LOS ANGELES: After moving to the United States in 1965, Sensei Fumio Demura became Hollywood’s unsung master of martial arts.
He was the stunt double for Pat Morita in The Karate Kid providing the real-life inspiration for the character Mr Miyagi.
Demura was also a teacher, training Bruce Lee and other action stars.
“‘66, Chuck Norris came over to this dojo, and he want to study from me,” Demura told Arab News. “He knows a lot of kicking, but he doesn’t know how to punch. So he studied from me (how to) punch.”
Demura expanded his Hollywood career with the help of his students and Morita who he continued to stunt double for.
He worked well into the 2000s until he suffered a subdural hematoma that left him comatose for five days and unable to move his arms when he awoke. Undaunted, Demura trained to reclaim his dexterity and mobility.
“I made cut the paper origami, and I started hand exercise,” he said. “Then I come to the dojo. Open the door. I put bicycle rubber with a wood sword, and I moved this. And I start moving my arm. Now I can move my hand. I can write. I can do everything.”
Demura has continued folding origami during his daily 10 hour sessions of dialysis. It’s a Japanese tradition to make 1,000 paper cranes for good luck and recovery. So far Demura has made almost 8,000.
“That’s the martial arts spirit,” Sensei Demura said of his commitment to recovery. “Without karate I cannot make it. Just do it. That’s it.”