Everyone – or almost everyone – knows Cobra Kai, the Netflix series that follows the Karate Kid films. Yet the meaning of the program’s title remains unrecognized, although it is unimportant in understanding its three seasons. So what exactly does Cobra Kai ?
Word “cobra” obviously refers to the snake, and more particularly to its form of attack on which rests all the essence of the dojo Cobra Kai where the offensive always prevails over the defense. We also remember that sensei John Kreese did not hesitate to exhibit a cobra in the dojo to remind his disciples of all the values of his martial teaching. Note, however, that while there are many martial arts inspired by the snake, none really bears the name of the cobra. It is therefore an invention for the needs of films and series.
The meaning of the word “kai” is, however, less obvious. Indeed, the term has several meanings. If, for example, it is a fairly popular first name, especially in Hawaiian culture, “kai” could be translated in Japanese language by “meeting”, but it is also a suffix used in the Japanese vocabulary to mark the idea of group or organization. Thus, the name of the Cobra Kai dojo is an Americanized version of what the Japanese might have called “kobura-kai”, is “the gathering of cobras” in almost literal French.
For its part, the “Miyagi-Do” by Daniel LaRusso means “Miyagi’s dojo”, referring of course to the sensei who taught him martial arts in Karate kid and whose shadow continues to hover over the series despite his passing.
The three seasons of Cobra Kai can be found exclusively on Netflix
The Cobra Kai series trailer that follows the Karate Kid movies: