"The Karate Kid is real."  And Ankur Gopal, who's originally from Owensboro, recently got to meet him on the set of Season Three of Cobra Kai.

Go ahead.  Let yourself be consumed with jealousy.  Trust me!  I have.  But I have known Ankur most of my life and I am pumped that he was able to have this experience.  It's seriously like a dream come true for every child of the 80s, who grew up watching The Karate Kid and relating to elements of the story.  We all carry a bit of Daniel Larusso with us, right?  As Ankur shared with me, "As a young brown kid in Owensboro, Ky, I realized bullying isn't just because of how I look, but it happens to many people for many reasons." It happened to Daniel Larusso and his story is THE ultimate story of redemption.

So, here's how Ankur's incredible experience materialized.  Ankur has a professional and personal friend who has a home in Atlanta.  In his words, it's a "stunning Japanese-themed house with amazing grounds."  Ankur and his wife have been invited to stay there on multiple occasions when they're in Atlanta.  Recently, they were headed down again and reached out to see if they could spend the night.  However, his friend replied, "Let's grab dinner when you are here, but, unfortunately, we are staying at a friend's house because we rented our entire house to a movie studio for two weeks."

Out of natural curiosity, Ankur asked, "What's the movie they're shooting at your house?" His friend said, "It's YouTube, but I forgot the name of the show.  It's something Cobra?"

Well, Ankur immediately put the pieces together and asked, "You don't mean Cobra Kai, do you?"

"Yes!  That's it!"

That's about the precise time that Ankur, as I would, lost his mind.  LOL!  He spent the next thirty minutes explaining how that is the single greatest thing that could be happening in their lives.  He also shared the hilarious story about how, back in 2005, he hosted a Karate Kid-themed party in Chicago.  At that party, guests watched all three movies and took shots every time Daniel got hit.  In retrospect, Ankur says that was a "really bad idea" because The Karate Kid gets hit, frequently and repeatedly, in the original film.  Sidebar, I can't imagine how anyone was tolerating additional shots by the time the sequel started.

Ankur also explained how the death of Pat Morita, who starred as Mr. Miyagi in the films, affected him so tremendously and how much, though he never met him, he impacted his life.  He also shared how he got the chance to meet the cast of Cobra Kai in 2018 in Louisville at a comic convention.

Well, I told you the conversation lasted thirty minutes!  When Ankur finally stopped to catch his breath, his friend asked, "Well, since you have met them, why don't I text the producer and see if you can stop by tomorrow?" As you can imagine, Ankur flew into fanboy frenzy.

While on set, Ankur got basically live out a childhood dream and chat with Ralph Macchio and Yuji Okumoto (who plays Chozen).  On set, he quickly realized there were going to be some big surprises in Season Three.  While he was allowed to take some photos on set, it was The Karate Kid himself who asked for Ankur's disrection.  Ankur says, "Ralph politely asked me not to post anything on social media." And he obliged.  In fact, Ankur says that outside of his immediate family and a few of his fellow fanboy friends, he kept his visit and the details of his time on set a secret . . . until now.
Luckily, Ankur has given me permission to share some of his photos here at WBKR.com. These pics are AWESOME and proof that "The Karate Kid is real."

Owensboro Native Visits the Set of Cobra Kai

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