Every pro fighter knows that they're only as good as the team behind them, especially their coach. Finding that perfect fit is the difference between becoming a professional butt-kicking machine to becoming a professional punching bag.
And no disrespect to Mr. Miyagi, but his teachings were perfect for a good-hearted kid like Daniel LaRusso. Johnny Lawrence's archetypal '80s bully personality was probably better suited under the tutelage of a no-holds barred creep like Jonathan Kreese.
The real question is though, which Karate Kid trainer is the right one for you?
Technically, Han doesn't teach young Dre Parker the art of karate, but Kung-Fu instead. Han's all about respect and self-defense - prioritizing protecting yourself and your loved ones before putting a hurting on someone. We also can't forget that Jackie Chan's the one who played him - so that means you'll master the art of comedic fighting too. We're talking using ladders, buckets, accidentally hitting your hand in the middle of a large scale brawl and fanning out your hand saying, "OW!" and then jumping through a small space only to kick a guy in the neck. Sure you'll break a few bones but you'll fight like Jackie Chan. Plus Jackie's grizzled look in this film is kinda cool.
Master Li's all about showing no mercy to one's enemies, which you'll see is a recurring theme when it comes to Karate Kid "bad guy" trainers. Master Li teaches a brutal form of Kung-Fu, so if you want to master the ancient Chinese Martial Art under the tutelage of someone in a sleek looking black martial arts getup, which a perfect haircut to match, Li's your guy.
The antagonist from The Next Karate Kid is the leader of the Alpha Elite program at Julie's school. He's ex-military (like Kreese) and has mad connections with the local police and hands out recommendations to special military programs - if you adopt his unforgivable martial arts training regimen. Training under him will also get you access to advanced firearm training, in case your fists won't cut it. Stylistically, this dude has a modified military martial arts program, which probably means groin shots, eye gouges, and fish hooks are all fair game.
This former Vietnam Veteran and black-gi rocking badass is the original Cobra Kai sensei who ain't got time for weakness and mercy. His no-holds barred fighting style, combined with the deep v-neck of a sleevless karate guy + chest hair means you'll look cool as hell while roundhousing some nerds in the liver. Also, if you like bullying people there's probably no one in the world who'll teach you how to do that better than Kreese. Pure tough-guy, 'Murican style Karate. Think of him as an evil Chuck Norris. He probably even owns a few pair of action jeans.
The OG. The man with the plan. Mister "wax on, wax off" himself. Miyagi embodies all of the goodness of Karate: self-control, discipline, mercy, kindness, love, compassion...all right that sounds more like some yoga in the park crap that how to mess someone up. But it's undeniable that Miyagi's tactics work. Homey trained Daniel-Son to be a badass, and Hillary Swank as well. He had the two of them beating up people way bigger than they were, and not to mention the fact that Miyagi himself doesn't lose a fight in the series and is a bonafide bad-ass -while still being a nice guy. This is straight up Okinawa karate. Sure, the Crane
Slicked-back ponytail? Black karate gi? Creepy smile? Loads of money? Terry "Quick" Silver is basically an alternate version of John Kreese. The two of them served in the military together and developed Cobra Kai together, but Silver's "Quicksilver" form of karate is more brutal. He's all about getting guys to the ground, restricting their vision, and inhibiting their breathing. If you're about really fighting dirty, then Terry's the master for you.
This traditional Karateka is all about breaking wood, so if you're into karate demonstrations that'll impress kids, he's the dude for you. Oh and he's also a pretty damn good instructor. His student, Chozen, pretty much had Daniel-Son on the ropes until everyone at the end of the movie distracted him with drums. He's like an alternate Mr. Miyagi, except he wears suits and doesn't care about destroying local fish populations with his million dollar corporation.
Growing up as a Muslim-Albanian family with very patriarchal ideas on the way a family is supposed to operate, my idea of what a father should be was a very "man's man" one.
He brings home the bacon, laughs maybe five times a year, and was really into Clint Eastwood and Martin Scorcese movies. Oh, and a Marlboro Red had to be perpetually hanging out the side of his mouth.
Fast forward years later and here I am, dadding it up, and I'm not that, like, at all. The manliest thing I probably do is hit the gym, bro, and not shave my chest hair. Other than that though, I'm nothing like the former generation of "guy's guys" that raised me. Which I'm totally cool with, because I'm already learning special hair braids to try out on my daughter once she gets older. Because her old man might be a North Jersey meathead, but he's going to be a meathead who doesn't mind having tea parties and getting his nails painted with his little girl.