Ever since we first met Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) in the original Karate Kid movie, the rivalry with the notorious Cobra Kai dojo has defined his story. The vicious American karate school founded by John Kreese (Martin Kove) housed privileged bullies led by Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka). It was Daniel’s struggles at the hands of Cobra Kai that led him to meet and train with his mentor, Mr. Miyagi. Decades later that battle is still burning strong in Netflix’s smash hit show Cobra Kai. But while the two dojos exist in the show, the allegiances, morals, and membership have all shifted throughout the four seasons we’ve seen so far. As we head into season five, we’re keeping you abreast of all the major players in each dojo and who could heel turn when the season hits.
Which Characters Are a Part of Miyagi-Do?
Keeping the legacy of Mr. Miyagi, Daniel’s peaceful dojo has seen many kids walk through its doors. In an unexpected turn of events in season four, Daniel allowed Johnny’s new dojo Eagle Fang to merge with Miyagi-Do in order to beat the new more brutal Cobra Kai. We’re including those students and their sensei in our roundup of current Miyagi-Do pupils.
The original Karate Kid, Daniel LaRusso has come a long way since those movies. After Johnny Lawrence resurrected Cobra Kai, Daniel had no choice but to open his Miyagi-Do dojo. But after losing to Cobra Kai in the All Valley Tournament, it’s unclear whether or not the dojo has a future… though, seeing as we’re getting a season five, we can assume Miyagi-Do survives!
Though he began life as Daniel’s rival in Karate Kid II, Chozen (Yuji Okumoto) has reconnected with Daniel throughout the events of Cobra Kai. But no one was expecting the shocking twist as season four came to end that saw Chozen join Daniel in his quest to defeat Cobra Kai once and for all.
The original contemporary Cobra Kai student, Miguel (Xolo Maridueña), sought out Johnny after getting bullied. Soon the pair became inseparable, but throughout the seasons Miguel has trained in both Miyagi-Do and Cobra Kai karate. As a part of Eagle Fang, he is now an honorary Miyagi-Do member. But seeing as the last time we saw him he was on a journey of self-discovery in Mexico, it’s yet to be seen how karate is going to shape his life in season five.
Daniel’s old foe became an ally at the end of last season and it’s uncertain where he’ll go this season. Though he’s loyal to the kids he taught, his biggest focus right now is finding Miguel. Since the series began, fans have wanted to see a true Daniel and Johnny teamup. While the show has teased it so far, we think season five could make it happen for real.
She’s the heir to the Miyagi-Do legacy but Sam LaRusso (Mary Mouser) is still struggling after her loss to Tory Nichols last season. While we’re pretty sure that she’s not going to join Cobra Kai, last season we saw her take lessons with Johnny and Eagle Fang against her fathers wishes… so who knows. The biggest thing we want to see, though, is her to make amends with Tory. It’s overdue.
Though he began his karate career with Cobra Kai—to help him overcome bullying—Demetri (Gianni Decenzo) soon joined Miyagi-Do. His moral compass is far stronger than most of the crew and it aligns much closer with Daniel’s balanced teaching than the violence of Cobra Kai.
Eli Moskowitz (Hawk)
Demitri’s best friend and recent male All Valley champ, Hawk (Jacob Bertrand), had gone all in on Cobra Kai until last season. Under Johnny’s tutelage he beat his bullies, his insecurities, grew a sick mohawk. But when Cobra Kai became too brutal and Johnny broke off into Eagle Fang, Hawk followed. It was ultimately under the Miyagi-Do banner that he took his championship home.
A new student Johnny’s Eagle Fang recruited, Devon (Oona O’Brien) is a talented martial artist who was apparently cheated out of a win against eventual champion Tory Nichols thanks to a crooked ref. We’re sure she’ll look for vengeance this season so we expect to see her keep training with the resurrected Miyagi-Do.
Another former Cobra Kai student, Chris (Khalil Everage) was one of the earliest students to switch his alliance to Miyagi-Do. His passion for Daniel’s teachings are clear, and as a high ranking student and supportive rock of the dojo we can expect him to keep rising up the ranks.
