Before I start, is this cheesy as hell? Writing 38 bloody life lessons about Cobra Kai?
F*** yeah, it is.
(US valley girl accent) Like, what omg like... what type of guy would bother wasting time writing 7000 words about Cobra Kai?
A guy that watched Bruce Lee Enter The Dragon so many times one eye turned blind that's who! (well...semi-true. I did watch it too much and I do have a 'lazy eye' which is basically blind)
But let me tell you, sometimes you need a bit of cheesy wisdom in your life.
Cheesy one-liners, a cheesy film, a cheesy Netflix show, or a cheeseburger..whatever.
Just don't be too serious, the pearls of wisdom are often covered in glorious melted chees… okay I need to stop before a McDonald's Triple Cheeseburger gets a hammering.
To. The. Article. Itz-aaa!
It kicks off 36 years after the original film.
Johnny is a bum. He's very negative with no routine. A slob basically!
Daniel Larusso, his enemy, has a luxury car dealership with what seems to be a perfect life. Gorgeous wife, functioning family, and lots of wonga.
In episode 1 Johnny ignores the approach of a new kid called Miguel Diaz by the bins. Miguel approaches Johnny to say hello and mention he's a new neighbor. Johnny tells him to get lost. Nice!
Later on, Miguel is getting beaten into a pulp by some loser bullies (like how Johnny used to beat Daniel with his gang)
Johnny joins the fray (only after they bump into his car) and fucks. them. up. Old school karate on their pathetic bully arses.
(and if by chance you're a kid and you're a bully reading this, wise up yeah)
Now, watch Johnny kick some balls
The show goes on, Johnny drives to the sports arena where the karate championship is held. He gets a flashback from when his Sensei tried to rip his swead off for losing in the final to Daniel.
You can see the pain in his eyes as he knocks back the piss beer.
An important lesson is that things that happen to us when we are younger are traumatic stay with us for life. They mold us into who we are today.
Onwards... if having that flashback isn't bad enough his car gets absolutely mashed out of nowhere. A hit and run!
One of the girls in the car is Daniel's daughter (ouch), they getaway. His car gets towed to a car dealership, guess who's? (Oh you got to love it)
Things get worse when his car goes to Larusso’s for repair. Johnny hates this; he doesn’t want to face reality.
He has hit rock bottom, doesn’t want to accept any help as Daniel tells him he can fix it for free.
It’s actually one of the 48 laws of power “Always despise the free lunch.” (more on that in a minute)
He doesn’t want anyone to have anything on him, especially his stepdad, who offers him money and especially not Daniel F***** Larusso.
Imagine it, you're at ROCK BOTTOM and your worst enemy is all snug and rich and offering to fix your shit for free, out of pitty.
Then a switch flips; he’s had enough of being that person with no control or money or progression.
He decides to open up Cobra Kai and train Miguel.
And after that very long introduction, we are about to start our life lessons from Cobra Kai...Yes, Sensei! Itz-aaaaaaaaaa
According to Robert Green, in his book ‘The 48 Laws of Power’ this is Law #40.
“What is offered for free is dangerous — it usually involves either a trick or a hidden obligation. What has worth is worth paying for. By paying your own way, you stay clear of gratitude, guilt, and deceit. It is also often wise to pay the full price — there are no cutting corners with excellence. Be lavish with your money and keep it circulating, for generosity is a sign and a magnet for power.”
It’s important to note that not everything free is “bad,” but watch out for it. As they say in Silicon Valley, if what you’re using is free, then you are the product.
Daniel realises luxury doesn’t teach kids anything. His kid does not obey anything he says. Brought up in luxury. Nothing builds character like being working class.
And his kid is the biggest asshole I've ever seen.
This doesn't mean if you're born wealthy you can't learn the same lessons. Anyone can. But people who have to fight without a safety net develop character. There's something about always having everything on the line.
If you know deep down you don't need to work and you can fall back on some cash, it makes it harder to unlock your full potential.
In essence, take the shit jobs. Work harder than everyone else. Don’t think you’re too good for something. Don’t do what you want to do, sometimes the best thing that can happen to you is doing something you don’t want to do.
