The Karate Kid sequel series Cobra Kai is bigger than ever after premiering its third season on Netflix, and despite its comical nature, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar says that even the legendary Bruce Lee would have been enjoying the hit series just as much as the rest of us. As a former student, Game of Death co-star, and personal friend of the late martial artist, Abdul-Jabbar regales in a new column at THR how he has been watching and enjoying Cobra Kai with Lee in mind.
From the column, here’s how Kareem Abdul-Jabbar explains why Lee would have appreciated Cobra Kai:
“Bruce would have loved this reimagining because he saw martial arts not just as a way to defend against enemies, but as a way to defend against one’s own self-destructive impulses. Martial arts heals because it helps one identify their problems and adapt to solving them. Johnny’s character arc over the three seasons is of someone who believes the brutal teachings of his evil sensei, John Kreese (Martin Kove) – ‘strike first, strike hard, no mercy’ – over a more evolved Bruce Lee philosophy of toughness with compassion. It’s important to win, but more important to be fighting for something worthwhile.”
Abdul-Jabbar also details how, at the heart of the show, Cobra Kai‘s conflicts “stem from the battle between the philosophies of the Miyagi dojo and the Cobra Kai dojo.” Per Abdul-Jabbar, Bruce would have also likely appreciated the philosophical lessons taught by the show, but as someone who had a great sense of humor himself, the martial artist he would have also loved just how funny the show can also be at times.
“Bruce, who had an extensive library of philosophy books, would appreciate the attempt to teach these values to a young audience. Bruce, who also appreciated humor and was quite the jokester, would have loved that the show doesn’t take itself too seriously. In fact, it is much funnier than the movies.”
Though Abdul-Jabbar also thinks Bruce Lee “might have quibbled” with the portrayal of the actual martial arts moves, it wouldn’t matter as the strengths of the show far outweigh the minor flaws. In fact, if Bruce were still with us, Abdul-Jabbar believes they’d even be enjoying the hit Netflix series together while reminiscing about days gone by. As Abdul-Jabbar says of his mentor and Game of Death co-star:
“I like to think Bruce and I would have loved sitting on a sofa together enjoying the delightful Cobra Kai, while he lorded his great head of hair over me and reminded me of the times he kicked my ass when I was his student.”
Cobra Kai stars William Zabka and Ralph Macchio reprising their roles as Johnny Lawrence and Daniel LaRusso from The Karate Kid. Set over three decades later, the series follows the two as they rekindle their feud when Johnny reopens the Cobra Kai dojo. After initially debuting on YouTube, the series has since moved to Netflix where it premiered its third season last month. A fourth season is now on the way, and for now, the first three seasons can be streamed in their entirety on Netflix. This news comes to us from Kareem Abdul-Jabbar at The Hollywood Reporter.