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"I know I said you have to... let go of your anger and show forgiveness, but... when the fight comes to you, you have to be ready to fight back."
―Daniel LaRusso to Robby Keene[src]

Daniel LaRusso is the main protagonist of The Karate Kid franchise. He is portrayed by Ralph Macchio.

He first served as the main protagonist of the first three films, a mentioned character of The Next Karate Kid, and one of the main protagonists of the Cobra Kai.

Daniel was a bullied high school student whose life changed when he was mentored by a wise karate sensei, who taught him both valuable life lessons and self-defense. Daniel used this training to protect himself and others, winning two consecutive karate championships and beating highly aggressive opponents that challenged him.

Years after his initial training, Daniel married Amanda Steiner and they had two children, Samantha and Anthony. The LaRussos opened an auto-dealership called LaRusso Auto Group. Daniel also retired from karate and used martial arts as a gimmick to promote his business. When his high school rival, Johnny Lawrence, resurfaced and opened Cobra Kai Dojo, Daniel was inspired to teach Miyagi-Do Karate to a new generation of students, to combat the aggressive tactics of his nemesis.

Their rivalry had higher stakes then before, and things escalated during a school fight that involved Daniel's daughter, Johnny's star student, and estranged son. The aftermath of the high school fight found Johnny and Daniel as reluctant allies. They were forced to join forces once again when John Kreese challenged their respective dojos in the All Valley Karate Tournament.

Daniel made peace with Johnny, and the pair teamed up to train their students in two styles of karate for the tournament. However, the two Senseis' conflicting personalities and styles, combined with the return of an old enemy of Daniel, led to their alliance falling apart. While Daniel and Johnny eventually reconciled, they lost the All-Valley tournament. Now meant to honor a deal with a dishonorable man, Daniel went back on his deal and enlisted the help of a former rival to take down Cobra Kai once and for all.

Early History

Daniel was born in New Jersey on December 18, 1966, to Lucille and Mr. LaRusso. He spent much of his life in Newark, New Jersey. Daniel attended a summer camp at the insistence of his mother and made three friends. One of which was a girl named Judy, who was his first girlfriend. Daniel also was a member of the Newark YMCA, where he took a beginner's course in karate.

Somewhere early in his life, Daniel went to Coney Island with his parents which he says was about the best day of his life. There he and his father ate something from every booth on the row and went on the Cyclone five times in a row. They also rode the Wonder Wheel with Lucille, but at around this point, Daniel’s father started getting sick and when Daniel was eight years old, his father died of a terminal illness. Daniel later expressed that one of his strongest memories of his childhood was saying goodbye to Mr. LaRusso and being proud that he could be there for his father in the final moments of his life. As years passed and Daniel matured into a teenager, his mother, Lucille, worked hard as a widow as she worked two jobs to support her son.

Film series

The Karate Kid

Daniel seemed to enjoy his early life in New Jersey. When he moved away from Newark and took a last look at the neighborhood he grew up in, multiple friends from the neighborhood and their parents were there to wish Daniel and his mother best of luck in their new home.

Lucille LaRusso got a new job in California. She leased an apartment in the "South Seas" complex in Reseda, California, and took Daniel along from a cross-country venture across the United States that started in Newark and ended in Reseda.

Upon arriving, Daniel befriends one of his neighbors, Freddy Fernandez, after karate kicking a gate door into Freddy's face, but he does not take offense and invites Daniel to a beach party the following day. Before the beach party, Daniel meets his future mentor, Mr. Miyagi, when Daniel goes to ask him to fix their new apartment's leaky faucet.

Daniel then goes to the beach party where he first encounters Ali Mills (Elisabeth Shue) and is instantly infatuated with her. Daniel attempts to teach her how to bounce a soccer ball in the air. As he does this, Ali's ex-boyfriend, Johnny Lawrence, is riding dirt bikes with his friends. They stop to talk, and it is pointed out to him that they can see Ali flirting with Daniel. This leads to Johnny going down to the beach to confront Ali. She is less than receptive, and in his frustration, he breaks her radio. Johnny, the star pupil of the Cobra Kai Dojo, and the winner of the last All-Valley Karate Tournament, beats up Daniel when he tries to insert himself into Ali's private business and attacks Johnny. This leads to Daniel sucker-punching Johnny before being leveled by Johnny's counterattack. Freddy reluctantly abandons Daniel on the beach after being asked by his friends why he brought a loser like him to the party.

Daniel started school the next day at West Valley High School and would first run into Freddy and his friends, many of whom mock Daniel for how he lost to Johnny the way he did. Daniel also runs into Ali again, who flirts with him as well as showing him her soccer moves, which are considerable. Daniel would get into the tryout line for the school's soccer team, but is spotted by Johnny and his Cobra Kai allies, whom all collude to do embarrass Daniel during his try out. When the tryout begins, Bobby Brown initiates a soccer hook play that levels Daniel while leveling him. Daniel is not amused and tackles Bobby and brawls with him and even lands a very strong punch on Bobby. But before Bobby and the Cobra Kai's can retaliate, the soccer coach intercedes, and kicks Daniel off the team for striking a teammate.

Daniel would also begin exploring his relationship with Ali at school, with time spent in the school corridor as well as lunch together at school and other activities. However, the always present specter of Johnny and the Cobra Kais hang over Daniel, prompting him to often evade events if Johnny and his allies are around.

In the following weeks, Daniel occasionally falls under the ire of Johnny and the rest of the Cobra Kai gang, who harass him. Daniel believes his karate lessons from the Newark YMCA are insufficient to defend himself from the likes of Johnny and checks out the Cobra Kai dojo. In doing so, Daniel sees the star pupil is none other than Johnny, who is Kreese's assistant instructor. While going to the head of the class to teach the other students, Johnny smirks at Daniel. Daniel departs Cobra Kai and goes to a restaurant across the street to meet his mother, who is glad Daniel disapproved of the dojo as she remarks they would have probably been unable to afford it. Lucille also tells Daniel that she got promoted in her job, but her managerial training program will likely mean nights away from home. Later that day while riding his bike home, Johnny and the Cobra Kais ambush Daniel, and force him off an embankment that seriously injures him. Daniel, in a rage, would trash his bike, and confront his mother about coming out the California in the first place.

Mr. Miyagi overheard this and recovered Daniel's bike from the trash bin and repairs it for Daniel. They spoke on a personal level and Daniel was introduced to the world of miniature bonsai trees. Daniel spent a lot of time after school with Mr. Miyagi learning how to tend bonsai trees.

Daniel decides to attend the school's Halloween party wearing the costume of a shower stall. He is found by Ali, and the two share a dance in the exclusivity of Daniel's costume. Ali shares with Daniel the issues of Johnny and his aggression. Daniel has to head to the bathroom to clean off the residue that a gimmick chicken egg did to him. While in the bathroom, he discovers that Johnny is in one of the adjoining stalls. Seeing a chance for revenge, Daniel places a hose over Johnny as he is rolling a joint, and turns it on, completely drenching Johnny. Daniel attempts to escape, but is pursued by Johnny and the Cobra Kais, who chase Daniel out of the school, down the streets, and to an empty lot near his apartment complex. The Cobra Kais finally catch up with Daniel and begin beating him. Bobby tries to stop his friends as he believes Daniel has had enough, but they rebuke him. Mr. Miyagi rescues Daniel and defeats the five attackers with ease. Once alone, Mr. Miyagi dressed Daniel's wounds and tried to learn why he was assaulted. Mr. Miyagi surmised that their problem was a bad attitude, and it stemmed from their sensei, as he believed there is no such thing as a bad student, only a bad teacher. When Daniel suggested talking over the problem with their sensei, Mr. Miyagi was reluctant to get involved, but did so after he realized Daniel was trying to solve a problem with his head instead of his fists.

Daniel and Mr. Miyagi visited the Cobra Kai Dojo the next day to make peace and asked the sensei, John Kreese, to order his students to stop. Kreese teased Daniel that he should fight his own battles, to which Miyagi said maybe so for one bully, but five bullies ganging up on Daniel like the previous night was too much to ask of anyone. Kreese agreed to even out the odds 1-1 and arranged a fight on the spot, but Miyagi had enough fighting. He finally agreed to settle the issue mano-a-mano through the forthcoming All-Valley Karate Tournament. Mr. Miyagi asks Kreese to tell his students to leave Daniel alone while he trains.

Daniel and Miyagi Wax On

Miyagi teaches Daniel - "Wax On, Wax Off"

Mr. Miyagi begins to teach Daniel the ways of karate through a series of labor tasks, including paint the fence, paint the house, wax the cars, and sand the floor. It is throughout this training that Daniel beings to learn the aspects of Miyagi-Do Karate, and after a few trials, begins to really absorb the lessons that Mr. Miyagi is teaching him.

Daniel also continued his relationship with Ali. They went on their first date together to Golf N' Stuff Arcade. Another night was supposed to happen when Daniel went to the Encino Oaks Country Club to pick Ali up. He snuck into the country club when Ali was running late, as she was being held up by her parents and Johnny, who claimed to offer a truce. While dancing together, Johnny spied Daniel watching them and took the opportunity to kiss her. This prompted Daniel to leave, but he ran into a waiter and knocked them both to the ground covered in spaghetti. Embarrassed, Daniel ran out of the club and Ali angrily punched Johnny for the ordeal.

Daniel, angry over what he had just witnessed, returned to Mr. Miyagi's home, where he found him drunk, remembering his late wife and son, who died while being interned in the Manzanar Internment Camp while Mr. Miyagi was overseas with US Army in the Europe theater of operations during World War II. Daniel helps Mr. Miyagi to bed and sees his Congressional Medal of Honor.

On his birthday, Daniel celebrated with Mr. Miyagi, knowing that the tournament was fast-approaching. During the evening, Miyagi gave Daniel a Gi for the tournament with the Miyagi family crest on the back along with a 1947 Ford Super De Luxe. After the celebration, Daniel went to Golf 'N Stuff to make amends with Ali after he learned from Susan that Ali hit Johnny at the country club. The two of them reconcile and share their first kiss, and Ali promised to support him about the tournament the next day.

On the day of the tournament, Daniel signed in but was confronted in the locker room by the Cobra Kais. Dutch attempted to start a fight, but it was quickly broken up by official Pat Johnson. Daniel discovers that Mr. Miyagi had never fought in a tournament before, but Ali, whom is also pretending to be Mr. Miyagi's translator, learned a lot about tournaments from her time with Johnny, and filled him in on the rules of the tournament.

