Daniel LaRusso's Crane Kick Shattered the Space-Time Continuum and Doomed the Valley

Daniel LaRusso's Crane Kick Shattered the Space-Time Continuum and Doomed the Valley

6 min read

That, or Cobra Kai is a parody soap opera

How many real-life karate dojos do you know by name? Unless you or your kids regularly practice kicking people, I bet that number is zero.1 Why would you know anything about dojos? The mere idea is sort of preposterous, right?

Among other things, Cobra Kai asks us to believe that karate is the all-consuming concern of the Valley. It's cute when Dani Rojas claims football is life, but those are just words. People in the Valley regularly come to blows to prove that nothing means more than karate. And not just karate–karate practiced at a specific dojo. The kids in Cobra Kai are basically street gangs, with their own colors and territory, only there are no drive-bys in the Valley because why shoot someone when you can bludgeon them with your fists.2

Valley karate is elemental. It's oxygen, sustaining and supporting life. It's gravity, bending reality itself to suit its mercurial whim. People who don't partake in the sacred art are so secondary they might as well not even exist. Which is why a kid can get handed a nickname like penis-breath–with no proof to support the claim–and happily keep coming back. Wearing the Gi is all that matters. In the Valley, karate kids rule the world.

It wasn't always this way. When Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) and his mom moved to California in the 80s, karate was a fringe sport just like anywhere else in America. Daniel claimed to know karate, but it was just a new-kid brag to win some friends. He was actually more familiar with kicking a soccer ball. Unfortunately for him, Daniel has a very punchable-face and an attitude to match. In the Valley, karate had weaponized the bullies. Bad luck for Daniel. But, like, he mostly brought it on himself.3