S9 kc
Karate Clumsy
Date of First Airing9/23/1989
Directed byRay Patterson (supervising director)
Oscar Dufau
Don Lusk
Jerry Sabry
Paul Sommer
Story byGlenn Leopold
Sean Catherine Derek
Ernie Contreras
Reed Robbins

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Title Translation of
Karate Clumsy
FrenchLes Schtroumpfs au Japon
GermanKampf mit der Ninja-Ratte
ItalianTontolone cintura nera

"Karate Clumsy" is a Season 9 episode from the Smurfs cartoon show.



Clumsy tries to follow in the path of the Mouse Master.

The time whirlwind appears in a village in Japan and dumps the time-lost Smurfs there, right in the middle of a thunderstorm. Again their clothes change, this time to that of kimonos, wooden sandals, and modified Smurf hats. Papa Smurf quickly gathers up the time crystals and tells his little Smurfs to run like lightning for cover. They do so by entering into a nearby house that appears to be deserted, and by what Papa Smurf sees in the house, whoever was in there was chased out by something or someone. Again Brainy tries to take advantage of the situation by saying he was the one who found a place for all of them to stay dry, when he finds himself hit by a sudden deluge of water coming from a hole in the roof. Papa Smurf tells his little Smurfs to get some bamboo to fix the hole in the roof while he goes to work on the time crystals.

As Hefty climbs up a tree to gather the bamboo sticks, Clumsy thinks that he saw something in the bushes, which Brainy simply dismisses as just time-traveling getting to his friend. Behind Clumsy, we see a gray pair of hands briefly emerging from the bushes. Then Brainy accidentally bumps Clumsy into the bushes, where he thinks he sees something with red beady eyes and a long flapping tail. Hefty comes down the tree with a big load of bamboo to carry back to the village, and as Clumsy eagerly grabs some and gets going again, the same pair of gray hands emerge from the bushes again.

While the Smurfs get busy fixing up the house, Clumsy tries to explain what he saw in the bushes to Painter, who then tries to paint according to his friend's descriptions. However, what Painter ends up painting is rather abstract compared to what Clumsy really saw -- and as he turns around, he sees a shadowy mouse figure with red eyes that scares him into tripping over a bucket. The shadowy figure steps into the light to reveal himself as an elderly mouse being named Mouse Master, telling Clumsy that what he saw was a ninja rat. He said that not long ago, the village was filled with happy mice, but then the evil ninja rat captured them and made them slaves in his castle. Mouse Master then pounds the floor of his house to illustrate his warning to the Smurfs to beware the ninja rat or he will crush them too. Brainy just writes the whole thing off as being ridiculous, but Papa Smurf suggests that maybe they should listen to his warning, that instead of sending just a few Smurfs to look for food, they should all go together. As he leads his little Smurfs outside to do so, Clumsy asks the Mouse Master to come along as well to make sure he doesn't get caught by the ninja rat, to which he agrees to do so.

After Papa Smurf tells his little Smurfs not to wander too far away in their search for food, Greedy reports finding enough cheese for everyone. As Clumsy, Smoogle, and Mouse Master try to follow the Smurfs who are gathering around Greedy and the plate of cheese, the three of them fall into an empty creek with no way of getting out. Before Greedy digs in, though, Papa Smurf warns him that it may be a trap, and Grandpa Smurf confirms this by saying that he smells a rat. The disappointed Smurfs leave this scene, but Greedy stays to chip off a bit of cheese -- only to find himself captured in a net along with most of the other Smurfs! Then the ninja rat appears with two other rats with spears, slicing up the cheese with his hands before taking a slice and gloating over his latest catch, telling the other two rats to take his captives to his castle. Meanwhile, Clumsy, Smoogle, and Mouse Master watch from the cover of the creek as the ninja rat and his cohorts take the other Smurfs away. Clumsy wants to go after them, but Mouse Master says it's better for them to wait for nightfall. With Clumsy wondering what they're going to do until then, Mouse Master tells him to follow the way of the Master -- the way of karate.

In the ninja rat's castle, where the Smurfs are put to work alongside the captive village mice, they hear one of them wishing that they could have learned karate from Mouse Master so that they wouldn't be in this situation. Then the ninja rat shows up to scare the Smurfs into working harder to clean his castle, and to show that he means business he thrusts his hand into a melon and then he causes the fruit in the basket to instantly turn into puree. But it doesn't scare them as much as his promise to use one of the Smurfs for his next demonstration of his power.

