Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Cobra Kai Quotes: The Real Meaning Behind The Best Lines

When Ralph Macchio and William Zabka agreed to return as Daniel LaRusso and Johnny Lawrence for a Karate Kid sequel series, they couldn't have possibly imagined just how big the show would become. Named after the nefarious karate dojo that plagues Macchio's Daniel in 1984's The Karate Kid, 1986's The Karate Kid Part II, and 1989's The Karate Kid Part IIICobra Kai began life as YouTube's flagship scripted series before moving to Netflix, where it has proven popular. It follows Zabka's down-and-out Johnny as he attempts to resurrect Cobra Kai amid fierce resistance from his old adversary.

The LaRusso-Lawrence feud is reignited in this show. Daniel brings back the Miyagi-Do dojo to combat Cobra Kai's aggressive approach to karate, and the students begin to form rivalries of their own. The lives of the respective families are thrown into ever deeper turmoil as the stakes continue to rise, culminating in a shocking and tragic end to season two. We're taking a look back at the best lines from the show so far, and lifting the lid on what they actually mean.

A lesser-known Karate Kid villain gets a nod in the first Cobra Kai episode

In the first big Cobra Kai fight scene, Johnny Lawrence proves that he's still got it when he takes out the kids bullying his new neighbor. Not being the kind of guy who cares about other people's problems, Johnny is initially content to do nothing when he spots Miguel Diaz (Xolo Maridueña) being tormented by the awful-in-every-way Kyler (Joe Seo). But when the fight spills onto his car, he jumps into action. After being warned to walk away and "leave the dork alone," Kyler and his cronies go for Johnny, who teaches them a lesson Cobra Kai style.

It's a well-choreographed scene set to some 80s-tastic music, but perhaps the best part about it is the nod to one of the lesser-seen Karate Kid films. When Kyler cheap-shots Johnny and puts him in a choke hold, he says, "What's the matter, having trouble breathing?" Johnny asks the exact same question after he escapes with ease and applies a choke hold of his own. This line is first said by mega-jerk Mike Barnes (Sean Kanan) during his showdown with Daniel LaRusso at the end of The Karate Kid Part III.

Johnny channels his former sensei when he starts training Miguel

After some pestering from Miguel Diaz (and an irritating run-in with his old rival, Daniel LaRusso), Johnny Lawrence decides to resurrect the Cobra Kai karate dojo, making his geeky neighbor his first student. It's clear from the beginning that Johnny wants to distance himself from former sensei John Kreese (Martin Kove), but that's easier said than done. Fans of the original Karate Kid will no doubt have picked up on the way that Johnny treats Miguel exactly how his former mentor used to treat him, urging him to "strike first" and telling him that "mercy is for the weak."

Johnny even uses one of Kreese's lines word-for-word when Miguel reaches for his inhaler after being winded, asking, "What is the problem, Mr. Diaz?" It's the exact same question that Kreese asks Johnny when Daniel and Mr. Miyagi (the late, great Pat Morita) walk into the Cobra Kai dojo in the first film. As revealed in Cobra Kai, Johnny's complicated relationship with Kreese began when he was a neglected child. "He ran into John Kreese, who saved him and became a father figure and trained him," William Zabka told Collider. "There's a lot that John Kreese has built into Johnny Lawrence, just in his conscience and the make-up of who he is."

The bullies in Cobra Kai use the same insults as the ones in The Karate Kid

It turns out that one of the guys who caught a whooping from Johnny Lawrence outside the mini-mart in Cobra Kai's first episode has a thing going with Samantha LaRusso (Mary Mouser), daughter of the original karate kid. Like her father, she's got a natural knack for martial arts, but she's not as good at judging character. The besotted Sam is completely oblivious to the fact that her beau Kyler is the school bully — until she witnesses his despicable behavior with her own eyes. Unaware that his girl is hiding behind a nearby bookcase, Kyler threatens Jacob Bertrand's Hawk (still known by his actual name, Eli, at this stage) and humiliates Demetri (Gianni DeCenzo), dumping his bag in the trash.

When Kyler leaves the room laughing, his friend Brucks (Bo Mitchell) can be heard saying, "I think he's gonna cry." This isn't just a throwaway piece of bully dialogue, it's a nod to the film that started it all. Cobra Kai student Tommy (who famously yells "Get him a body bag!" during the first movie's finale) says the exact same thing after he and his pals terrorize Daniel in a locker room during The Karate Kid. Tommy returns for an emotional goodbye in Cobra Kai, passing away from cancer after one last night with his friends.

