I attended six different schools between first and seventh grade. A few times, being the new kid meant getting beat up at school and, on one memorable occasion, finding the courage to fight back. I didn't have a Mr. Miyagi, a crane technique, or a cute blonde girlfriend. (She was brunette.) But when I saw "The Karate Kid" (1984), I knew it was my story.
I watched "The Karate Kid" again (87th time, give or take) a couple months ago with my 5-year-old. She's too young for it, but it was worth being a bad dad for one afternoon to see my daughter get mad at the bullies. When Daniel Larusso (Ralph Macchio) faced his enemies at the end, she got up and kicked her legs and flailed her arms, screaming, "Hi-ya!" She finally fell over and scraped her arm on the fireplace, just as Daniel hobbled his way to victory. As Johnny, the meanest of the meanies, acknowledged that he'd been beat ("You're alright, Larruso"), I wiped away my daughter's tears, then wiped mine.