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Surprisingly Realistic Outcome / Cobra Kai

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For a series set in the Karate Kid Universe, the consequences and processes in Cobra Kai tend to be quite realistic.

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    Season 1 
  • Johnny knocks Kyler down with a jump kick, then immediately groans in pain and clutches his crotch - performing a flashy acrobatic move when out of practice (and without warming up first) is highly likely to injure the practitioner. There's also the matter of kicking in snug-fitting jeans, which aren't cut for freedom of movement in that direction.
  • Kyler is on the school's wrestling team and some of the moves he knows can be useful in a brawl. Unfortunately for him, wrestling is focused on throws, grappling and holds; not very useful when you open most fights by throwing clumsily-telegraphed punches and drop said holds the second you get hit. In addition, Kyler spends most of his time drinking with his friends and trying to hook up with chicks. While the conditioning from wrestling lets him take some hits, his lack of both technique and dedication make him and his whole gang punching bags against Miguel, who has trained to the point where he either matches or exceeds Kyler physically and regularly spars hard against Johnny Lawrence. And then Kyler becomes more dangerous in season 3 after Kreese recruits him into Cobra Kai and gives him karate training.
  • Texting at the wheel is definitely distracted driving, as Johnny discovers the painful way when Yasmine rams into him while driving Sam's car.
  • Turns out an adult (middle-aged or not) beating down a bunch of teenagers wouldn't sit well with the police, no matter how tough the teens are or justified he was while doing so. Johnny spends the night in a cell until Sid bails him out.
  • Johnny is ready to open his new dojo when a health inspector shows up and informs him that, as an "exercise studio", Cobra Kai needs to pass health and building code inspections before being certified by the city. Once certified, Johnny still has to get liability insurance before he can finally open to the public.
    • In the same scene, the health inspector asks if Johnny's been teaching Miguel without a license, to which Johnny claims that he's "just some illegal I hired to clean up". The health inspector just shrugs and accepts it. Labor law isn't his department, and hiring undocumented workers isn't a big enough deal for him to go out of his way to deal with it.
  • Robby may be a trouble-making career criminal in the making at least until Daniel enters his life, but Parental Neglect tends to do that to kids.
  • A dojo is a business that has to pay rent and other expenses; it cannot survive with only one paying customer. Johnny almost tanks his new business because he takes an "if you build it, they will come" approach and fails to advertise. He compensates for a lack of business in the meantime by subletting the dojo to a yoga class for a few hours a week.
  • It takes a lot of time and practice to fully be able to match the much older and experienced martial artists, and even as the first and star student of an dojo, you still have to be extra prepared, as stated by Johnny giving Miguel extra lessons.
  • Having strong offense is good, but if you have no defense or counter moves while fighting multiple opponents, you will get a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown, no matter how powerful your attacks are. It also takes time, physical conditioning, and a lot of practice to be able to use a martial art successfully in a fight. Miguel gets beaten up badly because of these factors when he tries to fight Kyler and his gang during the school Halloween dance party. Similar factors play a role in the outcome of Robby's first fight at Daniel's car dealership to stop his criminal acquaintances from robbing it. While he does put up a good fight, he is up against two hardened criminals with only a few weeks of Daniel's basic training. Robby only escapes being beaten to a pulp because he points out the security camera recording the whole thing.
    • Though Robby takes the brunt of it, the robbery also gets a dose of reality ensuing on the robbers. When Robby's criminal friends want to rob the dealership, they get Robby to give them the code to open the front door. They then show up without wearing masks or anything to conceal their identities. After Robby tries to stop the robbery, he points out their whole fight was recorded on security cameras. Of course a luxury car dealership is going to have more security than a locked door; most of the valuable property is located outside in a open parking lot, after all.
  • Beating up your tormentors in the middle of the cafeteria during lunch period, even if the recipients long had it coming, will get you into trouble. Miguel finds this out the hard way when he's dragged away by the school counselor while standing triumphant on a lunchroom table. He's lucky his mother does not find out and that it was his Spanish-speaking grandmother who answered the phone when the school called. Though Reality Is Out to Lunch on why Miguel did not get into any further trouble.
  • Bullies like Kyler and Yasmine typically depend on having an overwhelming physical and/or social advantage over their targets. Once Miguel beats Kyler and his gang up in front of everybody, and Yasmine gets a Melvin from Aisha, and thus brutally humiliated, the bullies back away from their former targets. It doesn't mean that they stop bullying completely, only that their former targets have proven too much of a hassle to bother with.
  • The LaRusso household tends to be concerned with social standing. This is not uncommon on campus, as being accepted into a clique is a high priority for many students, as Sam's silence on Yasmine's treatment of Aisha indicates. Once Yasmine and Aisha switch standings as a result of the Melvin, guess to whom Sam gravitates?
  • If the people going under the training are not physically or mentally prepared, Training from Hell can actually be quite dangerous (even if it eventually pays off). Miguel nearly drowns when he is pushed into the pool with his hands tied for the first time, and Hawk has to get a rabies vaccine thanks to getting bitten by one of the pursuing angry dogs in the car junkyard. In fact, many of the students could have gotten gravely injured if anything went wrong.
  • The iconic lake where Daniel trained in the first movie has dried up as a result of the record drought California went through in the 2010s, forcing him to look elsewhere to train Robby.
  • Emotional immaturity, the ruthless thinking encouraged by Cobra Kai, and excessive alcohol consumption combine to make a cocktail of rash thinking, poor decision-making, and sloppy coordination. This is how Miguel ends up hitting Sam at the beach party when going for Robby, ending his relationship with her.
  • In general, using alcohol as a way to ease emotional pain or getting drunk while emotionally stressed will cause Alcohol-Induced Stupidity. Some of the worst decisions in Cobra Kai are made while drunk.
  • Johnny does get some needed Character Development over the course of the first season to gradually soften his sharper edges, but a bitter Disco Dan doesn't magically change overnight. By the end of the season, Johnny is much more sympathetic as he and Daniel come to a better understanding of each other, but he's not perfect. Furthermore, nothing that Miguel, Daniel, or anyone else says or does prompts his change of heart; Johnny only begins to improve himself because his entrenched attitudes weren't working out for him, and he wanted to become a better person than he was before. It fits in perfectly with the overarching message that even if others are willing to help, nobody else can fix your problems for you, and neither can you until you can recognize them as problems.
  • Even though it does not excuse his reckless behavior and poor judgement, Daniel's reaction to seeing Cobra Kai return makes sense. The Bully Brutality he received from Cobra Kai in the first film made his life hell and nearly killed him at one point. That kind of trauma can take decades to heal, if not a lifetime, and being reminded of it can trigger fight or flight responses. This explains why Daniel was the only one not to find the penile graffiti on his billboard funny. It also explains why he was the only one on the tournament board who had an issue with lifting the lifelong ban on Cobra Kai.
  • After their antics in the first and third movie, the Cobra Kai dojo was permanently banned from the All Valley Tournament. On the other hand, after 34 years and with both John Kreese and Terry Silver out of the picture, the tournament organizers do not treat the ban very seriously. They actually express confusion at first when Johnny shows up to make an appeal to the dojo's ban since, with one exception (Daniel), none of the committee members were around when the ban was first put in place.
  • Daniel attempts to get Johnny's dojo closed by getting the rent raised. While this places a great deal of pressure on Johnny, Daniel failed to consider how it would affect the strip mall's other businesses, many of which are likely to go out of business because of this. The realization of what he's done hits him very hard.
  • Louie is an excellent example of why Thicker Than Water is a terrible idea when it comes to running a business. His stupidity and carelessness bring serious damage to the dealership, such as endangering customers when playing a prank on Robby, and Daniel subsequently having to offer serious discounts to save face. However, Daniel does eventually lose patience when Louie destroys Johnny's car. Your relatives' actions, sooner or later, can affect you. Ignoring outright criminal behavior on the part of a close relative can lead to them becoming steadily more criminal until they do something you can't ignore. Even Thicker Than Water has its limits when it results in your arch-nemesis showing up at your house out for blood. On such matters, arguments such as those between Amanda and Lucille do happen.
  • Demetri's attempt to call out Johnny for picking on his students immediately hits a wall when Johnny points out that not everyone cares what society says is "okay" to do, and puts Demetri on the floor when the kid continues to protest. Having been one most of his life, Johnny knows enough about bullies to know that appeals to empathy, reason, and social approval don't work on them; that's what makes them bullies.
  • As Daniel and Demetri learned the hard way, no matter valid a point or concern you might have, if you're condescending or abrasive in your stance, no one will want to listen to you.
  • Large sporting tournaments of any kind require weeks if not months of preparation, a lot of organizational coordination, and people to set things up, work as food vendors, make sure equipment is working, make sure the facility is clean, and act as referees. We get a hint of this during the committee meeting Johnny attends when someone brings up a corn dog vendor and a montage of preparation right before the tournament itself.
  • Like any competition involving minors, the under eighteen tournament attracts Stage Moms.
  • The tournament was in May as opposed to December from the original movie. Due to declining attendance, the committee would've most likely thought at one point it was due to it being so close to Christmas so they would have to have moved to a more convenient date.
  • Daniel tries using Miyagi's famous Healing Hands to heel Robby's shoulder, only to give up and call a medic instead.
  • Bert, the smallest Cobra Kai member, gets pitted against a taller, older guy who can literally do flips over him. Predictably, he loses.
  • Even if the audience would generally agree with the expressed sentiment, pulling a slacktivist speech in the middle of a sporting event that delays everything will seriously annoy everybody. Based on how eagerly Miguel (a Latino kid who has more likely than not faced/faces his share of racism) smiles and says "Yes, sensei" to the orders from Johnny to "kick that pansy bitch in the face", even he found the speech aggravating.
  • Easily Forgiven does not apply when the offenses do serious damage or when feelings of betrayal come in. Aisha isn't quick to forgive Sam for abandoning her socially or for her role in the pig meme that made her life at school miserable until the end of the All Valley Tournament, where Sam puts in a lot of work to repair the relationship. Robby despises his father for abandoning him and his mother when he was needed the most and only lets go of his anger toward him thanks to Daniel's influence. People do not easily forgive perpetrators that do serious and long-lasting damage to them, especially if they were supposed to be reliable.
  • What happens when you teach bullied and insecure teenagers to strike first, strike hard, and show no mercy while teaching them a version of Karate designed for street fighting, forget to teach healthy emotional coping skills as Daniel taught Robby, and they start to feel empowered as a result of said teachings? They will follow said teachings to the letter, they will go to violence as a first response and they will use any dirty tricks to win no matter what. Johnny naively believed that using his old Cobra Kai methods on the next generation of students would improve them, despite past experience saying otherwise. His teaching methods turned them into ruthless bullies in the long run as he watches in horror as the transformation unfolds in the tournament. With all of that said, the school which most of these kids attend was criminally incompetent at dealing with their rampant bullying problem. Most of the Cobra Kai students had no resources to deal with said bullies. When the lunchroom brawl goes viral, these kids see a potential solution to their problem that they desperately need. When bullying victims feel like they are out of options, they will often turn to extreme options, with little concern for their skill level or personal safety (whether their own or anyone else's). Cobra Kai might never have seen a resurgence if the school was better at dealing with all of the rampant bullying.
    • Johnny didn't yet realize that he was taking shortcuts in his training. When just beginning as a sensei, there are probably going to be some big mistakes.
  • Being a Jerkass in your romantic relationships is a surefire way to end them prematurely, especially not respecting physical boundaries, especially when they say no or hitting your partner because your coordination was sloppy when trying to hit someone else. Just ask Kyler or Miguel.
  • During the All Valley Tournament:
    • Trying to fight while seriously injured puts you at a serious disadvantage, especially when fighting an opponent who is more experienced and willing to exploit your injury. Miguel is able to defeat Robby by exploiting Robby's injured shoulder.
    • If you let your anger cloud your judgement in the middle of a match, your performance will suffer. Robby is able to get in two points against Miguel because Miguel lets his guard down when he is so focused on hurting Robby more than winning.
    • The same methodology applies between rounds. Regardless of either party's motivations, Hawk was rightfully disqualified for jumping Robby as soon as his back was turned.
  • Karate was Serious Business in Los Angeles in the original films but in the 40 years since then it's gone out of style like any other fad and most young people now think karate's lame. Johnny has a hard time getting clients for his dojo and the All Valley tournament is having an equally hard time attracting attention.

    Season 2 
  • Robby is still wearing the sling from his tournament injury days afterwards, showing that such an injury (and psychological effects, as the climax to the school brawl indicates) can last longer than just the tournament.
  • Someone as wealthy as Daniel wouldn't need to charge students any fee to teach them karate. Competing against a rival that provides the same services for free will be a pain in the ass for any small business owner, let alone one that is scraping by like Johnny. This is also excellent news for anyone who (1) isn't financially well off and thus unable to afford the fees Johnny needs to charge, or (2) still has issues with physical fighting as anything except an absolute last resort.
  • When Miguel and Hawk arrive at the dojo for their first class since the tournament, Johnny gives them a severe dressing down and punishes them for fighting dirty. Hawk is hesitant to respond at first, and when he does, it is understandably weak. By contrast, Miguel's is strong and immediate. Nevertheless, they both comply with Johnny's orders on the spot, a clear indicator that they had no intention of dishonoring their sensei or their training. Though Johnny was harsh with Hawk and Miguel, it is to be expected from an instructor when their students step out of line (especially given that they did those things to his own son).
  • Even though he appears to have let go of his You're Not My Father attitude toward Johnny, Robby still harbors some resentment for everything that happened in the past. As seen with Daniel's response to letting Cobra Kai back into the tournament, no vendetta magically disappears overnight.
  • Speaking of Robby, when he encounters the two people who beat him up last season, he is better prepared to use his training... only to learn they were a step ahead of him. He got zapped in the head with an oar by a third guy he'd never seen.
  • Kreese claims that in the years since the third film, he reenlisted in the military and served in several conflicts. However, after Miguel and Johnny notice some inconsistencies, Johnny does some digging and discovers Kreese was lying. It turns out when Kreese tried reenlisting, the military made him go through the psychological tests that were adopted since The Vietnam War to weed out Sociopathic Soldiers and he inevitably failed.
  • The Cobra Kai "No Mercy" mantra, encouraged by Kreese, begins to bear even darker fruit than just throwing cheap shots during a tournament. This includes Kreese referring to students as "soldiers" and Tory using weapons during a fight.
  • Daniel is 100% right that John Kreese is a sociopath who should never be allowed near kids. Unfortunately he'd spent all of Season 1 going out of his way to shut down Cobra Kai just because he and Johnny couldn't let go of their petty childhood rivalry, as a result even his own wife believes he's still exaggerating and his warnings about Kreese go unheeded.
  • Daniel opens up his Miyagi-Do Karate Dojo and offers classes FOR FREE, yet as soon as more students show up, he tries to make them do chores, as it's the only way he knows how to teach Karate... and they immediately scoff and leave. Realistically, Wax On, Wax Off wouldn't have worked in the '80's and it definitely would not work today. There's nothing that guarantees the prospective students that they're not just being conned into doing free labor for Daniel. Sam was instructed from a young age while Robby tolerated it as he was at least being paid as an employee at Daniel's car dealership when he went through that training last season.
    • Additionally, even with free lessons being offered, Miyagi-Do still lags behind Cobra Kai because Johnny's focus on teaching offensive strikes, board breaking, and becoming more badass is just more appealing to the masses as opposed to Daniel's focus on tradition and self-defense (plus Johnny is able to use the offer to his advantage by implying in his own commercial that Miyagi-Do's free lessons are a sign it's an inferior dojo). As pointed out by Robby, its just like how sports fans prefer games that feature a lot of scoring and not a defensive struggle.
  • Daniel makes a commercial for Miyagi-Do incorporating numerous Japanese elements in the advertisement. Despite being very knowledgeable and respectful towards the culture, since he's a white man doing this in The New '10s, he's accused of racism and cultural appropriation by people who know nothing about the culture and just want to feel good about themselves.
  • Despite Daniel reassuring Amanda that restarting Miyagi-Do won't affect things at LaRusso Auto Group, the truth is it takes a significant amount of hours to start, run and teach classes at a karate school (as Johnny knows firsthand). As such, he begins neglecting his duties at the auto dealership and conditions there begin going sideways (as Anoush's resignation drove home). When a business goes long enough without its owner and leader present, it's eventually going to fall apart.
    • Very Truth in Television, this is how most family businesses fail. When the founder isn't there to lead anymore, there is no one skilled enough to take over. Despite it being really successful, LaRusso Autos is still a mid-sized business, Daniel still has important daily operational duties in it, he can't be a Rich Idiot With No Day Job, as an owner of a Mega-Corp could.
  • Standing up to bullies doesn't automatically end a conflict. It just gives the bully more motivation to retaliate.
    • Furthermore, not all bullies are like Kyler, who only engaged when he had the numbers, or Yasmine, who only used psychological cyber-tactics and could easily be stopped cold with one well-placed counter. Some of them can actually operate in the manner Johnny described to his students in Season 1 where they will just insult or assault you without any regard for the consequences.
  • Hawk begins relentlessly bullying new students, most notably Chris and Mitch, calling them names and forcing them into the role of his lackeys. Then has the nerve to act surprised when Chris declares "I never liked it here" and leaves Cobra Kai for Miyagi-Do. There's an old chestnut about flies, honey, and vinegar. . .
  • During the Old School Cobra Kai reunion in Episode 6, we find out the others, like Johnny, took years to break themselves of the "Strike first, strike hard, no mercy" teachings Kreese put in their heads. While the others moved on and grew up, Johnny did not and has gone down a wrong path ever since high school. This shows how difficult it is to break oneself of the mental manipulation a narcissistic sociopath can work on a young person.
    • When the conflict between a barmaid and a pool-playing douchebag comes to an end, Johnny comments only that he and Tommy want the next available table. They clearly saw that she had handled the situation well enough to leave it at that. If only her harasser had followed suit...
    • While the Old School Cobra Kais ultimately win their Bar Brawl, it was mostly due to Johnny doing most of the fighting. Bobby and Jimmy are clearly several years out of practice, and Tommy is terminally ill. As such, the three of them take longer to take down their opponents, and can only go one-on-one. By contrast, Johnny takes down multiple guys in quick succession, because he has had the more recent fighting experience from teaching his students. Even then, taking on so many at once takes a toll on him, and he ends up getting pinned to a wall once his first opponent gets back up and has the greater energy of the two.
  • Tragically, not all bullies are like the ones mentioned above. Some bullies are like Hawk, who was once bullied himself and whose sadism is a result of the abuse taking a toll on his mental health.
    • Elaborating further, even though his life got better after joining Cobra Kai, Hawk is not going to let go of years of abuse after a few good months of his life, especially without a therapist.
  • As opposed to the 1980's film, not all members of the Cobra Kai approve of their fellow students' bullying tactics. A few of them even left the moment they witnessed Demetri being bullied by Hawk.
  • While cleaning up the vandalized Miyagi dojo, Demetri attempts to show Chris that they don't need to rely on physical strength to lift the giant stone by using a plank of wood as a lever to create a pivot point that will enable them to lift it without exerting themselves. Unfortunately, this is not the Looney Tunes world: the plank promptly snaps in half under the weight of the stone and the force of Demetri pushing down on the other end.
  • Tory may had purposefully bumped Sam but if you are attacking back at someone who is an employee in the place you are in(Otherwise someone the security and staff are more familiar), let alone a less subtle trip and is more likely to cause injury than a simple bump, chances are you are going to be the one kicked out, not the employee who started it.