Daniel always looks for Miyagi wisdom. He thinks back to old memories to guide him. Even though Mr. Miyagi is dead, he lives in Daniel’s mind. He is always asking, “What would Miyagi do?”
The Stoics did this too. They believed you should have mentors and role models to follow. They can be real or made up. As long as you can ask them in your mind and take their advice, it can be anyone.
Use this technique to guide you. It guides Daniel.
Create your small council as it were. Just don't invite Robert Baratheon, he's terrible.
Miyagi taught Daniel to never attack first and to always have a strong defense. How often do we let our guard down?
Not physically but mentally.
How many times do you let someone live in your head, rent-free?
You wake up happy and refreshed and read an article or message from someone and boom. Your stillness is gone. You’ve reacted, and you add more to the mess. You catastrophize, and before you know it, you’re shaking, red and sweaty.
Epictetus once said that we should be alert to things that can impact our minds as we are always aware of where our barefoot lands when walking on rocks.
Guard up! Yes Sensei!
Miguel sits down on the “geek table” with Eli and Dimitri at his new school and looks over at the “hot rich girl” table.
Miguel says to the other 2, “If you never make a move, you’ll never have a chance,” to which Dimitri replies, “True, but I’ll never have a humiliating rejection either!”
The key lesson here is that when you strike, you don’t control if it works or not.
The Stoics used to refer to this as the Stoic Archer metaphor. The archer can do his absolute best in lining up the shot, pulling back the strings, and letting go at the perfect time.
But he cannot control the arrow once in flight. A bird or gust of wind could take it off track.
Don’t let whatever’s out of your control stop you striking.
Off-topic but as a Kid I loved the film Cinderella Story, honestly Austin Ames you're the man. Anyways... the key piece of wisdom in that film is "Never let the fear of striking out, stop you from playing the game"
Aka don't not give something a go because it may not work out, or you may lose.
Why is striking first important?
Well, for one, Napoleon lost 40% of his battles if he didn’t strike first. He won over 90% of his battles where he did.
He would later say:
“Wrestle for the initiative, and don’t let it slip—my go-to strategy.
Starting on the backfoot is never ideal, that comes from hesitation.”
This comes from the greatest commander of all time, both military and politically—a genius.
More books have been written about Napoleon than Jesus!
It shows the fascination with Napoleon. We can learn a lot from him.
Read: 34 life lessons from Napoleon
So while it’s important to strike first, learn how to strike first
This doesn’t apply to fighting; it’s for anything.
Don’t think that going first is always going to result in a win for you.
Miguel strikes first against 3 later on in the episode and gets beat up. Don’t do something without thought. Be wise.
Johnny is going around, giving out posters asking people to join Cobra Kai. He’s asking boys on a basketball court, and they laugh him off.
He’s asking without showing. He’s not building proof first.
This is also an essential marketing lesson. Trying to attract people without any ‘warming’ up doesn’t work at all.
You need to attract people; it’s a better use of your time.
Build once, attract thrice.
And what I mean by build is to build your proof of concept—video, social proof, etc.
And later on, this is what fills the Dojo, a viral video of Miguel kicking ass protecting Sam (Daniel’s daughter): one video, countless students.
Johnny sprays a massive dick on Daniel’s billboard.
Daniel is raged by this, he has anger issues. He knew this from his youth, but Miyagi helped.
Daniel’s business rival sends him sausages for lunch as a joke. Daniel takes this bait EASILY.
Danel’s ego hates it, and he can’t handle being mocked.
Daniel goes to the dealership and tells him what he thinks.
“Back off, I got a lot of stuff going on, and I don’t need this.”
Ha! What a bullshit approach. Life doesn’t wait for you to be ready. Life isn’t fair. Your business rivals aren’t going to let you off the hook because you got a lot going on. Wise up Dan!
Daniel has been trying to control his daughter’s behavior and other people so far in the show.
His daughter is angry at him for breaking in on her with some guy at school.
Daniel is miserable because he’s trying to control the uncontrollable.
The Stoics knew this was one of the leading causes of anxiety and misery. Let go of what you can’t control and focus on what you can, and that’s only your own mind and actions.
Miguel wakes up instantly from his alarm and starts doing his press-ups. Commitment to his training and no hesitation. Strike first!
