With Cobra Kai being a karate-centric show, there will be a lot of fighting. Many fights take place outside of the tournament. They’re brutal, they’re over the top, and they’re all-around entertaining.
But where the fighting really shines is in the tournaments. Adult and teen rivalries, characters, and their respective relationships build in the episodes leading up to these ever-important matches. Rules are imposed to ensure a fair fight, scores between everyone are settled, and they and viewers can see who the better fighter is. The consequences of these battles have profound effects on all involved.
8 Miguel kicks off his first tournament with a bang
At the start of the first All Valley Cobra Kai Tournament, Miguel Diaz (Xolo Mariduena), on the advice of his sensei, Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka), scores his first point with the famous crane kick that Daniel Larusso (Ralph Macchio) used to defeat Johnny years ago. Daniel, who is watching in the front stands, finds this to his chagrin.
Nevertheless, the kick was applauded by the rest of the audience. Johnny’s use of Daniel’s winning move as Cobra Kai’s opening gambit only meant the beginning of the dojo’s mighty resurgence. And of course, each student then had a significant impact on the tournament.
seven Bert gave it his all
Johnny’s Cobra Kai suffers its first loss in the inaugural All-Valley Tournament when one of the students, Bert (Owen Morgan) is paired against a much taller opponent.
Although his opponent is able to turn him around, Bert tries his best, and even though Johnny and the other students know he has no chance, they sincerely cheer him on. Although Bert loses, they all assure him that he did his best. It’s a heartwarming show of the camaraderie the students share inside and outside the dojo, and how much better Johnny’s Cobra Kai is than his ruthless ’80s sensei John Kreese (Martin Kove).
6 Eli puts his bullies in their place
In the second All-Valley tournament, Eli Moskowitz aka Hawk (Jacob Bertrand) comes face to face with his longtime bully, Kyler Park (Joe Seo). Although Kyler participated in destroying his victim’s confidence by shaving his trademark mohawk, Eli regains his confidence with the help of his ex-girlfriend Moon (Hannah Kepple), who assures him that she is not not defined by her mohawk but by her personality.
That pep talk has a profound effect as Eli continues to beat Kyler in a shutout, earning two of his three points within a second of the ref signaling them to start. Thanks to this fight, Hawk really achieves the balance he lacked.
5 Miguel and Robby’s fight intertwines old and new generation
Johnny’s top student, Miguel Diaz, and his son Robby (Tanner Buchanan) were the main fighters in the first season. Both teenagers 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 also affect their teachers’ rivalry.
This all builds up to the final match of the show’s first All-Valley tournament. The two boys have taken different paths to achieve their goal but fight with the same mindset: to win. Their conflicts are embodied through their emotions during combat. Teachers and students have learned a lot before that and have learned even more.
4 Sam incorporates his many learnings against Piper
In the Girls’ Quarterfinals of the Season 4 Tournament, Samantha Larusso (Mary Mouser) finds herself up against one of Cobra Kai’s newest recruits, Piper Elswith (Selah Austria). Since Piper, along with most of the Cobra Kai students, learned Daniel’s Miyagi-do techniques from Robby, Sam quickly finds herself overwhelmed.
After being taunted by Piper that she’s nothing helpless, Sam uses the Eagle Fang techniques she learned from Johnny. This catches Piper off guard and easily allows Sam to pull off a three-on-one victory much to Johnny’s delight. It also allows him to call out his father on his pettiness to insist that his way is the only right way.
3 Demetri has come a long way
In the first two seasons, Demetri Alexopoulos (Gianni Decenzo) was largely a coward, avoiding fights and complaining about training all the time. After long training at Miyagi-do and defeating his best friend, Hawk, Demetri slowly gains confidence and becomes a better fighter over the next two seasons.
The Season 4 tournament really shows how far Demetri has come. Not only does he show impressive weapon displays, but he also makes it to the semi-finals. Although he was defeated in a shutout by Robby, that didn’t stop Demetri from making Robby work hard to win. And it all shows just how brave Demetri has become.
2 Tory is a great fighter against Sam inside and out
In the girls’ final and final match of the Season 4 tournament for the grand prize, Tory Nichols (Peyton List) takes on longtime rival Sam.
Sam proves capable of pushing Tory to his limits by combining the techniques of Miyagi-do and Eagle Fang. Meanwhile, thanks to the compassion Tory has received throughout the season from Sam’s mother, Amanda (Courtney Henggeler), she’s ready to fight fairly but always with every ounce of power. Even though it’s later revealed that the match was rigged, Tory almost gets a rightful victory, proves his merits, and learns the value of respect.
1 Eli and Robby pack all the heat
The Boys’ final fight in Season 4 pits Eli and Robby against each other. Since the two were students of Cobra Kai and Miyagi-Do, both are evenly matched and able to keep their toes.
Eventually, this results in the sudden deaths of both fighters, making them the first fighters to do so since the events of Karate Kid Part III. The intensity of the fight builds as it continues, and the skills Eli and Robby demonstrate make for an incredibly close match that allows it to go both ways. The two opponents show obvious respect for each other. Eli’s joyful victory really brings out the best version of himself and is even better considering he unknowingly managed to defeat a bribed official.
Next: 10 TV Shows To Watch If You Like Cobra Kai