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Why Cobra Kai Fans Are Looking Twice At Miyagi-Do And Cobra Kai's Karate

Director John G. Avildsen's "The Karate Kid" took cinemas across the globe by storm in 1984, near-instantaneously proving itself as one of the premier titles of the decade. In the years that followed, its sequels may not have reached the same heights, but that did little to dull the original's luster. In fact, the Ralph Macchio-led film retained its popularity so strongly that in 2018 it received yet another continuation in the form of the Netflix — formerly YouTube Red — hit, "Cobra Kai," which has since accumulated four seasons and a fanbase all its own.

Set decades after "The Karate Kid," the series reveals how teenage rivals Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) and Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) have shaped their lives since their first confrontations. Along the way, viewers encounter faces new and old and revisit key moments from the movies that started it all, recontextualizing these classics in new, interesting ways. Much to the surprise of no one, "Cobra Kai" also includes numerous martial arts clashes, typically between the next generation of students at the famed Miyagi-Do and Cobra Kai dojos.

While there's nothing particularly wrong with these action sequences as they are, that's not to say that they haven't generated some debate among "Cobra Kai" fans. Some have even called into question what exactly the two main dojos have taught their students.

Do Miyagi-Do and Cobra Kai actually teach karate?

From the moment the "Karate Kid" and "Cobra Kai" franchise began, fans have been led to believe that the main characters have gone toe-to-toe in karate competitions. However, there may be some classic Hollywood trickery going on here. As explained by Reddit user YuYuhakashoFan, close inspection lends credence to the theory that neither Miyagi-Do nor Cobra Kai actually practices karate. Rather, based on what we've seen on screens big and small, their fighting styles lean closer to an amalgamation of Wing Chun, Muay Thai, and various other forms of martial arts.

In response to the post's lengthy analysis of Cobra Kai and Miyagi-Do's teachings, the "Cobra Kai" Reddit community took the discussion further. "I think they go more of 'does it look badass' then 'is this karate,'" theorized MachineGreene98, making a case for the aesthetic value of straying away from traditional karate. In a similar vein, another Reddit user quoted the late, great Bruce Lee, who once touted the importance of well-roundedness instead of adhering to a single combat style. Of course, in terms of why Miyagi-Do and Cobra Kai are so much better than their contemporaries, it all boils down to plot armor.

At the end of the day, in some respects, it's a tad irritating that neither Miyagi-Do nor Cobra Kai stands as a true karate dojo yet they overcome all other challengers. Still, for the sake of a television show like "Cobra Kai," if it looks cool and moves the plot along, then it's best just to let it slide.