Cobra Kai season 5 spoilers follow.
Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio), the OG karate kid, lost a little bit of his fighting spirit when he got pummeled by former sensei turned villainous Cobra Kai head Terry Silver (Thomas Ian Griffith) in Season 6, Episode 5.
For hardcore fans, it was a hard watch given the terror Silver put a young Daniel through in Karate Kid III, but what goes around comes around.
Both the films and the show have built Cobra Kai up to be this formidable enemy. One willing to go to extremes for victory.
This point is driven home by the finale when Silver is prepared to fight Chozen (Yuji Don Okumoto) to the death in order to eliminate the competition and keep his dojo in 'top-dog' status.
Naturally, this backfires, because the premise of Cobra Kai centers around the defeat of the evil dojo.
While Daniel embarrassingly serves Silver a taste of his own medicine in fine dominating fashion, there is, if you look carefully, a small victory there for the disgraced Cobra Kai. A dojo so far flung from grace that even the students turn their back on Terry and his teachings.
That victory, however, can be seen through Daniel's fight techniques. Daniel has always prided himself on his ability to adopt his late sensei's teachings.
Mr Miyagi (Pat Morita) impressed upon him the importance of seeking out peaceful resolutions and to fighting defensively unless presented with no other option. Sure, Daniel has failed in that respect at times but by large he has tried to stick to that ideology, teaching his students the same.
However, during his defeat of Silver, Daniel leans further and further away from Miyago-Do's matra and heavily into the lessons he was taught as Terry's student.
Initially as the fight kicks off Daniel is on the defensive, however it doesn't take long for him to revert back to embodying Cobra Kai's way, Silver's words echoing in his ears with every strike.
He immobilizes Silver using the QuickSilver method; winding him in the process before landing the defeating kick in Silver's face. Crumpled to the floor Silver is a pitiful sight. You'd almost feel sorry for him if his sheer inhumanity didn't make you long for John Kreese (Martin Kove).
How was this a victory for Cobra Kai, you ask? The fact that Daniel chose to rely on Silver's methods proves one thing. That, though honorable, the defensive approach can only take you so far. There are times when being on the offensive is the better course of action. Using your enemy's strength to triumph over them counts as one of those times.
This point was similarly driven home in the previous season when Sam (Mary Mouser) and Tory (Peyton List) went head to head at the All Valley tournament. There she used the teachings of Miyagi-Do and Cobra Kai (thanks to Johnny Lawrence's influence) to score the point.
Despite the show's backing Cobra Kai into a villainous corner and painting them as the bad guy, both these instances demonstrate that's not the case. The teachings–though harsh–have their merit and their place.
It also highlights that there isn't a problem with the dojo itself, but that the fault lies in those who run the karate classes. First the misguided Johnny, then the power-driven Kreese, followed by the despicable Silver.
Season 6 ushers in a new age for the dojo. For the first time in Cobra Kai history, there is no overarching figurehead, which will hopefully leave space for a more reasonable sensei to come in and lead with more honor.
Nah, we didn't think so and if we're totally honest we prefer it that way. After all, who else would keep Miyagi-Do on their toes? One thing's for certain though, they're going to need a whole new crop of students if the dojo's expected to survive after that Season 5 debacle.
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