While almost every member of Miyagi-Do or Cobra Kai can fight to some extent, some are more skilled when compared with the others. Their exponential growth, accomplishments in tournaments, and prowess in martial arts have all been taken into account to rank these fighters. Although there are many characters in Cobra Kai who can fight, only the main and consistently recurring characters have been taken into consideration.
Bullied at school for not being the quintessential pretty high-schooler, Aisha Robinson showed grit and determination as she joined Johnny’s Cobra Kai, even managing to defeat Miguel during their initial spar. Her relentless drive to prove herself makes her a daunting fighter to face, with Lawrence even calling her “A natural Cobra.”
With her father being an NFL legend, it’s not surprising that she has athletic prowess. However, she still lacks experience, as well as practice, being away for the entirety of season 3. Therefore, despite her achievement of being a quarter-finalist at the All-Valley Karate Tournament, Aisha still has a long way to go.
Although Xander Stone is not a student of Miyagi-Do or Cobra Kai or a major character in the series, he is still worth a mention owing to his show of skills and achievements. Being the champion of the All-Valley before Johnny revived Cobra Kai, he put up quite a fight against Aisha Robinson in the quarterfinals.
However, he was defeated quite decisively in the semifinals by Miguel, which proves that despite his former title, he still lacks top-tier skills and knowledge regarding competitive karate.
Eli Moskowitz, or Hawk, as he prefers to be called, is a character known for his raucous comments and a no-fear attitude. He is also one of the most skilled fighters in Cobra Kai, having made an exponential growth, fuelled by his urge to take back control after being bullied throughout school. His dismissal of rules and viciously offensive style of fighting make him one of the most formidable opponents in the series.
He has also shown a great capability of holding his own, knocking-out multiple opponents during the bizarre school fight, as well as the Coyote Creek challenge. His only weaknesses have to include his uncontrollable rage and disregard for defensive techniques.
Despite Miguel holding back, his initial fight against Tory Nichols did push him to use most of his training and skills, easily proving that Tory is not someone who should be trifled with.
Having had prior training in karate, she is also by far one of the most experienced fighters in the series. Subsequently, Johnny and Kreese’s training has further enhanced her skills. Her fighting qualities are further heightened by her blatant disregard for rules. making her all the more dangerous.
Being a skateboarder, Robby Keene is blessed with athletic qualities necessary in a fighter. Furthermore, his commitment to the training Daniel provided to him has only helped him be a better fighter, becoming the runner-up during his very first appearance at the All-Valley Karate Tournament. He also surprised Daniel by being able to perform the two-legged kick, a feat Daniel himself wasn’t able to achieve during his initial years of karate.
However, his skills are only foiled by his abounding rage surrounding his broken childhood, which manifests in the form of bad and impulsive decisions. With John Kreese taking Robby under his tutelage, it can only be expected that these qualities will only escalate in the coming seasons.
Samantha LaRusso is by far the most trained and experienced amongst the young students in Cobra Kai. Unlike the other characters, she has had the privilege of being trained by Daniel LaRusso from a very young age, with her father even exclaiming that she was quite talented even when young.
Even during her training with Robby, she is always seen to have the upper hand, with the only exception being the freezer-training. She even instructed Robby how he could improve his skills, further establishing that she has advanced knowledge about karate. Her only downfalls have to be her reluctance towards fighting unless forced to defend herself, which oftentimes makes her start on the backfoot.
Miguel is by far the most naturally talented fighter in the series. His growth as a fighter, successfully using the crane kick, as well as the fact that he won the very first All-Valley that he appeared in, proves his talents. Despite facing an injured Robby, Miguel went on to cultivate a penchant for fighting fairly, making him deserve respect as a fighter. He even beat Robby during the school fight, only to be held back by his newfound mantra of showing mercy when required.
Furthermore, he is a keen observer and thinks with his head during every single fight, thereby constantly outsmarting the fearless Hawk, who arguably trains much harder than Miguel does. Despite being grievously injured in season 2, his strong will made him fight back and emerge victorious during the confrontation at the LaRusso residence at the end of the last season.
3 John Kreese
Trained as a deadly mercenary during the Vietnam War by the U.S. Military, John Kreese is the progenitor of Cobra Kai and its iconic motto, “Strike first. Strike Hard. No Mercy.” Living and breathing this motto, Kreese is highly experienced and has combat training that surpasses every other character in the series.
Despite being older, he is able to hold his ground during his first fight in the series against Johnny Lawrence, even managing to almost choke him to death during the second fight at the end of the last season. The qualities that make John Kreese a deadly and skilled fighter are his ruthlessness, conniving tactics, and utilization of any means possible to emerge victorious.
2 Johnny Lawrence
Reviled for almost 30 years for his role as Johnny Lawrence in The Karate Kid, William Zabka managed to turn the table in Cobra Kai, making fans love and adore him for his witty comments and characteristic bad-boy attitude. However, it is not just his charisma that makes him special, but also his veritable fighting abilities.
A former All-Valley Champion, Johnny first won the tournament when he was just in his Sophomore Year, which is practically Nathaniel and Bert’s age. He won it a second time in the very next year, managing to win every fight without letting a single opponent score a point against him. Despite the many years of debauchery and neglect, Johnny has retained his fighting skills and is arguably the second-best fighter that the series has.
1 Daniel LaRusso
Another former two-time All-Valley Champion, Daniel LaRusso has been trained in the martial arts of karate by Nariyoshi Kesuke Miyagi himself. Taking the title from Johnny Lawrence and holding his own against skilled fighters like Mike Barnes and Chozen in the movie series, Daniel is arguably the most skilled fighter of Miyagi-Do.
Even during the middle age years of his life, he has retained his physical fitness and managed to stay toe-to-toe with Johnny Lawrence. Having recently learned about the lethal aspect of Miyagi-Do Karate from Chozen, and implemented the same during his last fight with John Kreese, Daniel has quite visibly surpassed his pre-existing skills and improved even further.
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