Five Lessons to Learn from Cobra Kai

Photo by Charlein Gracia on Unsplash

I finished watching a new series Cobra Kai.

The story picks up 30 years after The Karate Kid trilogy where Daniel Larusso was under the mentorship of Mr.Miyagi and learns to fight his battles.

A typical underdog vs the bully movie, it had left a lasting impression on many people. I remember watching it as a kid and getting inspired by it. The movie had a lot to do in promoting karate.

I don’t know how many children took actual lessons and fought off their bullies. But it did give some valuable life lessons from how to discipline oneself to how to treat a lady. And not to mention a sense of moral victory when Daniel wins the karate championship against the bullies of Cobra Kai.

So with that excellent story in the background cushioned by a sense of nostalgia, I started the series.

And frankly, I was quite impressed by the way the creators had handled the characters. It was good to see how the old actors were doing now.

As the name suggests the film has Johnny Lawrence once nemesis of Daniel Larusso as the protagonist. He is leading the life of a wasted loser, who has been chewed up and spit back by society.

While Daniel Larusso married to a beautiful wife with two kids, is a winner in all the ways that Johnny is not. A top-notch car salesman who kicks the competition out and gives bonsai plants to his every customer and has a great family. Daniel is living the life.

The series is about how Johnny picks up his life and adds value to the lives of others. Presented in such a manner that it’s relatable to even the present generation.

Here are five life lessons that one can learn from the series — ( spoilers’ alert, if you haven’t watched the show )Photo by Irham Bahtiar on Unsplash

#1. Nobody is 100% good and nobody is 100% bad.

We are often too quick to judge a person based on a single event. It is easier to look at the world in two colors of black and white. But as we grow older we realize there is a big grey area. And most of us can have a hard time categorizing the grey because we are so used to just white and black.

When a former bully Johnny Lawrence teaches a “ Nerd ” karate so that he can fight off the bully, it’s clear that those who were once bad are capable of doing good.

And similarly, when Daniel loses his cool and takes revenge by trying to shut down Johnny’s dojo we know that even the good falter and make mistakes. Cobra Kai teaches us that even those we thought are bad could do good and even the best of us make mistakes.Photo by Thao Le Hoang on Unsplash

#2. Having a good teacher can make all the difference.

Cobra Kai reminds us of the adage of wise Mr.Miyagi that — there is no bad student, there is only the bad teacher. everyone needs a good guide to help them in life.

The show is not just a trip down the nostalgia road but also a trip down the wisdom road. Mr.Miyagi was not just a teacher and guide to Daniel but also to many children who grew up watching the celebrated trilogy.

Just like his young version the older Daniel when at his wits ends looks for advice from Mr.Miyagi and the series contains several throwback scenes of Mr.Miyagi sharing the pearls of wisdom. And the result is clear — Daniel had a better teacher and guide which brought him success, while Johnny’s had a psycho for a teacher who broke his trophy for coming second and tried to kill him.Photo by Bonnie Kittle on Unsplash

#3. Whatever good you do will eventually come back to you sooner or later.

The proverbial phrase of one good deed deserves another or as you sow so shall you reap is something we keep hearing ever since we grow and not without reason.

But we start believing it only when we start seeing it happen in our lives. And whenever we watch it or read about it our faith in this adage is re-affirmed. So when Daniel’s business is on the verge of closure, he finds help least expectedly. When the girl he had saved 30 years back in the cyclone saves his business.Photo by Thao Le Hoang on Unsplash

#3. Strike First, Strike Hard — but have Honor.

Strike first is not just about being in a fight, it’s about a way of life. As sensei, Johnny Lawrence explains to his student “ do you want to be the one who takes that girl out, or do you want to see somebody else take her out in front of you”.

For the young Miguel who had been the nerd of the class, this is a life lesson that helps him be with his love. The world we live in is competitive and the winner is more often than not the one who takes the initiative.

Strike First and Strike Hard implying give it everything you have got. Be it the job of your choice that you are applying for, a seat in the university, or a street fight. Sensei Lawrence admonishes his student for hitting the unprepared opponent in the match. Thereby making it clear, that the code Strike First doesn’t mean cheating, after all if you don’t have Honor then you are not badass.Photo by Samuel Castro on Unsplash

#4. You can be good and be badass at the same time.

Because being badass is not about hurting others but about not letting anybody else hurt you.

While the Karate Kid always spoke about defense, Cobra kai also mentions the importance of being aggressive when the need arises. Because in life there will be circumstances when you can’t avoid a fight.

And in those cases, it’s better to be on the offense and take away the strength of the opponent than getting hurt in trying to protect oneself.Photo by Jerry Zhang on Unsplash

5.Everyone has a sob story but that doesn’t give anyone the right to bully.

The Karate Kid movies were a hit because they talked about the story of an underdog fighting the bad bullies.

A story that everyone could relate to because we all have encountered bullies at some point in our lives. But Cobra Kai goes one step further by exploring the cause of bully behavior. And not surprisingly people who become bullies were at some point bullied themselves.

It could be parents, someone in school, the office of just the system. But what we make of it is in our hands. So while Miguel chooses to never bully even though he is a badass. Someone like Tory finds it difficult to be merciful.

The wisdom of good sense and a courageous heart is being served for today’s generation in a new way. I guess certain lessons never go out of fashion. HIYAAA!!

Five Lessons to Learn from Cobra Kai was originally published in ILLUMINATION on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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