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Cobra Kai Season 5 brought back Mike Barnes (Sean Kanan) from The Karate Kid Part III. Since that movie sequel, Kanan became a successful actor outside the franchise, including a 20+ year stint on The Bold and the Beautiful, and also an author. His self-help book, Way of the Cobra, is getting a sequel and might even become a trilogy. 

'Cobra Kai' Star/'Way of the Cobra' author Sean Kanan holds up a power saw
Sean Kanan | Curtis Bonds Baker/Netflix

Kanan spoke with Showbiz Cheat Sheet on Aug. 16 about his return to Cobra Kai. During the interview we also talked about Way of the Cobra, during which he revealed his plans for a sequel. See him in Cobra Kai Season 5 on Netflix now.

In ‘Way of the Cobra’, Sean Kanan does not practice Cobra Kai philosophy 

Kanan intentionally used his connection to Cobra Kai to help his philosophy reach a larger audience. However, it does not follow Cobra Kai’s mantra of strike first, strike hard, no mercy. 

“COBRA is an acronym formed from the words character, optimization, balance, respect and abundance,” Kanan said. “Someone who is a cobra is someone who is living their best life, their most authentic self, someone who is an evolved individual on the path. So it couldn’t be further from what Cobra Kai is.”

Kanan’s first book includes examples from his own life among tips and challenges for the reader to implement. 

It really comes down to sublimating your ego. Look, you’re not going to be everyone’s cup of tea and that’s okay. That’s what makes us all human. If you concentrate on developing and protecting your character to the best that you can, people will beat a path to your door. You don’t have to worry about people getting you. If they don’t get you, that is truly them. They’ve got a little more work that they need to maybe do on themselves, but if you’re embodying the very best essence of who you are, it’s a matter of staying out of the results. The results should never be that I really hope people like me. It should be that I am the absolute best version of myself that I can be and people will either get that or they won’t.”

Sean Kanan, interview with Showbiz Cheat Sheet, 8/16/22

‘Way of the Cobra: Welcome to the Kumite’ takes COBRA philosophy further 

As we spoke, Kanan was waiting to review editors on his sequel, Way of the Cobra: Welcome to the Kumite

“If you liked Way of the Cobra, you’re going to love this book,” Kanan said. “It’s new and additional and improved information but it’s also a lot more personal and revealing about my life, about some of my struggles. I really feel that to forge a connection with my reader and to elevate myself to the position of being a sensei, it’s incumbent on me to share my struggles and be as honest as I can be. I was up ’til 2 in the morning writing. We’re currently formatting the book which is really exciting because that means a lot of the writing’s done and now it’s actually starting to look like a book.”


‘Karate Kid III’ Almost Starred Brandon Lee as Mike Barnes, Sean Kanan Reveals

If you thought you’d met all the challenges Way of the Cobra presented you, then you didn’t fully understand Kanan’s philosophy. You’re never finished, and he’s preparing new challenges to move you even further. 

The premise of the sequel is that it’s about doing battle with your greatest opponent. Your greatest opponent is you. It requires a death of sorts on a daily basis. It’s defeating yourself from yesterday to become a better version of you today, it’s a constant and never ending process, it’s about being the hero in your own life. And I know, I don’t think, I know that the additional strategies and philosophy in the book are going to be able to take those people that have read Way of the Cobra and take it to the next level because it’s all about when you reach a level of success, you want to give yourself just the shortest amount of time to breathe and enjoy a moment of satisfaction. Then it’s time to re-engage in a new battle and a new journey. That’s what this is about. It’s about understanding that it’s a never ending process and never ending cycle and embracing it. 

Sean Kanan, Interview with Showbiz Cheat Sheet, 8/16/22

‘Way of the COBRA’ could be a trilogy

Since Way of the Cobra warranted a sequel, Kanan is already thinking of making it a trilogy. He hopes the third part can involve his wife, Michelle Vega.

“We already are discussing what the third book is going to be,” Kanan said. “I think, if I can get her to do it, I think the third book is going to be a book about relationships written by myself and my wife.”