Cobra Kai Season 5: A Review (Major Spoilers)

As not only a life-long martial artists but a practitioner of karate, Cobra Kai holds a special place in my heart. The Karate Kid movies (not including that piece of shit with Jaden Smith in it, of course) introduced me not only to a genuine representation of Okinawan karate but the sequel introduced me to the beauty of Okinawa itself and firmly implanted itself as the place I would eventually wish to travel to, as I reached adulthood. I accomplished that dream in 2001 when I travelled to Japan and subsequently Okinawa with my Sensei and a couple of other students.

When Cobra Kai was originally introduced on YouTube, I was cautiously optimistic. The idea of a show based on what happened to Johnny Lawrence, decades after losing the big tournament was about as original and interesting a concept one could hope to have. Although a bit slow on the start (and limited to only two episodes without subscribing to youTube’s streaming service), it delivered some characters from the original movies reprising their roles 30 years later, and their roles appear to be reversed, with Daniel Larusso having become a successful business owner and Johnny Lawrence having fallen down on his luck and being essentially penniless.

The end of Season 4 sees all antagonists and protagonists facing off once again at the All-valley Karate Tournament, with Cobra Kai squaring off against Miyago Do and Eagle fang karate, led by Danial and Johnny respectively. A challenge was laid that meant the losing dojo would have to close its doors forever, leaving the valley to whatever karate dojo came out as winner. In an unexpected and refreshing twist of fate, the good guys actually lose, and Cobra Kai takes over the valley as its only karate dojo. The season closes out with Daniel speaking at Miyagi’s grave, about how he can’t honour an agreement made with someone who has none. He then asks for help in cutting the head off the snake and Chozen is revealed to be with him.

Now that you’re all caught up, let’s chat about season 5, which was conveniently released only a couple of days before my birthday. The season begins with Daniel and Chozen doing their best to try and derail Terry Silver’s plans, which also involved sending John Kreese to jail for a crime he didn’t commit, at the end of season 4. One of the things I enjoy about this series is that there’s a greater element of realism to it, than others series and movies. Granted, some of the multiple strikes to the head and prolonged fights are a bit of a reach but overall, it does a pretty good job. Cobra Kai and Eagle Fang’s use of high-reaching and spinning kicks speaks to its Korean background, which is also reflected by the style’s founder sending his granddaughter to assist Cobra Kai.

The series reaches its climax by having Daniel square off against terry Silver and delivering his well-known crane kick for the first time in 30 years to defeat Terry at the end of the season. The season ends with plenty of open opportunity to explore the characters further, especially since we see John Kreese escape from jail at the end. The crane kick was bittersweet… It was an odd mixture of excitement at seeing him use the technique and disappointment at how ineffective and stupid the crane kick is. This may be an unpopular opinion, but coming from a genuine martial artists, hear me out…

The crane kick is a ridiculous technique because you start by staging yourself on one leg. This is something that is incredibly dangerous to do against an opponent, especially one that means to do you serious harm. Although one could easily argue that all kicks involve putting all of your weight on one leg, the crane kicks requires you to visibly stand on one leg as your opponent approaches. Dumb. And unnecessary. Next is the placement of the arms. Holding your arms out to the sides like some drunken bird while exposing both sides of your rib cage is ridiculous. The entirety of the move leaves just about every aspect of one’s body exposed in a ridiculously unnecessary way.

I’m going to stop analyzing and simply go back to discussing the show, shall I? All in all, it was worth the wait for the season to release and one episode even brought tears to my eyes. There’s an episode towards the beginning of the season where Daniel decides to give up and throws in the towel, conceding and letting Terry Silver keep the valley. It isn’t until his wife brings him back to Mr. Miyagi’s old house, the dojo of Miyago Do, and talks him back into it. She opens the doors out to the dojo grounds to reveal not only all of his students but Chozen and Johnny Lawrence, as well. It was a dramatic reveal. If you haven’t watch ANY of Cobra Kai yet, first of all, come out from under the rock you’re living under. Then, grab some chips and a warm blanky and binge your way through the series. If you were an 80’s kid, it won’t disappoint. ☯️

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I am a practitioner of the martial arts and student of the Buddhist faith. I have been a Type 1 Diabetic since I was 4 years old and have been fighting the uphill battle it includes ever since. I enjoy fitness and health and looking for new ways to improve both, as well as examining the many questions of life. Although I have no formal medical training, I have amassed a wealth of knowledge regarding health, Diabetes, martial arts as well as Buddhism and philosophy. My goal is to share this information with the world, and perhaps provide some sarcastic humour along the way. Welcome!

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