  • The Escalating War between Daniel and Johnny inevitably trickles down to their students (not helped by Kreese's guidance) and leads to lines being drawn between them and resentment building up. Then the show demonstrates that just giving these groups of troubled teens karate training at two different dojos whose senseis remain at odds turns normal teen drama into a flat-out powder keg at any point. A drunken kiss may lead to a small cat fight or a shouting match under normal circumstances. Here? It was the spark to an all out brawl that had been brewing for two months that ends with several of the teens being severely injured, especially Miguel who might die and Robby who might go to prison.
  • Moon invites both of the Rival Dojos to her party, with plenty of alcohol to go around. Naturally, only the arrival of the police prevented that final brawl from erupting at her house instead of the school. What the hell did she think was going to happen?
    • Sam learns from Moon's mistakes in season 3 and is careful to avoid falling into these traps when arranging for Miyagi-Do and Eagle Fang members to gather at her house.
  • Demetri still hasn't learned that he really shouldn't anger people who are willing to hurt him, despite that happening to him multiple times with Johnny, Hawk, Chris and even Kreese. His attitude hasn't improved at all since the first season. Him publicly humiliating Hawk with embarrassing stories about him, almost lead to an outright battle between the dojos, if not for the police arriving.
    • It probably contributed to him being bullied in the first place.
    • Demetri has the bad habit of not only letting his mouth write checks his ass can't cash but kiting them on other people's asses. He expects the other Miyagi-Do students to protect him.
  • At the tournament, Robby experienced a Farmer and the Viper moment when he tried to assist Miguel. During the brawl, the roles were reversed. The physical scars may have faded, but the emotional scars clearly have not. As Sam says in season 3, "sometimes the scars you can't see are the ones that hurt the most."
  • The students of Cobra Kai may come across as tough and strong due to their training, quickly becoming a feared factor due to their number and fighting skills. But put up against a group of people that have roughly equal training and have learned balance and strategy rather than striking first and trying to overwhelm someone with raw power, a fight isn't over nearly as quickly as it is usually is (in other words, not a Curb-Stomp Battle), and they can end up on the receiving end of a serious beat down.
  • Fighting outside of a tournament and being outside the boundaries that govern such doesn't mean the fight will automatically go your way, as the Cobra Kai students learned. True, it means that the Cobra Kai students can fight however they want without someone stepping in to stop them, which leads to them ganging up on others, taking on weaker opponents or using weapons to maim opponents. But it also means the people they are fighting against (the Miyagi-do) don't have to fight by those rules either, meaning they can be subject to being kicked onto a flight of stairs (Sam to Tory), being knocked out with a blunt object (Chris to Mitch), being kicked into a trophy case (Demetri to Hawk), or — tragically — being kicked over a railing and falling two stories on their back, possibly crippling them for life (Robby to Miguel). In short, those rules are there to protect both parties, not just the ones who are willfully fighting dirty.
  • Demetri sees an escalating fight between Sam, Tory, Miguel, and Robby... and rather than jump in himself, he goes to get a teacher. Rules against fighting in school are a lot stricter now than they were in the 80s, and since he's already a bullied nerd he doesn't have any reputation to lose by attempting to get someone to intervene.
    • Of course, this ploy ultimately fails because, while teachers usually have no problems separating teens during a shoving match, a full-blown fight between two groups with legitimate martial arts training is much more difficult and dangerous for them to stop. Indeed, one teacher who tries to intervene is quickly knocked out, causing the one Demetri asks for assistance to immediately realize he has no chance of stopping this (by himself, anyway) and leave.
    • One teacher does manage to restrain Bert and Nathaniel, the two youngest and smallest members of each faction, simply by picking one of them up and slinging him over his shoulder. A diminutive teenage boy is not really a match for the strength and size of a grown man, even if he has martial arts training.
  • As Chris and Demetri made clear, fighting isn't the only way to solve a conflict. The ending of season 2 shows that it'll only result in tragedy.
  • For everything he'd taught Daniel over the years, Miyagi clearly forgot to impart one key lesson: how to actively avoid looking for trouble or picking fights over whatever. As shown by the respective displays of both dojos, the consequences unfold in no uncertain way over the season, culminating in the Mob War that ends with one member of each dojo hospitalized.
  • Mottos, maxims, and credos are simple and easy to remember, but utterly unable to encompass the whole of a discipline's teachings. That's what teachers are for. Both Johnny and Daniel fail at this:

    Season 3 
  • After kicking Miguel off the balcony, Robby is expelled from West Valley and has a warrant out for his arrest. The school may have been criminally negligent in their handling of the brawl and the events leading up to it, but there was no way Robby would've gotten off with what was clearly assault and could've arguably been attempted manslaughter.
  • After his behavior during the brawl, Stingray ended up arrested and he's forbidden to be around any minors. The school may have suspended and expelled some students who had done worse. But for him, as much of a man-child he is, it’s different being an adult who attacked minors. So Stingray was inevitably unavailable for more Cobra Kai's lessons.
  • The high school parents are furious that the staff allowed a massive brawl that hospitalized several students to break out on school property. Some parents, like Aisha’s, are so concerned by their negligence that they’ve pulled their kids out of the school entirely. At the same time, the school points out their basic faculty have no training to intervene safely in physical confrontations between students; this would be the purview of specially-trained officers from a security company (which the school has now contracted with to prevent a repeat incident).
