What Kind of Karate is in Cobra Kai? | ART OF ONE DOJO

What Kind of Karate is in Cobra Kai? | ART OF ONE DOJO

Fear does not exist on this channel, does
it? Pain does not exist on this channel, does
it? Defeat does not exist on this channel, does
it? All right, all right, all right, all right,
you got the idea. It’s no secret that YouTube’s newest show,
“Cobra Kai,” is an internet sensation. But we’re not going to review the show today,
but rather I would like to address the burning question that many fans seem to be asking. What kind of karate is in “Cobra Kai?” Thirty-four years after the famous crane kick
felt around the world, we’re treated to a modern update of the “Karate Kid” saga. It plucks the strings of nostalgia for my
generation, and it strikes the chord of inspiration for the young generation. I am part of the legion that stumbled across
this under-the-radar hit back in 1984 and decided that I, too, wanted to learn the way
of the fists. Martial arts schools in America weren’t as
prevalent in the 80s as they are today, and the term karate itself is still often used
as a general term for most martial arts. But as I grew up, I asked myself, “What kind
of style is it?” What did Mr. Miyagi teach Daniel and what
kind of karate is in “Cobra Kai?” There’s a lot of discussion about this online. There’s a bunch of theories, but we’re going
to run down some of the more popular opinions and evidence that has been presented to us. Also, for the purpose of this discussion,
we will be including the original three “Karate Kid” films and the “Cobra Kai” series. We will not be basing anything off the next
“Karate Kid” or the 2010 “Karate Kid” remake. Okay. Time to geek out. Before we answer the question of what kind
of karate is in “Cobra Kai,” let’s point something out. If we’re talking about “Karate Kid” in general,
there’s actually kind of two different styles to approach. We’ve got Miyagi style and Johnny style, the
“Cobra Kai” way and the Miyagi Do way. Basically, when they filmed the “Karate Kid”
back in 1983, came out in 1984, all choreography was done by Pat Johnson. He’s one of the earlier martial arts greats. He was Chuck Norris’s top student. He’s the grand master or really high-ranking
master of Tang Soo Do. He did all the fight choreography in the film
as well as he starred as the head referee in the tournaments in both the first and third
movie. What I find is really fun trivia is I love
the way he approached choreograph in the film. He didn’t just all of the actors together
and say, “You’re going to do this. You’re going to do this.” Mr. Johnson actually kind of worked on the
dynamic as well as the art. So Ralph Maccio and Pat Morita were taught
together. They were trained separately from all the
other actors. Mr. Johnson worked with them two together,
so they actually could develop a bond by doing their training. When it came to the Cobras, Mr. Johnson actually
trained the Cobra actors, Tommy, Bobby, Johnny, Jimmy, separately. I mean, they were together in the group but
separately from John Kreese. He taught John Kreese completely separately
as their sensei and kind of told them that he knows more than you, but the Cobras didn’t
know what he knew. So he wanted the dynamic of you have your
high-level teacher. Then you’ve got the cobra students who don’t
know what he knows, and you’ve the completely different art over here with Miyagi and Daniel
that had their own bond and dynamic. So I love the way that Pat Johnson approached
this film. Pat Johnson is also known for choreographing
multiple films such as “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” and the “Mortal Kombat” film. Now, if we break this down a little bit, let’s
look at Miyagi Do karate. He doesn’t really give much information other
than it was taught to him by his father, and it came from Okinawa. Then “Karate Kid II” even further exemplifies
this, that Okinawa was the origin of his art. So we know that’s a good starting point to
begin with, some sort of Okinawan karate, traditional Japanese. The bigger hint comes in “Karate Kid Part
III” when Miyagi is teaching Daniel Kata. If you ask a lot of martial arts practitioners
the art of Goju Ryu, they will recognize the Kata. They’ll all tell you it’s performed incorrectly
and wrong and the wrong timing. It was modified for cinema, but the moves
are very similar. So if we look at Goju Ryu origins, Goju Ryu
is an Okinawan art. Okay. Starting to line up a little bit. Then let’s look at the name, Mr. Miyagi. Looking at Goju Ryu, if you trace it back
