At least, Johnny’s real-life counterpart, Billy Zabka, is speaking out.
The actor, who infamously played Daniel’s (Ralph Macchio) nemesis in 1984's TheKarate Kid, acted as keynote speaker at the annual Anti Bullying Day at Kickmasters Karate in Clarysville, Maryland. "You guys can empower each other," Zabka told some 250 attendees. "Some of these bullies, one day, they could be your friend."
Fellow Cobra Kai Tommy (Rob Garrison) was also present and, according to the Cumberland Times-News
, Zabka told the crowd, "Bullying is never cool…not when you can be the hero in your own story.”
In fact, while Zabka wasn’t willing to admit that Johnny was the real hero of Karate Kid
-- and Daniel was “a violent sociopath who moves to a California town and begins tormenting a local boy and his friends,” as some have argued
-- he is still sympathetic to Johnny's struggle.
“In real life, Billy Zabka, I would never beat someone up like that. I would never push him around on a beach and all that. But this character, Johnny, did,” he explained. “Where’s Johnny’s dad? And where’s Johnny’s mom? He doesn’t have one. Kreese is his dad and his mom. Who’s Kreese? Kreese is kind of a bad guy who has his own issues.”
Still, the moral of the story is: Don’t sweep the leg.
The Karate Kid recently celebrated its 30th anniversary. Look back on the film’s awesome legacy: