Pat E. Johnson, ‘The Karate Kid’ trainer dies at 84


Pat E. Johnson, best known for choreographing fights and training actors for “The Karate Kid” movie, died of natural causes at his home in Los Angeles. He was 84, Variety reported.
Colleen Mary Johnson Summerville, Johnson’s niece, verified the news on Facebook, writing, “It is with a sad heart that I’m sharing my Uncle Pat has passed this Sunday morning.”
Johnson attained the rank of ninth-degree black belt and used his martial arts talents to train actors such as Pat Morita and Ralph Macchio in the filming of the popular coming-of-age picture ‘The Karate Kid’. After bullies begin antagonising him at his new school in Los Angeles, Morita’s Mr. Miyagi instructs Macchio’s Daniel Larusso in the art of karate.
In the first film, Johnson taught Macchio the now-iconic crane kick that helped Daniel win the All-Valley karate tournament. In the film, he also served as a referee.
Johnson was born in 1939 in Niagara Falls, New York. In 1963, he was introduced to karate while serving as a U.S. Army chaplain in Korea. He began by learning Tang Soo Do, an old type of karate, and got his black belt in just 13 months, as per Variety. In 2019, William Zabka, who reprised his role as Johnny Lawrence alongside Ralph Macchio in the spinoff series “Cobra Kai,” spoke to Men’s Health about Johnson’s influence on him. “I didn’t know anything about [karate] when I first started,” he said.
“I was a wrestler in high school and very limber and athletic. The discipline that he gave physically, mentally and technically was incredible; so much so, that I trained with him after the film was over.