Danny Etkin, a Murray Avenue fourth grader, has been winning gold medals and giant trophies for his karate skills for over three years. But now he is heading to Hollywood to meet his karate idol – Jackie Chan.
In May, Danny took part in a national contest sponsored by Yahoo, Sony, MGM and Six Flags pegged at finding the “real karate kid.” The competition was in conjunction with the new Karate Kid movie, which comes out next week. It stars Jackie Jan and Jayden Smith and is directed by Will Smith.
Danny traveled to the New Jersey Six Flags Great Adventure to perform a 90-second synchronized routine with his sensei (coach) Matt Emig, a karate world champion from Long Island. Judges there rated the teams on movements and technique; degree of difficulty; entertainment value, showmanship, and creativity; and basics, including balance, synchronization, and focus. By the end of the competition, Danny and his sensei had come in first.
And that was only the first step of the competition.
Videos of the top performers at all 10 Six Flag locations were posted on Yahoo, and the public was invited to vote for their favorite teams from May 18 to May 25. At the end of the week, Danny’s team was in the top three, and he and Sensei Emig had won a trip to Hollywood for the premiere of the Karate Kid on June 7.
The team is also in the running for the grand prize, a private screening of The Karate Kid for themselves and their friends.
Danny says “this is my dream come true! I am so excited that me and Matt are going to Hollywood. The biggest thrill is to meet my idol, Jackie Chan, on the red carpet.”
On May 31, 2009, Danny Etkin turned nine and won his first grand championship for the performance shown above.