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What You Didn't Notice During Samantha And Kyler's Movie Date In Cobra Kai

Cobra Kai both literally and metaphorically passes on to the next generation the lessons taught by the original Karate Kid movies. In the YouTube-Red-turned-Netflix series, we see Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) and Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) carry on their rivalry, which in turn forces their teenage protégés to pick sides and get into fights with one another. Their anger that came about all those years ago bleeds into the lives of these new karate students, resulting in more bloodshed and damaged psyches. 

Similarly, a new generation of TV viewers has discovered the Karate Kid franchise, which introduce them to Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita) and his teachings about life, and in doing so, have noticed that Cobra Kai makes many callbacks to the movies. While you have to look carefully to pick up on it, one of these references comes when Samantha LaRusso (Mary Mouser) shows off some of her karate moves during her movie date with Kyler (Joe Seo). At first glance, it initially comes off as an opportunity to showcase Samantha's background with martial arts early on, but there's actually a deeper meaning to that moment the actress pointed out in a recent interview.

The movie date fight was intended to show off a modern version of the 'wax on, wax off' technique

Mouser, Macchio, and Zabka had the chance to sit down for a virtual chat with SYFY WIRE to discuss the recently released third season of Cobra Kai. A major theme throughout the discussion was how the show effectively utilizes nostalgia to craft a more compelling story, and Mouser got into how viewers sometimes need to look closely to pick up on subtle callbacks. As it turns out, the most famous move from the original Karate Kid makes an appearance when you least expect it, but you have to slow down the scene to catch it.

"One of Samantha's first moves was in the movie theater, and it was blocking Kyler from making a move, and it was supposed to literally be a 'wax on, wax off' situation, except a modern take on it," Mouser explained. "If you slow it down, you can tell that, but I think that's like the same kind of thing: You have to look for these cool little moments and pieces." 

In 1984's The Karate Kid, Daniel LaRusso learns the "wax on, wax off" technique while literally waxing a car. Later, he puts it to good use by incorporating the movement into his karate arsenal, allowing him to deflect oncoming attacks. You have to look carefully, but if you pay attention when Kyler grabs Samantha by the arm in Cobra Kai, she uses that famous circular motion to get him off her. From early on in the series, it was abundantly clear that Daniel gave his daughter some training, and it foreshadows the skilled fighter she becomes later on. Not only does the moment show how you shouldn't mess with Sam, but it also connects her with Mr. Miyagi and allows him to live on.