The name that Daniel LaRusso still can't stand

Samantha LaRusso is rolling with the mean girls when we meet her in Cobra Kai, and she ends up being indirectly involved in Johnny Lawrence's car getting wrecked. Her dad repairs Johnny's beloved Firebird following the collision, only for Daniel LaRusso's hotheaded cousin to burn it. Daniel is furious when he finds out, and he's far from thrilled when he has to replace it. After browsing the LaRusso lot, Johnny picks out a Dodge Challenger and the old rivals go for a test drive together, the first of several tense scenes they share throughout the series.

Things start to heat up when Johnny puts his foot down, letting his pent up anger out on the engine. "Come on, take it easy, this car's technically not yours yet," Daniel complains, to which Johnny replies, "Relax, Danielle." It might seem like a pretty harmless jibe, but it no doubt brings back some painful memories for Daniel  — "Danielle" is what Johnny and his Cobra Kai buddies christened Daniel when the New Jersey native arrived on the scene, and he clearly hasn't forgotten about that.

Daniel LaRusso's snappy Kreese comeback refers to an iconic fight scene

We're led to believe that John Kreese is dead at the beginning of Cobra Kai, but the final scene of the first season confirms that he is very much alive. Johnny Lawrence believes that his former sensei has passed away, telling the board of the All Valley Tournament as much during his hearing to get the besmirched Cobra Kai reinstated. He is surprised to learn that Kreese is still alive and kicking, unlike Daniel LaRusso, who remains suspicious of Johnny's efforts to bring Cobra Kai back to the valley.

"Dead my a**," Daniel quips when he lays eyes on the supposedly dead Kreese, who makes a snide remark about the actually dead Mr. Miyagi. "You're lucky he's not here," Daniel snaps back. "How are your knuckles doing there, Kreese?" As executive producer Hayden Schlossberg explained to Entertainment Weekly, this "refers to an incident between Kreese and Mr. Miyagi in the parking lot after the All Valley Tournament in Karate Kid Part II. Kreese took a swing at Mr. Miyagi and missed. In the process, Kreese's fists crashed through multiple car windows, leaving him with bloody knuckles. Knuckles are referred to often from Cobra Kai members — because when you screw up, you have to do push-ups on your knuckles."

Daniel LaRusso foreshadows tough times with his comments on balance

The idea of balance has always been at the core of the Karate Kid movies, and it continues to be a central theme in Cobra Kai, especially where Daniel LaRusso is concerned. In one of the many iconic Karate Kid scenes revisited in flashbacks in Cobra Kai, Daniel's beloved mentor Mr. Miyagi tells him that balance is not just for karate, it's a "lesson for whole life." He believes that by bringing Miyagi-Do Karate back, he can bring balance to the valley, but as his efforts to stop the new Cobra Kai in its tracks escalate, his wife becomes increasingly concerned.

"I'm happy that you found karate again, but opening your own dojo?" Amanda LaRusso says to her husband in the Cobra Kai season two opener. "Make sure you can balance that with everything you've got going on." Daniel's response is a nod to that famous scene from the first film (Mr. Miyagi imparts this particular pearl of wisdom just as Daniel is about to borrow his yellow 1947 Ford Super Deluxe), and it foreshadows the trouble he faces in the remainder of the season: "Balance is my thing."

Why Johnny's response to Miguel's question about cleaning is so hilarious

Lots of well-known Karate Kid lines are utilized for comic value in Cobra Kai, including the iconic "wax on, wax off." When Daniel LaRusso begins his training with Mr. Miyagi in the first film, the Okinawan puts him to work painting fences, sanding floors and, of course, waxing cars. The idea is to give Daniel muscle memory that will help him block attacks in a fight, and it works just as he planned.

Miyagi is a world away from John Kreese in terms of training, just as Daniel LaRusso and Johnny Lawrence take different approaches in Cobra Kai. When Johnny's first student asks him about his dojo chores, he gets a very Johnny response. "Hey, Sensei, is there any particular way you want me to wash these windows?" Miguel asks, to which Johnny replies, "Nah, I don't give a s***. Whichever is easiest." Executive producer Hayden Schlossberg confirmed that this was "a callback to the particular way Daniel was told to 'wax on, wax off'" in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. "Johnny's 'I don't give a s***' response to Miguel clearly distinguishes his teaching style from Mr. Miyagi's."