In the first round, Daniel struggled against his opponent, and was in danger of losing a point after stepping out of the ring. However, after getting some advise from Miyagi, Daniel successfully defeated his opponent and moved on to the next round. In round two, he faced Cobra Kai student Jerry Robertson and successfully defeated him. In round three, Daniel defeated a Cobra Kai student and one of his bullies, Jimmy. In round four, Daniel faced another one of his bullies, Tommy. Despite losing a point to Tommy, Daniel recovered and beat him. In the quarterfinals, he fought Dutch. While Dutch gained the upper hand at first by kicking Daniel in the face, Daniel recovered and defeated Dutch with a kick. Daniel also defeated a Cobra Kai student named Eddie in the preliminary rounds.

Daniel made it to the semifinals against Bobby Brown, who is the least vicious of Daniel's tormentors. Kreese tells Bobby to put Daniel "out of commission". Despite Bobby's protests about being disqualified and believing he could beat Daniel legitimately, he still followed Kreese's order by savagely hurting Daniel with an illegal kick to the knee but proceeded to profusely apologize. The tournament was suspended, and Daniel was allowed 15 minutes to be examined by a doctor. If Daniel was unable to return, Johnny would win by default. In the infirmary, the doctor advised Daniel to forfeit, but tells Daniel that he did well. Ali was saddened that the Cobras would win and told Daniel that he would have won if they had not cheated. Miyagi also thought Daniel should follow the doctor's recommendation, as there was nothing to prove as he did his best. Daniel recalled that Miyagi did a pain suppression massage when he had been sore in training, which healed Daniel in the past, and Mr. Miyagi agreed to do the massage. Meanwhile, the master of ceremonies was about to award the championship to Johnny, only to be told by Ali that Daniel would fight, and Daniel hobbles into the ring.

Daniel vs johny

Daniel performing the Crane Kick at the All-Valley Tournament

Daniel started strong and won the first two points. However, when Johnny swept Daniel's leg and fought more aggressively and underhandedly, as per Kreese's orders, Daniel lost the next two points. Johnny grabbed one of Daniel's kicks from his injured leg and elbowed it, causing Daniel immense pain. Daniel is left unable to stand on his injured leg, so he assumed the crane technique position as his final stance, and when the referee signaled the next bout, Johnny moved forward, only for Daniel to kick Johnny in the chin and win the tournament. Daniel's friends and family rushed to him in happiness. Johnny grabbed the trophy from the master of ceremonies and presented it to Daniel, saying, "You're all right, LaRusso! Good match!" Daniel looked toward Mr. Miyagi, who was saw on the bleachers, smiling proudly.

The Karate Kid Part II

"Live or die man!?"
―Daniel, as he prepares to finish Chozen.[src]

Immediately after the tournament, Daniel is showering and changing into street clothes. He is remarking what his athletic future holds, to which Mr. Miyagi dryly remarks, "Early retirement." As Daniel and Mr. Miyagi are leaving the All-Valley Tournament, they overhear John Kreese berating Johnny for losing. Kreese then starts to mercilessly strangle Johnny, despite the pleas of the rest of the Cobra Kai. Mr. Miyagi intervenes, and after tricking Kreese into punching two car windows and making both of his hands bleed, Miyagi pulls him down and appears to be preparing a killing blow. However, he only honks Kreese's nose, causing Kreese to faint in embarrassment. Daniel, astonished by all this, remarks how Miyagi could have killed Kreese, but Miyagi philosophically responds that for a man like Kreese, who has no concept of forgiveness, "living even worse punishment than death." As Johnny and the Cobras dispose of their Cobra Kai gis and leave in disgust, Mr. Miyagi tells Daniel there has been enough fighting for one night and that they should go meet Mrs. LaRusso and Ali at a restaurant for a celebration dinner.

Six months later, Daniel angrily comes to Mr. Miyagi's house with his car, steamily stating that Ali did something to it. He also tells him that Ali has fallen in love with a football player from UCLA. To make matters worse, Daniel is supposed to go away on a long trip to Fresno with his mom, but Mr. Miyagi calls his mom and convinces her to let Daniel stay with him. Mr. Miyagi then gets a letter from Tomi Village saying that his father is dying, so he makes emergency plans to travel to Okinawa. On the day of his flight, Daniel is nowhere to be found, so Mr. Miyagi simply gets in a taxi without saying goodbye. At the airport, he is met by Daniel, who figured he must have come there to say goodbye. However, he sees Daniel with a ticket on the same flight as him. He wonders where Daniel got the money, to which Daniel says he emptied his savings account intended for college. Mr. Miyagi does not think it is a good idea for Daniel to tag along, but as the flight is about to depart he approves of taking Daniel with him to Japan.

When they get off the plane, they are told that a car is waiting for them, so they get in the car. But the driver was Chozen Toguchi, who was Sato Toguchi's nephew. He takes them to a warehouse, where Sato is waiting. Sato used to be Miyagi's best friend, until a girl came between them. Miyagi also fled before the two could fight, and this insulted Sato's honor, which he could not get over. Then, they go to Miyagi's house, and see Miyagi's father. While they are in Okinawa, Miyagi tries to teach Daniel the Miyagi family technique, but Daniel is unable to grasp it. Chozen makes life difficult for them when he goes to their house and starts screaming in the night for Miyagi to come out, and destroying the thin walls with a spear. Miyagi's father dies, and Sato gives Miyagi three days to grieve before they must fight. Miyagi goes to Sato's mansion, and talks to Sato while he is trying to break a thick beam of wood, which Miyagi and him had found on the beach when they were still best friends. This is when the famous quote happens. Miyagi says, "Same piece of wood we found on beach that day", and Sato says, "Same!".

Meanwhile, Daniel is hanging out with Kumiko, and it is clear they are developing a relationship, but Chozen is making Daniel's life miserable. Daniel then catches Chozen cheating the villagers on produce with fake weights. And, when Daniel and Kumiko stumble into a building where people are placing bets on how many ice blocks people can break, Daniel is telling Kumiko how the people are doing it wrong. Chozen then challenges him to do better, and while Daniel is trying to leave, Miyagi comes in, and places 600 dollars on Daniel breaking all of the ice blocks. Chozen says he cannot cover that, and that is when Sato comes in and says that Chozen is covered. Daniel succeeds, and this further angers Chozen, who later goes up and robs Daniel to get his money back.

Things come to a head, when a huge storm comes, destroying much of Okinawa. Sato is trapped in a destroyed building, trapped beneath a large piece of wood. Miyagi hears his screams and runs out from shelter to save his old friend. he breaks the wood, and helps Sato get to shelter. Sato then decides to forgive Miyagi and disowns his nephew who had done nothing to help people. Chozen then runs into the storm.

Karate Kid II Daniel v Chozen

Daniel fights Chozen to the death

There is a huge celebration that the storm has passed, and Kumiko is dancing in the island in the middle of the castle. Chozen ziplines in screaming and holds a knife to Kumiko's neck. He then orders Daniel to come into the circle, and then drop the bridge. He wants to fight to the death and Daniel accepts in order to save Kumiko. They begin to fight, and Daniel holds his own, striking Chozen as often as he is hit himself. However, Chozen begins to get the upper hand, despite Daniel attempting the crane technique, for which Chozen knows the counter and he turns it against him. When it looks as if Daniel is going to lose, Miyagi starts twirling a hand drum. Soon, all of the onlookers are also twirling their hand drums. Miyagi is telling Daniel to use the drum technique, and Daniel finally understands the Miyagi family technique.

Daniel starts to repeatedly punch Chozen in the face, while twisting his upper body with every hit, so it resembles a swinging drum. He knocks Chozen to the ground, and tells him, "Live or die man!" Chozen responds, "Die. Deciding not to give him what he wants, " Daniel says, "Wrong!" and honks his nose, similar to what Miyagi did to Kreese following the tournament. The camera then focuses on Miyagi, who is once again smiling proudly at his student, and the movie ends.

The Karate Kid Part III

Danial Larusso training with Terry Silver in Cobra Kai dojo

Danial training with Silver in the Cobra Kai dojo

Daniel and Miyagi return to Los Angeles from Okinawa, Japan only to discover that the South Seas apartment complex is being converted into condominiums, leaving Miyagi unemployed and Daniel homeless. They also learn that Daniel's mother, Lucille, is in New Jersey taking care of Daniel's ill uncle. Miyagi invites Daniel to stay at his house, and Daniel uses his college funds / ice-breaking winnings to realize Miyagi's dream of opening a Bonsai tree shop. As thanks, Miyagi makes him a partner at the business. When Daniel visits a pottery store across the street, he meets Jessica Andrews. Although Daniel has a brief crush on her, she tells him that she has a boyfriend back home in Columbus, Ohio, but they remain friends.

Cobra Kai sensei John Kreese is now broke and destitute after losing all of his students. He visits his Vietnam War comrade, Terry Silver, a wealthy businessman who founded the Cobra Kai Dojo with profits from his billion-dollar toxic-waste disposal business. Silver vows to personally help him get revenge on Daniel and Mr. Miyagi and re-establish the Cobra Kai, sending Kreese on vacation to Tahiti to rest and recuperate. Silver hires "Dynamite" Mike Barnes, a vicious karate prospect nicknamed "Karate's Bad Boy", to challenge Daniel at the upcoming All Valley Karate Tournament. Silver also hires two goons to help Barnes, called "Snake" and Dennis. Silver sneaks into Miyagi's house to gather information and overhears Daniel telling Miyagi that he will not defend his title at the tournament. Barnes and some cohorts attempt to coerce Daniel to enter the tournament, but Daniel refuses, and Barnes departs in a rage. The next morning, as Daniel and Miyagi are practicing kata, Silver interrupts and lies about John Kreese suffering a fatal heart attack after losing his students and begs forgiveness for Kreese's behavior.

Barnes and his friends return to make Daniel sign up for the tournament; when Daniel again refuses, a skirmish ensues until Miyagi arrives and fends off the three men. After driving Jessica home, Daniel and Miyagi return to find their stock of bonsai trees missing and a tournament application hanging in place. To replace the missing trees, Daniel and Jessica decide to dig up and sell a valuable bonsai tree that Miyagi brought from Okinawa and planted halfway down a cliff. As they retrieve it, Barnes and his henchmen appear and retract their climbing ropes, leaving Daniel no choice but to sign up for the tournament. After pulling them back up, Barnes breaks the tree. Daniel returns to the shop with Miyagi's damaged bonsai, which Miyagi attempts to mend. Miyagi tells Daniel that he sold his truck to buy a new stock of trees and cannot train him for the tournament.