  • When you had just woke up from an life-threatening coma and had learned you can no longer walk, which means not being able to do many of the things you loved anymore (in Miguel's case, karate) naturally you would be filled with strong emotions. Which explains Miguel's initial reaction to seeing Johnny, and blaming him for the teachings that lead to his current condition. It takes some time to calm down and realize what you said said in the moment, even when it's opposite of what you really mean. Thankfully, it happened for Miguel and Johnny did everything he can to make sure he can walk again.
  • Even when you want to help your student through creative ways, there are often limits to how effective unorthodox physical therapy can be. Johnny tried to use fear to get Miguel's legs moving by lighting his shoelace on fire but soon when it's clear his legs aren't moving, he was forced to use a fire extinguisher to prevent Miguel from being burned alive. Other times you have to make them properly motivated, as Miguel wasn't very interested in reaching the magazine when he could find pictures in his phone. Very often, physical therapy can be found in unexpected places such as the concert getting Miguel so excited he was able to move his legs for the first time.
  • Tory, who got expelled from West Valley for being the one who started the brawl, is given probation and avoids jail solely because she is her mother and brother's caregiver. But she is on very thin ice and has to see a probation officer. Her landlord points out just one violation will send her straight to prison.
  • Robby's first fight in juvie shows that numbers and physical strength can win over training. It didn't help that he was reluctant to fight and focusing more on defense than offense.
  • Satisfying as it may be, Amanda still went to Kreese's dojo and hit him unprovoked, which allows him to take out an order of protection against her. Which makes Daniel and Amanda getting one against him meaningless, as it amounts to the same thing (both parties remain a set distance from each other).
  • The "West Valley Brawl" has far-reaching consequences for everyone even minimally connected to Cobra Kai and the Miyagi-do dojo:
    • As the senseis and public faces of their respective dojos, Johnny and Daniel are blamed for allowing their petty feud to unduly influence their students and failing to prevent tensions from rising to such a point. Daniel in particular is hit financially as many customers start to avoid his dealerships.
    • In turn, the LaRussos are forced to take whatever help they can get (which explains Louie getting to return).
    • Even if Daniel wasn't being blamed, the fact that he'd based so much of his marketing for the dealership on his karate meant they've now had to cancel all advertising to avoid bad press.
  • People are certainly not the second time around going to underestimate someone who had defeated them in a Curb-Stomp Battle, which happened to Trey and Cruz after Daniel fought them at the beachfront. Even when you are known to be aggressive, not everyone will take you seriously if they've known you as a deadbeat father to one person who doesn't obey you and has a bruised face. It takes a physical demonstration by Johnny (slapping Cruz twice) to get them to take him seriously and tell him and Daniel the information.
  • Sam has developed PTSD or panic disorder from her experience with Tory in the Season 2 finale.
  • When Johnny is denied to see Miguel, he notices a discarded doctor's coat and decides to disguise himself to get access to the ICU. The first man who sees him wearing the coat can immediately tell from Johnny's very disheveled appearance that he's not a real doctor and he quickly abandons this plan.
  • Amanda may have been the Only Sane Woman in the past, but here it’s shown being one can have its limits if the situation cross certain lines. Her case is traumatizing your daughter. This helped her finally realize Daniel wasn't exaggerating how dangerous Kreese is and finally accepted Miyagi-Do needs to fight back.
  • Johnny encourages Miguel that he can overcome his injury and not be defined by it. Miguel takes his words to heart, and falls out of the hospital bed. As inspiring as his words were, it takes some time to overcome a struggle, whether physical or mental and in most cases can't be done overnight.
  • Anoush may have left the LaRusso Auto Group due to Daniel focusing too much on Miyagi-Do than work at the dealership, but Tom Cole treating him as a Beleaguered Assistant and not even remembering his name leads to Anoush returning to Daniel, as he at least treats him with respect.
  • Loophole Abuse might seem like a clever way to bend the rules but it won't always get you out of being punished for something you did. Miyagi-Do students tried to take advantage of the soccer game to get back at Cobra Kai, with Sam saying "What's soccer without a little physical contact?". The others eagerly fight back, but soon their fouling goes from subtle to outrageous, with Sam kicking one straight in the face without a ball in sight. The frustrated referee wouldn't just ignore this and sent them to the principal's office for this.
  • Tomi Village from The Karate Kid Part II has been bought and changed from a farming village to a mall. However, as this provided the villagers with jobs and money when they needed it, they were okay with the changes by the time Daniel learned about it.
  • Daniel recounts the story he learned in Part II about how the Miyagi family invented karate after one of Mr. Miyagi's ancestors went to China, learned White Crane Kung Fu, and adapted it to become karate as we know it. While Chozen doesn't say anything, the look on his face makes it clear he knows this story is definitely not how karate was invented and is more likely just an old family legend. Chozen later reveals to Daniel that the origins and history of Miyagi-Do karate are actually a lot darker than what Mr. Miyagi had told him. Yes, Miyagi-Do is about self defense, but that does not mean it is non-lethal. Daniel learns that there are many techniques meant to kill your opponent from Chozen, as it was used in part to protect Okinawa from invaders.
