While Cobra Kai has evolved past the simpler days of The Karate Kid, it still shows that Daniel LaRusso and Johnny Lawrence have a famous rivalry that will seemingly never end. From that first All-Valley Tournament, the two have grown and led their own lives. With both of them being adults, many people wonder who is the better fighter nowadays.
Because Cobra Kai treats both characters as likable, neither one of them is shown to be better than the others. That's why we're breaking down five reasons Johnny Lawrence is a better fighter and 5 reasons why Daniel LaRusso is still on top.
10 JOHNNY: MORE PRACTICE
After the days of the All-Valley Tournament, it's clear that Daniel LaRusso spent the greater years of his life slowing down and gaining a family. While Johnny Lawrence aptly put the karate thing behind him as well, he was all the more willing to dust it off and bring it back when the opportunity presented itself.
With him running his own dojo before Daniel officially got back into it, Johnny is a bit more practiced than his old rival. He has to constantly relearn old techniques and invest some new ones as a way to teach his massive classes a thing or two.
9 DANIEL: LEVEL-HEADED
Daniel LaRusso is a much calmer person than Johnny Lawrence. While Cobra Kai has shown that he can lose focus or get tightly wound, he knows how to exercise that inner peace he learned back in the '80s when things get tough.
When people fight angrily, they start to slip up and make more mistakes. Because Daniel often doesn't let his emotions get the better of him, he performs better in fights. That's what helped him win the All-Valley Tournament twice back in the day and what helped him take on the criminals that were trying to seriously harm Robby.
8 JOHNNY: TRAINED STRONGER STUDENTS
While there was a lot of talk as to which students would win the All-Valley Tournament, it's clear that Johnny's were a bit stronger. With heavy hitters like Hawk and Miguel, Cobra Kai managed to take home the trophy, though that was partially because the exploited their opponents.
In Cobra Kai season two, it was a long while before Miyagi-Do was even close to ready to take on the aggressive students of Cobra Kai. Even when Miguel and Robby were having a no-holds-barred brawl, it was Miguel who won the fight. He was only injured because Robby denied the mercy he was shown.
7 DANIEL: HAD A BETTER TEACHER
One of the iconic lines in The Karate Kid was when Mr. Miyagi told Daniel that there were no bad students, only bad teachers. It's clear that the teachers for both Daniel and Johnny led them down different paths, which is reflected in their fighting styles.
Regardless of how much Johnny tried to change his ways, he was still taught by John Kreese at the end of the day, which led him to make a lot of mistakes in battle. Daniel, on the other hand, was trained by Mr. Miyagi. Mr. Miyagi beat just about everyone he faced, including John Kreese.
6 JOHNNY: DOESN'T RELENT
Johnny Lawrence lived in a beat-down version of the world after the days of The Karate Kid. Living in his own grungy apartment, he saw all kinds of horrible things in his life. Because of this, he's not afraid to put his fists up to get the job done. Miguel would've been seriously harmed if Johnny wasn't afraid to fight some teenagers to teach them a lesson.
The same would go for those drunk people in the bar. Johnny doesn't relent, though he does show mercy sometimes. Still, he deals enough damages that those he fights know not to get on his bad side anymore.
5 DANIEL: WON TOURNAMENTS
Johnny might have more fighting experience before The Karate Kid and during Cobra Kai, but that experience didn't do him much when it came to the tournaments. In the All-Valley Tournament, it was Daniel LaRusso who famously won by beating Johnny Lawrence. However, that wasn't the only competition that Daniel won.
In The Karate Kid III, he went up against Mike Barnes in the All-Valley Tournament and took first place trophy home once more. Daniel's fighting skills were so good that he could compete and win just about any tournament he wanted. Though this was initially against Mr. Miyagi's wishes, the two reached a mutual understanding.
4 JOHNNY: TURNED A NEW LEAF
When we meet Johnny Lawrence in Cobra Kai, it's clear that he's not the same man we knew in The Karate Kid. He starts the Cobra Kai dojo again, but it's clear that he's not running it the same way his old teacher did. In the second season, Johnny was officially turning over a new leaf.
He cared about his students and was prepared to fight for them, not make decisions that would harm their futures. Him turning over a new leaf has essentially cleared his mind a bit of all the gunk that was previously there. This would reflect in his fighting style, and he went toe-to-toe with Daniel as well.
3 DANIEL: FOCUSES ON BALANCE
The key to becoming a well-rounded person is balance. The key to any great fighter is balance as well. These were the lessons that Daniel was taught by Mr. Miyagi, and he holds fast to them in Cobra Kai. One of the first lessons he teaches his students is how to fight while being well-balanced.
By relaying to his students how to become balanced in their own ways, many of them were able to take down their Cobra Kai opponents during the second season finale. Because he focuses on balance, he's able to take advantage of those who don't have good inner or outer balance themselves.
2 JOHNNY: GETS IT DONE
There are a lot of awful people in the world, and that has been reflected in Cobra Kai. There are bullies, jerks, and everything else in between. With Johnny being placed in this cruel world, he isn't afraid to get things done. If he sees someone threatening him or those he cares about, he gives them what they deserve.
While he hasn't put people in the hospital, he has done enough damage that they won't be messing around anymore. Daniel hesitates to fight, as he was taught to only use it for self-defense. However, that won't be a good strategy when going against Kreese's new Cobra Kai.
1 DANIEL: REMEMBERS HIS TEACHINGS
Daniel LaRusso had one of the best karate teachers ever: Mr. Miyagi. With everything that Miyagi taught him, Daniel was more than happy to keep those teachings alive in his life and when he trained his own students. Because he had such a good teacher, Daniel has let those teachings guide his life, something that Johnny Lawrence doesn't have the benefit of.
He is able to recall those lessons and use them in battle, where Johnny Lawrence has had to figure out a new way in life, which could make him weaker than Daniel as a result. Daniel could still learn some new lessons, though.