The Hero’s Journey of The Karate Kid

The Hero’s Journey is a structure that people follow to either write or tell a great story. To respect this structure, you need to respect its characters and its plot elements. There are four main characters in the Hero’s Journey. There’s a Hero, the person’s story we follow. There’s a Character of consequence, the person who motivates the Hero throughout his Journey. There’s a Villain, the Hero’s worst enemy. And finally, to make a great story, you need a Sage. The Sage is the person who helps the Hero by giving him advice or by becoming his mentor.  

The plot elements are founded on 10 main points:  

1. The Hero’s at rest, meaning he hasn’t begun his quest yet, usually starts at the intro.

2. The Hero is called to action, the hero has a reason to start his quest, usually because of the Character of consequence.

3. The Hero starts its quest but with hesitation.

4. The Villain meets the Hero.

5. The first battle between the Hero and the Villain.

6. The Hero gets defeated.

7. The Hero rebuilds himself with the help of the Sage.

8. The second battle between the Villain and the Hero.

9. Villain gets defeated.

10. The Hero finally retires, his journey, his quest is over.

The Karate Kid is my example of a Hero’s Journey. Let me show you why. 

Hero at rest 

The Karate Kid is about a kid named Dre Parker. Dre Parker moved from Chicago to China. Getting used to the area, he went to the park and made a good friend. 

Hero called to action 

At the park, Dre saw a girl that caught his attention and wanted to impress her, he’s called to action because his goal was to impress the girl and that’s when his adventure started. In this case, the girl became the Character of consequence. 

Hero reluctance acceptance 

Still new in the area, he hesitated to impress the girl, but in the end his friend convinced him to try his best to impress her. 

Villain and Hero meet 

The girl’s so called-lover, Cheng, was jealous that Dre was talking to her, so he confronted the girl in front of Dre, which made everything uncomfortable. 

First battle 

Dre tried to calm the situation which aggravated Cheng, so he pushed Dre out of the scene and that’s how the first battle started. 

Hero’s defeat 

Cheng knowing Kung-Fu destroyed Dre during the first battle. 

Rebuilding stage with the Sage 

Dre was so ashamed that he lost in front of the girl. For him, the solution was to gain the respect of Cheng. Luckily for him, M. Han, the plumber that was working in Dre’s residence, was a Kung-Fu master, so Dre asked him if M. Han could become his mentor, and he said yes. 

Second battle   

M. Han trained Dre to join a tournament in which Cheng participated. Dre and Cheng won all their battles, and both reached the finals of the tournament. It was the last fight between them.  

Villain’s defeat 

It was an intense fight, but in the end, Dre beat Cheng. 

Hero retires, the end of his journey 

By beating Cheng, he impressed the girl and gained respect from him, so he didn’t need to fight anymore, because he completed his quest.  

The Hero’s Journey in this movie is very interesting because it brings out all the emotions that you can experience in real life. One of the reasons why I think that the Hero’s Journey is very effective, is because it’s easier to see the message or the moral of the story. 

3 réflexions au sujet de “The Hero’s Journey of The Karate Kid”

  1. Salut Dan, j’adore ce film !! 🙂 En lisans votre article j’ai trouver que la facon dont vous avez organiser vos idees etait simple et precise malgre le fait que c’etait court. Je trouve que la structure de votre blogue est differente dans le sens que vous avez utilisez une strucuture point forme la plupart du temp au lieu des phrases completes et paragraphes. Cela peut etre une d’entre les elements de critere constructive pour certaines lecteurs, mais selon moi, ca a bien ajouter sur l’effet des etapes du « Hero’s Journey ». J’ai bien apprecier cela. Au future, je trouve que l’elements de details pourrait etre poursuivit encore plus intensement. Ajouter tes idees et opinions sur le film et la facon dont elle ce deroule plus profondement serait quelques chose d’interessante pour moi. penser vous que le deroulemet de se film et la facon dont elle compare au Hero’s journey a ete bien fait ?? Bien fait Dan :))))

    1. Hey Dan!
      I’ve never actually noticed how well this film, or it’s predecessors, fits so perfectly into the hero’s journey! I enjoyed reading your article because of how simple and straight forward you presented the information. Now I wonder; you said that movies are more effective to convey a message when they use the typical hero’s journey. Why do you think so? In my opinion, when movies are creative, and switch up the typical hero’s journey, the film seems more original, thus less predictable. In this case, perhaps the message is not as well conveyed (in your opinion), but the originality becomes a factor that keeps the audience thinking about the film and what they have taken in from it. I would love to hear more about your opinion on this!

  2. Karate kid was one of those movies I watch a lot when I was younger and that I have vague memories now. Reading your post made me remember some things I completely forgot about! It still freaks me out how so many films can be fit into the hero’s story without most people (me) even realizing it. Would you say that there an instance in Karate Kid that doesn’t fit the hero’s journey? Or does it all work perfectly?

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