Cobra Kai vs. The Karate Kid: The Ultimate Match

With season 4 of Cobra Kai being released and season 5 confirmed, students and staff at EHHS are talking all about the series and its predecessor, The Karate Kid; the influences both have had on pop culture are extensive and reach into many of our lives. Many EHHS community members grew up on the original Karate Kid series and are excited to see the next generation at their dojos.

Poster in EHHS Tech Wing, credit to Omari Daniels

The Karate Kid movies follow Daniel LaRusso, the new kid on the block who had just moved to California and learned the original ways of karate from his mentor and best friend, Mr. Miyagi. After getting into a fight with the school’s notorious bully and Cobra Kai’s top competitor Johnny Lawrence, Mr. Miyagi steps in and saves LaRusso. Through hard work and grit, LaRusso learns the importance of the Miyagi-Do techniques and balance from Miyagi himself. LaRusso eventually goes on to the All-Valley Tournament, where he defeats Lawrence and wins the title of All-Valley Champion (twice in the series). The spinoff show Cobra Kai fast forwards to 2018 focusing mainly on Johnny Lawrence, whose life has gone into a downward spiral ever since he lost the All-Valley Tournaments. Dealing with the demons from his karate past, alcoholism, and depression, Lawrence is down on his luck. One day, he sees his neighbor’s son Miguel being assaulted by a group of bullies and uses his skills to defeat them. Miguel, stunned by his abilities, begs Lawrence to train in the ways of martial arts. Lawrence reluctantly agrees, bringing Cobra Kai back to the valley and drawing in a misfit, outcast crew of fighters. The paths between LaRusso and Lawrence cross again, and the rivalry that seemed to have died out long ago resurrects itself from the grave. This rivalry trickles down to the next generation, causing bad blood between all of the dojos’ new competitors.

The show truly skyrocketed once it hit Netflix with season 1, being one of the top 10 shows for at least 3 months. Season 4 showed no difference, leaving fans on the edge of their seats. EHHS Math teacher Mrs. Martindale said, “It [season 4] was just as great as the first 3 seasons! I always watch the entire season in one day!” The show engrosses the viewer and always leaves them wanting more. It was the same phenomenon when it came to the original Karate Kid movies - you were always left wanting more. Mr. Hickey, an ESL teacher at EHHS and long-time fan compared the two, saying: “They're from different eras. The cast is much more diverse in the show. No usage of social media in the movies and bullying was a lot rougher and more intense in the 80s. Also, in the Karate Kid, Johnny was an insufferable bully but he's a lot more sympathetic and relatable in the show now.” Many fans tend to sympathize more with the former bully as he tries to right the wrongs he made and help the underdogs fight for themselves, separating himself from the harmful teachings of his former senseis. In a poll put out by the EHHS Comet, Lawrence ranks at number one with a 58.3% approval rating for the show. Ranked at number one for The Karate Kid is good old Mr. Migayi himself. Season 4 is filled with all kinds of twists and turns, between the return of Kreese’s right-hand man from the original Cobra Kai dojo to Miguel leaving his family behind to find his father (who doesn’t know he exists) out in Mexico.

The whole Miguel-Sam-Robbie-Tori love diamond lives for another season and this time it’s all going down at the prom; the good, the bad, and the ugly. Even The Karate Kid II’s Chozen Toguchi returns to the series again, vowing to help LaRusso and Lawrence bring peace to the valley by defeating the Cobra Kai dojo. With all of that being said and the deal between the three dojos in play, will LaRusso and Lawrence be able to finally put aside their differences in order to save the valley from the impending reign of Cobra Kai? EHHS student Anthony Arcangelo predicts season 5’s plot saying, “Tory is going to expose Silver for what he did, Robby might switch sides, and Miyagi-Do and Eagle Fang are actually going to become one central dojo and finally make a solid attempt to get along. Miguel is going to heal and work with Samantha to make an effort against Cobra-Kai.” There are endless possibilities for what the next season will bring and how it will honor its renowned predecessor. These actors know how to strike first and know how to strike hard when it comes to making a presence on the big screen. Season 5 will appear soon in either late December 2022 or early January 2023, drawing in its viewers like prey to the predator.