More than three decades after the premiere of Karate Kid, the public became familiar again with names like Daniel San (Ralph Macchio), Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) o Ali Mills (Elisabeth Shue) after the Netflix premieres of seasons 1 and 2 (August 2020) and 3 (January 2021) of Cobra Kai, the sequel to the successful film that shows the lives of the protagonists, 36 years later, but also includes those of their children, who unintentionally remain in the middle of their parents’ rivalry.
Just as many young people approached karate in the eighties, fascinated by the history of Daniel Larusso and his sensei Mr. Miyagi, the same thing happened in recent months, when consultations in schools and dojos in Buenos Aires increased notably, after the premiere of the story that in 2020/21 also has Miguel as protagonists ( Xolo Maridueña), Samantha (Mary Mouser) and Robby (Tanner Buchanan).
In dialogue with Teleshow, Héctor Maroli, sensei and president of the Argentine Federation of Okinawan Karate & Kobudo listed “Three waves of incentive to karate through film and television” which were favorable for the dojos: the first in 1973 after the premiere of Operation Dragon with Bruce Lee and that due to a generational issue is what brought him closer to sports; the second in 1984 with the Karate Kid and the last one in recent months with the appearance of Coba Kai.
Although it received an increase in inquiries from people who want to take classes in the discipline, due to the pandemic and certain health restrictions, they still could not translate that interest into students. Who approached? “People of all ages, but also children between 6 and 12 years old ”.
The same phenomenon was observed at school Koshinkan, the style is Shorin Ryu (they do not compete or participate in tournaments), directed by Alejo Florín Christensen, fifth Dan, which due to the pandemic incorporated virtual classes. “The repercussions (after Cobra Kai) were soaring, chatting with other senseis, It’s getting back to the impact that karate had, in terms of popularity, of the 80’s″. In addition, I assure that after the debut of the fiction in Netfix they signed up about thirty students between fifteen and fifty years old. In addition, he recognized that between the premiere of the first two seasons and the third there was a “plateau”In consultations.
Micaela Perreño is a karate teacher at Club Atlético Boca Juniors and a member of the Unión Argentina de KarateIn his classes he receives children from the age of three where, in addition to technique, he teaches the values of discipline that “is not just fighting.” From the return of Daniel and Johnny to the dojos, the inquiries at the club increased: “There was more noise, since people can see what the sport is about and how well it can do. Like there was a lot of repercussion when the last movie Karate Kid (2010) was released, many feel identified with parts of the series and for that very reason they seek to know more and even start practicing ”.
For Maroli, who entered the practice 45 years ago somewhat by chance, to accompany a friend who left after three months, the series does not represent the discipline and does not find similarities with what happens in reality. He explained: “In karate everything begins with respect, instills empathy with the other, does not abuse the knowledge and strengths that are developed with discipline; good personal conduct is exacerbated to become a good citizen, respectful of laws, regulations and an appreciation for life as a whole ”.
For PerreñoOn the other hand, “the series was very good” since “you can see what the end of the practice is like, how disciplined and martial it is, the passion that can be felt for this art since it is a lifestyle “ and I add: “In the series we can see how the two protagonists apply this discipline and passion in their own lives ”.
In the same way, Christensen Florin that on Friday reopens his school at the Tenri Japanese Cultural Center with the corresponding protocols, said the Netflix story “It is a recurring theme among his students”: “Those who passed 30 years of age recall their youth and what got them started, the values implied by the Dojo Kun (the precepts of karate) honor, respect, loyalty, courtesy, patience ”. For him, one of the most remarkable points of fiction is “lhe duality that arises from the good sensei / bad sensei, the ying and the yang. At the end of the day, we do the best we can, but we are just people with what we have. Something that is also being touched a lot is the issue of egos ”.
What interested him most about the continuation of the saga is “the evolution of the characters, how the disputes of the senses, are repeated in their students and occasionally how in the series after years, Daniel, like Lawrence, they begin to do the self-criticism that will lead them to improve and overcome their own problems. Self-criticism is one of the bastions of karate and that is reflected very well, as opposed to the ego ”.
Another important point for him is that some things that happen in the Cobra Kai dojo during the third installment of the series encouraged many children to share bad experiences they had with their teachers: “It is less grotesque in reality, but it does occur in senses that tend to pressure their students to obtain income, ergo sports results / medal awards.”
With ten chapters of approximately half an hour, the series that premiered on January 1 is second among Netflix trends and its followers are already counting the days, or rather months, that they will have to wait for the arrival of the fourth installment.