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"Your enemies don't care what day it is. They prey on weakness. If you wanna beat them, you gotta conquer your fears and jump face-first into the fire."
Johnny Lawrence to Aisha Robinson[src]

"Counterbalance" is the fifth episode of the first season of Cobra Kai.


Daniel tries to strike a shady deal to undermine Johnny's dojo and struggles to find the balance in his life again by visiting an old friend. Meanwhile, Johnny expands his enrollment ranks in the dojo. Miguel puts his karate practice into reality as Samantha faces rejection in school.


The episode opens with Miguel and Johnny in a rigorous training montage, in which Miguel practices blocking baseballs fired at him from a pitching machine. Afterwards, a yoga class enters the dojo, leading Johnny to explain that he had to sublet the property at night to keep up with expenses.

At the Oaks Country Club, Daniel has dinner with Armand Zarkarian, who owns the strip mall in Reseda where the Cobra Kai dojo is located. Though he inquires about buying the property from Zarkarian, his true intention is to entice him to raise the rent on the dojo, effectively putting Johnny out of business as a reprisal to the billboard prank. Also at the club, Sam tells her mother that she had planned to go to a concert with Yasmine and Moon, who have not been returning her texts. She then shows her mother a video of the two girls gloating at the concert, to which her mother replies she is better off without them.

Robby returns home from a shopping trip in the hopes of spending some time with his mother, only to find Shannon getting ready for another night out. She mentions that Johnny came to speak with her and suggested that Robby move in with him, but while she doubts his sincerity, Robby seems conflicted.

Tired of being bullied, Aisha interrupts a training session at the dojo and asks to join up. Johnny is reluctant to train a girl in the ways of Cobra Kai, but Miguel convinces him to give her a chance. In turn, Johnny orders him to attack Aisha with full force, and an apologetic Miguel kicks her to the ground. However, Aisha responds by tackling Miguel and delivering a brutal knee drop to his midsection, solidifying her status as "a natural Cobra."

In a parking lot, Sam confronts Yasmine and Moon to find out why they have been avoiding her. She then learns that Kyler has been spreading ugly rumors about her around school by telling everyone she performed oral sex on him in the theater. Perturbed, Sam breaks off their friendship and leaves.

Faced with an increased rent, Johnny visits a pawn shop and attempts to sell some of his vintage possessions, but to no avail. Johnny then drops by the mini-mart to pick up some more beer and encounters Daniel, who very subtly reveals that he knows Johnny was responsible for the billboard, but puts Johnny's beer on his tab and leaves. At home, Daniel opens up a bottle of wine to celebrate the impending closure of Cobra Kai, but his wife Amanda is beside herself when she learns about Daniel's scheme. Though he succeeded in getting back at his rival, she points out that he failed to take the other businesses at the mall into account, meaning that their rents have all gone up too. She implores Daniel to return to his old self and not stoop to Johnny's level.

At school, Sam finds that her association with Yasmine's group has caused a rift between her and Aisha. Fed up with her classmates' teasing, Sam confronts Kyler about the rumors, but he openly mocks her. She drops into a stance as if to attack him, but Miguel interrupts and tells Kyler off. Kyler shoves Miguel and taunts him, but Miguel responds by trapping Kyler's arm and punching him in the face. The cafeteria erupts as Miguel does battle with Kyler and his gang, decimating them in minutes and impressing Sam but Miguel is then sent to the office. The fight footage quickly goes viral and attracts a large number of prospective students to the dojo. After he tells his sensei about the fight, Johnny rewards Miguel with his old Cobra Kai training gi and embraces him, but Robby secretly witnesses the act. To get back at his father, he applies for a job at LaRusso and is promptly hired by Amanda.

Daniel visits Mr. Miyagi's grave. After a moment of reflection, he suddenly has a flashback to the night of his eighteenth birthday, and Miyagi's speech about karate's lessons on balance being applied to one's life. Daniel returns home and clears out his old dojo. Donning the iconic headband and gi once more, he begins to perform the Miyagi family kata, having seemingly returned to his old self.


  • This episode is dedicated in memory of Pat Morita.

    This episode is dedicated to the memory of Pat Morita.
  • Counterbalance is a weight that balances another weight.
  • The song "Moment of Truth" from the original Karate Kid is heard.
  • The episode sparked hints of Miguel and Sam's relationship.
           The Karate Kid Franchise

The Karate Kid | Part II | Part III | The Next Karate Kid | The Karate Kid (2010)

Cobra Kai
Season 1
Ace Degenerate | Strike First | Esqueleto | Cobra Kai Never Dies | Counterbalance | Quiver | All Valley | Molting | Different but Same | Mercy

Season 2
Mercy Part II | Back in Black | Fire and Ice | The Moment of Truth | All In | Take a Right | Lull | Glory of Love | Pulpo | No Mercy

Season 3
Aftermath | Nature Vs. Nurture | Now You're Gonna Pay | The Right Path | Miyagi-Do | King Cobra | Obstáculos | The Good, The Bad, and The Badass | Feel The Night | December 19

Season 4
Let's Begin | First Learn Stand | Then Learn Fly | Bicephaly | Match Point | Kicks Get Chicks | Minefields | Party Time | The Fall | The Rise