Silver offers to "train" Daniel for the tournament at the Cobra Kai dojo with a series of brutal, violent, offensive techniques. He derides Miyagi's kata forms and pressures Daniel to destroy a wooden practice dummy, causing him several injuries in the process. Throughout his training, Daniel's frustration alienates him from Miyagi. While Daniel and Jessica are at a nightclub, Silver bribes a random man into provoking a fight with Daniel, who responds by punching the man and breaking his nose. Shocked by his aggressive behavior, Daniel apologizes and makes amends with Jessica and Miyagi. Daniel visits Silver to inform him that he will not compete at the tournament, but Silver reveals his true agenda to Daniel as Barnes and Kreese enter the dojo. After Barnes viciously assaults Daniel, Miyagi intervenes and finally agrees to train him. They replant the healed bonsai and begin training.

Karate Kid III - Daniel prepares to perform Kata

Daniel prepares to use Kata

At the tournament, Barnes reaches the final round to challenge Daniel. Silver and Kreese instruct Barnes to inflict serious damage on Daniel, keep the score a tie, and finally beat him in the sudden death round. Barnes gets the upper hand during the fight while taunting Daniel relentlessly. When the initial round concludes, Daniel wants to concede, but Miyagi urges him on. In the sudden death round, Daniel performs the kata; as a confused Barnes lunges toward him, Daniel flips him to the ground and strikes him to become the first person to win the tournament two years in a row and becoming the grand champion. Silver walks away from Kreese in disgrace while the crowd throws their Cobra Kai shirts back at him, implying that Cobra Kai is shut down for good. Daniel runs to Miyagi and proudly embraces him.

Interim Years

In the three decades since the events of the 1985 All Valley Karate Tournament, Daniel's life only went uphill. In 1985, he briefly opened a bonsai tree store with Mr. Miyagi, though it eventually went under. Daniel worked for several small used car dealerships, pursuing his passion for automobiles. He quickly established a great reputation of honesty and service with his customers, and quickly become one of the top auto salesmen in the valley. Later on, Daniel met Jessica's cousin, Amanda Steiner, who was moving to Los Angeles and Jessica put her in touch with Daniel. They started dating and eventually got married. He and Amanda opened a car dealership in the valley called LaRusso Auto Group. Their grand opening came mid-way through Amanda's pregnancy with their first child, Samantha. As Daniel adjusted to life as a father, he kept in close contact with Mr. Miyagi and ensured that Samantha had a relationship with him. It is possible that Daniel continued to train with Miyagi. Meanwhile, LaRusso Auto Group became one of the top dealerships in the valley, making the LaRusso family wealthy. Daniel capitalized off his success in the 1985 Karate championship to help further sales, coining Karate-themed catch phrases and commercials.

Amanda and Daniel had a second child, Anthony. When Samantha was eight, Daniel began to train her in karate, sharing the knowledge and wisdom that Mr. Miyagi gave him. On November 15, 2011, Mr. Miyagi passed away and willed Daniel his house, his old dojo, and all his cars. The passing of Miyagi was difficult for Daniel, who struggled coming to grips with the loss of his mentor.

Cobra Kai

Season 1

"You and I... this...We aren't done."
―Daniel LaRusso to Johnny Lawrence[src]
JohnnyAndDanielSeason1

Daniel clashes with Johnny years later

Thirty-three years after the events of the first movie, Daniel LaRusso is now 50 years old and a successful car dealer, owning the LaRusso Auto Group, a chain of car dealerships in the San Fernando Valley with his wife Amanda. While working at one his dealerships one day, he encounters Johnny Lawrence, who was at the dealership to reclaim his car, after (unknown to Daniel) Daniel's daughter Sam had been riding in a Range Rover with a friend of hers, who was not paying attention to the road and collided with Johnny's Firebird. Despite Johnny's reluctance, Daniel has Johnny's car fixed for free. But when Daniel gives Johnny a bonsai tree and tells him he does not blame him for everything that happened back then and comments how everyone is better off with no Cobra Kai, he inadvertently triggers Johnny to reopen Cobra Kai.

While driving home from work one day, he notices that the Cobra Kai dojo has reopened at a strip mall in Reseda, which revives his rivalry with Johnny Lawrence. Fearing that Johnny will create a new generation of bullies, Daniel becomes focused on trying to close Cobra Kai. This only seeks to inflame tensions, as Johnny has some awareness Daniel wants his dojo closed down, but does not know all the reasons. One night Johnny, whose judgment is clouded by heavy drinking, engages in a sophomoric prank; vandalizing one of the billboards for LaRusso Auto Group by spray-painting a penis next to Daniel's head. This becomes the talk of the town, which makes Daniel the butt of the jokes in online forums and gives rival auto dealer Tom Cole an opportunity to mock the LaRusso Auto Group. This also spills into Samantha's social life; for when she dumps her boyfriend, he retaliates by associating her with the vandalized billboard, causing her to be ostracized from virtually everyone in her class.

Daniel resuming his training

Daniel resumes his training

Soon after, Daniel manipulates Johnny's landlord into doubling the rent on his tenants, attempting to force Johnny to close. However, this fails due to Johnny's student, Miguel, defeating a group of bullies in the school cafeteria, which is then posted to the internet and causes Cobra Kai to become rapidly popular and take in many more students, as well as Daniel's plan falling through when the landlord accuses him of embroiling him in a conspiracy and dissolves their deal. Another factor that saves Johnny from bankruptcy court is Amanda's disgust over Daniel's plan, saying it will also ruin businesses adjacent to Cobra Kai and that this conniving attitude is not like the man she married.

After Amanda calls Daniel out on his recent actions, Daniel goes to Mr. Miyagi's grave, admitting that ever since his mentor's death, he has lost his way, letting his anger take control of him. Just before he leaves, he remembers the lesson Mr. Miyagi taught him about balance 34 years prior. Thus, Daniel cleans out and rebuilds his old training room, once again resuming his training.

After Daniel tries unsuccessfully to persuade Samantha to go back to karate, he takes in and trains Robby Keene, who, unknown to Daniel, is actually the son of Johnny and had started working at Daniel's company as an act of revenge against his father, after seeing him with Miguel and believing Johnny had replaced him. Daniel begins training Robby with the same methods that Mr. Miyagi had taught him decades earlier, such as "wax on, wax off."

Daniel trains with Robby for the first time

Daniel starts training Robby

Later, Daniel attends the meeting of the executive committee of the All Valley Karate Tournament of which he is a member, where Johnny is trying to convince the committee to lift the lifetime ban on Cobra Kai for the events that had taken place in The Karate Kid Part III. Daniel is the primary lead in attempting to keep the ban in place. Johnny tells the committee that his teachings are different from those of John Kreese and Terry Silver, stating that Kreese himself is dead and he had never heard of Terry Silver. When the committee says their sole 1985 entrant was also an instigator who got the ban imposed, Johnny truthfully says he has no allegiance to Mike Barnes. He says that he has learned from his past mistakes and that his dojo is now a place where people who get bullied are taught self confidence and how to stand up for themselves. Despite Daniel's furious objections, the committee is convinced by what seems to be Johnny's genuine sincerity. They vote 3–2 in Johnny's favor to lift the ban and declare his dojo eligible for the forthcoming tournament, which infuriates Daniel.

While at a family reunion, Daniel rants about how dangerous and cruel Cobra Kai is, which affects his daughter Sam, who, unknown to Daniel, was dating a student of Johnny's.

Some time later, Johnny confronts Daniel at his home, as, unknown to Daniel, Daniel's cousin Louie and several bikers Louie had hired destroyed Johnny's car and set it on fire. However, before they come to blows, Amanda quickly defuses the looming fight with an invitation to peacefully discuss the matter over breakfast. During breakfast, Daniel finds out from Johnny that Samantha was involved in the hit and run accident, even though she didn't do it and it was Yasmine's fault. When they realize Johnny's side of the story is accurate as Louie was earlier boasting in front of them about his plans for vengeance, Amanda proposes they terminate Louie, as well as give Johnny one of their cheaper cars for free to make amends. Meanwhile, Amanda grounds Samantha for being a witness in the hit and run and confiscates her electronics.

Daniel and Johnny at a bar

While on a test drive, the two bond together over beers, where they end up visiting Daniel's old apartment and reveal their stories before they met, Daniel learning that Johnny's childhood hadn't been as perfect as he previously thought. When Johnny returns Daniel to his home seemingly friends and having finally put their grudge behind them, and possibly about to do a fight for fun (like the ending or Rocky III between Rocky and Apollo), Daniel introduces Robby to Johnny. When Johnny finds out Daniel is training Robby, his own son, Johnny becomes infuriated. Daniel is shocked and infuriated when he learns that Robby is Johnny's son, once again igniting the fires of hatred between the two men. Feeling betrayed, Daniel tells Robby to get out of the house, as Daniel suspects Robby is involved in some con against him.

The morning of the annual All Valley Under-18 Karate tournament, Daniel is depressed about the events with Robby, and initially refuses to attend the tournament, until he is forced to go by Amanda. They sit in the front row, and Daniel is visibly dismayed when Cobra Kai makes their grand entrance. Then, much to Daniel's surprise, he learns that Robby is participating as a fighter unaffiliated with any dojo. Later, as a deliberate slight and insult to Daniel, Johnny has Miguel use Daniel's signature move, the Crane Kick, to defeat an opponent, which infuriates Sam.

Although initially hesitant, Daniel becomes more and more excited as he watches Robby fight, and approaches Robby after he is injured by being attacked from behind during the semifinal match, and advises him to find balance in his life by letting go of his anger toward his father, forgiving him for not telling him the truth about him and Johnny. Daniel assists Robby back into the ring and agrees to him fighting as a member of Miyagi-do Karate with Daniel as his coach.

Daniel reopens Miyagi-Do Karate

Daniel reopens Miyagi-Do Karate

Unfortunately, Robby ultimately loses the tournament final to Miguel, after Miguel quickly realizes that Robby's shoulder is injured and targets it to get the win, even pulling Robby's arm when Robby tried to help Miguel up. Afterwards, Johnny approaches Robby and Daniel and tries to apologize, though without success. Daniel coldly congratulates Johnny for getting the win.

