If there is one symbol that has come to define the “Karate Kid” franchise, including its Netflix spin-off series, “Cobra Kai,” most fans would agree that it is the snake-themed symbol of the eponymous Cobra Kai dojo.
The striking logo has come to almost define the new series, with the Cobra Kai store, for instance, heavily promoting the symbol. Given the importance of the logo, and the symbolism behind it, fans may want to know a little bit about its meaning and background.
Here’s everything you need to know about the Cobra Kai logo.
The Meaning Behind ‘Cobra Kai’
The famous Cobra Kai logo consists of an animation of a ring-necked cobra, facing the center. It is producing its hood and flicking its tonuge, about to pounce. When it is in color, the cobra’s head is white and its tongue is red, while the rest of its body is black and yellow.
Since the words “cobra kai” have become so ingrained in the minds of “Karate Kid” fans, it might stand to reason that many no longer question the meaning behind the enigmatic title. Though the “cobra” part may be relatively clear – an obvious reference to the common snake – the meaning behind “kai” may elude some fans.
According to CBR, “kai” is Japanese. Japanese culture plays an important role in “The Karate Kid” – it is the home country of Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita), and the birthplace of karate itself. “Kai” is a loose translation of “organization,” or “society,” which makes sense considering Cobra Kai is in essence a teaching organization. Hence, the Cobra Kai dojo is basically the “Snake/Cobra Society.”
According to Brands of the World, the logo was designed by a man named Geronimo Giovanni. The one he designed is a slightly more elaborate version – with the Cobra Kai motto, “Strike First, Strike Hard, No Mercy,” made famous by John Kreese (Martin Kove), contained in a yellow ring around the cobra.
For those interested, the font used in the “Cobra Kai” logo – as well as for the show itself – is a font owned by BLKBK Fonts called Dead Stock, according to Font Meme.
The Importance of Symbolism In ‘Cobra Kai’
The cobra/snake symbol is widespread throughout the series and its franchise. Back in 2007, Martin Kove participated in a “Karate Kid”-themed music video, in which he first appears riding a motorcycle along a highway, and shoots a snake from the distance.
The color scheme is not unique to the logo, either. Earlier this year, Netflix released the “official logo” for “Cobra Kai” season 4, which is set to be released at the end of 2021. The logo consists of a black background, with the words “Cobra Kai” featured in white (and the same font), with the roman numeral for “4” (“IV”) in yellow superimposed behind it. The “Netflix” logo, in red, is placed in the lower third of the picture.
“The Karate Kid” and “Cobra Kai” are no strangers to animal/plant symbolism in any case. The mascot of Cobra Kai’s notorious snake is a stark contrast to that of Daniel Larusso’s (Ralph Macchio) Miyagi Do karate dojo, which is a bonsai. Many fans believe the bonsai is symbolic of concepts completely antithetical to Kreese’s Cobra Kai, such as inner peace and zen. In addition, the logo of Johnny Lawrence’s (William Zabka) Eagle Fang is, fittingly, an eagle. Despite what the name implies, however, eagles do not have fangs, or even teeth; cobras, on the other hand, do.
Be sure to catch season 4 of “Cobra Kai” when it is released on Netflix December 31.