Back in the village, the Mouse Master shows Clumsy the first lesson of karate: balance. He shows this by easily walking on a taut line of string before jumping off, and then watches as Clumsy tries to do it, which predictably ends with him falling off the line. Next, he shows Clumsy the importance of rhythm in a stick fight, in which he uses a simple counting rhyme to demonstrate. Clumsy tries to follow the same movements, but ends up catapulting himself and Smoogle right onto Mouse Master. Then comes the most difficult karate move that the Mouse Master tries to teach Clumsy: the swooping crane. He tells Clumsy to do exactly as he does, but as he bends use to show Clumsy this move, he feels a sharp pain in his back. Clumsy just goes along with this, thinking that this must be the "swooping crane" move, as he jumps ahead of the master, who merely shakes his head in frustration.

Sometime later, Mouse Master uses a gong to wake up Clumsy from his sleep, telling him that there's no time for sleep and that karate is action. But Smoogle alerts them to some action going on outside the village. Sneaking as close to the ninja rat's castle as they can, the three of them see a pack of rats heading for the castle, hearing them say that the ninja rat's going to pulverize the "little blue creatures" with his karate demonstrations. Fearing what's going to happen to his fellow Smurfs, Clumsy tells Mouse Master that they'd better go help them now. Mouse Master enigmatically says that it's time for the caterpillar to shed his cocoon and become a butterfly.

Soon the three of them sneak into the ninja rat's castle, trying to do so as quietly as a gentle wind, as Mouse Master says, but Clumsy drops in through the window and ends up making a sound loud enough to attract the ninja rat, who laughs at his new "house guests". Mouse Master says he's come to defeat the ninja rat, but he just says to Mouse Master that he's gotten so feeble for that his black belt has turned gray. Then Mouse Master presents Clumsy as a young and able fighter to challenge the ninja rat, which makes him laugh, saying that he's got 24 black belts while Clumsy says he's just got a pair of suspenders back home. Then the ninja rat challenges Clumsy to a karate match that, if Clumsy wins, the Smurfs and the village mice go free, but if the ninja rat wins, then he will slice the Smurf into splinters -- which he demonstrates by turning a stacked pile of wood into a stacked pile of toothpicks.

Soon the Smurfs are watching in disbelief along with the captive village mice the karate match between Clumsy and the ninja rat, which starts with the rat sweeping Clumsy off his feet with his tail. Mouse Master tries to remind Clumsy the lesson of balance, but as everybody watches, Clumsy is still falling over himself as he walks around. The ninja rat shakes his head in disbelief and then calls out for fighting sticks, where he hopes to see some real karate action going. Mouse Master tries to remind Clumsy the lesson of rhythm, but while the ninja rat easily destroys a line of paper lanterns with his stick, Clumsy is just merely swinging his stick around, hitting nothing as he does. The ninja rat laughs at his opponent's ineptitude in karate fighting, which gets Clumsy also laughing with him, but soon the laughing stops when Clumsy touches the ninja rat, which makes the village mice cower in fear behind their balls and chains. The ninja rat easily picks up Clumsy and pulls out his sword, ready to slice him in half, when Smoogle jumps high off a chair and knocks the sword out of the ninja rat's hand, bouncing himself off the roof before knocking Clumsy's opponent down.

The Smurfs cheer and now charge toward the fallen ninja rat, but he's got an army of rats with swords waiting for them. Fortunately, the Smurfs manage to hold their own against them, with Grandpa Smurf using his cane, Painter painting a picture of himself as a decoy, and Greedy and a few mice flinging sticky rice. They are triumphant, but only for a moment, as the ninja rat and his soldiers go into a samurai formation for which there is no defense. It is then that Clumsy invokes the "swooping crane" move that he "picked up" from Mouse Master, jumping toward the ninja rat and bumping him and his soldiers so that they go rolling down the hill. Seeing that his opponent's karate is better than his, the ninja rat decides to say sayonara and head for the hills with his troops.

With the Smurfs and the village mice now free, Clumsy tells Mouse Master that he goofed up the "swooping crane", but Mouse Master tells him to forget it because it's overrated. He now comes up with a new move called the "falling caterpillar" and tries to demonstrate it by rolling down the hill, asking Clumsy if this is the right way. All Clumsy can say is that he couldn't have done it better himself, which makes the other Smurfs laugh.

Background Information


The Smurfs suffer a "wardrobe malfunction" in this episode!

  • This is the first of two episodes that take place in Japan.
  • There is an art problem with this episode: in scenes where the Smurfs wearing kimonos have their backs turned, the kimonos are too short to fully cover their behinds.
  • While Sassette appears in this episode, she does not speak a line and mysteriously disappears after the abandoned house scene.
  • Grouchy Smurf also appears in this episode, and like Sassette does not speak a line, but he appeared briefly in the ninja rat castle scene.
  • Smurfette and many other time-travelling Smurfs are absent in this episode.
  • The episode's title is a parody of the film The Karate Kid (1984).