Cobra Kai vs Miyagi Do: Full Comparison (2023 Updated)

Cobra Kai vs Miyagi Do: Full Comparison (2023 Updated)

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One of the most debated topics among Cobra Kai fans is choosing a better dojo between Cobra Kai vs Miyagi Do. These dojos are two poles apart, Yin and Yang, black and white. 

Imagine you are an aspiring Karate student; if you were to enroll in only one dojo, which would you choose?

Miyagi Do & Cobra Kai Compared 

Miyagi Do & Cobra Kai Compared

Cobra Kai and Miyagi-Do differ in philosophy, sensei, fight preparation, and techniques. Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) manages Cobra Kai while his nemesis Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) teaches at Miyagi-Do. 

Johnny Lawrence promotes the “Strike First. Strike Hard. No Mercy” philosophy. Meanwhile, Daniel LaRusso teaches calm and balance, promoting honor and mercy. Miyagi-Do focuses on Defense while Cobra Kai focuses on offense. Cobra Kai also requires a more strict physical fitness and endurance.

Key Differences 




Cobra Kai offers more intense training, which requires better physical fitness and tolerance. On the other hand, Miyagi Do still promotes strength for its fighters, but it doesn’t train its trainees in intense martial arts training and fights.

Cobra Kai trainees are tough, like Eli “Hawk” Moskowitz, top-student Miguel, Chris, and Tory, who can easily kick anyone’s arse - enemy or not - in almost every season of the series. But who is Miguel's dad in Cobra Kai?


Aside from ability, both dojos instill wit and intelligence in their trainees. However, Cobra Kai uses a more violent approach, so most apprentices use guile in pursuit of winning a fight. On the other hand, Miyagi-Do Karate requires the use of heart along with intelligence, always promoting a fair fight.

Combat Style

Cobra Kai uses a non-traditional Karate combat style and philosophy, contrary to Miyagi-Do Karate. You’ll see the difference in their combat styles with Cobra Kai’s apprentices Miguel, Eli “Hawk” Moskowitz, Tory, Terry Silver, and Robby Keene. 

On the other hand, Daniel taught Karate differently, so Samantha LaRusso fights traditionally. 

Read: How Old Is Cobra Kai's Kenny?



The dojos in the original Karate Kid movies are different from the dojos in the Netflix series. Daniel teaches karate in his backyard while Mr. Lawrence re-opened Cobra Kai to teach a different approach and philosophy.

Cobra Kai is a better choice in this category because it provides a more suitable training space to improve the ability of its trainees. It also provides equipment and amenities for every fighter, something that Daniel doesn’t provide in the first season.  


John Kreese is the sensei of Mr. Lawrence, while Mr. Miyagi is Daniel’s. Daniel uses his master’s teachings which promote calm and balance in one’s life. Although it’s a given that John Kreese is an ultimate villain, Johnny managed to transform his Karate into a more sensible one, the Eagle Fang Karate, than what his teacher had taught him. 

We think choosing your mentor is a matter of preference. If you want a more strict master, then go to Cobra Kai. However, if you prefer a more peaceful one, go to Miyagi Do. 

One perfect example of this situation is Chris, the best friend of Mitch, a former trainee at Cobra Kai. He transferred to Miyagi Do when he realized Kreese’s plans were too ruthless. He didn’t like his sensei’s fighting philosophy, so he switched dojos. 

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Defense vs Offense

Defense vs Offense

Cobra Kai uses offense, following their mantra, “Strike First, Strike Hard, No Mercy.” Meanwhile, Miyagi Do uses defense, as they only want to attack if their trainees are in trouble, as seen in almost every season. 

If you think about it more, you’d think Miyagi Do uses defense better. However, Cobra Kai actually uses both offense and defense because Johnny also teaches his trainees how to counter attacks, like John Kreese. On the contrary, Daniel teaches defense by blocking most of the attacks. 

Maybe we can blame it on how a “main hero” was conceptualized. He should always endure attacks first until he could muster his strength to strike back and win. In this case, Cobra Kai takes another win because its karate is more beneficial in real-life fights.

Fight Preparation

If you watched every season of the Cobra Kai series, you’d notice that Cobra Kai is consistent in hard sparring, which means they focus better. On the contrary, Miyagi Do only used sparring for training in the latter season of the series.

