Updated: 7th June 2000
The name may not be familiar to you, but we at the Karate Kid Website were thrilled that Darryl took the time to write and share his memories with us, because although he may not be one of the obvious 'stars' of the movie, the truth is that apart from the fact that he was probably the most accomplished martial artist who performed in the movie, he also contributed a lot more than most people realise...

Darryl Defeats one of the Cobra Kai heavyweights
Darryl Vidal is a modest, unassuming, highly respected martial arts instructor from southern California. He spends a lot of his time teaching kids the martial arts at Murrieta parks and recreation dept, but he recently kindly sat down late at night after a hard day's work to tell us about his involvement in the movie. Many of his students would probably be aware by word-of-mouth of the fact that he played a part in the original Karate Kid movie, but how amazed they must be when he reveals some of his more incredible, uncredited work in the film...

Darryl is a 6th degree black belt in Kenpo Karate. At the time of filming (1983) he was a 1st degree black belt. It was Darryl who we see as the unfortunate semi finalist who is beaten by Jonny (William Zabka).

"Myself, and Ron Thomas [Bobby], the guy who breaks Daniel's leg in the tournament, are the only real Black Belts in the film. (and of course Pat Johnson)."

In the montage of the fight sequence leading up to the semi finals, Darryl pops up now and again to perform some very flash moves, neatly despatching a few of the Cobra Kai [see pic on left] before finally meeting Johnny in the semi finals --where what is easily the most impressive demonstration of karate in the entire movie is shown. He even has the honor of being named after himself even in the final shooting script of the movie stated as being revised 22-12-83 (Darryl's Page has been used as the background image for this web page -- click here to see the page on its own)

In the semi-final with Johnny, Darryl Vidal provides the most spectacular Karate in the movie

But unbeknown to just about everyone, including us here at the Karate Kid Website, we had seen Darryl earlier in the movie without realising it, as he explains in his own words:-

"I am the stunt double for the scene where Mr. Miyagi is on the post on the beach. It isn't noted in the cast list at the end where I am just listed as the "semi-finalist." I am dressed in a body-suit, and bald-head wig."

We had always known that Sensei Fumio Demura was Mr Miyagi's stunt double in the fight scenes with the Cobra Kai, but this was a delightful bit of inside info. As Darryl notes, he was wearing a disguise to make him look like Mr Miyagi at a distance...

Darryl's involvement with the movie began after he was approached after a competition in Los Angeles as he recalls:-:

"I was scouted for the movie by one of John Avildsen's Assistant Directors at a karate tournament in Los Angeles. He approached me after I had won a kata competition and asked me, "how would you like to be in a movie?""

But his biggest secret is the one that must leave his student's eyes wide with awe:-

"...the crane technique, as depicted in the movie, isn't a real move in any karate or kung-fu. Pat Johnson told me what he wanted, and I basically said, "you mean something like this?" It is widely recognized, and I still hesistate when I tell my karate students that I made it up. But as you might have guessed, there is very little practical application to the technique."

So there you have it! The man listed simply as "semi finalist" in the movie credits not only doubled for Mr Miyagi doing the crane at the beach, but actually invented the move himself! As he modestly says himself the 'crane' move is a part of the culture now, so it just goes to prove that in reality, you don't have to be a household name to have a seismic influence on the culture of the day, because in Hollywood...

...anything is possible!

We're very grateful to Darryl for sharing his memories with us and hope that he finds the time soon to give us some more interesting insights and memories of the Karate Kid filming...

Additional Reading: You can read more about the other martial artists who contributed to the movie here.

Movie Stills 1984 Columbia Pictures. Original Material 2000 Fast Rewind Web Sites. All rights reserved.

Movie & All Images 1984 Columbia Pictures. Please see the legal section for details.

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1999 Fast Rewind WebSites. All Right Reserved.