The Karate Kid and Shoreikan

The Karate Kid and Shoreikan

Shoreikan teaches spiritual growth as well as a proper mindset for martial arts through Okinawa Goju-Ryu Karate Katas and traditional Karate exercises and training.
Mr. Seikichi Toguchi wrote a book titled “Karate no Kokoro (The Spirit of Karate).” In this book, he states that the essence of Karate lies in spiritual growth.

■The screenwriter for the movie The Karate Kid trained at a Shoreikan dojo

Mr. Miyagi in The Karate Kid (right)
© Sony Pictures

The script for The Karate Kid was written by Robert Mark Kamen, screenwriter for the Transporter series and Taken, based on his own life experiences.
In 1964 after the New York World’s Fair, at the age of 17, being beaten up by a gang of bullies inspired him to start learning Karate for self-defense.
However, he ended up joining an extremely combative dojo that made him feel like he had joined the army, so he ended up switching to the Goju-Ryu Shoreikan dojo founded by Mr. Toguchi.
Cobra Kai, the villainous dojo in The Karate Kid, seems inspired by the first dojo attended by Mr. Kamen.

The martial arts that Mr. Kamen studied at the Shoreikan dojo led to the creation of The Karate Kid.

Mr. Toguchi passed away in 1998 at the age of 81, but in July of the previous year, he appeared on the TOKYO MX television program “Anata no Machi kara Namachukei (Live from Your City)” where he revealed that he was the model for Mr. Miyagi, the protagonist’s sensei in The Karate Kid. Mr. Toguchi stated that Karate is both a martial art and a way to train your spirit, and also said that the famous scene at the climax of the movie, where the protagonist spreads his arms and poses like a crane before launching a jumping kick, was part of the Hakutsuru (white crane) Kata that he invented at Shoreikan.

Toshio Iijima, Chief Instructor at the Shoreikan H.Q. dojo in Nakano, Tokyo, said that he heard from Mr. Toguchi that Mr. Kamen came to Japan to speak with him during the production of the movie. Mr. Kamen also mentioned in overseas media that he came to Japan to meet Mr. Toguchi during production of The Karate Kid. The trilogy was interwoven with episodes inspired by tales of Mr. Toguchi’s Karate training.

Mr. Kamen’s younger brother, Roy Kenneth Kamen, also started learning Karate in 1965, and at his brother’s introduction, joined the Shoreikan dojo in New York where he earned his black belt and continues to train to this day. In 2017 he published “Karate: Beneath the Surface” in which he explains his training in Karate, the Katas of Goju-Ryu Karate, and the spirit of Karate. In this book he states that “the purpose of studying Karate is not to learn how to fight. Fighting is only a means to an end. The purpose is to become compassionate. You must be fearless to be truly compassionate.” This gives people the fortitude to stand firm when facing troubles in day-to-day life and the strength of will to withstand difficulties. One purpose of sparring matches in Karate may be to practice fearlessly taking a step forward.

These boys entered the way of Karate to get stronger, trained their spirits as students of Mr. Toguchi, and grew up to be outstanding men. I can’t wait to see what the future still has in store for these former Karate Kids.
Article by: Takuji Yoshikura / With the cooperation of: Shoreikan H.Q. (

Republished from an eFight article dated September 19, 2020
TOKYO MX “Anata no Machi kara Namachukei “

© 1984 Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc.
All Rights Reserved.
Courtesy of Columbia Pictures