Is Cobra Kai a Real Karate?

If you are a fan of martial arts movies or TV shows, you might have stumbled upon the Netflix hit series “Cobra Kai”. The series revolves around the rivalry between two karate schools, with the students of the original Cobra Kai dojo fighting against the newcomers of the Miyagi-Do dojo. The show takes place thirty-four years after the iconic 1984 All Valley Karate Tournament, which was the plot of the original movie “The Karate Kid”. However, fans of traditional karate might be left wondering whether Cobra Kai represents real karate.

In this article, we will cover the main aspects of the martial art that Cobra Kai represents and whether they align with what is considered real karate.

Origins of Karate

Karate is said to have originated in Okinawa, a Japanese island that was once an independent kingdom. The island was a hub of trade between China, Japan, and Southeast Asia. As a result, Okinawa’s fighting styles were heavily influenced by Chinese martial arts, particularly Shaolin Kung Fu. However, Okinawan martial artists developed their own unique style, which was aimed at disabling opponents quickly and efficiently.

The Philosophy of Karate

Karate is not just a combat sport but also a philosophy that stresses respect, self-control, and discipline. The martial art was heavily influenced by Zen Buddhism, which emphasizes mental discipline, meditation, and compassion. Karate practitioners are taught to be humble, respectful, and to seek peace wherever possible.

The Techniques of Karate

The techniques of Karate involve punches, kicks, and strikes aimed at vital points of the body. Karate also has an extensive range of blocks, evasions, and throws. There are three main parts of Karate’s combat techniques: Kihon, Kata, and Kumite.

Kihon is the basic training of Karate, which consists of practicing basic movements such as punches, kicks, and blocks. Techniques are repeated countless times until they become second nature.

Kata is a pre-arranged sequence of movements, designed to simulate a fight against multiple opponents. Practicing Kata helps to refine techniques, build strength, and improve mental focus.

Kumite is sparring, which involves applying techniques learned in Kihon and Kata against a real opponent in a controlled environment.

Is Cobra Kai Real Karate?

Cobra Kai’s technique is a hybrid of traditional karate and kickboxing. The style emphasizes brute strength and quick strikes. Unlike traditional karate, Cobra Kai practitioners have a more aggressive fighting stance, with their hands held low, exposing their face to their opponent.

Furthermore, the philosophy of Cobra Kai is the antithesis of karate. The dojo’s motto is “strike hard, strike first, no mercy”. It promotes disrespect, aggression, and bullying among students, which is contrary to the values of karate.

However, it is important to remember that “Cobra Kai” is a work of fiction. The series is not intended to be an accurate representation of real karate. It doesn’t reflect the values, techniques, or philosophy of true karate.

The Bottom Line

Karate is a martial art that emphasizes physical skill, mental focus, and spiritual growth. It is a discipline that stresses respect and peaceful conflict resolution. In contrast, Cobra Kai represents a more aggressive and combative approach to martial arts, where the emphasis is on dealing harshly with one’s opponents. The fictional style of Cobra Kai is a hybrid of traditional karate and kickboxing, but it does not reflect the true values, techniques, or philosophy of the real martial art.

Is Cobra Kai a Real Karate?

The martial arts drama television series titled Cobra Kai has gained significant popularity since it was released in 2018. The series is a sequel to the classic movie, The Karate Kid, and it follows the journey of its characters, who are now adults, as they revive the Cobra Kai karate school. Though the show has been celebrated by fans all over the world for its captivating storyline and fight scenes, some martial arts enthusiasts have questioned whether the karate techniques showcased in the series are authentic or real.

In this blog post, we will look at some of the frequently asked questions, including whether Cobra Kai promotes real karate or not, and whether the techniques are practical in real-life situations.

What is Karate?

