On December 19, 1984, Daniel LaRusso and Johnny Lawrence battled in the All-Valley Under-18 Karate Tournament finals. However, their heated rivalry did not end that night. Indeed, 34 years later and they’re still feuding. The popular Netflix series Cobra Kai revolves around Daniel and Johnny as adults and the rekindling of their feud.
Of course, it all started with the classic 80s movie The Karate Kid. Daniel and Johnny rarely ever agree with each other and still can’t get along. Of course, they do find some common ground but are still hesitant to trust each other. They are more alike than they admit and still argue about everything.
10 Johnny Bullied Daniel – Daniel’s Right
From Daniel’s perspective, Johnny was a mean bully that terrorized him just because he was the new kid. In the season 3 episode “Feel The Night,” Daniel explains his version of the feud to Miguel. Daniel struggled with being the new kid until meeting Ali Mills. Of course, Daniel fell madly in love with Ali. He didn’t realize that Ali and Johnny had history. Johnny and his friends targeted and harassed him. They once chased Daniel and pushed him down a big hill. Eventually, Daniel learns to defend himself and takes on the Cobra Kai dojo at the All Valley Tournament.
9 Daniel’s The Real Bully – Johnny’s Right
It should come as no surprise that Johnny disagrees with Daniel. Indeed, Johnny feels like he was the victim of Daniel bullying him. In Johnny’s version, Daniel was an arrogant new kid that stole his girlfriend, Ali. Daniel often provoked Johnny and enjoyed pranking him too. Daniel soaked Johnny with a water hose at the Halloween dance party while he was in the bathroom stall. Johnny wasn’t bothering anyone when Daniel provoked a fight. Of course, Johnny and his friends beat up Daniel until Mr. Miyagi saved the day.
8 Daniel Never Strikes First – Daniel’s Right
Daniel learned a very different style of karate than Johnny did from Sensei Kreese. Mr. Miyagi’s teachings were vastly different than most dojos. Miyagi-Do Karate is about finding inner peace, balance, and self-defense only. Daniel teaches his students never to start a fight or strike first. Of course, Miyagi taught Daniel much more than how to fight.
Miyagi taught him the importance of balance in training and life. The lessons went beyond basic karate skills. Daniel takes everything he learned and tries to introduce a whole new generation of kids to Miyagi-Do Karate.
7 Johnny Strikes First – Johnny’s Right
Johnny and Daniel have two opposing viewpoints on karate. Johnny uses everything he learned from Sensei Kreese but takes a different approach. He teaches his students to be aggressive and strike first. Johnny can be harsh and blunt when teaching, but his students all gain confidence. They learn to stand up for themselves, never quit and never accept defeat. Initially, he teaches them the concept of no mercy. However, he later teaches them to show mercy and compassion. Johnny’s style is a bit more aggressive but works for his students.
6 Daniel Didn’t Trust Kreese – Daniel’s Right
Initially, Daniel and Johnny agreed that Sensei Kreese could not be trusted. Kreese taught Johnny everything he knows about karate. Indeed, Johnny was Kreese’s star student until losing to Daniel in 1984. Kreese attacked Johnny after losing, but Mr. Miyagi intervened. During season 2, Johnny reluctantly begins to trust Kreese again. He even lets him be part of the new Cobra Kai. Daniel refuses to trust Kreese when he returns and warns Johnny. Daniel ends up being right about Kreese. Kreese double-crosses Johnny and takes over Cobra Kai.
5 Letting Cobra Kai In The All Valley – Johnny’s Right
During season 1, Daniel’s furious when Johnny reopens Cobra Kai. Daniel only has unpleasant memories of the infamous dojo. Of course, Johnny has good intentions and wants to help his students improve. Johnny’s students are eager to prove themselves, and they decide to enter the All-Valley Tournament.
However, the tournament committee banned Cobra Kai from the event in the 80s. Daniel’s on the board and argues they shouldn’t be allowed in the tournament. He claims the Cobra Kai students are the same bullies they were in the 80s. Johnny gives a passionate speech to the committee noting his dojo is different. The committee agreed with Johnny and let Cobra Kai in the tournament.
4 The Beach Brawl – Daniel’s Right
In The Karate Kid, Johnny and Daniel first meet on the beach and get into a fight. In the season 1 episode “Molting,” Johnny tells Miguel about the conflict and claims Daniel hit him with a sucker punch. Therefore, Johnny’s training kicked in, and he attacked Daniel. However, Johnny leaves out critical elements of the story. Daniel was new to town and met Ali at the beach. Johnny was furious when he saw them playing with a soccer ball. He argued with Ali and refused to give her stereo back. Daniel tried to help Ali, but Johnny knocked him to the ground. Daniel responded with a sucker punch, but Johnny instigated the fight.
3 Daniel Mocks Johnny – Johnny’s Right
Johnny often claims that Daniel’s the real bully in their long-standing feud. The first time they reunited seems to prove Johnny right. In the season 1 episode “Ace Degenerate,” Johnny and Daniel ran into each other at the LaRusso Auto Group. Daniel teases Johnny for beating him in the finals of the All-Valley Tournament over 30 years ago. Daniel mocks Johnny with his cousin Louie and salesman Anoush. Daniel mentions that he won by kicking Johnny in the face. Johnny’s angry and desperately wants to leave. Of course, Daniel doesn’t make the reunion easy on Johnny.
2 Daniel Didn’t Steal Ali From Johnny – Daniel’s Right
Johnny and Daniel’s feud stems from both having feelings for Ali in high school. Indeed, they both fell pretty hard for her. Johnny blames Daniel for his relationship with Ali not working out. However, Johnny and Ali were having problems long before Daniel showed up.
In the episode “Take A Right,” Johnny admits he wasn’t a good boyfriend to Ali. Ali broke up with Johnny after he passed out and missed her 18th birthday. Daniel moved to town a few weeks later and met Ali at the beach. Ali breaking up with Johnny was more his fault than he wants to admit.
1 The Illegal Kick – Johnny’s Right
In the climactic final fight in The Karate Kid, Daniel defeats Johnny with the devastating crane kick. To this day, Johnny contends that Daniel won by using an illegal kick to the face. Daniel argues that any shots above the waist were legal. After 34 years, they still can’t agree. The referees in the tournament state kicks to the face are against the rules. Therefore, Johnny’s right that Daniel used an illegal kick. Of course, Johnny broke the rules throughout the fight, including an illegal elbow to the knee.
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