Simple, the more you hesitate, the higher the chance you won’t do it. He isn’t hoping for motivation to kick in between when the alarm goes up and the first press up. He’s already doing the press up!
Miguel says, ‘That wasn’t fair’ when Johnny hits him outside the rules.
Johnny then says, ‘You want a fair fight? Dream on. The enemy won’t play by the rules!’
And what Johnny says is very accurate. The rules are made up, some other geezers hundreds of years ago invented them. ‘God’ isn’t stepping in as a referee!
Don’t play by some BS rules set by some BS people to keep you contained into a way of thinking or doing.
Break the rules, it’s the only thing that’s ever led to innovation.
Striking hard is about giving it your all.
Striking hard is about going all in.
In one of the later episodes in season 2, Johnny shows how you can get out of a choke in only 3 ways.
He tells his students that whatever way they decide, they go all in.
And that’s the only way to approach anything in life.
Even if you don’t want to do that thing, and you have to do it, do it at your best.
Don’t be the type of person to moan, complain, and do things half-assed. Nobody admires those types.
If you’re going to train, train at 100% effort.
If you’re going to lay down and watch TV, do that with 100% effort, you slam that arse on the couch and smash them buttons for netflix. You lay that head back and chill.
Don’t think, “Oh, I should be doing something” and end up in the halfway zone, the danger zone.
Whatever you decide to do, do it at 100%.
The book “The Obstacle is the Way” by Ryan Holiday talks about this baseball player who had a life-changing injury. The doctors told him the surgery only had a 1% chance of working….
What did this player do? He said that even if it has a 1% chance, it has a chance, and he will go 100% in on that 1%. That’s how he approached everything.
And it’s how you should approach things too.
Uh Oh, Johnny is still in the 1980s!
Obviously, this rule is stupid and he changes his mind on it. There have been many badass women through history.
Johnny is a bit old school, but he later goes on to explain what he means when answering why no girls in Cobra Kai.
“You can’t act like a girl if you join Cobra Kai.”
He then later clarifies he means you can’t be emotional, loud, complaining.
I know plenty of men who are emotional, loud and complain a lot Johnny!
Being emotional isn't a bad thing. Being loud isn't bad either. And complaining can be useful!
Bet's in this specific context it goes against you
If you’re going to learn a way of doing something, don’t get too emotional about it. Don’t get loud and annoyed. Don’t complain.
Why shouldn't you get emotional when trying something new? You will suck at it to begin with. And when you suck you will want to get upset or angry. That's not the way.
Listen, accept, take action, and see if it works for you.
If not, let it go and move on.
But this ties in with Strike Hard. If you’re going to try something, give it your all without all the baggage.
Daniel succeeds in increasing Johnny’s karate dojo rent after spraying a penis on his face on a billboard.
He gets out a fancy bottle of wine with his wife to celebrate.
His wife gets all excited and asks what the special occasion is.
He tells her what he did, and she’s in disgust.
She explained it objectively to him, and it makes him look silly.
Daniel tries to fool the property owner into thinking he's interested in buying it, to jack up the price of rent. What a prick!
Why? To get back at a guy who sprayed a penis on a billboard.
But the worst thing about this is that he jacked up the price of rent for all the small businesses there. Honestly, what a f***** knob.
“Because he’s an asshole, don’t make him turn you into one!” wisely expressed by his wife.
The lesson here is this - do not go for revenge.
As Marcus Aurelius says, “The best revenge is to be unlike him who performed the injury. “
Sam (Daniel’s daughter) is getting bullied in the canteen.
Miguel Diaz (Johnny’s student) stands up to her against the 3 guys.
He kicks their ass. All the training has paid off, and the fight got recorded by the students.
The next day?
Cobra Kai dojo had 30+ new students.
This worked because Miguel showed the fruits of his labor, no talk, and all action.
This proof of concept is vital in today’s world. We respect and listen to people that show us their work, not the talkers.
To quote Epictetus:
“For even sheep do not vomit up their grass and show to the shepherds how much they have eaten, but when they have internally digested the pasture, they produce externally wool and milk. Do you also show not your theorems to the uninstructed, but show the acts which come from their digestion.”
Nobody cares about how many ideas you have.
Nobody cares how much you talk about doing something.
