What is Karate in Cobra Kai?

If you’re a fan of the popular TV series Cobra Kai, then you would know that karate plays an essential role in the show. Karate, as shown in the series, is not just about fighting, but it’s much more than that. In this blog post, we’ll explore what karate is in Cobra Kai, its origins, and its significance.

Origins of karate

Karate is a martial art that originated in Okinawa, Japan, in the early 1900s. It was developed from various Chinese and Japanese martial arts and was strongly influenced by Okinawa’s cultural and historical background.

Karate’s development was influenced by the strict laws of Okinawa that prohibited carrying weapons in public. Therefore, the Okinawans developed karate as a means of self-defense using open hands and feet as weapons.

Karate began to spread throughout Japan in the 1920s and was first introduced to the world in the 1960s through martial arts movies. Today, karate is popular all over the world and is practiced by millions.

What is Karate in Cobra Kai?

In Cobra Kai, karate is portrayed as a way of life, and not just a form of combat. The series revolves around the story of two karate schools, Cobra Kai and Miyagi-Do, and their respective philosophies.

Cobra Kai, headed by Johnny Lawrence, follows a philosophy of „no mercy“ and encourages its students to be aggressive, dominant, and ruthless in their approach. Conversely, Miyagi-Do, led by Daniel LaRusso, teaches a more traditional and defensive form of karate that emphasizes peace, humility, and respect for others.

Through the conflicts between these two schools, the series explores how karate can be used to help individuals overcome their personal struggles and emotional traumas.

The significance of learning karate

Karate is more than just a sport or a form of martial arts. It’s a way of life that teaches self-discipline, self-control, mental focus, and respect for others. Learning karate can not only improve one’s physical health but also mental wellbeing.

Karate training emphasizes the importance of character development, which helps students become more confident, disciplined, and resilient. It teaches individuals to be patient, persevere through difficulties, and develop a strong work ethic.

Karate also teaches individuals to respect others, even in the face of conflict. In Cobra Kai, for example, many of the conflicts arise due to the lack of respect and understanding between the two schools. The series shows how learning karate can help individuals learn to respect and empathize with others, even those with whom they may disagree.

Frequently Asked Questions About Karate in Cobra Kai

If you’re a fan of the hit TV series Cobra Kai, you might be wondering what karate style is used in the show. This question and many others related to karate in Cobra Kai are frequently asked by fans. In this blog post, we’ll answer some of the most common questions about karate in Cobra Kai.

What is Cobra Kai karate?

Cobra Kai karate is a fictional martial art style created for the TV series Cobra Kai. It is based on the karate style taught by the fictional character John Kreese in the original Karate Kid movie. In the show, Cobra Kai karate is known for its aggressive approach, with the mantra „Strike First, Strike Hard, No Mercy“.

What real-life karate style is used in Cobra Kai?

The karate style used in Cobra Kai is a hybrid style that combines various elements from different martial arts. The show’s fight choreographer, Hiro Koda, has stated that the style they use is influenced by Kyokushin karate, Shotokan karate, and other martial arts. The style is also adapted to fit the personalities and fighting styles of each character.

Can you learn Cobra Kai karate?

As Cobra Kai karate is a fictional martial art style, you cannot learn it as a real martial art. However, you can learn the real-life karate styles that influence the choreography in the show, such as Kyokushin karate and Shotokan karate.

Is karate in Cobra Kai realistic?

While the fight scenes in Cobra Kai are choreographed for entertainment purposes, the show’s creators strive for realism in the martial arts techniques and terminology used in the show. They work closely with martial arts experts and consultants to ensure that the techniques used in the show are accurate and realistic.

Do the actors in Cobra Kai know karate?

Most of the actors in Cobra Kai did not have martial arts training before filming the series. However, they undergo intensive martial arts training before and during filming to learn the choreography for their fight scenes. They work with martial arts experts and trainers to make their movements look authentic on screen.

What are the belt ranks used in Cobra Kai?