to its grand master, the guy who created it is Chojun Miyagi. So now we can kind of see the picture of where
the inspiration of Mr. Miyagi came from. We have an Okinawan art with a Kata that’s
performed in the film, albeit altered, and Miyagi named after Chojun Miyagi. So we can conclude pretty confidently that
Miyagi Do karate is Goju Ryu or at least a Hollywood version of it. Johnny’s a different story. In the “Karate Kid” films, we see Daniel’s
training constantly. It’s all about his instruction, all about
his level of discipline and his art. But we never really learn anything about Cobra
Kai. We don’t see the classes being taught besides
no mercy, strike hard, strike first. That’s all we get. Now, in the “Cobra Kai” TV show, there’s a
lot more into that as we see Johnny training his students. But even he himself doesn’t go any further
than to say it’s old school karate. So what does Cobra Kai train in? What kind of martial art is it? Let’s look at Johnny’s style. In both the movies and the TV show, he’s very
kick-oriented. He’s got lots of high kicks, lots of fancy
kicks, especially in a tournament. That’s very prevalent in the Korean arts,
Tang Soo Do, Taekwondo, they’re very kick heavy. If we go into “Karate Kid Part III,” there’s
actually a scene where the villain, Terry Silver, comes to Miyagi and Daniel’s training
and says he was a classmate and colleague of John Kreese, and he’s here on behalf of
his master from South Korea to give his apologies for Johnny Kreese’s action. Okay, so now we have the South Korea aspect,
which lines up with Taekwondo or Tang Soo Do. Let’s take this even further. Pat Johnson, as we talked about earlier, choreographed
the films. He is a Tang Soo Do master. So now you put the pieces together. You’ve got Terry Silver, who mentions their
sensei in South Korea. You’ve got the kick-based arts in Johnny’s
techniques, and then you’ve got the fact that Pat Johnson is Tang Soo Do master. I think we can confidently conclude that Johnny
and Cobra Kai train in Tang Soo Di or at least a variance of it. It’s really interesting because you see a
lot of debate online. A lot of fans theorize that it’s Shotokan
or Taekwondo, and it’s kind of funny because it gets really heated. Because you’ve got Shotokan practitioners
saying, “No, I trained in Shotokan. This is definitely Shotokan.” People are like, “Well, no, it’s Taekwondo.” “Oh, no, but Taekwondo came from Shotokan.” People jump in, “No, it’s Kyokushin karate.” So it’s kind of funny to see people talking
about it because it’s never really stated in the film, but all we can do is take the
pieces and kind of put it together. For fun, what kind of art is it? Because as we grew up, again, karate was just
karate, but now that we can kind of break the levels down, it’s kind of a fun thing
to examine. The reason we’re not going to include the
next “Karate Kid” and the “Karate Kid” remake in this list is because there’s a lot of inconsistencies
in the training and the martial arts style and the fact that the “Karate Kid” remake
is actually kung fu. So that could be a whole different discussion
on its own. Now, here’s some little fun bit of trivia. That crane kick. The crane kick is the most iconic thing. It’s been immortalized by this film, and the
thing is it doesn’t even exist. It’s not a real karate technique. When they were working on the first film,
Pat Johnson was working with the stunt coordinator, a famous martial artist known as Darryl Vidal,
really high-ranking. He’s a 10th-degree now, I believe, in Chinese
Kenpo Karate. He helped with the stunts on the film. I think he was some of the stunt doubles as
well, if I’m not mistaken. Mr. Johnson went to Mr. Vidal and said he
was looking for some sort of cool, unique technique to end the film with. So Vidal, on the spot, just came up with the
crane kick. Just something flashy, something fun, but
it’s not based on any reality. Even a fun fact, too, is you can see Darryl
Vidal in the film. He is the opponent that Johnny defeats right
before fighting Daniel, and he’s also Miyagi’s stunt double on the beach scene on the tree
stump doing the crane kick where we see it for the first time. So what do you thinK? What kind of karate is in “Cobra Kai?” Do you agree that Goju Ryu and Tang Soo Do
are the foundations at least for the arts of the films and the series? Tell me below if you agree or if you think
I’m completely full of crap or if you think it’s something else altogether. So don’t forget to subscribe and share this
video, and thanks for watching. No mercy.


