Larchmont’s Karate Kid
Danny Etkin’s travel itinerary for the year is booked solid. Today he is Boston. On Sunday he’ll catch a flight to Los Angeles. On Monday
he’ll put on a new suit, knot his blue and yellow tie and catch a limo to drive him to a red-carpet event to hob-knob with people of international fame.
As for his planned communication with the event’s headliner?
"I’ll probably just say ‘Hi’ and stuff like that," he said with a giggle. "I’m just, like, really excited."
Etkin is a 10-year-old fourth-grader at Murray Avenue School in Larchmont who will be attending the premiere of "The Karate Kid" in Hollywood on Monday along with his mom, Liz, and his coach, Matt Emig. Etkin’s No. 1 goal for the night is to meet the movie’s star, Jackie Chan.
Etkin was one of three first-place winners in the Karate Kid Challenge, sponsored by Sony Pictures and Six Flags. He and Emig produced this video, below, demonstrating their karate skills and finished in the top three in an internet vote. They are making the trip to Los Angeles together.
The remake of the 1984 movie is scheduled to open in theaters on June 11. In addition to Chan as Mr. Han, the movie also stars Jaden Smith as Dre Parker.
Although the original was released about 15 years before he was born, Etkin is no stranger to the plot. He was given a three-movie DVD set after earning his black belt and has watched them over and over during his many trips
"I could probably tell you the entire script," Liz said.
After the trip to Los Angeles, it’s back to business for Etkin, a five-time world champion.
He will continue his travels competing in North American Sport Karate Association tournaments. Louisville is his next stop. His karate skills have already taken him to such places as Austin, Texas, Daytona Beach, Fla., and Quebec City in Canada. His travel schedule runs from January to October, and his "down time" is filled with intense training. Liz estimates they’ll log about 20,000 miles this year attending all the tournaments. She and Danny often leave father, Larry, and 6-year-old sister, Annie, home in Larchmont and take Danny’s homework along on their trips.
"I don’t really think of it as work because it’s fun," said Danny, who picked up the sport when he was 4.
Despite the sport’s many demands, Liz says she’d recommend karate to any parent because it instills a strong work ethic in children and it teaches life lessons such as discipline, humility and respect. She said Danny’s principal and teacher are very supportive because they see first-hand all the benefits he receives from competing and he maintains good grades.
And Liz says she doesn’t have to worry about Danny’s head getting too big from all his success.
"He’s so in the clouds," she said.
Maybe. But on Monday he’ll be among the stars.
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