Cobra Kai season 1 episode 3 "Esqueleto" finds Johnny acting as mentor to Miguel and not doing a great job of it. Director John G. Avildsen's most famous work is the original Rocky, which became an instant classic in 1976 and made Sylvester Stallone a movie star. Avildsen would opt out for returning for a sequel, although he eventually came back for 1990's Rocky V. Avildsen would make a name for himself with underdog tales, including dramas 8 Seconds and The Power Of One. He also helmed the first three Karate Kid movies, with the original entry arriving in 1984.
The Karate Kid followed Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio), who is bullied at school by a group of students led by Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka), who is part of the Cobra Kai dojo. Daniel is later trained by the kindly Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita) in karate and the two form a close friendship. The movie ends with Daniel beating Johnny in a tournament, and the next two entries continued their adventures. Christopher Cain (Young Guns) took over for 1994's The Next Karate Kid, which saw Mr. Miyagi train a young girl played by future Oscar winner Hilary Swank. This sequel was poorly received and underperformed, and it took sixteen years for a Karate Kid remake starring Jackie Chan and Jaden Smith to arrive. The movie was a success, but while a sequel was developed it still hasn't happened.
The Karate Kid remains a beloved franchise and in 2018 a legacy series called Cobra Kai arrived on YouTube Premium. Rather than cashing in on nostalgia for the original movies, Cobra Kai is a surprisingly deep drama that mostly takes place from Johnny's point of view, who never really recovered from his defeat at Daniel's hands. The rivalry between them is reignited 30 years later when a down on his luck Johnny decides to reopen the Cobra Kai dojo.
Cobra Kai builds on the characters from the original films, fleshing them out in intriguing ways. Johnny also becomes a Mr. Miyagi-style mentor to bullied student Miguel Diaz. This relationship forms an important part of the show, but Cobra Kai season 1 episode 3 "Esqueleto" finds him failing to impart good advice. During training, he teaches Miguel the Cobra Kai's creed of striking first and without mercy. Miguel later attends a Halloween dance at school - wearing Johnny's famous skeleton costume from the first movie - and attacks bully Kyler when he makes comments about Miguel's crush Samantha. The strike first creed fails and Miguel is viciously beaten by Kyler and his gang.
Johnny later finds Miguel and brings him home. Cobra Kai contrasts Daniel's training with the sage Mr. Miyagi to Johnny's misguided mentoring of Miguel. Johnny training under the brutal John Kreese in The Karate Kid warped his philosophy on fighting, and encouraging a teenager to start a fight with a gang of bullies was never going to end well. The show is ultimately a look at the effects of bullying and its lasting impact, and Cobra Kai season 1 episode 3 was an important building block in Johnny's road to becoming a mentor.