From the moment the Karate Kid and Cobra Kai franchises began, fans were led to believe that the main characters went toe-to-toe in karate competitions. However, there may be some classic Hollywood tricks at work here. As Reddit user YuYuhakashoFan explains, close inspection lends credence to the theory that neither Miyagi-Do nor Cobra Kai actually practice karate. Based on what we’ve seen on screens big and small, their fighting styles are more akin to an amalgamation of Wing Chun, Muay Thai, and various other forms of martial arts.
In response to the post’s detailed analysis of Cobra Kai and Miyagi-Do’s teachings, the Cobra Kai Reddit community took the discussion further. “I think they go by ‘does it look bad’ rather than ‘is that karate,'” MachineGreene98 theorized, arguing for the aesthetic value of moving away from traditional karate. Similarly, another Reddit user quoted the late, great Bruce Lee, who once touted the importance of balance rather than sticking to a single fighting style. Of course, in terms of why Miyagi-Do and Cobra Kai are so much better than their contemporaries, it all boils down to armor planning.
At the end of the day, it’s a bit irritating in some ways that neither Miyagi-Do nor Cobra Kai are considered a true karate dojo, yet defeat all other challengers. Still, for a TV show like Cobra Kai, if it looks cool and moves the story forward, then it’s best to just let it slide.