With this, Cobra Kai takes another win. Also, it’s worthy to note that Cobra Kai is full of trophies from various tournaments like All-Valley Tournament. It only means Cobra Kai fighters are more prepared for fights. 



Of course, if we talk about sustainability, Miyagi Do takes its first win. Mr. Miyagi taught his moves and principles to his Karate Kid, Daniel, in Karate Kid movies. Even after 34 years, LaRusso still practices his martial arts. Meanwhile, Mr. Lawrence altered the teaching of his master, John Kreese. 

In fact, he founded Eagle Fang, another dojo, when he lost a fight with Kreese. Eagle Fang temporarily merged with Miyagi Do to train for the 51st Annual Karate Championships.

Popularity in Women

It’s really hard to find a winner in this one, especially since the main hero and top student, Miguel Diaz, gets a girl from Miyagi Do, Samantha, Daniel’s daughter. 

However, Cobra Kai was portrayed as a bully, just like in the original movie, so many girls think its students are harmful. Trainees like Hawk and Robby are regarded as bullies.

Of course, Miyagi-Do gets the point here.

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Performance in a Fight

Performance in a Fight

In Karate Kid films, Daniel has always been bullied and plummeted. He would always beat up, then fights and wins afterward. Since he’s the good guy, it’s his destiny to go through such phases.

Meanwhile, Johnny was an excellent fighter, but he has always been the second-best (at least in the movies). Being the villain that he is, he had so much emotional baggage to carry and anger to hurl. 


Both dojos are tough and fit, just like Johnny and Daniel. However, Cobra Kai seems to be a more physically demanding dojo. 

Since they do hard sparring daily, doing push-ups, moving cement trucks, and fighting in the woods are normal occurrences. On the other hand, Miyagi Do spends more time talking and doing kata.



One of the main differences between the two dojos is their technique. LaRusso uses indirect movements in building muscle memory, while Johnny Lawrence uses fundamentals. Lawrence’s students are mostly seen throwing punches and kicks, not waxing a car or painting a fence. 

Story-wise, Miyagi Do’s technique is awesome. However, in real-life, Cobra Kai’s technique is more realistic. 

Character Development

In terms of Cobra Kai character development, LaRusso’s personality takes all the trophies. In Miyagi Do, character development is more apparent in the students. Maybe it was because LaRusso had the biggest personality development during the trilogy.

However, Lawrence’s personality as a fighter was developed, too. Robby Keene, Terry Silver, and other students had personality growth, too. One of the most anticipated personality development is the story of Tory. She’s a troubled teen student who has had a massive conflict with Daniel’s daughter, Sam, who is also interested in Miguel since Season 2. 

Aisha’s personality development was also notable in Season 1. She became a confident fighter when she finally awakened her inner snake. 

Philosophies of Life

Philosophies of Life

Cobra Kai focuses on victory, hence their mantra, “Strike First, Strike Hard, No Mercy!” which made them more aggressive in fights. Meanwhile, Miyagi Do focuses more on calm, inner peace, and balance. It has a less violent philosophy and self-defense arts. 

While it’s better to promote calm and balance, Cobra Kai’s philosophy will actually save you in real-life fights. In this battle, Cobra Kai takes another point. 


Which is more strict, Miyagi Do or Cobra Kai?

Cobra Kai is more strict than Miyagi Do regarding training, physical fitness, and endurance. It has a harder training, which starts with fundamentals, than Miyagi Do’s indirect movement training.  

Is Cobra Kai more violent than Miyagi Do?

Yes, Cobra Kai is more violent than Miyagi Do. Cobra Kai has surprisingly violent action scenes in comparison to The Karate Kid series, but this is because of the themes the show dives into [1]

So, Which Is Better, Cobra Kai or Miyagi Do?

Based on the above categories, Cobra Kai seems to be better than Miyagi Do. Although it is somehow more violent than Miyagi Do, it has better battle preparation, dojo, combat style, and technique. 

In actual fighting, non-traditional martial arts seem more beneficial than traditional ones. However, traditional martial arts are often touted as a better choice for character development. Kata, meditations, and bowing may also help some people to achieve an enlightened state and calmness. 

Either way, Johnny and Daniel are excellent teachers, no matter how different they may be. So, which of the two dojos do you like better? Tell us in the comment section below! 

Also, if you happen to love Cobra Kai, check out Toynk for amazing Cobra Kai toys and collections!

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