karate Kid from day one.
Fast forward more than 25 years (gulp) and it’s the summer of 2010. I’m sitting next to my eight year old son and my husband at a movie theater in Westchester and I am giddy with excitement to see The Karate Kid remake.
This time around, while I did fall in love with the characters and once again wanted to knock out those bullies, the movie had an incredible impact on my son. In fact, immediately after seeing the film, he decided he wanted to take karate lessons. And so, two days a week after work, my husband zips home from New Jersey (we live in Westchester) so that he can get Dylan to his karate class on time. So far, Dylan’s learned a few impressive moves, can count to 10 in Japanese, and looks quite adorable in his little white outfit (okay – he probably wouldn’t appreciate that comment since he’s a serious karate student.)
The Power of Movies
Nevertheless, there’s something about movies that have the power to touch your life in a positive way. And that’s what the Karate Kid has done for us. Sure my first experience was simply centered on my teenage crush and the fact that I love any music by Peter Cetera (tell me you don’t remember “Glory of Love”) but for my son, the latest film tackles important issues that he is going to face and has already faced in his young life.
While we haven’t moved to China and have no plans on the horizon, he has faced bullies and has handled himself quite well in those situations. While Dylan is a quiet kid, his karate lessons have made him more confident, more disciplined and he even wants his dad, who also used to take karate lessons as a kid, to join him in class.
And while I may not be joining them at the karate center, I do plan to curl up on the couch with my family and watch the Karate Kid on DVD while my son shows off his latest moves.