Karate is a discipline that originated in Okinawa, Japan, that is based on striking techniques, including knee strikes, punches, elbow strikes, and kicks, as well as open-handed techniques, such as knife-hands and spear-hands. In the show Cobra Kai, the karate techniques showcased are a combination of various martial arts styles, including Shotokan karate, Goju Ryu karate, and Tang Soo Do.

Is Cobra Kai’s Karate Techniques Authentic?

While some of the karate techniques showcased in the series are authentic, some have been exaggerated for cinematic effect. The show is fundamentally focused on entertainment, and as such, some of the techniques portrayed are merely for the purpose of entertainment.

Furthermore, some of the techniques, including the „Crane Technique,“ are depicted as being unbeatable. While these techniques may be effective in some situations, they are not all-encompassing, and there are various martial arts disciplines that can overcome the Crane Technique.

Are the Techniques Depicted Practical for Real-Life Situations?

In general, the techniques portrayed in Cobra Kai are not entirely practical for real-life situations. For example, many of the moves require a certain level of flexibility and athleticism, which may not be attainable by an individual who is not a trained martial artist.

Moreover, the show portrays long, choreographed fight scenes where the characters are able to endure several punches and kicks without showing signs of fatigue or injury. In real-life situations, it is unlikely that anyone could endure such punishment and still possess the strength and agility to continue fighting.

How to Determine if Cobra Kai Reflects Real Karate Practices

Cobra Kai is a Netflix original series that has gained a lot of popularity in the recent years due to its refreshing take on the classic Karate Kid movie. However, one question that lingers in the minds of people who watch the series is whether Cobra Kai reflects real Karate practices or not. In this post, we will guide you through a step-by-step process to determine if Cobra Kai represents accurate Karate practices or not.

Step 1: Understand Real Karate

The first step to figure out if Cobra Kai reflects real karate practices or not is to understand what real karate is. Karate is a martial art that originated in Okinawa, Japan. Karate is not just about physical strength, but it also focuses on mind-body coordination, flexibility, and mental discipline. Therefore, an accurate portrayal of karate practices should take all these aspects into consideration.

Step 2: Compare Kata

Kata is a Japanese word that means form. It is a set of organized movements and techniques used in karate training. To determine if Cobra Kai reflects real karate practices, one can compare the kata used in the series to real karate kata. In Cobra Kai, we see Johnny Lawrence teach his students a variation of the kata Bassai Dai. However, the kata varies significantly from the original kata used in Shotokan and Shito-ryu karate styles. Therefore, in this aspect, Cobra Kai does not represent real Karate practices.

Step 3: Observe Fighting Styles

Karate is a martial art that involves a combination of punches, kicks, blocks, grappling, and throws. To observe if Cobra Kai reflects real karate practices or not, one should pay attention to the fighting styles used in the show. In Cobra Kai, we see a mixture of karate, kickboxing, and other martial arts techniques in the fighting styles used. While this makes the show exciting and entertaining to watch, it deviates from real karate practices.

Step 4: Analyze Training Methods

Another aspect to consider when determining if Cobra Kai reflects real karate practices or not is to analyze the training methods used in the show. In Cobra Kai, we see Johnny Lawrence using unconventional and harsh training methods to train his students. However, real karate training methods focus more on discipline, technique, and mental training than harsh physical training. Therefore, this aspect of Cobra Kai does not reflect real karate practices.

Step 5: Look at the Overall Execution

After following the above steps, one can form an overall opinion about whether Cobra Kai reflects real karate practices or not. While Cobra Kai does not accurately reflect real karate practices, it still manages to deliver an entertaining and engaging storyline that keeps the viewers hooked. Therefore, while Cobra Kai might not be an accurate representation of real karate practices, it succeeds in providing a unique take on the classic movie while still delivering an entertaining story.


In conclusion, Cobra Kai is an entertaining series that deviates from real karate practices in many aspects. However, this does not take away from the show’s ability to engage the viewers and keep them hooked. By following the above steps, one can form a well-informed opinion about whether Cobra Kai reflects real karate practices or not.

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