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  • Kris Whittington

3 Ways Cobra Kai Karate is Similar to Taekwondo

Cobra Kai has quickly become one of the hottest shows on Netflix, with its exciting fight scenes, humor, and nostalgia, it has become the perfect show to binge. While watching the show I noticed some similarities amongst the karate students at Cobra Kai practice, and our style of Taekwondo at OCMA. Here are the 3 similarities I found between Cobra Kai Karate and OCMA Taekwondo.


In Season 1 Episode 7 of Cobra Kai titled, "All Valley" Johnny yells out the command "Joon Bi" which is the Korean term for ready stance. Now we don't hear Johnny call out this command again , however this Korean command is only used in Taekwondo and Tang Soo Do. Therefore, this further supports that Cobra Kai karate has some Korean influence be it Taekwondo or Tang Soo Do. Did any of you recognize the command? We use "Joon Bi" as well to command 'Ready Stance'. 2. COBRA KAI HAS A KOREAN MARTIAL ART FOUNDATION In the original "Karate Kid Trilogy", Pat Johnson was the referee in the iconic All Valley Tournament and the choreographer of the movie. Pat Johnson was a 9th Degree Black Belt Master in Tang Soo Do, a Korean martial art similar to Tae Kwon Do and a top student of Chuck Norris. Johnson's Tang Soo Do influence can be seen throughout the film and it carried on into the 'Cobra Kai' series.

In addition, in the Karate Kid 3, the antagonist Terry Silver visits Daniel and Mr. Miyagi where Silver goes on to explain he was a classmate of John Kreese, the previous head instructor at Cobra Kai. Silver explained he was there on behalf of his Masters in South Korea to give his apologies for John Kreese's actions. This brings in the South Korea aspect which can also suggest Taekwondo.

3.EMPHASIS AND FOCUS ON KICKS When observing Johnny's style one can see that he utilizes several kicks, high, jump, and spin kicks this is more prevalent in the Korean martial arts such as Taekwondo. Since Taekwondo is very kick oriented and Johnny's style is as well, we can draw that parallel. "Given Johnson’s choreography, Tang Soo Do influences Cobra Kai more than Karate. Throughout the series, there are subtle clues alluding to this. From the first film to Cobra Kai, when Johnny spars, he deploys a lot of high kicks characteristic of Korean martial arts."

The Karate Kid franchise inspired a generation of martial artist, such as Cobra Kai in reigniting that spark. It's never been a more exciting time to be a martial artist. Though the fighting and martial arts in Cobra Kai is mainly for the movies it's exciting to recognize some similarities between the show and our style at OC Martial Arts.

Are you ready to start your journey to Black Belt and learn some self defense? We have classes for students 3 years+ and have specialized curriculum to meet your individual goals. Sources Ching, G., Ching, G., Mellor, L., Mellor, L., Kaye, D., Kaye, D., . . . Freiberg, C. (2020, September 30). The Real Martial Arts Behind Cobra Kai and The Karate Kid. Retrieved January 26, 2021, from

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