After the match, Daniel reassures Robby that he's proud of him and he fought with honor, unlike Miguel. Robby comments that Cobra Kai is going to take over karate in the Valley, something that Daniel says will happen "over his dead body." He then takes Robby to Mr Miyagi's old home, and reveals that he plans to use it as a dojo to continue Robby's training and teach others Miyagi-Do Karate, in order to defeat Cobra Kai in the subsequent tournament and bring them down once again. Unbeknownst to Daniel, however, another old enemy from the past has returned: John Kreese, ready and eager to get his revenge against Daniel once and for all.

Season 2

"He's just trying to do the right thing."
Samantha LaRusso to Aisha Robinson[src]

Daniel starts training Robby and within no time Sam joins the training. After finding out from Sam that Robby's mom is away and Robby is all alone Daniel has Robby come stay with him. After persuasion from Amanda, as well as some personal reflection, Daniel realizes Cobra Kai is not going to vanish into thin air and his attempts to derail it were ultimately hurtful to Johnny. He goes to the studio with the intent to inform Johnny of Robby's situation, only to see Johnny with Kreese. Jumping to conclusions, Daniel renews his vengeful plans to stop Cobra Kai from taking root in the Valley.

The new Miyagi-Do students

The new Miyagi-Do Karate

While teaching Sam and Robby, Daniel is concerned that he won't be the teacher Miyagi was but Amanda tells him he does not need to be like Miyagi. In order to get more students, Daniel does commercial where he promotes his Dojo and trashes Cobra Kai. However he has trouble getting more students when some potential students think Miyagi-Do is a facade to get people to do free work. He continues to struggle when Johnny, angry at Daniel's commercial then gets his revenge by having Cobra Kai overshadow Miyagi-Do at a Valley Fest presentation. However, things start to look up for Daniel when Demetri, a bullied student, joins Miyagi-Do.

One night a few Cobra Kai student's under Kreese's order trash Daniel's Dojo and steal Miyagi's Medal of Honor. When Daniel, Robby and Sam see the dojo trashed and Miyagi's badge of honor missing, an angry Daniel goes to Cobra Kai where he confronts Johnny who does not know what Daniel is talking about as he is unaware that Kreese instructed his students to do so.

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Daniel confronts Johnny on his own dojo

Despite another setback, things look up for Daniel once again when a few Cobra Kai students (most notably Chris) unhappy with Kreese's ruthless teachings, leave the dojo and join Miyagi-Do

Daniel's fixation with his dojo and students prevent him for going to work, causing Amanda to pick up all of Daniel's slack and an employee Anush to quit out of frustration for Daniel's absence. Amanda then calls Daniel out for being unable to balance both jobs. Feeling guilty, Daniel makes things right by showing up to work and picking up the clack. He even spends more time with Amanda, causing her to forgive him.

On one morning, Kreese shows up at Daniel's house where he threatens Daniel with war between the two dojos and mocks Miyagi's death which angers Daniel. Fortunately, both Daniel and Sam find Miyagi's Medal of Honor on the ground, though both are unaware that Miguel gave it to Robby the previous night and Robby planted it there.

On one night Daniel and Amanda go out for dinner but end up going to the same restaurant where Johnny and his date Carmen are eating, and ended up sitting with them which angers both Daniel and Johnny. However the two bond and resolve their differences when Johnny reveals he kicked Kreese out of Cobra Kai. The along with Amanda and Carmen spend time joking and dancing. Daniel even reveals to Johnny that both he and Amanda have re-enrolled Robby in school, which Johnny appreciates. They end the night on good terms.

Daniel and Johnny at a restaurant

Daniel talks to Johnny at a restaurant

The next morning Daniel notices Sam did not return from Moon's party the previous night. Both he and Amanda go onto Sam's computer where they see Sam's former friend Aisha messaging her if she is ok after being drunk last night which shocks Daniel and Amanda. Daniel then tracks Sam through his iPhone and finds out she is at Johnny's house. He goes to Johnny's house and knocks on the door. When Johnny opens the door Daniel asks if Sam is there to which Johnny says she is and he tells Daniel to not overreact which angers Daniel. Daniel demands Johnny open the door, but Johnny shuts the door, stating he will bring Samantha to him when he has calmed down. An angry Daniel then kicks the door open, then both he and Johnny have a brief fight which is broken up by Sam and Robby. Daniel angrily tells Robby that it's up to him if he wants to end up like Johnny and takes Sam home.

He drives Sam to school. After the West Valley High School karate war which results in Sam being severely injured by Cobra Kai student Tory she is sent to the hospital. When Daniel and Amanda visit Sam in the hospital both are shocked to find out Robby kicked Miguel off a railing resulting in the latter being severely injured. Johnny, who is also at the hospital to see Miguel, gets into an elevator with Daniel. Neither man says or does anything, but both glance at each other in shock akin to "What have we done?". Daniel leaves the hospital but when he comes back Amanda notifies him that Sam is getting x-rays and may have broken ribs, and then bluntly tells him to stop Miyagi-Do because of all the pain it has caused. Daniel agrees to do so.

Older Daniel apologizes to Mr

Daniel apologizes to a photo of Mr. Miyagi after the high school karate war

"I tried my best. I thought I was doing the right thing. I'm sorry."
―Daniel LaRusso to a photo of Miyagi[src]

Daniel goes back home where he takes down a picture of Miyagi, saying he did his best to do the right thing and apologizes. Elsewhere, unbeknownst to him, Kreese has taken the dojo away from Johnny.

Season 3

"Everyone looks to me for answers and I'm spinning around so much I can't tell which way is up."
―Daniel LaRusso to Kumiko[src]
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Daniel comforts Samantha about the school brawl

Daniel is left to pick up the pieces following the school brawl. He is upset when Sam is suspended for two weeks, but still attempts to reason with Amanda who is infuriated with the outcome. She informs him that the dealership is declining rapidly since the events at the school. He assures her that he will fix everything, a promise that sours quickly when a PTA meeting proves how damaged the LaRusso family name has become. In the meantime, Daniel tries to locate a still-missing Robby Keene, and realizes that he stole a car from the LaRusso lot. His attempts to track Robby through the cars GPS is futile, as Robby removes the GPS. Upon returning to Miyagi-Do, he finds an upset Sam who admits that she feels guilty for everything that happened and feels conflicted over whether or not their the good guys. He reminds her that they try to be which is what makes them better than the Cobra Kai's. Their talk also makes him realizes that like Sam, he can't run away from his problems. He decides to enlist Johnny's help in finding Robby, and is floored to see that John Kreese is not only still in the valley, but has taken over Cobra Kai. Daniel shows restraint as he doesn't let Kreese bait him into a fight, but Kreese eerily warns him that their fight will come one day - it's inevitable. The next morning, Daniel finds Johnny and convinces him to help locate Robby before it's too late.

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Daniel and Johnny team up to look for Robby

The unlikely pair venture on a road trip to search for Robby, but their conflicting personalities and views on life continuously get in their way. Their partnership starts an uneasy reunion with Johnny's ex-girlfriend Shannon Keene, before shifting to a surprisingly natural "good-cop bad-cop" routine with two of Robby's former cohorts Trey and Cruz. An unexpected car chase with a thug who stole Robby's van turns violent, when Johnny insists on confronting the man who is joined by his gang. After beating the thugs, Johnny roughly interrogates one of the men and is angered when Daniel pulls him off. Their alliance abruptly ends after a fight between them, with Johnny taking the car that used to belong to the LaRusso auto group. As he's about to leave, Daniel receives a call from Amanda telling him that Robby showed up at Shannon's rehab. He hurries over to talk to the boy who apologizes for getting Daniel involved in everything and offers to pay him back for the van. Daniel isn't worried about any of that and assures Robby that everyone is just worried about him. He apologizes for the last time they spoke and explains that he's going to help him through this next part. Before Daniel can explain, two police officers arrive and arrest Robby who attempts to flee. Daniel is upset with the outcome and promises to visit Robby everyday, but the boy coldly tells him not to bother.

Tom Cole tries to buy LaRusso Auto Group

Tom Cole offers to buy Daniel's dealership

In the days that follow, Daniel shifts his attention to his suffering business. They have been forced to pull their karate-themed advertisements in an attempt to focus their attention on sales, as the manufactures won't be happy with their numbers. A surprise visit from Tom Cole and Anoush brings what seems to be the LaRusso's last hope, as Cole offers to buy the dealership. The offer is extremely low and unappealing to the LaRusso's, who reject the offer. Louie, who is warned by Anoush, informs Daniel and Amanda that Cole secured an exclusive deal with Doyona International in Tokyo. Doyona distributes all the Japanese cars internationally, and with Cole's deal the LaRusso Auto Group won't have access to those cars. With his business failing and his dreams crumbling, Daniel is reminded of a bonsai trimming lesson from Mr Miyagi, and realizes what he needs to do. He aligns himself with Anoush to flip the script on Cole and propel the next part of his plan forward. In a last effort to save his company, Daniel flies to Tokyo to converse with the board of Doyona International.

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Daniel reunites with Kumiko and Chozen

When the board rejects his plea due to the negative press surrounding the LaRusso name following the school brawl, Daniel feels depleted and failure. With his morale the lowest it's ever been, he decides to take a spontaneous trip to Okinawa. He soon learns that the Okinawa he remembers is very different from the one it is today, with Tomi Village having been converted from a quaint village to a strip mall. While exploring the new mall while learning about the villagers that were given jobs, he hears familiar music and is drawn to a group of young women O-bon dancing. He is shocked that the leader of the group is his childhood love, Kumiko, who achieved her dreams of traveling around the world as a dancer. The reunion is cathartic for him and they share where they are in their lives. Daniel reflects on his training with Mr. Miyagi and how he is now the age that Mr. Miyagi was when they first met. He still feels a sense of great loss over his mentors death, and wishes he could talk to him again. Kumiko offers to help with that and brings him to her home where she shares a series of letters with him. Mr. Miyagi had continued to write letters back and forth with Kumiko's now deceased Aunt, Yukie. One of the letters is particularly emotional as it was written the week Mr. Miyagi died. He wrote how lost he was before meeting Daniel-san, "with his kind heart, strong chi, and loyalty and love for those around him is a guiding light." He writes how proud he is of Daniel and how he has realized that is the people in his life that guide him back to the right path and not the signs. Kumiko gifts Daniel the letter when she is finished reading it, asking if he knows what to do now - and he does.