Nobody cares about your constant hypothetical situations in the future that won’t come true.
Nobody cares about all the fancy gear and equipment you buy.
Show us the results. Nothing else.
It’s the same for books, who gives a shit if you read 10 or 1000 books? What are you getting out of the books and applying to your life? That’s what matters.
Epictetus also told a fighter before to show him his shoulders. The fighter replied, “Yeah, look at my weights.” Epictetus then said, “No, show me your shoulders,” and the fight said, “But look how heavy the weights are”
Epictetus didn’t care how many weights he was lifting; what are the results of using the weights?
Show your work. That’s all that ever matters.
Daniel has lost his balance at this point.
Getting revenue. Being spiteful. Acting like a twit.
He goes to Miyagi’s grave, looking for answers.
“I’ve been thinking about you a lot lately….You seemed to always have all the answers, but I thought as I get older, I’d have it all figured out too. I feel clueless.”
“Were you just better at hiding it (being clueless)?”
“I’ve let my anger take control, always been a hothead.”
Daniel gets back in his car and has a flashback of Miyagi telling him words of wisdom by the vehicle.
“Daniel-san, you remember lesson about balance? Lesson not just Karate only, lesson for all of life. All life is about balance, understand?”
Daniel then goes back to his home, clears out the garage to create his Dojo again. His safe place. You must have a safe place or your own place of solitude to go to. This helps settle the mind, bring balance, and helps you re-focus.
Find your peace, and don’t let it go. Life gets busy but never let that stop you looking after yourself.
This scene is where Johnny has his first full class. Some of the insults he fires off are funny as hell.
Then there’s more…..
“Hey Lip, yeah you with the freaky lip, who do you think I’m talking to?!”
A student replies, “You shouldn’t make fun of his appearance....”
Johnny says, “that’s what they teach you in school, in the real world, you can’t expect people to do what they are supposed to do.”
“You hear that lip? if you can’t handle people making fun of you, how are you going to handle an elbow to the teeth?”
An important lesson here is that no matter how wrong it is to call someone names or be nasty to someone, you just cannot control it never happening.
Instead of expecting the world to be nice to you, you need to build a thick skin, and don’t let words impact you. It’s the only reasonable option out of the two.
Marcus Aurelius would remind himself every day about this.
To quote from his personal journal which still remains today (called The Meditations)
“Begin each day by telling yourself: Today I shall be meeting with interference, ingratitude, insolence, disloyalty, ill-will, and selfishness – all of them due to the offenders’ ignorance of what is right or wrong”
A student says to Johnny during a class, “Why should I be scared of him? It’s not like he can give us a bad grade. We are paying him. He works for us.”
He thinks he can control a teacher or a business because he pays him. He’s one customer, and he thinks that earns him the right to ‘own’ that person or company.
There was a funny exchange on Facebook the other day between a Welsh restaurant and a customer. The customer was texting the owner, telling him that he had to wait 12 whole minutes for his table. He thought this was unreasonable, but the business did offer them a seat at the bar for a drink until it’s ready (very reasonable).
The customer replies, saying it’s not good enough, and he demands compensation. He demands it because, and I quote, “I pay your staff wages,” to which the business replies, “you didn’t even pay 1 staff wage that shift.”
The customer even admits the food was great! But I still wanted a free meal and drinks….
And people think that a business needs to do exactly what they want because they’ve spent £20.
This mindset is terrible.
A business is there to serve their customers the best they can.
We are all humans, and because you spend money, doesn’t give you the right to “own” that person or business. It doesn’t give you the right to speak to them like shit.
Speak to people with kindness. Even if you’re a paying customer, you should never take the entitled stance.
Don’t be that person.
At lesson #2 with the new recruits, Johnny points out that many have quit.
And he calls out Lip for not quitting.
“Lip!.....even lip is tougher, he’s still here!”
To which Lip replies, “Can you please not call me that?”
Johnny, “Lip has something he wants to say, or is your tongue messed up too?”
Lip, “My doctor said I could be on the spectrum…”
Johnny, “I don’t know what that is but get off it pronto....” haha! Oh god this line killed me.
Honestly, the way this show delivers funny lines without being too offensive is top draw.
It’s 80s ignorance.
