Chozen couldn’t beat Daniel in The Karate Kid Part II, so why is he depicted as one of the franchise’s best fighters in Cobra Kai? What changed?
Chozen’s inability to beat Daniel (Ralph Macchio) in The Karate Kid Part II speaks volumes about how different he is as a fighter now in Cobra Kai. Played by Yuji Okumoto, Chozen is without question one of the best karate practitioners in the Netflix sequel series. There aren’t many characters currently active in the Karate Kid franchise – if any – who have what it takes to defeat him in combat.
The techniques displayed by Chozen and his easy takedown of Daniel in Cobra Kai season 3 have made it clear that the reformed villain is a force to be reckoned with. He’s certainly better than Daniel is, which means that he could likely beat Johnny (William Zabka) and Kreese (Martin Kove) as well. It’s this depiction of his character and his skills that have made a potential showdown between him and Terry Silver (Thomas Ian Griffith) such an exciting prospect for Cobra Kai season 5. Based on what Chozen is capable of in Cobra Kai, there’s a sense that he’s the character with the best chance of beating Silver in a fight.
Everything that’s known about Chozen’s fighting skills raises questions about how he became such a formidable fighter. In The Karate Kid Part II, Chozen wasn’t good enough to win the final fight, which naturally puts him not only below the skill level of Daniel, but also that of Terry Silver, John Kreese, and even The Karate Kid Part III’s Mike Barnes, who was a much greater challenge to Daniel than Chozen was. How his standing changed so drastically can be attributed to the amount of time Chozen has devoted to the mastery of his Miyagi-do training. In the decades that have gone by since his defeat in The Karate Kid Part II, Chozen has spent his time and energy on improving his karate skills.
It’s important to keep in mind just how much Chozen’s life between the Karate Kid trilogy and Cobra Kai differs from the experiences of characters like Daniel, Johnny, Terry, and Kreese. Of the five Karate Kid characters, only one of them hasn’t taken a break from his training. The other four stopped practicing at unspecified points in their lives and only got back into fighting shape within the timeframe of Cobra Kai’s story. In stark contrast to them, Chozen never stopped bettering himself as a fighter. This distinction made it possible for Chozen to catch up and surpass characters like Daniel.
Not unlike Pat Morita’s Mr. Miyagi, Chozen serves as a perfect example of how talented a person can become through decades of diligent martial arts training. Thanks to his devotion to Miyagi-do karate, Chozen has emerged as a powerful fighter who just might be able to beat Terry Silver. If so, his experience may be what helps Daniel’s side prevail over the villain in Cobra Kai season 5.