100 thoughts on “What Kind of Karate is in Cobra Kai? | ART OF ONE DOJO”

  • Art of One Dojo says:


    I get comments on this DAILY, and I addressed this in fuller detail in the second video. https://youtu.be/Ct9DqIrpAqk?t=83

    There are many SIMILAR moves to the crane kick in other arts, but nothing that is exactly the same as it is presented in the film. If you disagree, please post a video demonstration of another art doing the crane kick EXACTLY as we see it in the film, and from a source or an art that existed before 1984.

  • Riccardo Sorrento says:

    Johnny's one It's Karate – contact aka Full Contact , Daniel's karate is some Salsa,Bachata,cha cha cha mixed with some karate…

  • i do not know, i was enrolled once in a style of karate named Wado, you see there is this some bird involved in it, some strange bird, flapping his wings, i also was enrolled once in a branch of wing chun, they actually have this crane like mr miyagi , but they told me high kicks are bullshit absolute bullshit

  • The point is very simple, its absolutely new school Korean this Cobra Kai, its a sissy point fighting system because the legs have more reach like your sexy milf that footjobs you in her stilettos. If you look at the Cobra punch routines they simply do not use theyr hips or the power from a strong stance, its crap, like daniels sissy weak stances, Daniel is also a crap stand up fighter, his stances and body posture is so narrow that he can be sweeped any moment , not even by a judoka, just a retard.

  • In Goju-Ryu style Karate, the closest thing there is to the crane kick in the movie, is a crane stance. i.e. crane stance only, without the kick, and the hands are positioned differently too in the crane stance, as opposed to the movie.

  • rohanmark jay says:

    I think you are quite spot on. With your analysis. Miyagi Do is mostly Goju Ryu maybe with a smattering of chinese kung fu thrown in. While Cobra Kai is mostly the South Korean martial art and Shotokan mixed in too. I know this due to the dojo rituals of the students. The two clenched fists by the hips by Cobra Kai students thats very Shotokan. How I know this because Back in the 1980s when I was a teenager. I too for a few years did Karate and became familiar with the various styles. Around the same time the 1984 movie came out. But unfortunately, I stopped after a few years got to Green belt. Even then I did it on and off and was not really serious about seriously doing it . Though while I attended I did train hard like you see in the The Karate kid movies, Karate is not easy. You have to be prepared to do a lot of hard work to get anywhere in Karate. Unfortunately I was very much on the lazy side and thats not a goo attitude to take if you are taking up a difficult physical athletic art like Karate, as a teenager as you do when you are doing karate it takes a lot of hard work and training but luckily back in the 1980s I had a lot of energy and was ten times fitter than I am today. Looking back I wish I sticked with it continously. Because while you do it, the other parts of your life greatly improve. As a teenager back in the 1980s I noticed it. I was doing better at school and doing better socially and with the opposite sex. You become a far more successful person. Had I stuck with it continuously I have no doubt I would have been a hundred times more successful in life than I am today. So I highly recommend anyone to take up karate if you want to greatly improve your life. You have to stick with it right throughout though. Because once you stop like I have not been in a karate dojo in decades in a couple of years you lose all the benefits you get from Karate. Like Mr Miyagi says in the movie. Either Karate Do or Karate Do not. If you do Karate think so, like walking on the side of the road, you will get crushed like grape. I unfortunately got crushed like grape, because I did karate back then as a think so. Looking back I should have not taken karate up at all because I did .Karate as think so. I should have watched the movie and heeded Mr Miyagi's wise advice.