Nathaniel (Nathaniel Oh) is impressionable and loyal to a fault. His journey began at Cobra Kai along with Chris and other kids who joined after their success at the All Valley Tournament in season one. Eventually he switched sides, though struggled to fit in. Now he’s Miyagi-Do but he often struggles to have compassion for those in his position who have changed teams.
One of the first kids to join Cobra Kai after Miguel, Abe (Jayden Rivers) became a member of Miyagi-Do alongside Nathaniel and Chris. He’s often seen at the side of Sam LaRusso and in the background, though this season we hope to see him get to have a journey of his own.
Which Characters Are a Part of Cobra Kai?
With Miyagi-Do and—former Cobra Kai students—Eagle Fang teaming up at the end of season four, the Cobra Kai pool has definitely gotten smaller, but it’s no less brutal. Also, with Terry Silver on a mission for valley domination, we’re sure Cobra Kai will only grow in season five.
John Kreese’s old Vietnam buddy came back with a bang last season, taking over Cobra Kai and eventually winning the All Valley Karate Tournament. Now, as the dojo’s sensei, Silver (Thomas Ian Griffith) is planning to expand Cobra Kai’s reach and his own power. As we know from both Cobra Kai and the original Karate Kid movies, Terry is a brutal man who doesn’t care about hurting kids.
If there’s any justice in the world this season will center on Tory Nichols (Peyton List). The working class martial arts star has had a rough go of it, and pretty much every adult around her has exploited that wherever they can. Now that she knows Terry Silver paid off the ref in the All Valley Karate Tournament we think she might finally see the truth about Cobra Kai.
Season four began by introducing Kenny (Dallas Dupree Young), a hopeful new student at the local Reseda middle school. Soon he was being terrorized by Anthony LaRusso (Griffin Santopietro), who took much joy in bullying the new kid. This ended up with Robby taking Kenny under his wing and introducing him to Cobra Kai. Kenny soon became a loyal student there but that could all change this season depending on where Robby decides to pledge his allegiance.
First introduced as Sam LaRusso’s boyfriend and Miguel’s bully, Kyler (Joe Seo) is now a long time member of Cobra Kai. His allegiance has never slipped and he enjoys the prestige and fear that come with membership to the dojo. Kyler will surely be riding high on their win. Now, with Kenny under his wing, he’ll likely take great joy in the coming battle with Miyagi-Do.
As an adult man trying to join a dojo for kids, Stingray (Paul Walter Hauser) has always been an outlier. But after his shocking hospitalization at the hands of Terry Silver last season and the fact he took that beating so he could become a part of Silver’s inner circle, we’re guessing Stingray is Cobra Kai ’till he dies. But as he accused a (for once) innocent John Kreese of the assault that hospitalized him in order to rise up the ranks of the dojo alongside the man who actually beat him half to death, that could be sooner rather than later!
Robby (Tanner Buchanan) has long been torn between Miyagi-Do and Cobra Kai. He was Daniel’s first proper student, but both Daniel and his father Johnny abandoned him when he needed them most. That led to him being sucked in by John Kreese and further manipulated by Terry Silver. Luckily, after injuring Kenny at the All Valley, Robby seems to be considering where his allegiances lie.
Who Might Make the Switch in Season 5?
The clearest choices here are Tory and Robby. Now that Tory knows Silver was paying off the ref during the All Valley finals, she’s going to have to come to terms with the fact her big win against Sam might not have been a fair one. Tory is one of the best and most complex characters in the show, her valid anger and trauma driving her passion for Cobra Kai. But she’s a good person at heart, so the fact Silver cheated likely won’t sit well with her.
As for Robby, he’s constantly been torn between Cobra Kai and Miyagi-Do. The only reason he currently fights at the former is because he was abandoned by Daniel LaRusso and his father Johnny, leaving him susceptible to Kreese’s manipulations. But after the All Valley Tournament and his brutal fight with Kenny, he’s reconsidering his place at the dojo. We can’t wait to see him go back to Miyagi-Do and hopefully get much deserved apologies from Daniel and Johnny. Speaking of Kenny, he’s another character we’re hoping will leave Cobra Kai this season. The young victim of Anthony LaRusso’s bullying has found strength at the dojo, but deserves so much better than Silver’s exploitation and the cruel camaraderie of Cobra Kai.