It goes to show how different the 80s were. We’re far more aware that there are many different types of people, which is a good thing, of course!
Johnny “If you want to be something other than a nerd with a thing on his lip, you got to flip the script!”
Lip then runs away.
A few scenes later, Lip returns….. Mohawk, tattoo, new attire.
He’s now known as HAWK. Yeah buddy!
Lip says he has decided to flip the script.
Watch this video and pass it on to the generation of kids that need to see it PRONTO!
Yes, he still has a scar on his lip, but it’s now used as a tool for him, not against him.
He has decided to take destiny into his own hands.
You and everyone else can do this, too, right now.
At this very second, you can decide to change, to be different.
If you keep telling yourself, you’re always going to be overweight or a loser or someone that always ‘needs a drink’ that’s ‘always stressed,’ then you will be that person.
But you can tell yourself right now another story, and follow that.
For fuck sakes, you don’t need permission to do it. Your friends won’t care, they might try and bring you down, but they don’t care. Be who you want to be.
Too many people go through their lives worried about what others think of them, scared to make changes.
Let me take a guess; you admire those people that don’t give a fuck and do what they want?
Great, if you admire that in others, why not be that person yourself?
You don’t need permission, but now you’ve got it.
Hawk it up.
The scene ends with Johnny asking his class to repeat the following:
The scene shows Johnny’s childhood. Lonely kid on his bike. Loves his music. Finds a karate dojo called Cobra Kai and loves the look of it. He was the ‘loner’ kid. The same kind of kid he was having a go at during the class.
He then gets a flashback to dinner with his mother and stepfather.
His stepfather would say:
Emotional manipulation by the stepfather. Making Johnny feel worthless and useless.
Johnny starts understanding why he is the way he is. He found Cobra Kai because of how he was treated. He was a ‘loner’ kid, and he didn’t want his step father to tell him who he was anymore.
And he sees the same in his students. He knows what it feels like and wants to give them the power to be who they want.
So remember how you act now, and some of the ways you deal with stress or relationships go way back to childhood events.
It’s essential to understand this if you want to understand yourself.
I recently discovered that my ‘attachment type’ is dismissive-avoidant.
This was created due to growing up without money or support.
I couldn’t go to many school trips or to important rugby training sessions for big teams.
My mother couldn’t drive and nobody else could take me.
And this was all out of my control. It was up to someone else. And that sucks.
Since then, I’ve built my own life. I’ve developed an extreme sense of independence. Nobody was coming to save me or guide me. I had to do it myself.
Knowing that I’ve always felt I have to do things alone, it spreads out to other things in my life to this day. Understanding that is important so you can start tackling it.
I also loved Karate growing up. I was obsessed with Bruce Lee, Van Dam, Karate Kid etc (as you can tell I’ve written a 7000 word article on this).
And Bruce Lee definitely shaped my decision making. I remember clearly some of the boys wanting to go on some prohormones to get bigger (it was legal back then, kind of like a steroid) and I declined on the basis that Bruce Lee wouldn’t do it.
For good or bad, childhood shapes us and it’s up to us to make it positive.
Daniel loves the part when he shows him what he's taught him without realising.
This is a lesson in learning things bit by bit, block by block to come into a flow.
Take the grandmaster Bruce Lee’s advice:
“I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times”
Go for DEPTH over width.
A guy called Josh Waitzkin is a master at learning things and becoming an expert in them.
Waitzkin turns the discipline into a video game.
He then identifies what level 1 of that video game is.
He does not move to level 2 until he has mastered level 1. Learning phases:
You want to work at level 3 for each stage.
This is true.
Most of us flinch at many things in life because we are scared to get hurt.
Hesitation is the worst thing you can do.
You flinch because your mind gets caught on the idea of being hurt. If you can still your mind, your reactions will become more in line with your intent.
But how do we stop it? Sometimes it’s a natural reflex.
But the answer most don’t want to hear is this…. Get hit in the face, and get hit often.
You see, many fighters in training take jabs to the face as they continue to advance on their opponent.
It’s kind of like the method of exposure therapy when it comes to anxiety.
The more you’re exposed to it, the less it bothers you.
This applies to everything.
Miguel tells Johnny that he wants to ask a girl out, but he’s scared to.
