What Karate Style is Cobra Kai?

Cobra Kai, the pop culture phenomenon that originated from the 80s classic movie The Karate Kid, has made a comeback in recent years with a hit TV show on Netflix. The show, with its memorable cast of characters and intense karate fights, has rekindled interest in karate and sparked a lot of debate among fans about the different karate styles portrayed in the show.

One of the most frequently asked questions about the show is, „What karate style is Cobra Kai?“ In this blog post, we will explore the different aspects of Cobra Kai and determine what karate style they actually practice.

The Karate Styles in The Karate Kid and Cobra Kai

To understand the karate style of Cobra Kai, we need to look at the history of karate in The Karate Kid and how it relates to the style portrayed in the show.

The original movie, The Karate Kid (1984), focused on the relationship between a teenage boy, Daniel LaRusso, and his karate mentor, Mr. Miyagi. In the movie, Mr. Miyagi teaches Daniel a form of karate called Okinawan karate, which is an umbrella term that refers to various styles of karate that emerged on the island of Okinawa in Japan.

Okinawan karate is known for its practical application of self-defense techniques and its emphasis on developing one’s mental and spiritual qualities. It is characterized by powerful, low stances, and circular movements.

In The Karate Kid, we see Daniel winning the All Valley Karate Championship by using techniques from Okinawan karate, like the crane kick, which he learned from Mr. Miyagi.

Fast forward to the present day, and we have the spin-off show, Cobra Kai, which takes place 34 years after the events of The Karate Kid. The show focuses on the story of Johnny Lawrence, Daniel’s former rival, and his journey to reopen the Cobra Kai dojo and train a new generation of karate students.

In Cobra Kai, we see the students of Cobra Kai using a style of karate that is more aggressive and violent than what was seen in The Karate Kid. This style is based on the teachings of John Kreese, who was the instructor of the original Cobra Kai in The Karate Kid.

The Karate Style of Cobra Kai

The karate style practiced by Cobra Kai in the show is a fictional martial art that was created specifically for the show. The show’s creators have referred to it as „Cobra Kai Karate“ or „No Mercy“ karate.

Unlike Okinawan karate, which emphasizes hard training and the development of self-defense techniques, Cobra Kai karate focuses on aggressive and offensive techniques. Students are encouraged to strike hard and fast, using techniques like punches, kicks, and throws to overwhelm their opponents.

Some of the key characteristics of Cobra Kai karate include:

  • Aggressive and offensive techniques
  • Quick and powerful strikes
  • Dirty fighting tactics
  • Emphasis on mental toughness and domination

While Cobra Kai karate is a fictional martial art, it draws inspiration from various forms of martial arts, including karate, kickboxing, and MMA. The show’s creators have also consulted with martial arts experts to make the fight scenes as realistic as possible.


What is Cobra Kai?

Cobra Kai is an American television series that was released on YouTube Premium in May 2018. It is a spin-off from the popular movie franchise, The Karate Kid, which was released in the 1980s. The series is set thirty-four years after the events of the first Karate Kid film and focuses on the lives of Johnny Lawrence and Daniel LaRusso, two characters from the original movie.

What karate style is featured in Cobra Kai?

The karate style featured in Cobra Kai is a blend of several different martial arts styles. Initially, the series was meant to be an exact continuation of the movie franchise, which featured Shotokan karate. However, the creators of the show decided to incorporate other martial arts styles into the characters‘ fighting techniques to make the series more dynamic and exciting for modern audiences.

What are the different karate styles featured in Cobra Kai?

The karate styles featured in Cobra Kai are a blend of Shotokan karate, Goju-Ryu karate, and even some moves from other martial arts such as Muay Thai and Tae Kwon Do. Shotokan karate is a traditional Japanese martial art that emphasizes power, speed, and accuracy. Goju-Ryu karate, on the other hand, is a martial art that emphasizes circular movements and shifting weight to generate power.

Which karate style does Johnny Lawrence teach?

Johnny Lawrence, the main protagonist in Cobra Kai, is portrayed as a practitioner of the Cobra Kai style of karate. The Cobra Kai style is a fictional martial art based on the teachings of the antagonists from the original Karate Kid movie. It is an aggressive form of karate that emphasizes striking first and showing no mercy to one’s opponent.

What karate style does Daniel LaRusso teach?

Daniel LaRusso, the other main character in Cobra Kai, teaches a blend of traditional karate styles that he learned from his former mentor, Mr. Miyagi. Mr. Miyagi was a practitioner of Goju-Ryu karate and used his knowledge of the martial art to create his own style that he taught to Daniel. The style that Daniel teaches in Cobra Kai is a mix of Goju-Ryu karate, Shotokan karate, and Okinawan kobudo (weaponry).

What is Cobra Kai?

Cobra Kai is an American martial arts web television series that is a continuation of The Karate Kid film series. The show premiered on YouTube Red in May 2018 and was later acquired by Netflix. It follows the story of Johnny Lawrence, who reopens the Cobra Kai dojo decades after his defeat to Daniel LaRusso in the 1984 All Valley Karate Tournament.

What Karate style is practiced in Cobra Kai?

The Karate style practiced in Cobra Kai is called „Cobra Kai Karate,“ which is a fictional style created for the show. However, it is heavily based on the traditional Okinawan martial art called „Goju-ryu Karate,“ also known as „Hard-Soft style Karate.“

Goju-ryu Karate emphasizes both hard and soft movements and is based on circular movements that help redirect the opponent’s energy. Its techniques include strikes, kicks, blocks, and throws, and its training methods include kata (a series of movements performed in a specific sequence), kumite (sparring), and makiwara training (striking a padded board).

In Cobra Kai, the Cobra Kai Karate style is portrayed as an aggressive and unorthodox style that emphasizes offensive techniques, such as strikes to the face and groin, and encourages its practitioners to show no mercy to their opponents.

Is Cobra Kai Karate a real martial art?

No, Cobra Kai Karate is not a real martial art. As mentioned earlier, it is a fictional style created for the show, heavily based on Goju-ryu Karate.

However, the actors in the show, including Ralph Macchio and William Zabka, have trained in various martial arts in preparation for their roles. Macchio trained in the Tang Soo Do style of Karate, while Zabka trained in Tang Soo Do and Okinawan Goju-ryu Karate.

It is worth noting that many martial arts depicted in movies and TV shows, such as Wushu in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and Jeet Kune Do in Enter the Dragon, are fictional or heavily stylized versions of real martial arts.


In conclusion, the Karate style practiced in Cobra Kai is a fictional style called Cobra Kai Karate, which is based on the traditional Okinawan style known as Goju-ryu Karate. While the show portrays the style as aggressive and unorthodox, it is important to remember that martial arts should always be practiced with respect and humility, and with a focus on self-improvement rather than violence. If you are interested in learning a martial art, it is best to find a reputable martial arts school and start your training under the guidance of a qualified instructor.

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