    • Around this same time, Sam is realizing on her own that fighting entirely on defense doesn't always get results. You can't always sit around and let yourself get stepped on, because if your enemy knows you won't retaliate, they'll just continue to escalate and take advantage of your lack of retaliation, finally leading to Sam choosing to strike back at the Cobra Kais when they're harassing Chris at work.
  • In a Call-Back to the first film, Mitch, echoing Tommy's actions, offers the Cobras "a warm one" as they're hanging out. Instead of taking it, Hawk is disgusted and refuses, pointing out warm beer tastes terrible and asking why he didn't keep an ice pack in his backpack to keep the beers cold.
  • After the school brawl in Season 2, the All-Valley Tournament almost gets cancelled. Many people, particularly parents of the students in the brawl, won't just let something that is connected to such a tragedy continue uncontested.
    • Even when Sam and Miguel persuade the City Council to allow the tournament to go ahead, Councilperson Roberts adds the stipulation that all participants must sign waivers clearing the city of any legal liability if someone gets hurt so that the city can't get sued.
    • The participants' collective response indicated they weren't interested in suing the city, anyway. They just wanted closure on a sordid chapter in their collective and individual lives.
  • While Miguel manages to walk again after some extensive physical therapy, karate is a completely different story and he struggles doing many of his old kicks. For this reason, as well as concerns he could re-injure himself, Johnny initially refuses to let him compete in the All Valley even if the tournament is held.
  • Johnny and Carmen being unsure about how their new relationship can affect Miguel does happen to any parent who is dating someone or might become a step-parent to their children. Miguel may consider Johnny a father figure but the idea of him dating his mother is a different matter and may take time for him to accept.
  • The damage caused to Daniel's '45 Ford was caused by the faulty brakes, even if it is his most prized possession; the car was 40 years old when Daniel first got it so naturally, it would have problems at 75 years.
  • Sam and Miguel come up with the idea of getting the Miyagi-Do and former Cobra Kai, now Eagle Fang, students to put aside their differences and team up to defeat Cobra Kai. Thanks to their Opposing Combat Philosophies and the conflict between Daniel and Johnny, they're having trouble agreeing on exactly how they're going to do that.
    • Likewise, while they're aware of the conflict between their senseis, the meeting is mostly focused on the technical details of how to merge the dojos, like what to call it, where they'll practice, what the gi will look like, and what to have for post-training snacks. Debate about their combat philosophies is great and all, but they need to set up the dojo first, and that involves hammering out the considerably less glamorous logistical problems.
    • As Demetri points out, and the Cobra Kai students unknowingly prove, they don't have that much time to disagree on things when their common enemy is willing to attack anywhere at any second.
  • As shown by the doodle on Demitri's sling, the bullying epidemic at West Valley High is still going on. (Yasmine showed clear signs of being a Reformed Bully, while Kyler has consistently remained as gleeful and shameless as ever.) It's going to take a long time, especially with someone like Counselor Blatt there, for the issue to be properly addressed, but at least it's on the table and the parents of the students affected by the brawl aren't going to let it be ignored again.
  • In media, the Crazy Jealous Guy and Violently Protective Girlfriend tropes are mostly dismissed as funny and doesn’t seriously interfere with a couples happiness. Here? Aggressively acting out against perceived romantic threats in the name of your partner will not endear you to them, especially if you fail to acknowledge the issue. Across the three seasons, Miguel, Tory and Robby violently act on their jealousy at times over insecurity or infidelity (real or otherwise). This upsets their partner so much it strains the relationship at best or they bitterly break up at worse. Miguel learns from these errors, and in the process gets a second chance at a romantic relationship with Sam. Tory and Robby allow it destroy their judgement and alienate them from Miguel and Sam respectivelynote .

  • Daniel's first instinct upon walking in on Sam making out with Miguel is to bring up all her past relationships and the fact he doesn't trust Miguel. Any protective parent would would have this reaction, especially considering the circumstances under which Sam's last three relationships ended:
    • Kyler turned out to be a jerkass who bullied Miguel and other kids, tried to date-rape Sam when she called him out on it, then slut-shamed her at school when she fought back, causing her to endure a period of relentless cyberbullying.
    • Her first relationship with Miguel ended when he became brutal under the Cobra Kai teachings. Anyone’s first thought of someone going to their ex they broke up with under less than amiable circumstances goes to the negative side.
    • Robby was someone who Daniel had grown to like in spite of him being Johnny's son, at least until the events of the school rumble. With a series of Poor Communication Kills between them while Robby is in prison and him spotting her getting affectionate with Miguel, Robby's jealousy towards Miguel gets the better of him and he joins Cobra Kai after so many betrayals.
    • Another detail is that Sam kept her relationships with Miguel and Robby a secret from her dad out of fear that he would react poorly if he found out, and both ended up badly as a result.