He says, “What if she says no?”
To which Johnny replies, “Never accept defeat”
Now before we go down this path, this is in the consensual realm before someone crazy claims I’m promoting rape.
We aren’t talking about forcing someone against her will.
When Miguel asks Sam, she says no because she doesn’t want to date for a while.
Miguel starts walking off but remembers what Johnny says and asks her in another way, “What if we just hang out and it’s not a date?”. He puts the pressure off it, and she accepts.
Sometimes we need to approach something from a different angle.
There are times where defeat is inevitable. But in most cases, we give up way too soon.
In his awesome book “The Infinite Game,” Simon Sinek talks about how companies who go about business with an infinite mindset can never lose.
They aren’t competing on growth metrics, or short term wins. They are playing the long game. They will never stop. They never accept defeat from a bad year or lousy product launch.
But most businesses or people accept defeat way too early; it’s quite a common theme.
And this mindset has helped me with Rugby Warfare.
I don’t have to answer to senior management or other people. I don’t have to force growth. COVID is terrible, but I have a new launch soon, and there’s no pressure to beat previous years’ numbers.
I’m in this for the long game; there’s nobody to “beat”.
An improvement over time, that's all.
The founder of Nike worked part-time on Nike for 7 years, and for 7 years, the company didn’t make a meaningful profit.
Great things take time, and if you never accept defeat, it’s inevitable success will come.
And many of you have heard the Michael Jordan quote (the best basketball player of all time):
I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.
Daniel is helping Robbie (Johnny’s son) with the Bonsai tree cutting
“Think only the tree, visualise what you want that tree to look like, and you make it happen”
This is a lesson in visualisation before you do something. Very powerful. Something Marcus Aurelius did along with the other Stoics.
“You are the tree, you have strong roots, you know who you are, so all you got to do now is visualise your future” Daniel Larusso.
Jonny has a meeting with the committee about Cobra Kai rejoining the Karate Championships because they got banned 30 years ago.
Miguel and Johnny meet before the date and committee.
Johnny tells Miguel - “Nothing to be nervous about, be cool, the time it right then make your move”
He then explains, “You’re a Cobra Kai, you strike first, you strike hard, it’s not just for karate it’s for everything”
Johnny then goes to the committee meetings, and Daniel comes in to try and block his proposal,
Johnny explains, “I’m just a small business owner who wants to make a living”
Jonny plays it cool, flips the script, and makes Daniel look a fool as he gets angry and tries to be unreasonable.
Jonny is cool, calm, collected, and striking hard. Striking hard with a “cool head.” One of the best ways to strike. Never strike at the peak of anger.
Johnny also delivers a heartfelt speech; he speaks with emotion and speaks to the committee’s hearts. He wins.
Wait, can you do better than your best? Nope.
You just contradicted yourself mate… yes wait.
What is your TRUE best?
David Goggins, a former navy seal, turned ultra-endurance runner, claims that when we push and hit that wall, that’s just 40% of what we got.
Remember, doing your best is all you can do.
But ask yourself, is that your best? Have you got more?
Miguel is dating Sam. Daniel tells her “Cobra kai will never change; promise me you’ll stay away from the kids associated with it.”
So from his experience over 30 years ago, he is painting everyone that goes to Cobra Kai as bad.
Daniel goes as far as to tell his daughter to stay away from them, even though they are her friends.
On the flip side, Johnny realises Miguel is dating Daniel’s daughter and poisons his mind too.
He explains to Miguel that you can never trust a Larusso.
This sticks in his mind, and as we see later on, causes tension, arguments, and fallout that doesn’t recover.
Don’t let your family’s opinion automatically be yours.
Don’t let them define your thinking; make up your own mind.
Do your own research. Vote for who you believe is the right choice.
Even though they are family, that doesn't make them right.
Miguel is talking to Sam on Facetime, and she tries to persuade him to change Dojo. Miguel then hears her saying to Daniel that she’s just talking to a friend on Facetime. This prompts Miguel to think about what Johnny told him. His perception of her has changed, so now his emotions, thinking, and decisions do too.
He has switched those love tinted glasses for cold untrustworthy tinted glasses.
He now sees her as untrustworthy, which becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Perception is reality, people.
