Thomas Ian Griffith on ‘Karate Kid’ Co-Star’s Life-Threatening Injury

Terry Silver

YouTube Thomas Ian Griffith appears in "The Karate Kid Part III."

In the third installment of “The Karate Kid” film franchise, titled “The Karate Kid Part III,” Terry Silver (Thomas Ian Griffith) decides the best way to help out his friend John Kreese (Martin Kove) is to emotionally and physically harm Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio). One of the key components of his convoluted plan is bringing Mike Barnes (Sean Kanan) on board to terrorize Daniel.


Thomas Ian Griffith Discussed Sean Kanan’s Injury

While being interviewed on the “Cobra Kai Kompanion” podcast in July 2021, Thomas Ian Griffith briefly spoke about Sean Kanan getting injured during the production of “The Karate Kid Part III.”

“It could have been the last sequence of ‘Karate Kid III,’ but I remember him getting hurt or him being hurt and not being able to, you know, do any of the physical stuff, so I think that they had to work around that. But I think there was plenty of other stuff to do that we shot and then when he could come back they worked him back in. There was too much fight choreography for him in that last sequence,” said the 59-year-old actor.


Sean Kanan Spoke About the Injury in November 2018

During a November 2018 interview with the “Cobra Kai Kompanion” podcast, Sean Kanan shared details about his life-threatening injury. He explained that he “had to do a very simple stunt.”

“I was standing and I had to sort of throw myself about three feet away and land on my side and I did it over and over and over again,” said Kanan.

He explained that the “Karate Kid Part III” cast “broke for two weeks” in December 1988 and he decided to visit “Las Vegas with a friend.” He noted that during the trip he was “experiencing really bad pain in [his] left thigh which [he] attributed to all the martial arts training” for the film. He combated the discomfort by “taking a lot of aspirin,” which ended up being quite harmful.

He explained that he “perforated [his] omentum which is sort of a sheath of skin that wraps around your intestine.” The actor shared that he “had been bleeding internally for several days” and “the aspirin exacerbated the bleeding.” While in Las Vegas, he ended up fainting, and paramedics arrived on the scene. Once he arrived at the Humana Sunrise Hospital, the doctors told him that he had “lost a lot of blood” and would require immediate surgery. The actor explained that he “come[s] from a family of doctors” and requested his surgeon to not “cut [his] abdominal muscles.”

“I knew if they cut through my abdominal muscles, I was out of the film. I was going to be, you know, out of commission for a long time and so I said if you can, can you resect the muscles so you keep them intact and they did,” said Kanan.

The 54-year-old revealed that while he was recovering from surgery, he received “a call from John Avildsen,” who directed the film.

“Basically the studio said to me you got to be back at work in two weeks, less than two weeks, 10 days or you’re gonna lose the job,” shared Kanan.

After receiving that information, the actor was determined to be discharged from the hospital as soon as possible.

“I had them release me against an AMA, against medical advice and [the studio] decided okay they’ll keep me in the film but they’ll use a stuntman to do all my karate,” revealed the “General Hospital” star.

He managed to get back his strength while the film was still in production.

“Ultimately I wound up doing all of my own stunts in ‘Karate Kid III’ with the exception of one stunt,” said the father-of-one.

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