  • Joe Whitfield says:

    I'm older than all of you. It was American Karate. Not that the video wasn't good but you're trying to put a traditional style to something that obviously has too many influences to be a traditional style. Back in 70's and 80's yes there was a lot of traditional styles but most were " American Karate" . I feel Cobra Kai was much more a "USA Karate gym", or a " Master Bills American Karate" kinda thing . Like a Floyd Burke I think his name was or a Lou Cassamasa. They definitely presented themselves as a Karate style. Also back in the day a Tang Soo Do School would never compete in a " Karate" tournament. There was a lot of style loyalty back in the day. Plus Kreese was in the military so it stands to reason that he incorporated many workable self defense techniques and such which would account for the high kicks and double kicks. I think the only HUGE flaw in your argument is that you assume everyone back in the day called themselves Karate and entered tournaments against each other. NEVER HAPPEN! 😂 . That's why you eventually had " American Karate" and then MMA. Just a little historical perspective from an old Karate guy who's actually from Reseda lol. Your stuff on Myogi-do seems pretty good though.
    Fun Video!

  • Spring Bloom says:

    'Its not a real karate technique' 🤦

    Define: 'real karate technique'

    Ive trained shorin ryu and judo, off and on for the past ~35 years and completely aside of the textbook kata, I kearned kata that no one knows and techniques that no one has seen. No one that wasnt taught by the same people, that is. As well, I have my own personal kata and techniques no one knows, that I developed around my personal strengths, weaknesses and philosophy. This is the essence of the black belt.

    Yeah, Im splitting hairs, but still…

  • Machio is not a believebelle karateka in the first karate kid. His tehniques are very slopy. In my opinion, he wasn't the best choice for this role.

  • Folks, the thing to remember is that everything in the martial arts world is a copy of something else. Yes, Tang Soo Do borrows heavily from Shotokan. But keep in mind that Shotokan itself is a combined knockoff of Shorin Ryu and Shorei Ryu. And in kind, those systems are based on Chinese systems. The one truism when it comes to comparing karate styles: the more you advance, the more you realize just how similar they all are.

  • One thing for sure, Its from China! Coz everything came from China. I saw Jacky Chan was doing it many times.

  • BLAZING BONES 7 says:

    The Crane Kick does in fact work. It happened in UFC, and the person who used it, instantly KO'd the guy.

  • xristos Mirwnitis says:

    In karate kid terry silver says to mister miyagi my sensei from 🇰🇷 korea so cobra kai karate is from north korea

  • Justin Stuart says:

    Seen this series and Daniel come across as a douche bag lamo. I prefer Johnny. I would say Corba Kai is some kind of Kenpo. I don't know what Karate Daniel is doing but it looks nothing like any style I've ever done. It looks like someone who doesn't even know Karate made up some moves.

  • "Snake and Crane" existed way before your Karate Kid set. Basically Shaolin, Jackie Chan made a movie titled exactly that in 1978. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snake_%26_Crane_Arts_of_Shaolin

  • I believe as a practitioner of #TKD the kicks snd movements are very similar in the 12+ yrs i practiced and trained at least as far as Cobra Kai Karate Goes.

  • TheMegaregister says:

    The crane kick is the "Tobi Mae Geri" present in many styles of karate and also tkd, what doesn't exist is the crane pose

  • There is no karate in karate kid. None of the principles of karate do are shown much less applied. Not once was ikken hissatsu explain. Neither the concept of Sen no Sen, Go no Sen, or Tai no Sen, ever demonstrated. The infamous crane kick, apart from being horribly executed is a technique from kung fu or marma adi a type of Kalaripayatt of India. The closest technique in karate is called mae tobi geri, basically a jumping front kick.

  • Mark Sanders says:

    My friend who took Muay Tai & Uechi Karate said if you do that Crane Kick Properly no one can block it correctly !

  • David Parkinson says:

    Shukokai…although relatively modern as a style it is a branch of Shitoryu which i belive has the most katas in any given style…seienchin kata is the black belt grade kata which you see daniel and mr miyagi perform a lot with the shiko dachi and open handed shutos up and down…just a thought.