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Daniel fights with Chozen

Daniel is preparing to leave the following morning when Kumiko surprises him with a final visitor - his former nemesis Chozen Toguchi. He remembers the brutal fight they shared over thirty years ago, and how he spared Chozen's life. The reunion is tense and uncomfortable, with Chozen's rigid ways still present despite the passing time. Kumiko leaves the men alone, much to Daniel's dismay, but warns that they have more in common. Chozen and Daniel venture to a dojo that overlooks the mountains, and Daniel remembers more of Miyagi's lessons as he learns that Chozen has continued the Miyagi-Do ways in Okinawa. He refuses to share secrets with Daniel and labels him a foreigner, which Daniel negates as Miyagi treated him as a son. A sparring match between the two men shows Daniel how much he can still learn, and the men find themselves relating to one another, as Chozen has changed quite a bit since their last encounter. He reveals that he was acting as his old self to toy with Daniel. Now having learned Miyagi pressure points and receiving some sage words, Daniel prepares to leave Okinawa once more. But Kumiko interrupts with one last parting reunion - Yuna, the young girl that Daniel saved in Japan over thirty years ago during a typhoon. He is elated to be reunited and she tells him that she is the VP of sales for Doyona International, and can save his business.

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Daniel trains Sam with a boa staff

He returns to America feeling energized, only to learn that things between Kreese and Amanda escalated during his trip. Daniel is left to pick up the pieces of his drifting family, with Sam refusing to participate in karate while Amanda takes their situation with Kreese to the police. Daniel is stunned at how much happened while he was away, including Kreese's restraining order against Amanda. The situation makes her realize just how serious things are with Kreese and how psychologically abusive the man is. They work together to outmaneuver Kreese by renting Kreese's dojo space for twice the amount Kreese pays, making a shady deal with Armand Zarkarian. This deal falls through when Kreese overpowers Armand's men, which forces the realtor to concede. As payback for their attempts to tarnish his dojo, Kreese lets a live snake into LaRusso Auto Group during its biggest sales day. With the rivalry between dojos intensifying and the obvious fact that Kreese isn’t going anywhere, Amanda and Daniel both decide to reopen Miyagi-Do, but it’s an off-putting idea to Sam. He takes her fishing in an attempt to understand where he sudden disdain for karate is coming from. She opens up about the trauma that she has from her fight with Tory. Daniel gives her sage advice on conquering her fear, telling her that only she can pick herself up not anyone else. In time, Sam comes around to the idea of practicing karate again and Daniel trains her in boa staff fighting - using the techniques from fishing.

S3 E8

Johnny, Kreese and Daniel at the city council meeting

Daniel heads to the juvenile detention center to see Robby on his release day, but is surprised when Johnny is already there waiting. The argument escalates just as Robby exits the building. He promptly tells both men to leave him alone. Upon returning home, Daniel learns that the city council has canceled the upcoming All Valley Karate Tournament and rallies together with Amanda to save the tournament. He is joined at the meeting by Sam, Amanda, and much to his surprise, Johnny and Kreese. The rivaling senseis' begin to argue in front of the council, shedding a negative light on the tournament and convincing the council to cancel the event. It isn't until Miguel and Sam take the podium that they are able to save the tournament. The next morning, Daniel arrives at Miyagi-Do for training and sees Miguel and Sam kissing. He is surprised by their relationship and a little disappointed in Sam for kissing Miguel when Robby has just been released. He is even more disappointed to hear that Robby saw them already the night before. She asks him to keep an open mind, though he worries that she's inviting more drama into her life by dating.

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Daniel finds Sam kissing Miguel

He upholds his agreement with Sam to keep an open-mind by talking to Miguel. They learn they have more in common than they thought, with both of them coming from the same area, similar family backgrounds, and have similar reasons for getting involved in martial arts. Miguel reveals that Johnny told the events of his high school rivalry with Daniel much differently, so Daniel sheds some light on the matter. He also shows Miguel the yellow car that Mr. Miyagi gave him. At the end of their conversation, they shake hands and part on good terms. That evening, Daniel attends a charity event with Amanda where he is shocked to be reunited with his ex-girlfriend Ali Mills, who is back in town for the Christmas holiday. He is even more surprised when Johnny appears moments later, having attended the event with Ali. He excitedly introduces Amanda to Ali, though he grows uncomfortable as the women begin to swap stories about their times with Daniel and Johnny. By the end of the event, Ali sweetly tells Daniel that they had more good times together than bad. They part on good terms.

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Daniel faces John Kreese

Daniel comes home to the aftermath of a brawl as his house and injured Miyagi-Do students along with Sam. Learning that Kreese ordered the attack, he flees to Cobra Kai Dojo to confront Kreese in person. He arrives just in time to save Johnny from a deadly chokehold by Kreese. He kicks Kreese off Johnny and furiously confronts him about sending his students to Daniel's house. He angrily states that if it's a fight that Kreese wants then he's finally got one. The men square off with Kreese reminding Daniel that this was inevitable. As they fight, Kreese threatens that Daniel can't keep the defense-only act up forever, to which Daniel retorts that he doesn't have too. They continue to fight until Kreese lifts him into the air and they collapse through the glass door of the school. Kreese picks up a shard of glass, threatening to reunite Daniel and Miyagi. Daniel remembers his training with Chozen, if an enemy insists on war, than you take away their ability to wage it. He does just that by expertly deploying pressure point attacks that cripple Kreese so he can't fight back. Johnny emerges from the dojo and gives Daniel a nod. Daniel prepares to strike a final blow to Kreese when Sam shouts for her father, having arrived with Miguel. Having won, Daniel tells Kreese to keep his Cobra Kais away from their kids. Johnny supports Daniel but Kreese wants to settle things the old-fashioned way with a tournament. The losing dojo will leave the valley. Johnny and Daniel agree to the terms just as Robby emerges from the dojo telling them all to leave. Daniel is a saddened with Robby's alliance but retreats home for now. He and Johnny unite their dojos as they train for the tournament that will determine not only the fate of their dojos, but the fate of the valley.

Season 4

On the first day of the merge, Daniel and Johnny are telling the students about the upcoming tournament and Cobra Kai. Daniel states that a new era is beginning but rivalries don't last forever. He gets mad at Bert and Mitch for only throwing punches. Daniel's sparring match is up and he has Demetri and Sam circle each other. Later on, he has his students clean up Mr. Miyagi's cars and tells them to practice their fundamentals. The class is now doing an obstacle course when Daniel tells Johnny that they're going to get sued for the intense training. After Hawk breaks a paper window, Daniel gets upset and tells his classes about why they don't spar in Mr. Miyagi's house. After a rough first day, Daniel comes home where his new alarm goes off. He apologizes to Amanda and Anthony saying that he's still getting used to the alarm. Amanda talks about the house invasion and locking up Tory. Daniel tells her he wants to go back to normal and working with Johnny gives them a chance of winning the tournament and tells him that Cobra Kai will lose. Back at training, he has his class do meditation but can't focus when Johnny constantly yells at his students. Having had enough, Daniel confronts him about keeping quiet but Johnny says that karate is a loud sport. Daniel adds that he can't teach if he's cursing. After the Miyagi-Do students chastise Hawk, he tries to talk to Daniel about fitting in but tells him about how he's bullied his students. At Johnny's apartment, Daniel and Johnny talk about their teachings and how they conflict with the training. The two agree to learn each of their styles and swap their students to continue their training for the tournament. Back at Miyagi-Do, Daniel and Johnny help their students build an Okinawan sparring deck. This becomes the first step of their alliance.

On Johnny's first day of Miyagi-Do training, Daniel gets upset when he uses a machine rather than the traditional hand-held sanders. Johnny explains that Miyagi-Do is used for karate and not chores but Daniel counters with how he uses forward strikes to warm the students up. Daniel adds that it will be tough to respect Johnny's teachings because of him constantly teaching aggression. When Johnny is painting Mr. Miyagi's house, Daniel explains that him and Mr. Miyagi saved him from getting killed by Kreese. Later on, he teaches Johnny Miyagi-Do and explains the same fundamentals he teaches his students. After Johnny falls in the pool, Daniel tells him he was not balanced and adds that Miyagi-Do isn't about fighting. He explains that "the best defense is no be there". Later, Daniel begins Eagle Fang training from Johnny. One part of his training is watching a hockey game where Johnny explains how the hockey players use toughness to win. Johnny angers one player when he puts words in Daniel's mouth. The player and his teammates confront Daniel about getting ejected from the game. One player remembers Daniel from his business commercials and how Amanda runs the dealership, even calling her hot. Daniel warns the player that the person is his wife. The players then make lewd comments about her. Angered, Daniel beats the group up, impressing Johnny.

During a training session, Daniel and Johnny spar with each other and their students and meditate with each other. The class ends successful and Daniel and Johnny handshake and fist bump each other. At the LaRusso house, Daniel and the LaRussos have dinner with Johnny and the Diaz's. Later on, Miguel accidentally spills wine on Daniel but he doesn't get mad. Before training, Daniel trains the Eagle Fang students where he brings them to the Miyagi-Do pond. He has the students to catch a koi with their bare hands. On their first attempt, Miguel fails. After class, Daniel learns that Carmen had car troubles. Daniel offers his services after telling him about the tow company's prices. When the two go to the dealership, Daniel tells Miguel about how he never went to college because of using his money on a trip to Okinawa and opening a bonsai tree store. Daniel reminds him that in Miyagi-Do you react by moving in a circular motion, moving in the opposite direction of what your opponent expects. Back at Miyagi-Do, Miguel remembers what Daniel said to him and successfully catches a koi, Daniel rewards him with the Miyagi-Do headband. Unbeknownst to him, Johnny watched the exchange and becomes jealous.

Daniel and Miguel are training together where Johnny constantly watches them. At LaRusso Auto, Daniel and Miguel successfully fix Carmen's car. He lets Miguel drive Carmen's car to the party place to meet Sam and Amanda while listening to "Sailing" by Christopher Cross. Daniel explains that the 80s also had soft rock and not hard rock. Daniel warns him about driving around Sam and relates to his experiences. During the drive, two talk about fathers. Daniel talks about Mr. Miyagi and how he became his father figure. At Miyagi-Do, Daniel learns about the sprinkler incident and praises Miguel about how he ended a fight without getting hurt. Before Johnny and Daniel talk, Cobra Kai senseis Terry Silver and Kreese arrive at Miyagi-Do where Daniel has flashbacks from their last encounter.

