Martial arts YouTuber Sensei Seth has filmed several videos exploring the accuracy of the karate depicted in Netflix’s breakout show Cobra Kai, which catches up with characters from the ’80s classic The Karate Kid in the 21st Century. In his latest video, Seth puts himself in the creators’ shoes, teaming up with stunt guy and fight choreographer Eric to make his own Cobra Kai-style fight scene.
They give themselves a 25-hour period to devise, rehearse and film a fight sequence which isn’t just as good as something you might see in the Netflix series, but hopefully even better. “We have way more time than these actors do to practice martial arts,” says Seth. “I’ve been preparing for it since I was three.”
The video provides a detailed look at all of the elements that go into building a fight, from choreography to camerawork, in addition to the underlying story which the scene is propelling forward. Seth and Eric’s aim is to combine the great-looking cinematic style of the show’s fight scenes with some more realistic choreography based on their own real-life karate experience. “I want to use as many traditional karate techniques as we possibly can,” says Seth.
Most importantly, Eric says, a good fight scene needs “oomph.” How do you achieve oomph? “Rhyhthm, timing, and making the audience feel the danger… That’s where the oomph comes from.”
It soon becomes apparent just how much time and work goes into making a screen fight safe for performers, and Seth and Eric soon find themselves racing against the clock to finish their scene. And upon completing the fast-paced, highly technical fight scene, Seth has a newfound respect for what the Cobra Kai team does on a regular basis.
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