  • The Kata is Seeichin, it is definitely Okinawan Karate,not only it has circular moves and especially because the secret of Miyagi Karate as seen on part 3 is centrifugal force, as opposite to Shotokan straight lines. The crane kick could be a reference to the white crane Chinese style which is one of the ancestors of Okinawan Karate. Although the name Miyagi points to Goju Ryu it actually looks more like Uechi Ryu to me. BUT, we actually got to see Mister Miyagi fight in the movies, and it doesn't look like Goju Ryu, because he uses long distance attacks and defenses and wide, relaxed stances, rather than Goju ryus close quarter combat and short, strong stances. So I'm not sure.
    Now, I beg to differ with you about Cobra Kai. To me Cobra Kai is Full Contact, a style that was very popular in the 70's and 80's,it is a derivative of American Karate aka Kempo Karate. Full Contact Karate mixes boxing with Karate and Taekwondo. Some people call it Kickboxing because it's not pure Karate, Benny the Jet practiced it. The black Karate gi and the fact that Cobra Kai is meant for fighting rather than for self defense, strongly suggest Full Contact. Look up videos about Ed Parker, Arturo Petit, Benny the Jet, the similarities of American Karate and Cobra Kai are many

  • Justin TIdwell says:

    It would make sense that people argue over shotokan and Taekwondo because Gen Choi the founder of ITF TKD had a 2 Dan black belt in shotokan karate when he left Korea. He actually based the art off of shotokan and added the high kicks due to the ancient Korean art. takyeon The pattern cadences are similar. And ITF and TSD are similar in their style rather than Olympic South Korean style. I had an American karate school owner said that his American karate was just ITF style TKD because I’m Texas TKD was viewed as the Olympic style.

  • Very good episode, and very informative. Agree Tang Soo Do ang Goju Ryu definitely the foundation for it.nevertheless when it comes to the crane kick I respectfully submit to you this is incorrect sir. As an old practitioner a book and no one would usually I ohave attended a seminar with Shihan Shinoda I 1976 and he introduced us the Crain kick.

  • Isaias Garcia says:

    honestly that makes sense tang soo do has many similar kicks to Taekwondo which makes it harder to detect but look at the style of throws, sweeps, and wrist control it different than the typical karate sweeps you keep at least for cobra kai.

  • No kata taught, so it's kind of like Michelle Waterson's American Freestyle Karate (I am guessing with the story Kreese learned a military style karate / tang soo do / taekwondo when he was in basic training before he want to Vietnam). In the mid 1980s were I am from we had a Kenpo school that stopped teaching the kata and went freestyle / self defense only (kept the Kenpo name), seems a handful of schools did that in the 1990s after Ed's passing. Here is a link to the style I feel he would have learned (free eBook / military manual) : https://archive.org/details/pdfy-PqQZqu1qbBnAR3tl

  • William Zabka was really not a martial artist when filming karate kid. The only contact sport he had experience in was wrestling.

  • In Tang Soo Do, my instructors say that our art is Shotokan, mixed with Tae Kyon and some Kung Fu. I can follow Shotokan kata just fine though both applications of Tang Soo Do that I know (Mu Duk Kwon Tang Soo Do and World Tang Soo Do Association in America) have rounded some edges and simplified some techniques, which I don't think is always a bad thing.

    So it makes sense that both Shotokan and Tae Kwon Do practitioners see their art in the Tang Soo Do Johnny practices.

  • Not trying to insult and apologies if I will, but why do all(majority) western martial arts practitioners look like they are more like McDonalds black belts or at best, just doing gardening on their spare time…and everyone will like to boast how many black belts or dans they have here and there….those ranks where supposed to be respected and achieved not only upon knowledge of certain things, but also lifetime achievements. 99% of them would not be able to defend themselves in any kind of serious competition, street fight against formidable foe (not your skinny drug addict). Why would people do that? They do not put more trust or legitimacy to martial arts or their environment, by just wanting to be someone and pretending about things…why do so…simply state you are interested in fighting and different martial arts, been practicing for years and that's that.
    5565683dan black/red/orange/violet with rainbows SENSEI practicing for 40 years and quoting japanese names, which even japanese won't know, but have their dojo, come and get some, bring some hamburgers along, along with monthly fee.

