In a series like Cobra Kai, the characters are taught to “strike first,” so it makes sense that many of the characters would prefer to act on their feelings instead of talking about them. Many of the characters tend to jump into situations without fully considering the ramifications of their actions. That can work out in their favor, but it can also lead to a lot of trouble.
Even the characters who aren’t members of the Cobra Kai dojo will often take action impulsively, making their point with what they do rather than what they say, which can lead to a lot of drama for everyone.
10 Johnny Defends Miguel From Teenage Bullies
A grown man fighting teenagers isn’t usually something an audience is going to cheer for. Johnny Lawrence, remembered as the bully from Karate Kid, however, standing up to a bunch of bullies outside of a gas station for the teenage boy who lives in his building is different.
It’s one of the first times in the franchise that the audience gets to see Johnny as a sort of hero and potential role model. He doesn’t like that three teenagers who are clearly more experienced fighters and are significantly larger than Miguel are ganging up on him. Johnny, even in his inebriated state, doesn’t let that stand, showing that he’s a better guy than the audience might have initially thought.
9 Sam Jumps From The Roof During Training
When Johnny and Daniel decide that they have a mutual enemy in Cobra Kai, the two decide to team up and train their students together. That, predictably, doesn’t go as well as they would hope, but Sam LaRusso is one of the few students who ends up fully embracing both of their styles. That kicks off in a moment when she finally decides to start listening to Johnny instead of always doing what her father expects in training.
Johnny wants the students to jump from one roof to another to prove a point, and they all refuse. After spending nearly the entire episode arguing with him, Sam decides to make the attempt, surprising everyone when she takes off running and makes the jump with no warning. It’s the moment when things begin to change for her and Sam has that brief moment of fearlessness.
8 Miguel Defends Himself In The Cafeteria
Once Miguel starts training with Johnny, he gains newfound confidence that means he doesn’t just take it or allow his friends to walk away when they’re continually targeted by bullies at school. Miguel stands up for himself, Demetri, and Eli when Kyler and his friends try to make fun of them in the cafeteria.
Eagle-eyed fans will notice that Sam (before she even really goes back to her karate training) starts to move as if she’s going to defend them herself, but Miguel surprises everyone when he’s able to fight off Kyler and his friends all on his own. Bullies stop coming after Miguel then, until Cobra Kai becomes the bullies. It’s a turning point for his character, much like jumping to the new roof is for Sam. Miguel starts to believe in himself and gets his friends to believe in themselves as well.
7 Hawk Breaks Demetri’s Arm
After fully embracing his “Hawk” persona, Eli changes drastically. He’s the one often doing the bullying instead of getting bullied, and he lashes out at anyone who gets in his way. That includes his former best friend Demetri.
When Demetri is part of a group of Miyagi-do students who confront a few members of the Cobra Kai dojo at Golf ‘n Stuff, Demetri is easily overpowered by the other students. While others hold him still, Hawk breaks Demetri’s arm. The audience might have seen that as the point of no return for Hawk. There are small moments, however, where the audience can see the old Eli peeking through in the sequence, brief moments of worry. He’s been completely sucked in by the teachings of Cobra Kai, but he’s not completely lost yet.
6 Tory Introduces Herself By Beating Miguel On The Mat
Aisha is initially the only female student in the Cobra Kai dojo, so she’s understandably excited for Tory to join and to have someone else there she can bond with. Tory, like Aisha, isn’t about to let herself be intimidated by the boys in the dojo either. When she’s encouraged to spar with Miguel to show the room what she can do, she doesn’t just spar with him, she knocks him on his back and wins the fight.
It’s a great introduction for Tory as she’s someone who often leaps before she looks and approaches everything in her life aggressively. It tells the audience all they need to know about her – and is a sure sign that she’ll become one of Cobra Kai’s strongest students.
5 Sam Doesn’t Stop Yasmine’s Bullying
When the series first begins, Sam is at a crossroads in her life, but she doesn’t realize it. She’s become friends with the popular girls in school and has begun neglecting her old friends. Yasmine in particular is not the best influence on Sam and spends most of her free time bullying Aisha. Sam stands by and does nothing.
Though Sam has wise words for others later in the series, and she does eventually stand up to Yasmine, her not even voicing that the bulling is wrong is the first sign of Sam’s immaturity in the series. She’s too worried about fitting in with her new friends to do the right thing.
4 Robby Runs Away
Though Robby acts like he wants to be treated like an adult and that he can take care of himself, he makes a decision that proves to the audience he isn’t ready for that. When things get difficult for him with the LaRusso family and his own father, he runs.
Robby doesn’t just run away though. He runs away in a car that belongs to the LaRusso dealership. Despite Daniel and Amanda trying to help him and wanting to make sure he doesn’t get into trouble, Robby ends up in legal trouble regardless. He decides to run away from his problems instead of dealing with them, which becomes a pattern for his character.
3 Sam Kisses Miguel
Though Sam and Miguel break up when Cobra Kai, of course, comes between them, it’s clear that the two of them still have feelings for one another. When Sam is dating Robby and Miguel is dating Tory, the two have a moment at a party that is seen by their respective partners.
Though Sam and Miguel might repeatedly deny that there’s anything still going on between them, the two wouldn’t have kissed at the party if they didn’t still have feelings for one another. Attempting to move on with other people doesn’t work for either of them, and it only leads to more conflict as Tory then targets Sam at school.
2 Hawk Helps Demetri Against Cobra Kai
When Eli fully transforms into Hawk, there’s no denying that he’s a bully. After multiple brawls between the students of Cobra Kai and Miyagi-do, however, the violence has only escalated. When the Cobra Kai students come to the LaRusso house to stop a meet-up between Johnny Lawrence’s and Daniel LaRusso’s students, however, Hawk has a choice to make.
He sees his friends battling his new classmates, and while he’s initially on the side of Cobra Kai, he makes a turn in the middle of the fight. Hawk decides to come to Demetri’s aid, teaming up with him to take on Cobra Kai students instead of continuing to torment his friends. It’s a great character moment for him and a sign that Demetri can trust him again.
1 Amanda Slaps Kreese
Amanda LaRusso tends to be one of the most level-headed members of the LaRusso family. She understands that her husband and her daughter have a love for martial arts, but she also recognizes that their lives can’t revolve around the competition as well.
The rare times when she loses her cool involve her family being in actual danger, like Sam being traumatized by her fight with Tory. Amanda actually takes a chance to go speak with John Kreese about the rivalry between his dojo and her husband’s at one point, and when Kreese continues to mock her, Amanda lashes out, slapping him, instead of continuing her argument. It’s a rare moment of lost control from her, but one that’s satisfying for the audience at the time.