Cobra Kai definitely has a cool ring to it but has anyone thought about what the “kai” part actually means? Turns out it has a slightly political tinge to it.
It essentially refers to “an organization” therefore Cobra Kai can be translated as “The Cobra Organization”. Adding kai to group names is generally done by more right-wing groups in Japan.
Mr. Miyagi Claims He Is Not Japanese
Mr. Miyagi makes a curious statement about his nationality when telling Daniel LaRusso where he’s from. Instead of saying his country is Japan, Mr. Miyagi claims his country is Okinawa.
This might have to do with some residual Okinawan pride as it was a sovereign nation before becoming annexed by Japan in 1879. This is further complicated by the scene where Mr. Miyagi has a little too much to drink and reveals he fought for America in the war.
How I Met Your Karate Kid
In an episode of How 'I Met Your Mother', Barney Stinson explains a fan theory, that he believes in, whereby the real villain in 'The Karate Kid' is not Johnny Lawrence but rather Daniel LaRusso. There are a number of instances in the film where Daniel instigates conflict between him and Johnny.
The real evidence for this though is Daniel confessing to Mr. Miyagi that he wishes to learn karate in order to take revenge on Johnny Lawrence – something Mr. Miyagi quickly corrects.
Lost in Translation
For such a dedicated and experienced karateka, John Kreese does not seem to know the difference between French and Japanese. Very oddly, Kreese shouts “en garde!” to initiate a fighting session between students.
Now, as most know, en garde is decidedly French and is said between fencers before dueling! To add to the weirdness, the referee in the form of Pat E. Johnson who, as mentioned, was a student of Chuck Norris, also says en garde to signal the start of a fight. Weird!
Alternate Endings Are New Beginnings
The opening scene of the sequel, 'The Karate Kid Part II', shows John Kreese being subdued by Mr. Miyagi at the All Valley tournament. This scene was originally intended to be the final scene in 'The Karate Kid'. In it, Kreese, engulfed with rage and embarrassment, attacks Johnny Lawrence for losing to Daniel LaRusso.
Mr. Miyagi neutralizes Kreese and instead of delivering a lethal blow, pinches Kreese’s nose. The humbling act makes the other Cobra Kai members remove their belts in disrespect for their disgraced sensei.