In Cobra Kai, the belt ranks used are the same as those used in real-life martial arts such as karate. The belt order from lowest to highest is white, yellow, orange, green, blue, purple, brown, and black.

Is Cobra Kai karate effective in real life?

Cobra Kai karate, as portrayed in the TV show, is designed for entertainment purposes and may not be effective in real-life self-defense situations. However, the real-life martial arts that influence the choreography in the show, such as Kyokushin karate and Shotokan karate, have proven to be effective in self-defense situations.

Is there a real-life Cobra Kai dojo?

There is no real-life Cobra Kai dojo, but the popularity of the TV show has led to an increase in interest in martial arts among fans. Many martial arts schools have reported an increase in enrollment since the show aired, with some even offering „Cobra Kai-style“ classes.

What is Cobra Kai?

Cobra Kai is an American television series that follows the story of Johnny Lawrence, a former student of the Cobra Kai karate dojo, as he reopens the school years after it had been closed down. The show primarily focuses on the rivalry between Lawrence and Daniel LaRusso, who reopens the Miyagi-Do dojo, with both men now in their 50s. The series comes with a significant martial arts component, especially in the form of karate. In this blog post, we will provide a comprehensive guide on what karate is Cobra Kai, its history, and the key martial arts concepts embodied in the show.

The Origins of Karate

Karate is a Japanese martial art whose roots can be traced back to Okinawa, a small island in the Ryukyu Islands chain. The art was initially known as „ti“ or „te,“ which means „hand.“ In the early 20th century, Gichin Funakoshi, a prominent karate practitioner, introduced the art to Japan, where it gained popularity rapidly. Funakoshi’s karate was known as Shotokan Karate, named after the pen name he used for his poetry. Today, many different styles of karate exist, each with its own unique characteristics.

The Karate of Cobra Kai

The karate of Cobra Kai is a hybrid style that draws inspiration from several different martial arts, including traditional Japanese karate, Korean taekwondo, and even Brazilian jiu-jitsu. The style is heavily influenced by the street fighting and self-defense techniques popularized in the 1980s, the time when the original Karate Kid film was released.

One of the core tenets of Cobra Kai karate is the idea that no mercy should be shown to one’s opponents. This principle is embodied in the school’s motto, „Strike First, Strike Hard, No Mercy.“ The style stresses the importance of aggression, speed, and powerful strikes, with the goal of overwhelming one’s opponents with sheer force.

The Martial Arts Concepts of Cobra Kai

In Cobra Kai, several essential martial arts concepts are emphasized. These include:


Kata refers to the practice of performing a series of prearranged movements or forms. Karate practitioners perform kata as a way of developing muscle memory, perfecting their technique, and internalizing key martial arts principles. In Cobra Kai, the importance of kata is emphasized, with both the Cobra Kai and Miyagi-Do dojos putting a strong emphasis on this practice.


Sparring refers to the practice of fighting with a partner. In karate, sparring is typically non-contact, with competitors scoring points based on strikes to specific areas of the body. In Cobra Kai, sparring is a central component of the school’s training, with the characters engaging in full-contact fighting on several occasions.


Kumite is a type of sparring that emphasizes full contact and can be dangerous if not carried out with the proper protective gear and supervision. In Cobra Kai, kumite is also central to the school’s training, with the characters engaging in several high-stakes matches throughout the series.

The Importance of Proper Training

While Cobra Kai is a fictional representation of karate, it is essential to note that proper training is critical in any martial art. As with any physically demanding activity, karate carries a risk of injury, particularly if not practiced under the guidance of a qualified instructor. It is essential to attend a reputable dojo and work with experienced instructors who can teach you proper form, technique, and the various principles of the martial art.


Cobra Kai is a fascinating show that brings karate to the forefront of popular culture once again. The show’s depiction of karate may be somewhat idealized, but it does provide a glimpse into the world of martial arts and the principles and concepts that underpin it. By following the guidelines outlined in this blog post, you can gain a better understanding of what karate is Cobra Kai and appreciate the martial art’s history, techniques, and philosophies.

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