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The Cobra Kai Moment That Shows How Daniel Failed Robby

In the original 1984 Karate Kid movie, Mr. Miyagi tells Daniel, "No such thing as bad student, only bad teacher." It's a quote that emphasizes the importance of guidance, especially when teaching the developing minds of teenagers. If there's any line from the original flick that exemplifies the spinoff series Cobra Kai, it's that one. 

The show picks up decades after the events of the first film. Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) had his life pretty much fall apart after losing the All-Valley Karate Tournament, but he discovers new meaning when he re-opens his old dojo and teaches a new generation of fighters how to defend themselves. He also frequently runs into trouble with his old rival, Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio), whose life has gone great over the last few decades. 

While both Johnny and Daniel take it upon themselves to become senseis, it's clear they have very different styles. While one could argue the pros and cons of each of their approaches, a Reddit thread illuminates how Daniel ultimately failed one of his students, while Johnny actually did a better job of showcasing Mr. Miyagi's teachings. 

Daniel LaRusso judged Robby too harshly and turned his back on him

Redditor u/pinkqua made a meme comparing two moments from the series. In the first scene, Daniel has just discovered that Robby (Tanner Buchanan) is actually Johnny's son, and he lashes out because he assumes Robby is trying to use him in some way. Daniel shouts, "Don't come back to this house, not to this dealership, not ever. This whole thing was a mistake." Robby may have had bad intentions getting a job at LaRusso Auto Group, but you could see a genuine bond developing between the two after Daniel started teaching him karate. Robby's a kid. He's supposed to make mistakes, and Daniel turned his back on him when he needed him most. 

Compare that with the second scene in the meme, the one in which Johnny tells Miguel (Xolo Maridueña), "And I want you to know, no matter what happens, I'll always be by your side." Miguel and Johnny haven't always seen eye-to-eye either, but Johnny doesn't give up on him. 

In a way, both men are just trying to live up to the examples set by their senseis. Daniel wants to be like Mr. Miyagi, but there really was no one else like him, so Daniel always seems to come up short — especially considering the trust issues he manifests throughout the series. Meanwhile, Johnny wants to be a more understanding sensei than John Kreese (Martin Kove), which isn't particularly tough to do. Daniel and Johnny may be adults now, but it's clear they both still have plenty of growing up to do. It's going to be interesting to see how their characters continue to develop going into Cobra Kai season 3, which hit Netflix earlier than expected.