WHY YOU SHOULD BE WATCHING “COBRA KAI”
Black Belt|Black Belt December/January 2021
Because I’m somewhat familiar with the Black Belt demographic, I can safely say there’s a good chance you’re a lot like me. You probably grew up in the martial arts, and when The Karate Kid came out in 1984, you loved every minute of it.
ROBERT W. YOUNG

You likely watched The Karate Kid Part II when it was released in 1986 and fantasized about jetting to Okinawa to learn karate (and perhaps to fall in love with a local lad or lass).

You might have been somewhat less enthusiastic about The Karate Kid Part III (1989, with Terry Silver: “A man can’t stand, he can’t fight!”) and The Next Karate Kid (1994, with Hilary Swank assuming the role of the student in need of Mr. Miyagi’s morality), but still you watched — and in all likelihood reminisced about your formative years in the arts.

Then came the black hole, the period when seemingly no martial arts movie could capture the philosophical side of our passion — you know, the reason we all train for life. Fortunately, that black hole collapsed in on itself when YouTube announced in 2018 that it was resurrecting the Karate Kid storyline in the form of a series called Cobra Kai.

We all waited with bated breath for Cobra Kai to debut, and when it did, we were pleased with the direction it took, with more philosophy, better fights and deeper characters — including the bully Johnny Lawrence, who now has a sympathy-inducing back story, and Daniel LaRusso, who seems to have grown into an often-annoying adult. Even though many of us didn’t have a subscription to YouTube Red, we devoured the first season when it was made available for free.

But afterward, we said to ourselves, “That was great, but I don’t need another subscription to a streaming service. I already get Netflix. Besides, I don’t have a lot of free time — I’d rather be training!” So we let it go. And then YouTube revealed that Season 3 of Cobra Kai was not happening. Bummer!

Well, as they say, when one door closes, another opens. Soon after YouTube announced the demise of Cobra Kai, Netflix, which many of us already have a subscription to, said it was picking up the series and ordering Season 3. Even better, Netflix made Seasons 1 and 2 available on its service. Contrary to the Cobra Kai creed, Netflix showed mercy on all the Karate Kid fans who never had a chance to binge the first two seasons. Which we did immediately. At that point, it became clear …

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