MovieChat Forums > The Karate Kid Part IIIĀ (1989) Discussion > The match-up between Mike Barnes and Dan...

The match-up between Mike Barnes and Daniel LaRusso


It has often been claimed that it's quite surprising how Daniel LaRusso was able to prevail over Chozen and was generally competitive against him whenever they faced each other in Japan, but had an extremely hard time handling Mike Barnes. While I agree that at a first glance it doesn't make sense how Daniel is so convincingly defeated by Mike during their first two encounters, I actually did find this aspect of the story to be realistic.

I play racquet sports such as tennis and table tennis (which do have certain similarities to karate when it comes to the need to display great reflexes, hand-eye coordination, and quick thinking). I have personally experienced how you can win relatively easily against a certain player and the same opponent who has a losing record against you is able to gain the upper hand over another competitor who you stand almost no chance against. It's simply a matter of how different playing styles match against each other, unless of course the gulf when it comes to one's grasp of the fundamentals of the sport is way too wide.

Even if Barnes had retained his perfect record against LaRusso, it's not out of the question that he could have suffered a defeat against Chozen.

Of course Barnes' confidence in his own abilities and him being able to successfully intimidate LaRusso from the very beginning also set the course.

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I see what you are saying, but the problem I have with it is Daniel is afraid of Barnes, not that Barnes betters him.

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True, but Daniel was still willing to fight him (though arguably only when his protective instinct kicked in after Barnes showed that he was not averse to going after Jessica) and I somehow got the impression that LaRusso was not that scared of him until he had to face him in the tournament, more like he was tired of fighting and wasn't that motivated to further prove himself as a karate practitioner, thus regarding Barnes as a pest and an inconvenience rather than a huge threat.

Also, it's possible that Barnes simply had a certain aura about him that from Daniel's standpoint made him appear more menacing than Chozen and Johnny. As for myself, I don't actually consider Barnes to be less skillful than Chozen and in some respects he is probably the most impressive of Daniel's opponents, though I would have been the most concerned (and admittedly fearful) if I had to face the Japanese guy, especially given the high likelihood of weapons being used. Chozen is much higher on the intimidation scale from my perspective.



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Agreed

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I Even if Barnes had retained his perfect record against LaRusso, it's not out of the question that he could have suffered a defeat against Chozen [who Daniel defeated]..


The best real fighters in the world will always say there's always someone better, even if that person lost to the person you beat. You're right, it's usually a function of style matchups.

Now, in sports where you don't play against your opponent, but actually play against the venue such as golf or bowling, then your competitor doesn't matter unless there's an issue of confidence.

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Very well put! Home advantage can be a major factor as well, depending on the sport, in addition to the stakes involved (i.e. whether the match is considered a 'must win' or a 'dead rubber'). There are almost always bogey opponents you are averse to facing in individual sports, even if in theory you should be vastly better than they are.



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I played sports in school, and several coaches lamented the fact I wasn't more gifted. I mean, I played well enough, but certainly not pro level. But the biggest difference with me in athletics is that I always played better in the big games which is what coaches love. I'm not competitive by nature, and it's difficult for me to screw together 30 consecutive seconds of competitive fight over a silly game, but always managed to do so when needed.

There were guys who had "game faces", but I wasn't one of them. My friends used to wonder how I was always so calm during stressful games, and I'd laugh and say pretty much that it is only a game. Tomorrow I'll be taking a test or something far more important. If we lost, it wouldn't ruin my day, my week, my year, or my life. There were guys on my teams that would live and die with a win or loss, and that's why I think they got "tight" during big spots.

So I agree that even playing venue sports, there are athletes that don't match up against others for a variety of intangibles.

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It's a very valuable quality to have and I guess that some of your coaches referred to you as an athlete who regularly put in clutch performances! I am not the calmest guy when playing racquet sports and have lost a number of games during tournaments due to not being able to keep my temper in check. However, I often manage to find another gear when facing an opponent in a final, especially if I am confident that his style of play suits mine. I think that the unfortunate situation with the current COVID-19 pandemic has imbued me with a greater humility and encouraged me to learn to set my priorities straight. It's good to be competitive and one should always strive to be the best out of respect for one's coaches, the opponents, and oneself, but it should never become a matter of life and death.



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