The student becomes the teacher

Daniel LaRusso gets his own callback to the "wax on, wax off" scene when Robby Keene (Tanner Buchanan) turns up at the LaRusso car dealership looking for a job. Unaware that Robby's estranged dad is his old karate rival Johnny Lawrence, LaRusso decides to give the boy a chance. Among his duties: Waxing the cars. "Something that stands out for me because it was a surreal moment, was when I was at the LaRusso auto dealership and you showed me how to wax on, wax off for the first time," Buchanan told Ralph Macchio during a chat for Interview magazine. "I was like, 'I don't know how to do this,' and you actually said, 'I'll show you how to do the wax on, wax off thing.' It was an out of body experience."

Just like Mr. Miyagi does after agreeing to train him, Daniel makes Robby complete a series of backbreaking chores around the dojo that teach him how to react quickly without him knowing it. Robby has no idea that his training has begun in earnest, and, like Daniel does in the 1984 original, he eventually loses patience. "I thought you were gonna teach me karate," the indignant Robby says as he storms off. Daniel, knowing what's coming, utters, "God, I love this part." He catches up with Robby, who realizes that he now knows how to block.

Why everyone involved with Cobra Kai really loves Golf N' Stuff

An iconic location from the Karate Kid franchise that you can actually visit in real life, mini-golf hangout Golf N' Stuff is where Daniel LaRusso and Ali Mills (Elisabeth Shue) go on their date in the original movie, and it's where Miguel Diaz takes Daniel's daughter Sam when they go out in Cobra Kai. In the first season of the show, we learn that Daniel shares his love of the place with his kid. "I can't believe you wanted to come to Golf N' Stuff," Sam tells Miguel. "I love this place ... My dad used to bring me here all the time when I was a kid."

It's not just Samantha LaRusso who loves Golf N' Stuff. When executive producer Jon Hurwitz spoke with Entertainment Weekly as part of a Cobra Kai special, he revealed that the people working on the show wanted to recapture the mini-golf magic. "One of our favorite sequences in the original Karate Kid was Daniel and Ali's first date at Golf N' Stuff," Hurwitz said. "It was during this date that the world really fell in love with them as a couple and we wanted to achieve the same for Samantha and Miguel while paying homage to the movie."

Who is the "war buddy" who supposedly offered Kreese a job?

The Karate Kid films establish that John Kreese is a genuine Vietnam War veteran. When he returns out of the blue in Cobra Kai, Kreese claims to have added more countries to his checklist on an off-the-books basis. "One of my war buddies offered me a job," Kreese says in the fourth episode of season two. When executive producer Hayden Schlossberg spoke to Entertainment Weekly about this particular line, he revealed who Kreese is talking about. "Kreese is most likely referring to Terry Silver (Thomas Ian Griffith), his fellow Vietnam soldier and toxic waste tycoon who financed Cobra Kai and played a co-antagonist with Kreese in The Karate Kid III," Schlossberg said. "Fun Fact: Terry Silver got revenge for Kreese by making Daniel's knuckles bleed. Once again, knuckles."

When Johnny Lawrence gives Kreese permission to return to Cobra Kai as a sensei in season two, he starts telling the students about all the dangerous missions he's part of. Hawk and most of the students are eating his stories up — until the skeptical Miguel points out some serious flaws in his geography. Kreese later admits to Johnny that he tried to reenlist in the military after the events of the Karate Kid films but was turned down, which is why he fabricated more war stories.

Mr. Miyagi didn't teach Daniel everything

There are shades of Daniel LaRusso's epic battle with Johnny Lawrence in the final episode of Cobra Kai season one, when their respective star students face off against one another at the same tournament they fought in all those years ago. Just like Daniel in the first Karate Kid film, Robby Keene suffers a seemingly match-ending injury during the fight. His opponent, Cobra Kai's Miguel Diaz (coached by Robby's father, Johnny) leaves him with a dislocated shoulder. All seems lost for the underdog.

With Robby on the verge of dropping out, Daniel starts rubbing his hands together, leading us to believe that Mr. Miyagi educated him in the ways of reiki. Miyagi uses the ancient healing technique on Daniel's badly injured leg in the first film, but it turns out this is one thing he didn't teach to Daniel-san. The music takes a dramatic turn as we zoom in on Daniel's hands, but it's all part of a hilarious fake out — instead of trying to fix Robby, Daniel simply yells, "Medic!" A professional comes in to do the job, popping Robby's shoulder back into place. He valiantly carries on but loses the match when Miguel exploits his injury, leading Johnny to realize that his immoral methods have corrupted a promising young man.