  • Patrick McConnell says:

    The Crane Kick Originates from White Crane Kung Fu , and the First Original Karate Style , Originating from Japan , spawns off from White Crane Kung Fu , which Originates in Taiwan , Two Island's not to far from eachother that have a Deep Connection in the Origin and Influence of Martial Arts Styles . White Crane Kung Fu came first and then Karate Spawned off from It.

  • Nice & Cool Video! I actually myself do Mu Sool Won from the Rio Grande Valley, its a very rare type of martial arts but it origins from Kuk Sool Won theres really no difference but Mu sool Won is considered a Family Martial Arts and is the exact same thing as Kuk Sool but with some things being slightly different all under the same concept, Reply to me if you study a martial arts!

  • cobra kai is a fake martial art. it's fake like that wanker Ashida Kim. or George Dillman. or Steven Seagal. or any of the yellow bamboo wankers with their jedi chi power. i've seen hundreds of videos where chi jedi masters get their ass handed to them by a mma fighter who just know how to smash your face in with reality.

  • Spock vs Khan says:

    The answer should take about 10 seconds. Classical Okinawan karate vs. American/Korean sport karate. Tang Soo Do is pronounced Tong Soo Do. You forgot to mention Fumio Demura's huge contribution. Fumio's stlye is Shito-Ryu a Japanese style, not Okinawan.

  • I saw people kicking Thai pads and a boxing speed bag can be seen in Johnnies Dojo. Maybe Cobra Kai is an evolving

  • Totally Goju for the Miyagi Do (well, it's meant to be Goju- Kata Seiunchin was both a give away and a dreadful give up) but Miyagi's name was always the first clue. I have to admit that I never considered Tang Soo Do, but then I didn't have enough interest to chase the history and background. You have and I am impressed.
    A Tang Soo Do school that doesn't do Hyung though? Definite break away.

  • Takeshi Miyagi says:

    Sensei Chojun Miyagi style as he is the founder is GOJU RYU not goju ru, "RYU" means style in Japanese Kanji Character.

  • Tang-So-Doo ist the Korean form of the Shotokan Karate! Later Taekwon-do was created by 5 Masters from whitch learned Shotokan Karate in Japan. Also the "founder" of modern Taekwondo Choi Hong-hi learned Shotokan and had got the 1 Dan only!! And he mixed it with his own thoughts to create an "korean martial arts".

    For me the cobra kai looks like a primitive forme of shotokan Karate for full-contact.

  • Wesley Swanson says:

    I think you are correct with the tang soo do/Taekwondo techniques with cobra Kai. I’m less Sure what kind of karate Daniel is using but it makes sense what you say it is.

    Cobra Kai never dies!! Haha

  • Sting of Truth says:

    According to pat Johnson who was the technical consultant and choreographer the bonus features of the trilogy box set, they used myagi goju, the cobra kais were trained classically, and daniel was trained in a watered down. Pat johnson choreographed using tsd kicking emphasis because he was most familiar with it. Also according to pat johnson the crane kick in the movie was modified because you actually kick with the leg you're standing on

  • I come from a Greco-Roman wrestling back ground so please forgive my ignorance on my knowledge of karate but I thought the crane kick was real I’ve seen lyoto machida who’s a shotokan Master use it twice in actual combat.

  • sorry boys i trained in this its called hung ga kung fu it goes back 10,000 years in china everything is derived from kung fu and the style is known as tiger and crane style thats true hung ga look it up its on utube

  • stan broniszewski says:

    Both Johnny's as well as Daniel's styles of karate are no match for the style Bruce Lee said in Enter The Dragon: Fighting without fighting.

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