Before class, Terry talks to Daniel and apologizes for the events from The Karate Kid Part III. However, Daniel sees through his deception and doesn't forgive him. At a bar, Daniel talks about his match with Mike Barnes in the 1985 All-Valley Tournament. He adds that after the match, he never saw Terry until then. Daniel tells Johnny that he knows Silver's playbook and that he now needs to takeover the training, upsetting him. The two agree to a rematch and whoever wins will takeover training. On the night of the fight, Johnny begins having second thoughts because he realizes this may not be a good idea, but Daniel still wants to fight, which Johnny then agrees to. Daniel goes up 2-1. On the verge of being victorious, Daniel uses the pressure point technique that Chozen taught him, only for Johnny to counter it and tie the score. In the decisive final round, they take each other down at the same time, thus ending the fight in a tie. After the fight, they argue about their methods and how it affected the merge. Realizing that the merge failed, Johnny leaves Miyagi-Do.

Daniel tells his students about the updates for the tournament. He tells his students to put everything behind them. After class, he comes home with Sam where she is angry to see Amanda talk to Tory. Daniel learns of a dark story from Amanda and explains why she is helping Tory. At a convenient store, he approaches his former student Robby and tells him about Terry Silver. He tells him that he will end up in a bad path after his training with him. Silver then talks to Daniel where he tells him that Cobra Kai will close down. At Miyagi-Do, Daniel holds a tournament simulator and spars with Demetri. He punches him and tells him not to show an opening and his happy to see Eli join them. When he gets him his gi, Daniel sees Sam and tells her that he is proud of her and it's never easy being the bigger person.

At the LaRusso house, Daniel confronts Anthony about a Cobra Kai hoodie he saw in his room. Anthony tells his father that he is being bullied and Daniel tells him that it's time to begin training. In Miyagi-Do, Anthony praises the training where he goes with Daniel where he is tasked to clean Mr. Miyagi's old cars. He sees that all of the cars are clean and is impressed but it turned out that Anthony hired a person to clean the cars. Annoyed, Daniel decides that Anthony is not ready for karate. In the LaRusso dojo, Daniel notices Anthony read a Miyagi-Do scroll. He explains that it's a hidden Miyagi-Do teaching and that is dangerous. Daniel explains how Mr. Miyagi carried Anthony and kicked him. He tells him that he hopes he learns Miyagi-Do in the future. Later, Daniel and Amanda go to West Valley Middle School where they learn that Anthony is being suspended from school. The principal explains that he and his friends have been bullying a boy named Kenny Payne. It turned out that Anthony lied when he explains that Anthony has been a bully. As a result, Daniel and Amanda ground Anthony by revoking his video game privileges.

Daniel and Amanda join the Diaz's to take pictures with Miguel and Sam before they go to the school prom. The two have a therapy session with Vanessa about Anthony. After Amanda gets confrontational, Vanessa fails them and concludes that Daniel and Amanda are the problem with Anthony. Later on, Daniel talks to Anthony about his punishment and tells him that they want him to grow up in the person they want him to be. When he leaves, he hears a notification chime on Anthony's iPad. He gets angry when he learns that Anthony didn't take his punishment seriously and breaks his iPad. He ends saying that there will be a harsher punishment for him, which Anthony agrees. While taking out the trash, Anthony tries to make amends by helping Daniel at the dojo or the dealership in which Daniel reluctantly agrees.

On the day of the All-Valley Karate Tournament, Daniel talks to his students about his first time competing in the tournament. He adds that the road to the tournament is tough and says that if Cobra Kai wins, Miyagi-Do closes. In the skills competition, Miyagi-Do vaults to the lead, with Eagle Fang in 2nd and Cobra Kai in 5th, but ends in 2nd behind Cobra Kai, due to Eli's failure to break the boards. Even though they didn't win the skills competition, Daniel tells his students that they are still in second. However, when watching a few on the individual matchups, Daniel learns that Cobra Kai is using Miyagi-Do teachings, and concludes that Robby taught his classmates Miyagi-Do. He confronts Robby about teaching Miyagi-Do secrets to Cobra Kai. When Robby explains why, Daniel tells him he never learned anything in Miyagi-Do if Robby's goal is victory. He ends with another secret: "never put passion over principle. Even if you win, you lose". After Sam's match with Piper, Daniel gets curious when Sam used more offense than defense. Sam tells her father that her way is different and it's not a choice. Daniel wishes Miguel luck in the semifinals and confronts Johnny about training Sam. He gets upset about how their respective teachings affected Miguel and Sam and tells him to stay away from Sam while Johnny tells him to stay away from Miguel. Before Eli's fight with Miguel, Daniel tells him to be patient.

Eli advances to the final by default where he faces Robby Keene. Before the fight, Daniel tells Eli to find his balance and focus. When Eli calls a timeout, he tells him about Robby being in Miyagi-Do longer than him but Daniel, who now has a change of heart, tells Eli that he has been in Cobra Kai longer than Robby and to put Robby on defense. Eli takes this to heart and ties the score. The fight goes to sudden death, the first since his match against Mike Barnes in the 1985 All Valley Karate Tournament. Daniel tells Eli to give him all he's got and Eli, inspired, he bows to him. Sudden death becomes intense when both Robby and Eli take off their gis; Robby because of his falling off and Eli matching him while showing off his hawk tattoo. In the end, Eli wins the boys division for Miyagi-Do. Before the girls final, Daniel and Johnny apologize to one another. Daniel admits that Eagle Fang's teachings have been very helpful and Johnny also apologizes and tells him how he freaked out about Daniel and Miguel bonding. He adds that Miguel would've been stronger if Daniel kept training him. The two reconcile and team up to help Sam. Sam is able to win the first round using an Eagle Fang kick but when she's down 2-1, Daniel advises her to trust her instincts. As the fight becomes intense, Sam is able to push Tory to the corner only for the referee to not give her a point, much to Daniel's annoyance, as he yells at the referee for calling it out of bounds rather than giving Sam a point. Sam is able to tie it 2-2, but as the two fighters grapple and struggle, she is accidentally hit in the eye by Tory's elbow. As a time-out session is called by the referee, Sam approaches Daniel and tells him that even though her right eye is injured she can continue fighting. Despite Sam incorporating both teachings, she loses, causing Cobra Kai to become grand champion. As Cobra Kai embraces Tory and celebrates on the mat, Daniel and Johnny escort a defeated Sam back to the sidelines. Daniel then watched in horror as Silver announced that he'll be opening up Cobra Kai Dojos throughout San Fernando Valley. As Cobra Kai celebrates their victory, Sam tells Daniel that they didn't win despite doing what is right and apologizes to him, but Daniel assures her that it is not her fault. Unbeknownst to Daniel, Sam, Eli , the rest of Miyagi-Do and all of Eagle Fang, Terry Silver bribed the referee to ensure Cobra Kai's victory. The LaRusso's come home disappointed for the loss. Later on, Daniel visits Mr. Miyagi's grave. He tells him that even if he lost the bet, he still will not give up because he knows he cannot allow Cobra Kai to damage the Valley and endanger the welfare of others and asks an old friend for help to finish Cobra Kai once and for all. This reveals that he is talking to Chozen and he immediately agrees. After, he and Daniel bow to Mr. Miyagi's grave.

Season 5

After the 51st All Valley, Daniel and Amanda talk to each other about Chozen staying at their house. She gets upset with him for not telling her about him living there. Amanda praises the fact the Kreese is in jail but Daniel says that after Cobra Kai's victory, they will become a bigger threat if they expand. Later, Daniel meets with his students to explain that he is adhering to the best and is closing down Miyagi-Do. He ends saying that Miyagi-Do will still be inside of them regardless of what happens. His daughter Sam is upset but Daniel counters saying he needs to keep everyone safe. Daniel fills Chozen in about Cobra Kai and takes him to the dojo. Chozen notices Terry Silver spar with his students and explains that his moves were taught by Kim Sun-Yung. Chozen trains with him and tells that if he's going to defeat a serpent, he'll have to act like one.

Daniel is impressed with how Chozen was able to connect with Silver. Before Chozen's dinner with the Cobra Kai sensei, he tells him that he needs to be ready to get manipulated and also must be ready to fight if he finds out about his true identity.

At a country club, Daniel and Chozen finish a game with his cousin Louie and worker Anoush. Silver confronts him and says to stand down or nothing will be the same. Anoush asks what happened but Daniel says that he wanted to buy drinks for them. At Miyagi-Do, Chozen asks Daniel if Terry had previous connections and he remembers Mike Barnes. The two tail him to a furniture store where he eavesdrops on his conversation. He mistakenly thinks he's coming after him and confronts him. He apologizes for misinterpreting his conversation and Mike also apologizes for the torment he put him through. Mike then tells Silver about one his attorneys and calls him to talk about Terry Silver. Back at the country club, Terry plays his voicemail confronts him and tells him not to play with fire.

At the LaRusso house, Daniel tells Chozen that he is confused about Mike's furniture store burning down. He tells him that he left town and his insurance company is investigating the fire. Before he leaves for an auction, Daniel has him watch the dealership and house. When he and Amanda arrive, they encounter Terry Silver. He lies to Amanda about his friendship and the Miyagi-Do sensei threatens him to not ruin his day. During the auction, Terry buys Daniel's bonsai trees for $30,000. After, Daniel confronts him about what he said to Amanda and blocks him, causing the Cobra Kai sensei to break his bonsai trees. Having had enough, Amanda tells him that she needs space and is bringing Sam and Anthony.

The next day, Chozen and Daniel follow Stingray to his apartment. The two confront him about the newspaper clip about his trial. Daniel gets angry and causes Silver to break his PS4. He goes to Johnny's apartment to talk about the situation but Johnny doesn't want to get involved. After Daniel tells him about Amanda leaving to Ohio, Johnny sympathizes with his former rival and tells him that he and Amanda will work things out. Johnny talks about how he's trying to get Miguel and Robby to put things behind them. Remembering their own rivalry, Daniel tells the Eagle Fang sensei that if they fought, their rivalry would've been gone. After, Daniel thanks Johnny for their conversation and leaves his apartment. He buys a new PS4 for Stingray where Terry Silver encounters him. The two fight but Silver easily overpowers the Miyagi-Do sensei. Now realizing the truth about Terry Silver, Amanda has a change of heart and comes home to tend to her husband.

