In general, most audience members seem to dig Cobra Kai. The one-time YouTube Red series that’s making its move over to Netflix serves up the perfect balance of nostalgia for the Karate Kid series and soap-opera dramatics that are engaging a younger crowd. Cobra Kai is ticking off multiple boxes for a hot show… but also ticking off one karate expert for the way it overlooks history and important karate techniques.
Jesse Enkamp calls himself the “Karate Nerd,” and based on his 239,000 subscribers on YouTube, plenty of people respect his opinion. He just binged Cobra Kai and liked it, in general, but couldn’t overlook the inclusion of a photograph of a karate master, Miyagi Chojun, in Mr. Miyagi’s dojo.
For those who know their history (the way that Enkamp clearly does), it’s noted that so many of the training exercises and actual moves that are taught and used by fighters in Cobra Kai were not handed down Miyagi Chojun. As Enkamp points out:
Examples that Jesse Enkamp refers to from Cobra Kai include a training sequence where Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) puts his daughter Samantha (Mary Mouser) and his student Robby (Tanner Buchanan) on a floating disc to learn balance. This was not part of Chojun’s system.
Jesse Enkamp actually thinks that he knows the reason for this mistake. And, in a nutshell, it has to do with history, as Miyagi Chojun actually had a student who expanded on his instructor’s techniques, and DID include a lot of the training and moves that are used in Cobra Kai. Here, it’s probably better if I just let Enkamp explain it to you, because he really knows his stuff, and his explanation leads to a great conspiracy theory about the Karate Kid characters that any fan of the movies will want to hear:
Of course, a fair amount of people who are turning into Cobra Kai aren’t there for the technique. They are there to see where the story of Daniel and Johnny (William Zabka) is going to go, especially now that Kreese (Martin Kove) is back in the fold and influencing the dark direction of the Cobra Kai dojo. But it is fun to hear experts like Jesse Enkamp weigh in, because they too are checking the show out, and this is what they are finding.
Cobra Kai moves to Netflix, and will release its third season on January 8, 2021. A fourth season already has been announced, which is a huge vote of confidence for this crowd-pleasing program.
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Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Sean created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.