In the 1984 martial arts film The Karate Kid, Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) is constantly bullied by Johnny Lawrence (William “Billy” Zabka). For instance, during the night of the Halloween dance, Johnny nearly renders the New Jersey native unconscious by kicking him in the head and throat. Thankfully, Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita) steps in before the Cobra Kai student could do any more damage.
William Zabka Made Contact With Ralph Macchio’s Face During the Scene
While speaking to Men’s Journal in 2018, Macchio revealed that Zabka’s foot made contact with his face while filming the scene.
“Basically, I got kicked in the face,” said the actor.
Zabka proceeded to share why the accident occurred.
“I can explain: In the scene, I am supposed to be hitting Ralph with a front roundhouse kick. I had it pretty dialed in, so I was keeping a good amount of distance from his face in the rehearsals. They decided to move the camera at some point, so the blocking was a little different, but I didn’t adjust my planted foot. I didn’t realize until too late, and coming through the kick, it didn’t stop until it connected,” said the actor.
Macchio then noted that his injuries were relatively minor and could have been much worse, stating,
We can laugh about it now, but the day of it was a pretty serious deal. Luckily, it landed on my jaw, and not my nose or the teeth, because I could have broken something. That would have probably shut down production. In this case, it only meant I had to put some makeup on, and eat all of my food through a straw for a bit.
In a May 2018 interview with Sports Illustrated, alongside the cast and crew of The Karate Kid, Zabka and Macchio shared similar information.
“It was like 4 in the morning. Billy was supposed to fake a front roundhouse… and he just nailed me right in the jaw. You’d have thought I would’ve gotten hurt more. I was thrown all over the place,” said Macchio.
Zabka, however, asserted that he was not to blame for the incident.
‘[Macchio] leaned into it. It wasn’t my fault,” said the 55-year-old.
Ron Thomas, who played Cobra Kai team member Bobby, then revealed that after the accident, the film’s production brought “in stunt doubles to complete that scene.”
Elisabeth Shue Hit William Zabka While Filming ‘The Karate Kid’
During a 2014 panel celebrating the 30th anniversary of The Karate Kid, Zabka disclosed that he also got hit by one of his co-stars. He stated that during the scene where Ali Mills, played by Elisabeth Shue, slaps his character for forcibly kissing her at the Encino Oaks County Club, “she connected with me every time for real.”
“For all the feet flying in my face the whole movie it was Elisabeth Shue who connected every single time and couldn’t pull her punch for sure. I think she did it on purpose,” revealed the father-of-two. “She had two brothers. She was a soccer player. She’s a tom boy and I think she just really wanted to do it so. She’s a sweetheart though.”
To see more of Macchio and Zabka, be sure to watch Cobra Kai, available on Netflix.