Daniel goes back to Miyagi-Do where Amanda reflects on her story with Mr. Miyagi. She tells him that his former sensei said that Daniel always fought for what he believed in and how standing up to Silver is a right choice. Daniel is nervous saying that he'll fail the kids but Robby comes to the dojo and admits to Daniel that he was right about Cobra Kai. He also thanks him for turning his life around, returning to Miyagi-Do. His students and the Eagle Fangs arrive and everyone bows to him.

At LaRusso Auto Group, Daniel tells Johnny, Amanda and Chozen where Silver expanded and Amanda tells Daniel and Johnny to talk to former Cobra Kai sensei John Kreese. The former rivals visit Kreese in prison where Kreese tells the two about an international tournament called the Sekai Taikai. He says if Cobra Kai wins the tournament, they will go global. Despite their efforts, they reject Kreese's help.

Daniel, Johnny, Chozen and Amanda arrive at the Cobra Kai dojo to tell the Sekai Taikai organizers that they want to participate in the tournament. The organizers first go to Miyagi-Do where Daniel explains his teachings. Next, they go to the Eagle Fang where Johnny also explains his teachings. Daniel and Chozen are training Sam where she happily explains that she is back where she belongs. During the demonstration, the Bonsai Badass defeats Devon Lee and they qualify for the tournament.

Back at the dealership, Johnny explains that he is having a baby with Carmen and he, Daniel, Louie, Chozen, Amanda go to a club to celebrate. Daniel and Chozen reminisce about Kumiko and how she was still there for him after he was disowned by Sato. When they leave the club, they are celebrating in the limo but are trapped after the driver steals it and takes them to an unknown location.

The driver reveals himself to be Mike Barnes and berates him for his store burning down. Daniel explains that it was Silver who burnt it down and did not mean to get him caught in their conflict. Now ready for revenge, Daniel's three former rivals go to Silver's mansion to confront him. Stingray picks him up and brings him to the Cobra Kai dojo. When Silver arrives, Daniel and the Cobra Kai sensei have a rematch. During the fight, Daniel incorporates Miyagi-Do, Eagle Fang, Cobra Kai with the Quick Silver method he learned back in The Karate Kid Part III. In the end, the two-time All Valley champion uses the crane kick to defeat him. His family embraces him to celebrate. However, Daniel and Johnny are shocked, when a police officer informs them what happened to Kreese.

Personality

"You know me, I've always been a bit of a hothead, so..."
―Daniel LaRusso to Miyagi's tombstone[src]

Throughout the years, Daniel is consistently friendly, fairly relaxed, and open-minded. When first arriving in California, he easily makes friends before the confrontation with Johnny, though the bullying he endures greatly affects his mental state. He lacks confidence in himself and others, living in a state of fear and panic. He seeks to better protect himself by learning martial arts, where he befriends Mr. Miyagi. Miyagi serves as more than a sensei to Daniel, as Miyagi takes on the role of mentor and serves as a father-figure. Daniel's impatient attitude often caused friction for the pair, as Daniel rushed into things instead of thinking it through. He was quick to anger and lash out at those around him due to his frustration. As he learns how to better himself physically, he couples that with a growing emotional quota. He falls in love for the first time, a relationship that forces him to work through his issues of jealousy and abandonment.

Daniel is frequently heroic. He tries to stand up for those who are considered the underdogs of a situation, such as when he stands up for Ali at the beach, rescues several people during a typhoon and, perhaps zealously, takes it upon himself to protect people from the negative influences of the Cobra Kai Dojo. Matching this heroism is bravery. When necessary, Daniel demonstrates an ability to overcome fear or difficult odds if it means doing what is right or standing up for himself. Equally, he is prone to panicking in the face of threats. His progress is hindered by the mental and emotional assaults he endures at the hands of Mike Barnes and Terry Silver, all of which was orchestrated by Silver. The manipulation was hard for Daniel to overcome and work through, as he placed his trust in the wrong people. However, he eventually finds the resolve to overcome this fear and panic with help from Miyagi and Lucille. He even faces his duel with Chozen, knowing it is to the death, without flinching.

Linked to his tendency to panic is Daniel's harsh reaction when faced with a resurgent Cobra Kai. Because Daniel was bullied and treated so poorly by members of the Cobra Kai Dojo during his teen years, he associates the name with corrupt individuals, assault, bullying, and manipulation. He was spurred into acting offensively to avoid facing the trauma he endured, and to ensure that his children never had to endure it themselves. As he seeks to destroy the dojo, a much darker side of his personality shows. He manipulates the rent of innocent shop owners and conducts a crusade as he matches Johnny's immaturity and low blows equally. He is closed to the idea that Johnny or anyone involved in the dojo could change, showing that at least some part of him was trapped in the past instead of moving forward with the life he created. He felt the same way about Chozen, until their reunion. Daniel does realize his mistakes and rededicates himself to his mentor's teachings of balance, harmony, and peace. This method of grounding himself is therapeutic for Daniel and allows him to realign himself with his core personality of being a good person. He even takes in the loner Robby Keene, as the boys journey of poverty and bullying is similar to Daniel's. He sees potential in the boy when no one else does, and seeks to be the mentor to Robby that Miyagi was to Daniel.

When Daniel does learn that Robby was manipulating him as a way to anger Johnny, who is Robby's father, Daniel is deeply betrayed and lashes out at Robby verbally. He refuses to associate himself with Robby and bans him from the LaRusso household, despite Robby's attempts to win back his trust and show that, while his initial intentions were negative, he's changed. Daniel has much difficulty with the concept of giving old enemies a second chance, especially when they've proven themselves detestable people many times over. This reluctance to give second chances stems from his betrayal at the hands of Silver and Kreese when Daniel was a teenager.

Daniel's current rivalry and distrust of Johnny and Cobra Kai is not only based on their past disdain, but also his disgust at Johnny's inability to learn a lesson since then and at how much Johnny has wasted his life, though most of their hostility has been due to misunderstandings and outside sources. This rivalry fuels much of Daniel's choices later in life, but also gives him tunnel vision. Because of his obsession and inability to move past a thirty year rivalry, many avoidable incidents take place. He stops focusing on his business which begins to have financial difficulties, his marriage suffers from his distance, his daughter rebels into a karate brawl, and he loses the trust of many in the valley. When Daniel learns how much he's overlooked he tries to correct his mistakes, though he still falls into old patterns as he makes up for his past actions.

However, when Daniel learns how far he has drifted from his family, he corrects himself. Daniel shows a protectiveness over them and his unit, begins to communicate more openly with his wife, and attempts to make amends with Sam. When his family is threatened by Kreese and the Cobra Kais, Daniel is infuriated and the incident leads to a long-awaited fight between him and Kreese. With his family threatened and morality in question, Daniel almost delivers a final blow to Kreese, showing that his heroism and strong moral character can be challenged under the right circumstances. The only thing that stops him is his family.

Fighting Style

Daniel vs johny

Daniel LaRusso performing the Crane Kick

"Daniel was the best fighter that day."
"He was the best around."
"Nothing's ever gonna keep him down.
"
―Chris Cotter, Steve Levy and Randy Scott

Daniel learned beginners level Karate prior to training with Miyagi. He knew enough to kick open a gate door and sucker punch Johnny when the latter dropped his guard, but a more skilled Johnny easily defeated him.

Through Miyagi's training, Daniel's inherited style is strong in defense and solid in offense, with a notable emphasis on effectively countering his opponent's attacks. These skills assist him during his fights with Johnny and Chozen, the first of which emphasizes his ability to sneak in behind his opponent's guard to strike, whereas in the latter Daniel's karate has become more rounded, due to his experience, allowing to provide effective offense and defense.

During his teen years, Daniel struggled against opponents that were physically stronger, more skilled, and aggressive and dirty fighters. During his fights with Johnny, Chozen and Mike, Daniel struggled when all three fought more aggressively, and when the former and latter fought underhandedly. Despite struggling when his opponents fight more aggressively or underhandedly, Daniel often has one last tactic in the end which allows him to emerge victorious such as the Crane kick, and the Kata which Miyagi taught him.

Even after Miyagi's death in 2011, Daniel still remembers his lessons and practices what Miyagi taught him, in particular that karate is only used for defense. He later uses his teachings to instruct Johnny's son Robby, in both karate and emotional balance, which leads to him reopening Miyagi-Do Karate. He also uses Miyagi's techniques to defeat Robby's attackers with astonishing ease and efficiency, which clearly demonstrates just how far Daniel has come from his teenage years when he struggled to take on multiple opponents. During this fight, Daniel again displays his style's preference for effective counterattacks; as Daniel notes to Johnny - "you know I'm not going to strike first."

Under Daniel's tutelage, Samantha LaRusso, Robby Keene, Demetri, Chris, and Nathaniel would become skilled martial artists in their own right. After being defeated by his old enemy Chozen, Daniel would learn from him about targeting pressure points, something that allowed him to defeat John Kreese in a fight, switching from defense to offense. Notably, in this instance, Daniel strikes first in anger to protect Johnny whose life was in danger. The pressure point technique also allowed him to render Kreese incapable of fighting back. In his brief alliance with Johnny, Daniel learns the Cobra Kai style, which he employs to beat up a group of Hockey players that disrespected his wife. Johnny would later comment on this with admiration to Chozen. When fighting Johnny for control over Miyagi Do and Eagle Fang, the fight proves to be even and despite Daniel attempting the Pressure Point Technique, Johnny counters it, and the fight ends in a tie.

In his first fight with Terry Silver, Daniel strikes first but is easily defeated, During Daniel's second fight with Silver, he went on the offensive, using a mixture of Miyagi-Do, Eagle Fang and Cobra Kai techniques, combined with Silver's own Quick Silver method training to overpower Silver before finishing him with a crane kick. Silver, despite his experience and skill, found himself unable to effectively counter Daniel when he combined all three fighting styles and used Silver's own training against him.

Relationships

Mr. Miyagi

Miyagi was Daniel's mentor and karate sensei, but the mentorship went beyond karate. Daniel learned invaluable life lessons and inner-peace from Miyagi, eventually coming to view him as a father-figure. Miyagi felt the same way, as he had lost his wife and only child during World War II, while Daniel's father had died at a young age. They each filled the gaps left by their tremendous loss. While Daniel loved Miyagi, he was not above snapping at the man or lashing out. He even revolted against Miyagi at one point, believing his teachings were no longer correct. When Daniel saw the error of his ways, Miyagi welcomed Daniel back without judgement. The elder's teachings were often shrouded in mystery that annoyed his young apprentice. When Daniel got married and had a family of his own, he included Miyagi in every possible aspect to the point where Miyagi viewed Daniel's daughter as a granddaughter. Miyagi was also incredibly good-natured to Daniel's mother, Luceille. Unfortunately, Daniel and Miyagi's relationship ended when the latter died. Daniel was left devastated by the loss. He soon discovered that Miyagi had willed him his complete antique car collection and his house which doubled as a dojo. To honor his friend, Daniel began giving away bonsai trees to all his customers that purchased a car from LaRusso Auto Group. Upon reopening Miyagi Do, Daniel strived to be as good of a teacher as Miyagi was. When he felt that he failed, he apologized to a photograph of Miyagi for not doing the right thing.

