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You suck, LaRusso! You suck, man!
~ Mike yelling at Daniel.

Michael "Mike" Barnes is the central antagonist of The Karate Kid, Part III. He is often considered to be Daniel LaRusso's greatest foe.

He was portrayed by Sean Kanan in his first villainous role.


The Karate Kid, Part III

Mike Barnes was hired by Terry Silver to defeat Daniel in the All Valley Karate Championship, in exchange for 25% (later 50%) ownership of his new Cobra Kai dojos. It is shown that he is a highly skilled karate master. He proves to be far too much for Daniel (mostly because Daniel could not so much as land a single damaging blow to him until the end of the film). He constantly torments Daniel and tries his best to force Daniel into signing an application for the All Valley Karate Tournament (which Daniel chooses not to enter because he has no reason to fight). Later when Mike forces Daniel to sign up for the tournament, Miyagi trains Daniel for the event. At the tournament Mike (under Silver's instructions) to deliberate fights with Daniel by scoring points and then losing them with penalties. Despite his situation, Daniel manages to defeats him in a sudden death match with the kata that Miyagi taught him earlier. After being defeated, Mike starts pounding the ground in frustration.

His business deal with Terry Silver, John Kreese, and the Cobra Kai is off and Cobra Kai is shut down for good. After this Mike's later fate is unknown.

Cobra Kai

Season 1

Although he does not make an appearance, it is revealed that the Cobra Kai was banned from the All-Valley Tournament because of his, Kreese's and Terry Silver's actions in 1985.

Season 2

While Mike does not appear his picture is shown in a flashback when Daniel talks to students about the time he joined Cobra Kai. 


Mike is extremely vicious, aggressive and immoral. He repeatedly threatens and harms Daniel. He does everything he can to cause Daniel pain. He is more than willing to break the rules fight unethically which is demonstrated in the All Valley tournament. He even kicks Jessica, showing he is willing to be aggressive with anybody. It is very likely that he has an anger problem as he is shown to be angry throughout the movie and there are several occasions where he screams out of anger like a psychopath.

Mike has no morals and is willing to do whatever it takes to win which is evidenced in the All Valley Tournament where he repeatedly attacks Daniel illegally just to cause him pain instead of beating him honorably, though it is unknown if he would have done this had Terry not instructed him to, and personally attacks Daniel while he is lying on the mat hurt. 

He can be compared to Dutch from the original movie and Chozen from the second movie as his behavior and actions seem similar to theirs to a certain extent, though he is much more angry and aggressive than them. He may be just as skilled as Chozen, but it is possible that he is more skilled than Chozen as he stuck fear in Daniel and only lost in the end because of the tiebreaker, while Daniel wasn't afraid of Chozen and truly managed to defeat him. 



  • Jonathan Avildsen, son of the film's director John G. Avildsen, screen tested for the part of Mike Barnes. It was decided that he was not the right fit for Mike, but Jonathan did such a fine job that the role of "Snake" was created especially for him.
  • After answering an open casting call for the movie, Sean Kanan was called back for a screen test with Ralph Macchio. "I wanted them to remember me.", said Kanan, "So I backed Macchio into a corner and wouldn't let up.".
  • Sean Kanan had been a fan of the franchise for years before being cast, having seen both The Karate Kid and The Karate Kid Part II ten times each before learning of the plans for a second sequel.
  • Sean Kanan beat out two thousand other martial arts hopefuls for the part of Mike Barnes.
  • At the time of his casting, Sean Kanan was a green belt in karate.
  • While filming, Sean Kanan performed his own stunts, including one wherein he lunged forward and landed on his stomach for twenty takes. After taking aspirin for four days to deal with the residual pain, Kanan fell unconscious. At a hospital, he was diagnosed with internal bleeding caused by a torn abdominal wall.
  • Mike Barnes' final dialogue (wherein he triumphantly jeers Daniel into getting up for the "Sudden Death" portion of their grand championship match) was not in the screenplay, but rather ad-libbed by Sean Kanan.
  • Sean Kanan claims that the filmmakers described the character to him as "a seventeen-year-old white Mike Tyson".


           KarateKidTitle.png Villains

The Karate Kid (1984)
Cobra Kai
John Kreese | Johnny Lawrence | Dutch | Bobby Brown | Tommy | Jimmy

The Karate Kid Part II
Chozen Toguchi | Sato Toguchi | Toshio | Taro | John Kreese | Johnny Lawrence

The Karate Kid Part III
Cobra Kai
Terry Silver | John Kreese | Mike Barnes | Snake | Dennis

DynaTox Industries
Margaret Spencer | Milos Dadok

The Next Karate Kid
Alpha Elite
Colonel Dugan | Ned Randall | Charlie | Gabe | Morgan

The Karate Kid (2010)
Master Li | Cheng | Liang | Zhuang | Song

Cobra Kai
Cobra Kai
John Kreese | Eli "Hawk" Moskowitz | Tory Nichols | Chris | Mitch | Doug Rickenburger | Mikey | Raymond "Stingray" | Kyler | Brucks | Robby Keene | Edwin | Big Red | Paul | Dieter

Trey & Cruz | Louie LaRusso Jr. | Captain Turner | Shawn Payne | Yasmine | Bert | Tom Cole