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The Karate Kid’s choreographer no more: Pat E. Johnson passes away at 84

Ninth-degree black belt martial artist, action choreographer, and trainer Pat E. Johnson died at 84. He was known for choregraphing and directing stunts on films like Mortal Kombat and The Karate Kid.

The Karate Kid’s choreographer no more: Pat E. Johnson passes away at 84

Last Updated: 06.22 AM, Nov 08, 2023


Chuck Norris Karate school-former faculty and renowned Hollywood action choreographer Pat E. Johnson died this Sunday morning. His niece Colleen Mary Johnson took to Facebook to verify the news. The martial arts enthusiast passed away due to natural causes, at his Los Angeles home.

Born in 1939 in Niagara Falls, Johnson learned the art of Tang Soo Do, an ancient Korean form of Karate, which learned while serving asa chaplain in the U.S. Army in Korea in 1963. Since then, there was no looking back. After service, he met Chuck Norris in Detroit and the two struck up a meaningful bond that lasted a lifetime, as Norris also had Johnson later serve as his main instructor at the Sherman Oaks branch of his chain of karate schools.

In The Karate Kid (1984), Johnson trained actors Pat Morita and Ralph Macchio separately and rigorously, which ended up bonding the latter two over their mutual training struggles. He was the one who taught Macchio the ‘crane kick’ that helped his character clinch the All-Valley Karate Tournament. But he told Sports Illustrated in 2018 that the move was “not something that’s really legitimate or realistic.”

Pat E. Johnson was a trainer, stuntsperson, action-choregrapher, and an actor. He has performed or choreographed action sequences in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Mortal Kombat, Enter the Dragon, Batman and Robin, Wild Wild West, and many more. He was also the top trainer at Chuck Norris’ karate school.

His students include the likes of Bob Barker and Steve McQueen. Johnson is also credited for creating his sport’s penalty point system, which aims to keep fighters safe and sportsmanship intact. The beloved artist was inducted into the North American Sport Karate Association Hall of Fame in 1993.

Pat E. Johnson is currently survived by his siblings Richard and Cindy, his niece Colleen, as well as his wife, Sue, and sons Brett, Garth, Larry, and Erik.

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