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Cobra Kai: The fighting style andphilosophy of the series’s dojos

Am I the only one who wants to learn some karate lessons after binge-watching this amazing show?

Cobra Kai is an action packed Netflix series that has managed to bring back the nostalgic essence of The Karate Kid franchise and merged it with a modern twist. 

Thanks to this, viewers of different ages around the world have enjoyed the story of OG characters, like Daniel LaRusso and Johnny Lawrence, as well as the show’s new generation, a.k.a. Miguel, Sam, Robby, Tory, and so on.  

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When it comes to learning the martial arts, the karate students must have a sensei to guide them. As we know, in Cobra Kai there are renowned dojos. 

From the defensive style of Miyagi-Do, the aggressive approach of Cobra Kai, to the offensive yet honorable technique of Eagle Fang, each dojo has a unique fighting philosophy. 

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Miyagi-Do

“When the fight comes to you, you have to be ready to fight back”. This is the dojo’s main motto. Miyagi-Do speaks of a philosophy of peace. 

The style that Mr. Miyagi created for this dojo seeks to achieve inner peace and gain the necessary strength to win a combat. 

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Unlike Cobra Kai, Miyagi-Do uses the martial art for self-defense, meaning that the dojo's student will counteract when there's a threat.Miyagi-do is a fictitious form of Okinawan Karate-do. 

During the Karate Kid saga, we saw that Mr. Miyagi's training with Daniel Larrusso was initially based on strengthening the body with domestic tasks, such as the well known “waxing and polishing cars”, painting fences, and sanding the wooden floor. 

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Later, he would teach balance and forms of contact, something that would be quite useful for Daniel when he accomplished the famous “crane kick”.  

But don’t think that Miyagi-Do is weak or boring (as would Kreese or Johnny)! As we’ve seen with Chozen, Miyagi has an extensive karate knowledge that even Daniel didn’t know, such as the pressure points. 

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This latter is only used when your life’s in danger. As Chozen said, “if an enemy insists on war, then you take away their ability to wage it”.

Cobra Kai

This dojo is the total opposite of the former one. With lessons such as “strike first, strike hard”, and “no mercy”, Cobra Kai’s philosophy prefers a ruthless approach as well as a winning mentality.

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Based on the founders’ experience, John Kreese and Terry Silver created Cobra Kai with a hostile technique inspired in the art of war. The series revealed that both Kreese and Silver learned hand-to-hand combat from Captain Turner. 

Cobra Kai's style is a variant of Tang Soo Do. This is a Korean style of martial arts, which means "the way of the Tang hand”. From here, one of the dojo’s mottos is “the way of the fist”. 

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Unlike Miyagi-Do, Cobra Kai’s karate has an aggressive focused on physical strength and “eliminating your enemy” at all cost, even if it means swiping your opponent’s leg. 

Instead of seeking peace, Cobra Kai’s students are taught to obtain victory and become the strongest fighter. According to Terry Silver, the dojo’s philosophy is “to channel all your anger to turn it as a weapon and use your adversary’s weakness as an advantage”. 

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Eagle Fang Karate 

Being the most recent dojo, Eagle Fang Karate has some similar ideas as those of Cobra Kai. The fighting style that Johnny Lawrence teaches in this dojo relies more active combat, since he once mentioned that “the best defense is more offense”. 

However, Eagle Fang Karate’s philosophy gets rid of Cobra Kai’s “no mercy” rule and gives way to a more honorable approach. 

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Given his former training, Johnny’s teaching has also a warrior essence. Yet, he manages to alter Cobra Kai’s toxic ideology by empowering Eagle Fang’s students by helping them adapt to the situation and proving that mercy is actually good, making you an ethical fighter. 

Sensei Lawrence once said that “being tough doesn’t mean to be a prick; the goal isn’t to hurt other kid. In Eagle Fang, we don't believe in fighting dirty”. 

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Which dojo's philosophy resonates with you the most?

Images from: Sony Pictures Television

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