    • It's only thanks to Sam begging Daniel to talk to Miguel and not hiding her relationship this time that he realizes Miguel's actually not that different from him, and gives Sam his blessings to continue pursuing a relationship with Miguel, so long as they keep the sparring to a minimum.
  • Johnny effortlessly deflects all of Robby's attacks during their fight in the finale. Robby may be second only to Miguel among the teenage karate students, but he still stands absolutely no chance against a fully trained adult sensei.
    • A Heroic version happens for Kreese in the same scene when he fights Johnny and Daniel. While he may still be in prime shape and kick plenty of ass for his age, Kreese is still beaten by Johnny when the two fight as Johnny is his equal in terms of skill while being faster and more energetic due to being much younger than Kreese. The same thing goes for Daniel, who has learned new Miyagi-Do moves and is the protege of the same man who effortlessly wiped the floor with him decades ago. Kreese still gives them both a tough fight, however, showing he’s no slouch despite his advanced age.
  • Mitch’s failed attempt at “belittling the new recruits,” in this case, Kyler and Brucks. While it seemed up to that point that Kyler and his cronies had been taken down a peg after being defeated by Miguel, it’s clear that Kyler is still a bully and sees Mitch as beneath him. Though Mitch tries to explain his reasons for giving them degrading nicknames, Kyler simply scares Mitch by threatening to attack him, with Mitch actually flinching. Kyler’s smile after Mitch’s reaction implies that Kyler still enjoys making others afraid of him. Not only is the scene frightening, but also serves as a reminder that bullies aren’t necessarily intimidated by martial arts and they can still find other ways to make you feel weak.
    • Kyler taking down Mitch only reinforces this fact.
    • The Cobra Kai students are pretty confident they'd be scared of them since Miguel humiliated them. But since they are all recently trained Karate students against a bunch of experienced athletes who have spent years bodybuilding most of them lose pretty quickly.
    • Except for Brucks. Not all victims forget about their former aggressors, and the same can be said for the bullies, as proven by him and Kyler picking on Hawk. He makes a fatal error in underestimating Hawk until he gets a well-deserved beat-down. Picking on people with threats and insults might make you look strong for a while. But if your victim has taken his training seriously and became more aggressive while you did nothing but brag, the shoe is soon going to be on the other foot. While Brucks learns this the hard way, Kyler gets the message straight and clear, and can now only find excuses when Hawk gets angry at him.
  • Kyler mentions being afraid of his father's reaction to finding out he failed trigonometry (with a highly graphic implication). Yes, there are those kinds of parents out there, having ungodly high expectations of their kids; whether it impacted his conduct toward his peers will be another matter.
  • Sadly, Kreese is an excellent example of how even the kindest people can turn into sociopaths by certain conditions. Even with the best intentions, terrible things such as war and grief can change people, for better or worse. Kreese's case is participating in the Vietnam War and having an evil mentor with vicious teachings who bluntly revealed your true love's death to screw with your head. How formerly meek teenagers like Miguel and Eli turned into bullies adds to it.
  • If there isn't any positive influence when you hit Rock Bottom then life would end up taking you in a direction that would end up making your situation even worse in the long run. Robby is the perfect example of this as when he is in juvie the main person he confides in is Kreese and Robby joins Cobra Kai.
  • As mentioned in the Poor Communication Kills section, Robby expects to return to his romantic relationship with Sam the same as before. Between his initial refusal and later inability to communicate with her, it understandably creates a gap between them. All is made worse since Sam has no clue what Robby's intentions were during the school brawl or about his treatment in juvie, and Robby can't let go of his Green-Eyed Monster habits against Miguel. The I Will Wait for You promise between couples doesn't always work when you don't keep in contact and when there is pre-existing tension that wasn't resolved before the separation, especially for teenagers/young adults.
  • One episode begins with a Bait-and-Switch flashback where we're let to believe a Jerk Jock bullying a waiter whose mother just killed herself is a young Kreese. In reality said waiter is Kreese, being popular and having everything handed to you can make you very arrogant but the type of personality disorder Kreese has takes much deeper trauma to develop.
  • Facing stigma is never an pleasant experience. Many cases, even anyone minimally connected to the one person can be affected. Kreese's mother had severe mental health issues and killed herself and because of the great stigma back then, Kreese became a outcast. This isolation and bullying can be deep trauma, and make people desperate to rise above it. Which is presumably why he enlisted. Just one of the many reasons why he became the sociopath we know him as today
  • Tory was functionally a Karma Houdini after the brawl. With her only punishment being expulsion, which clearly meant nothing to her anyway. Getting away practically scott-free for inciting gang violence and attempted murder, it's no surprise she continues her behavior throughout the season, culminating in her leading a gang attack on Sam's house and Tory's second attempt at killing her. Giving criminals like this a slap on the wrist isn't going to alter their behavior at all. She won't learn her lesson if it isn't taught to her. She'll only repeat her behaviors. The only way Tory will ever learn to stop is if she receives a very painful lesson in Karma. In other words, she'll only stop if she is forced to.


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