The Karate Kid – The hero’s journey breakdown

Ordinary world

Daniel is a fish out of water because he was unhappy about moving from New Jersey to California.

Call to Adventure

Johnny and his gag bust up a party when Daniel was getting very friendly with Ali. Daniel tries to protect Ali but he is no match for Johnny who is a martial arts expert.

Refusal of the call

Daniel isn’t ready to take on Johnny yet. He is beaten up and humiliated. He rejects Ali’s offer for help.

Supernatural Aid

Mr Miyagi becomes Daniel’s teacher and guide through the story.

Belly of the whale

Daniel gets cornered by Johnny and his gang. They beat him up, however Daniel is rescued by Mr Miyagi who easily deals with the hoodlums attacking Daniel

Crossing the First Threshold

Mr Miyagi goes to Cobra Kai dojo and agrees to a challenge between Daniel and his Cobra Kai students

The Road of the trials

Mr Miyagi teaches Daniel how to fight with Karate with his own unusual method. Wax on, wax off

Meeting with the Goddess

Ali is a good girl who Daniel falls in love with. Right now he can’t have her but if he learns how to fight he will have a chance.

Woman as Temptress

This isn’t a true example of the Temptress but When Daniel turns up to the party and sees Ali kissing Johnny he turns his back on her and concentrates on his training.

Atonement with the Father

Daniel finds Miyagi in his apartment drunk and in his war uniform. He learns that his teacher was a war hero who lost his wife and child during child birth at a Japanese relocation camp for Japanese Americans during the war. Upon discovering this information he bows to his teacher, now he trains with more intensity than before


Daniel turns sixteen so Mr Miyagi gives him one of the cars he made him wax and orders him to and find the balance in his life. He goes looking for Ali and when he learns from her friend that Johnny kissed Ali only to humiliate Daniel, he apologizes to Ali

Ultimate Boon

Now he’s a man, he has a car, the girl and the skills to face Johnny in the tournament.

The Magic flight

Magic flight is a fight or flee stage, here it’s a fight. Daniel progresses through the rounds beating various opponents, as does his ultimate enemy, Johnny.

Rescue from without

Daniel’s knee is injured by an illegal kick from one of the Cobra Kias. Although he has proved he is worthy to step in the ring against them he will never achieve life’s balance if he knows his enemies have gotten the better of him. He begs Mr Miyagi to fix his knee using acupressure.

The crossing of the return Threshold

Daniel steps onto the mat to face Johnny. He’s injured but fights anyway.

Master of two worlds

Johnny uses an elbow on Daniel’s knee which cripples him. However, rather than ending the fight Daniel uses the crane position which his master made him practice endlessly in order to be able to kick Johnny in the head and defeat his tormentor.

Freedom to live

Johnny hands him his trophy and congratulates him. He celebrates with his mother , Ali and an approving nod from Mr Miyagi



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