With Cobra Kai being a show centered around karate, there is going to be a lot of fighting. Many fights take place outside the tournament. They’re brutal, they’re over-the-top, and they’re entertaining all around.
But where the fights truly shine are in the tournaments. Adult and teen rivalries, characters, and their respective relationships are built up in the episodes leading to these ever-important matches. Rules are imposed to ensure a fair fight, scores between everyone are settled, and they and viewers alike can see who the better fighter is. The aftermaths of these battles have profound effects on everybody who is involved.
8 Miguel Kicks His First Tournament Off With A Bang
At the start of Cobra Kai’s first All Valley Tournament, Miguel Diaz (Xolo Mariduena), based on the advice of his sensei, Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka), scores his first point with the famous crane kick Daniel Larusso (Ralph Macchio) used to defeat Johnny years ago. Daniel, who is watching in the front stands, finds this much to his chagrin.
Nevertheless, the kick gained huge applause from the rest of the audience. Johnny’s utilization of Daniel’s winning move as Cobra Kai’s opening gambit signed only the beginning of the dojo’s powerful resurgence. And sure enough, every student afterward made a significant impact at the tournament.
7 Bert Gave It His All
Johnny’s Cobra Kai experiences their first loss in the first All-Valley Tournament when one of the students, Bert (Owen Morgan) is paired against a much larger opponent.
Despite his opponent being able to flip over him, Bert puts in the maximum effort, and even though Johnny and the other students know he has no chance, they genuinely cheer him on. Although Bert loses, they all assure him he did his best. It is a heartwarming sight of the camaraderie the students share in and outside the dojo, and how much better Johnny’s Cobra Kai is than his ruthless sensei, John Kreese’s (Martin Kove) from back in the ’80s.
6 Eli Puts His Bullies In Their Place
In the second All-Valley Tournament, Eli Moskowitz aka Hawk (Jacob Bertrand) finds himself paired against his longtime bully, Kyler Park (Joe Seo). Despite Kyler having partaken in destroying his victim’s confidence by shaving off his trademark mohawk, Eli gets his confidence back with the help of his ex-girlfriend Moon (Hannah Kepple), who assures him it is not defined by his mohawk but by his personality.
This pep talk has a profound effect as Eli proceeds to beat Kyler in a shut-out, earning two of his three points within a second of the referee signaling them to start. Through this fight Hawk truly achieves the balance he had lacked.
5 Miguel and Robby’s Fight Intertwines The Old And New Generations
Johnny’s best student, Miguel Diaz, and his estranged son Robby (Tanner Buchanan) were the focal fighters of the first season. Both teens needed help in their lives and got it in the form of karate teachers with different styles. Through a series of events, they form their unique rivalry, and their actions affect the rivalry of their teachers as well.
All this builds towards the final match of the show’s first All-Valley Tournament. Both boys have taken different paths to reach their goal but are battling in the same state of mind: to win. Their conflicts are embodied through their emotions during the fight. Both teachers and students learned a great deal leading up to this and learned even more from it.
4 Sam Incorporates Her Many Learnings Against Piper
In the girls’ quarterfinals of Season 4’s tournament, Samantha Larusso (Mary Mouser) finds herself matched against one of Cobra Kai’s newer recruits, Piper Elswith (Selah Austria). Given that Piper, along with most Cobra Kai students, learned Daniel’s Miyagi-do techniques from Robby, Sam finds himself quickly outmatched.
Upon being taunted by Piper that she is nothing without defense, Sam uses the Eagle Fang techniques she learned from Johnny. This takes Piper off guard and easily allows Sam to secure a three-to-one victory much to Johnny’s delight. It also allows her to call out her father on his pettiness of insisting his way is the only right way.
3 Demetri Came A Long Way
In the first two seasons, Demetri Alexopoulos (Gianni Decenzo) was largely a coward, avoiding fighting and complaining about training all the time. After some long training at Miyagi-do and defeating his best friend, Hawk, Demetri slowly gains more confidence and becomes a better fighter throughout the next two seasons.
Season 4’s tournament truly shows how far Demetri had progressed. Not only does he show some impressive weapons displays, but also makes it to the semi-finals. While he is defeated in a shut-out by Robby, it doesn’t keep Demetri from making Robby work hard to win. And the whole thing is a show of just how brave Demetri has become.
2 Tory Is A Great Fighter Against Sam Inside And Out
In the girls’ final and the final match of Season 4’s tournament for the grand prize, Tory Nichols (Peyton List) is pitted against her longtime rival, Sam.
Sam proves to be able to push Tory to her limits by combining the techniques of Miyagi-do and Eagle Fang. Meanwhile, thanks to the compassion Tory received throughout the season from Sam’s mother, Amanda (Courtney Henggeler), she is willing to fight fairly but still with every ounce of power. Even though the match is later revealed to have been rigged, Tory almost obtains a legitimate victory, proves her merits, and learns the value of respect.
1 Eli And Robby Pack All The Heat
The boys’ Season 4 final fight pits Eli and Robby against each other. Given both were Cobra Kai and Miyagi-Do students, the two are evenly matched and able to keep each other on their toes.
Ultimately, this culminates in the two fighters reaching death, making them the first sudden fighters to do since the events of Karate Kid Part III, The intensity of the fight mounts as it continues, and the skill Eli and Robby demonstrate makes it an incredibly close match that makes it possible for it to go either way. Both opponents show clear respect for one another. Eli’s joyful victory truly brings out the best version of himself and is even better considering he unknowingly managed to overcome a bribed official.
Next: 10 TV Shows To Watch If You Love Cobra Kai