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Les Bubka
Les Bubka's picture
Will Cobra Kai Help Karate?

Hi all

Long time I haven't posted here, so it's time to share something.

I'm not fan of Cobra Kai but possibly see benefits of it to Karate popularity,

What you do you think?

Zach Zinn
Zach Zinn's picture

I like the show. I think Karate generally is having a very mild "moment" right due to a few  notable MMA fighters being in the limelight, more than any other factor.

Of course, Karate in MMA is not remotely new, but there is a kind of cycle in popularity with MMA "ingredients" other than wrestling,boxing, BJJ and Muay Thai. I personally doubt it will lead to much more sustained interest in Karate, because of the percentage of (mostly young people) who are intersted in martial arts based on MMA marketing or Cobra Kai who will stick around for any length of time is really small.

Marketing via MMA is today's version of fly by night Kenpo or TKD marketing of the past, and while the show of course exists in a world where MMA is not primary, the context of your average prospective student these days is MMA.

Iain Abernethy
Iain Abernethy's picture

Hi All,

Interesting topic and not one that I’ve seen discussed as much as we may expect.

I remember when the first Karate Kid movie aired on national TV. The next week in the dojo we were packed! We literally could not fit any more people in (50 or so people). As always, some left when they realised it’s hard work over a long time that yields results, as opposed to quickly learning “no can defend” tricks. However, we kept many for a long period of time … some still with us now. I therefore have that view that “movie karate” can still be useful if it gets people through the door who then find that real karate is something they end up being highly enthused about. For those who truly wanted the myth, well at least they learnt a couple of things about karate i.e. it’s not like it is in the films and TV, and it’s not for them.

I quite like Cobra-Kai. Not for the karate (which is awful in every sense), but for the 1980s nostalgia, the way it knowingly pokes fun at itself, and the more nuanced ethics. Unlike the original movies, the “bad” characters are shown to be as they are for a reason and they often have understandable, sometimes even commendable motivations, for their actions. It’s now these ideas play out that’s the issue, with some realising their folly, and others pressing ahead regardless.

The “good” characters are imperfect and often fail to deliver the desired result, despite their best intentions, because of their imperfections or bad luck. I think your description of it being a “karate soap opera” is spot on, but it’s a good one :-)

All the best,