Warning: This article may contain spoilers if you have not completed the first three seasons of the show Cobra Kai.
While fans of Cobra Kai anxiously wait for season 4 after a pretty intense season 3 finale, it’s nice to reflect on some of the characters thus far and look at their growth throughout the first three seasons of the show. While everyone has their personal favorites, viewers can’t help but root for some more than others, so here’s a list of some of our favorite characters from the show, along with a list of who we like to root against, or just wish would do better in the next season.
Four of the Show’s Most Favorite Characters
At the start of this show, no one knew what to expect from the film’s original bad guy. From the show’s opening, Johnny had a lot of problems and he couldn’t seem to escape his past, but he proved that aside from this, he really wasn’t a bad person, just someone who had no one to rely on from a young age. His childhood neglect, mixed with Creese’s uncanny ability to completely take advantage of people like this, made Johnny a perfect Cobra Kai growing up, so it was a good attempt to try and turn the name into something for good by teaching martial arts the way it was intended. Johnny has had quite a journey in developing as a character on the show, and it’s great to see him team up with Daniel at the end of season 3 to try to defeat Creese. While he often tries and often fails to teach Robby to fully trust him, it’s still great to see him become a mentor to characters like Miguel and even being a big help in teaching him to walk again.
Robby has one of the best transitions on the show and him finding martial arts as a way to help him change for the better and find a place to belong is very relatable not only for viewers, but for many students in real life who seek this when they join a martial arts school. At the start of the show, Robby was hanging out with the wrong crowd and even dropped out of high school for a bit, which is understandable given his very unstable home life and having parents who are quite troubled themselves. Joining Larusso Auto Group (even if initially just to make his dad mad) was probably the best thing for him because it led him to martial arts and helped him to build discipline and integrity, as well as find friends and a healthy outlet. Season 3 ends with what seemed inevitable, a forsaken Robby joining the Cobra Kai, but let’s see how long this turn to the bad side lasts for him.
Aisha is one of the true martial artists on this show and although it was sad to see her go at the end of season 2, it was probably for the best. Aisha had the right idea and she always stayed true. She learned martial arts to become better, build her self-esteem, and learn self-defense. She never used her skills to show off or hurt anyone else unprovoked, and she has to be one of the realest and most loyal characters on the show. Plus it was pretty cool to see her piecing her opponents up at the All Valley tournament in season 1. Aisha held her own as Cobra Kai’s first female student and it will be interesting to see if the character gets to return in any way when season 4 of the show comes out.
Demetri seems to be the comic relief to the many intense and heated scenes that take place in the show. You have to admit, it was pretty impressive to see him (finally!) piece together his martial arts training and use it outside of the dojo to hold his own against Hawk in the school throwdown at the end of season 2. Demetri seemed to take a little longer simply because he lacked any hand-eye coordination to begin with, but it’s also nice to see that once his training started to look good, he didn’t let his ego get the best of him, and he has remained true to his character. Demetri has the jokes and is certainly super smart, but he also knows when to put his talking and sense of humor aside when it’s time to defend himself and his friends.
Four of the Show’s Least Favorite Characters
From the original film to the show’s flashbacks of how Creese came to be a bad guy, you have to admit, the man has always been consistent, so it is difficult to understand how Johnny gave him the chance to be around his students to begin with. Creese almost seems like the most basic self-defense lesson there is - being able to detect danger and getting far away from it. He clearly has enough emotional intelligence that he can notice when people are struggling and/or feeling forsaken in order to help them at first and tell them what they need to hear to feel a sense of loyalty toward him-but instead of using it for good, he uses it to build some kind of sociopathic karate cult. He’s the worst kind of villain because it seems like he actually knows better but he doesn’t care. Even when it seems like he’s finally defeated, he always strikes back. He truly is the cobra of Cobra Kai.
Hawk seemed to have so much promise in the beginning. He got some confidence, learned to defend himself against bullies, found some friends and a place to belong, and then it all went downhill from there. This is what happens when you don’t get hugged enough growing up. But even in the first season when he was still “good” he showed signs of going to the dark side, like in the All Valley tournament in season 1 where he kicked his opponent when his back was turned and had no remorse over it. He should’ve been given the boot from there, but Johnny has a bad habit of giving second chances to people without realizing that second chances without changed behavior is just repeating a pattern. Up until the season 3 finale when Hawk had some sort of epiphany it seemed there was no turning back for him, but let’s see if his abrupt turn around to being a good guy sticks in season 4.
Tory has to be one of the worst of all the Cobra Kais because her moral compass was skewed from the start and she only got worse. There’s a saying in real-life martial arts schools about avoiding getting into altercations unless it’s a life-or-death situation because you never know if the person you’re fighting has nothing to lose, or if they’re willing to go much further than you ever morally would, and Tory is the perfect example of this. In fact it wouldn’t be surprising if season 4 ends up having a plot twist where we find out Tory is actually Creese’s daughter. As Daniel once said, “the garbage doesn’t fall far from the truck.” This girl is the worst kind of bad news, because at first glance, you wouldn’t even expect it. This is why you should never underestimate your opponent.
While some of the characters are simply no good, even some of the good guys have some unsavory patterns and behaviors and Sam is a little questionable in some of her ways. She seems to get her sense of self-righteousness from her father, who also ends up getting himself into trouble in the same way. Maybe this family watched Batman too many times, but-just because you know a group of people are no good, this does not give you the right to purposely go and search them out and try to fight them even if they are being complete jerks to your friends. From telling her fellow karate mates to covertly attack the Cobra Kai kids during a soccer game so it can seem hidden from teachers, to purposely seeking them out in a laser tag facility to fight, this girl is starting to get close to earning her own “random” run-in with Creese to get recruited to the Cobra Kai. With all the Miyagi-Do’s emphasis on karate for self-defense, Sam seems to take this philosophy as open to interpretation. Self-defense means using it to get out of danger, not purposely putting yourself at the center of danger and then getting surprised when Cobra Kai constantly proves they are always willing to take fights much further than it ever needs to go.
Learn Martial Arts in a Safe Setting from Seasoned Experts
Cobrai Kai is a fun show that puts many of its characters through life-changing situations. They learn and grow using martial arts for both positive and negative goals. Here at NY Martial Arts Academy, we can help your kids learn about the positive aspects of martial arts to shape their lives in stronger ways. Give our team a call today to sign up for classes at one of our closest locations.