You think what you see is the only way to see something, but someone else sees something completely different.
It pays off to look at things as objectively as possible.
Follow the way of the ancient Stoics.
I think about what you’re thinking, you’re thinking about what I’m thinking—perception war.
Cut through it, communicate. It will save you a lot of shit.
Later on, Miguel is in a perception of a perception. Instead of asking straight up, they both (Sam) play scenarios in their minds, and it causes chaos for both of them.
Miguel is catastrophizing the situation to which a friend tells him, ‘Sam has given you no reason not to trust her.’ He replies, “No you’re right.”
So many work and relationship conflicts emerge from one root cause: Assuming bad intent.
Start by assuming good intent. Train your reflex to ask questions before making assumptions. Lead with curiosity—not critique.
Coca Cola launched ‘New Coke’ years ago right, and it was a huge flop.
But on the taste tests (the person didn’t know what they were drinking) new coke was beating the original coke.
But you guessed it, people taste what they want to taste.
‘Original’ is always better (in their minds, but isn’t that all that matters?).
They didn’t want that new Coke shit, they want the OG.
Coke had to revert back, the perception of OG vs New was too much, even in the face of data saying new Coke was nicer.
Daniel takes Robbie to the lake where it’s peaceful to train.
He takes him through Kata and other kicks and punches.
Robbie gets confident and thinks he’s completed it, but Daniel tells him:
“You may know the moves, but none of that matters unless you have balance”
“When those bad feelings weigh you down, you have to search inside for the good stuff, then you can find some balance. it’s not easy”
Yes, you can get better. Yes, you can gain confidence but living a balanced life is always in the works. You never truly finish that task.
There’s always a lesson to be learned about balance; make sure you are open to them.
Johnny goes to his stepfather’s house in this scene.
This guy tormented him as a kid. Yes, he lived in a lovely house, but inside it was hell. He tells Daniel this a few episodes before, to which Daniel replies in shock, “I thought you had everything.”
Anyways… on to Johnny’s stepfather. He’s a miserable old man, always angry, always shouting.
Think of an angry squashed up onion shouting at you, that’s him.
Johnny enters, and his step-father starts belittling him. Asking if he’s come there for a handout.
Johnny slides him some cash and says, “It’s your money, it’s all there, I won’t be back”
His stepfather blubbers out from his chubby, old chops “You need my mooooney”
To which Johnny delivers a killer line which is the equivalent of a Mike Tyson KO “I don’t need your money, it’s just the only thing you had to give”
Oooooooh shiiiit. Atta boy Johnny.
Lesson? If the only thing you can offer is money or materialistic shit, then sort it out. Life is way more than that. Life is more interesting than that.
Give time, focus, work, humor, experiences, help, insight, knowledge, perspective, books, advice, a listening ear, humility, commitment, community, and so forth.
Johnny’s car got blown up by Daniel’s cousin as he’s an idiot.
Johnny turns up at Daniel’s house in rage mode. Wanting to fight, to fix it.
They both face-off and are about to fight until Daniel’s wife comes to the door.
“Two adults, fighting, getting blood on the patio, I don’t want to clean it up. Let’s resolve this like adults”.
It worked. Both men realised how stupid it was for them to fight there.
Objectivity defused the situation.
We all need this in our lives. When we are angry or sad, we need objectivity. It can disarm the impact of the emotion and stop self-destruction.
Hawk, aka Lip, is now rocking high on confidence.
He gets with a beautiful girl, and his other friend, who was his geek friend, is shocked. He asks Hawk, “You change the hair, dress code, and tattoo, and everything changes?”
Hawk replies, “Here’s the little secret, it’s not just a haircut and a back tattoo. It’s a way of life, you got to feel the energy and live in the moment.”
We can all learn a little something from that. It’s rarely the change of appearance that has the most significant impact on us (if we are looking at a fat loss). It’s what it does to our confidence, character, and energy. We become a different person not because we lost some fat but because of what we become.
And the best part? You can bypass the complete change of appearance altogether. You can take on a different attitude and approach today.
But sometimes it comes from an event, a catalyst.
Sometimes it’s the change of job or a promotion or words of confidence from someone we admire.
Sometimes it’s reading a book or watching a film.
