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Ralph Macchio Recalls The Karate Kid Scene That Gives Him Chills Every Time He Sees It - Exclusive

Even though it was first released in theaters 38 years ago, "The Karate Kid" is having a bigger impact than ever on viewers, thanks to the enormous popularity of its Netflix spinoff series "Cobra Kai." Ralph Macchio starred in the classic film as Daniel LaRusso — aka The Karate Kid — a teen who, under the mentorship of his apartment building handyman, Mr. Miyagi (the late Pat Morita), learned to take a stand against bullying through the martial arts.

The monumental conclusion of "The Karate Kid" happens with Daniel's crane kick move to take down his bully, Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka). The move effectively takes the teeth out of Johnny's dojo, Cobra Kai, and its venomous sensei, John Kreese (Martin Kove), setting up the first of many stories in what would come to be known as the Miyagiverse. 

Naturally, "The Karate Kid," its two sequels, and "Cobra Kai" have become a major part of Macchio's life and career, which he writes about in his memoir, "Waxing On: The Karate Kid and Me" (Dutton). New in stores and online, the book includes Macchio's recollections of the first time he watched the All Valley Karate Tournament championship match with an audience, which he counts as the greatest moment he's experienced as an actor and audience member.

"Being 'The Kid' in the movie that I'm watching for the first time, seeing that kind of thunderous ... roar and people leaping to their feet ... I think I described it as being in the World Series, Stanley Cup, and Super Bowl all at the same time at the back of that theater," Ralph Macchio told Looper in an exclusive interview. "It was a moment I will never forget."

Surprisingly, though, the crane kick scene isn't the one that gives Macchio the chills whenever he sees it.

Macchio still gets very emotional watching the scene where Daniel trains himself

Directed by Oscar-winning "Rocky" filmmaker John G. Avildsen and written by Robert Mark Kamen, "The Karate Kid" is chock-full of emotional scenes that move viewers in many different ways. For Ralph Macchio, the scene that makes his hairs stand on end every time he sees it comes not during but after the riveting sequence where Daniel learns through a drunken Mr. Miyagi of the tragic loss of his sensei's wife and son during childbirth decades prior.

"The one that gets me every time — the hairs stand up and I get the chills — is the montage post-the Miyagi drunk scene when Daniel goes out and he's training himself," Macchio told Looper. "It's called 'Training Hard' and has the music by Bill Conti. You see Daniel in the long shot on the boat doing all the blocking moves, and he's on the pylon on the beach, and he's working on his crane. You see the evolution of that character working hard to achieve. He's alone, taking it upon himself to be the mentor in his own journey from what he's gained from this friendship with Miyagi. It's pure and genuine, heartfelt, and it gets me — hook, line, and sinker — every time."

"Waxing On: The Karate Kid and Me" is new in stores and online through Dutton Books.