Sometimes it’s a tragedy like losing a job or a joyful experience like meeting the right person.
But no matter what, be like Hawk. Flip the script any time you want.
Sam isn’t returning Miguel’s calls because she’s grounded.
At this stage Robbie is living with Daniel.
Daniel has no clue that he’s Johnny’s son by the way.
Anyways, Robbie and Sam become close.
Robbie gets her out of her prison and she takes him to a party (which Miguel is at).
So obviously Miguel is pissed off when he sees her coming down the hill with Robbie (holding hands!)
Miguel lets his anger get to him and hits Sam by mistake after starting a fight with Robbie.
This is a lesson in anger. Never let it get to you because you can never take that time back. He regrets it.
Anger and frustration hurt us more than the things we’re annoyed about hurt us.
“I don’t always win, but I never back out of a fight”
Johnny’s message to his students before the big karate championship. Episode 10 baby, here we go. Itzaaa!
Try your best.
But sometimes our best isn’t enough (to win something), and that’s fine.
It’s all we can do, though.
Always show up, always give it your all.
Johnny gets the students together for the last piece of wisdom:
“The older you get, you realise life isn’t fair. You wake up one day feeling great, and life lands a spinning heel kick into your balls….
Life then takes a big steaming shit in your mouth.
You fall in love with a girl, some other dude steals her away. Your car gets set on fire.
When you think things are going good, everything falls apart.
That’s how it goes. Life shows no mercy, so neither do we. We do whatever it takes to keep our heads above water, we do whatever it takes to keep moving forward, we do whatever it takes to win.
Remember who you are, you’re badass, you don’t give a shit. You kick ass. You’re Cobra Kai.”
What a speech! Life can indeed be a big steaming lump of shit.
On this note, no mercy applies in many areas, but sometimes we need to know when to offer mercy or not.
We can’t always push to win-win-win at the expense of losing family, friends, and partners (more on this in my next post, which covers season 2!)
“Whatever happens to him, he’ll learn from it” Miguel’s grandmother provides this wisdom to his mother who’s worried about him getting hurt.
Everything that happens to us is a chance to learn, remember that.
Johnny to Miguel “enough defense, let’s attack”
“Stay on the offense Miguel, stay on the offensive! (when 2-1 up)
The lesson here, no NOT let up because you’re in the lead.
The same rule applies to team sports. Rugby coaches would always say “Its 0-0” to us even after we scored a try that took us 30 points clear.
It’s when we’re about to win, we lose.
Never let go of the initiative.
Are you still playing defense? Are you making progress and think you’re “nearly there” so let loose?
You’re in the most danger of anyone going backward.
Hawk vs. Robbie
Remember, Robbie is Johnny’s son, but nobody knows (only Daniel at this point).
So Johnny is now regretting telling his students “no mercy” as it means so against his son.
Hawk takes an illegal kick and dislocates his shoulder.
Hawk tells Johnny, “what am I supposed to do, be a pussy?”
Has Johnny corrupted them too much? It may seem so.
Johnny was always saying, “Don’t be a pussy, no mercy,” but never taught them the limits.
Backfires on him.
Watch how you speak to yourself. Watch out for the words and influences you let into your mind.
If you’re not acting like a human being and being a robot to saying or slogans or words, you’ve missed the point.
What’s the point in “winning” if it’s at all costs?
We should give it our all.
We shouldn’t stop trying to be better.
We should never give up on ourselves.
Improving ourselves isn’t a competition.
But sometimes in life, we do enter a competition or a win/lose scenario.
And that’s what happened in the final episode of season 1 of Cobra Kai.
Miguel won in the final against Robbie, but at what cost?
He lost Sam, she didn’t want to see the final, she didn’t care if he won. After he won, all he wanted to do was see her, but she was gone—an empty win.
The same goes for Johnny, his student won, but his son lost. His son got hit with dirty and illegal hits.
He won the fight but lost the war for his son—an empty win for Johnny too.
There’s a cost to everything in life.
Make sure you work out if the cost of something is worth it or not.
Time, money, relationships, work, balance, friendships, sanity, health, focus, etc.
And that is it! Itz-a!
I hope you learned something reading this article.
A bit of cheesy wisdom from Cobra Kai is what we may need.
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