Daniel visits Okinawa in an effort to save his business. He visits Miyagi's old village where he revisits many of his memories of his old mentor. Daniel tells Chozen that Miyagi saw him as his son. He discovers that Miyagi hid more dangerous parts of Miyagi-Do from Daniel, presumably to protect him. The visit allows Daniel to learn more about his beloved mentor, reconcile with Chozen, save his business, learn new Miyagi-Do techniques, and later reopen Miyagi Do.

Lucille LaRusso

Lucille is Daniel's mother, having raised him by herself after the death of Mr. LaRusso. The pair were close after the death and relied on one another during difficult times. She was aware that her son was being bullied and supported his choice to learn karate. As adults, the pair remained close. She often served as his sounding board when he had troubles in his marriage or with his children.

Amanda LaRusso

Amanda is Daniel's wife and the mother of their two children. They met and were married in the early 2000s, after which, they started a family with the birth of their first child, their daughter Samantha, followed by the birth of their son Anthony several years later. A few months before Samantha was born, they also opened an auto dealership together and became business partners. The success of their business allowed them a grand lifestyle that they both enjoyed. When Daniel is faced with the return of his high school nemesis and bully Johnny Lawrence, Amanda becomes his moral voice of reason and support system. She often tries to guide him in the right direction even if he ignores her advice. When Daniel's obsession with Miyagi Do and the drama surrounding his karate life, he inadvertently leaves Amanda to deal with the dealership, finances, and household herself. This negatively affects their marriage and she informs him of how his actions have affected her, something he was completely unaware of. He has to work to earn back her trust and support through actions instead of empty promises. Over time, they reconcile, though she believes he should close Miyagi Do due to the violence it has created.

When John Kreese returned to the valley, Amanda initially didn't understand the intense hatred or fear that Daniel held toward Kreese. She felt it was unwarranted in some aspects and frequently told him to stop fueling the growing tension. It wasn't until Kreese turned his sights on Amanda, the dealership, and Sam, that she believed Daniel. They worked together to see legal action against Kreese, only to learn he had already placed a restraining order against Amanda. When the Cobra Kai's attack the Miyagi-Do students, Daniel and Amanda become closer than ever as they face their issues head-on as a unified team.

Samantha LaRusso

Samantha is Daniel's daughter. They have a close relationship, though Daniel is a lot closer with her than with Anthony, teaching the former karate while the latter always has his face buried in video games. Amanda has even called her Daniel's "Mini Me" a few times. In a flashback, it is revealed that Daniel claimed her as his child while she was still in utero. Daniel also provides Sam with consolation when she is scared of Tory and promises he will always be there for Sam.

Anthony LaRusso

Anthony is Daniel's son. Daniel loves him very much despite his rotten attitude and Anthony looks up to his father and boasts about his karate skills. Daniel advises Anthony to let go of his video game and join the other kids during the country club party but it had no success, much to Daniel's chagrin. A few years later, Anthony explained to his dad that there was a bully in school and Daniel decided to begin training his son in Miyagi-Do Karate, only to give up when Anthony demonstrated to be too lazy to perform chores associated with the training, such as washing some old cars. Anthony ultimately confessed to his dad that he felt left out of the loop because not only he did not have any good memories with Mr. Miyagi apart from when he was an infant, but also because Sam had been receiving more attention and support lately. Eventually, Daniel and Amanda discovered that Anthony lied and that he and some of his friends had been bullying their new classmate Kenny Payne for several weeks, prompting Daniel and Amanda to confiscate all of Anthony's electronic devices. When he proved to be not taking his punishment seriously when Daniel finds an iPad in his bed, Daniel threatens to give Anthony an even worse punishment unless he agrees to behave, which appeared to put Anthony back in line. Because of this, Daniel then showed compassion to Anthony when he decided to not only take out the trash to make amends, but also agreed to help out at the dealership or the dojo, which Daniel agreed on.

Ali Mills

Ali is Daniel's ex-girlfriend. They first meet on the beach in the first film and become friendly, though this earns the ire of her ex-boyfriend, Johnny. Later in the film, the two would become a couple. However, in Karate Kid II, Daniel tells Miyagi that she left him for a football player at UCLA after the senior prom. Over 30 years later, Daniel tells Johnny that Ali is married and living in Denver working as a pediatric surgeon, according to her Facebook profile. Months later, Daniel, Johnny, and Ali are reunited, and Ali helps the two men reconcile. Daniel and Ali part ways on friendly terms. When Daniel brings up the end of their relationship, Ali tells him that they were kids at the time and the good times that they shared far outweighed the bad.

Johnny Lawrence

Johnny is Daniel's first rival when Daniel moved to California from New Jersey. Despite not actually moving in on Johnny's ex-girlfriend Ali (instead he was just meeting and bonding), Johnny saw it as him stealing her, and immediately confronted her. However, LaRusso kept butting, so Johnny had to push him away, thus causing a rivalry. Their rivalry supposedly ended after Daniel beat Johnny in the finals of The All-Valley Tournament, which earns his rival's respect when he is handed the All-Valley trophy by Johnny. However, their rivalry is reignited when Johnny reopens Cobra Kai over 30 years after Johnny's defeat. Despite this, however, Daniel explained to Robby that it wasn't Johnny's fault for being aggressive, only his teacher Kreese was to blame for teaching him these aggressive things. There are also occasions where both Daniel and Johnny bond, even though those moments are short lived.

Ali helps Johnny and Daniel see that they are more alike than they would like to admit and the two finally reconcile. Previous to this, Daniel indicates to Chozen that he wishes all of his rivalries could end well, suggesting that he desires a good end to his rivalry with Johnny but cannot find a way to do it. Daniel later saves Johnny from John Kreese and the two men confront Kreese together, both wanting Cobra Kai to end for good. Now united against a common enemy, the two begin working together to take Cobra Kai down, bowing to each other in respect as they begin training students together. However, it becomes strained once more due to their different teachings, and also when the Miyagi-Do's and Eagle Fang's refused to jump off the roof except for Sam. As a result, this causes a rematch to happen between them, only to end in a tie and causing Eagle Fang and Miyagi-Do to go separate ways, even resulting them facing against each other in the All Valley. However, the two reconcile and team up to help Sam in her match against Tory.

Despite Daniel's feud with Johnny, it is in fact Kreese who is Daniel and Mr. Miyagi's true mortal enemy. In the finals of the 1984 All Valley Tournament during the original Karate Kid film, Kreese tells Johnny to sweep Daniel's injured leg, but Johnny loses to Daniel.

Following their loss at the All-Valley tournament, Daniel and Johnny appear to have set aside their rivalry completely and become good friends. Johnny offers Daniel advice on his marital issues while getting inspiration from Daniel on how to fix the rivalry between Robby and Miguel. Daniel notes that if he and Johnny had just fought it out a long time ago, their own rivalry might have ended much sooner. When both men rejoin the front against Cobra Kai, they are a completely united front for the first time and when asked for a name of their dojo, give the name of each other's as they are not one dojo, but two working together. After finding out that Carmen us pregnant, the two men and Chozen enjoy a night out together to celebrate.

While working Johnny is briefly working alone with Chozen, the two men at first try to one up each other in stories of how they had bullied Daniel in the past before switching to their good stories of him, showing just how deeply both Johnny and Chozen respect Daniel. In particular, Johnny brings up his admiration of how Daniel never backs down from a fight and how Daniel once beat five hockey players five on one.

Following the defeat of Terry Silver, the two men share a hug in victory.

John Kreese

TKK Kreese Daniel Miyagi

Daniel's negative impression of Kreese began in 1984, when Kreese's students began to torment Daniel at school. Daniel's kindness, yet hot-headed nature and natural karate talent, posed a threat to Kreese's Cobra Kai Dojo. The societal repercussions of Daniel's fights with Johnny had begun to spread across the valley, and Kreese knew that a loss to Daniel and Mr. Miyagi at the All Valley Karate Tournament would be detrimental to his business. During the tournament, Kreese told Johnny to target Daniel's injured foot. Despite the cheap tactics used by Cobra Kai dojo, Daniel defeated Johnny in the tournament. Afterward, Kreese attacked Johnny in the parking lot but was stopped by Miyagi. Cobra Kai dojo closed after the tournament. In 1985, Daniel was taken under the leadership of Terry Silver, who manipulated Daniel into being a more ruthless fighter with little regard for others, abandoning the teachings of Miyagi. Daniel became a member of Cobra Kai under the tutelage of Silver, who used violent tactics to not only train Daniel, but abuse him. Silver betrayed Daniel when he revealed an alliance with Kreese, beat Daniel, and abandoned the boy. Kreese and Silver had orchestrated the entire partnership to ruin Daniel's chances in the tournament. Once again, under the sway of Mr. Miyagi, Daniel beat Cobra Kai and their prized fighter. The event forced the dojo to close their doors, sent Kreese on a downward spiral, and allowed Daniel the confidence to become a successful businessman.

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Kreese resurfaced 30 years later to work with Johnny Lawrence at a newly reopened Cobra Kai Dojo. Kreese's cruelty against Daniel continued, as he belittled Miyagi and tried to intimidate Daniel repeatedly. Kreese's arrival impacted Daniel greatly, as he became obsessed with beating his childhood tormenters. Most of their feud was reactionary, with one side instigating and the other getting revenge either directly or through their students. After learning Kreese sent his students to attack the Miyagi-Do and Eagle Fang students, which also vandalized Daniel's home, Daniel finally snapped. He confronted Kreese in the dojo and reminded Kreese of the war he wanted at his initial arrival. The fight was bloody and intense but ended with Daniel saving Johnny and defeating Kreese. The three senseis agreed to settle their differences on the mat in the 51st Annual Karate Championships.

Even after having been sent to prison, Kreese's animosity towards Daniel has not faded. When Tory reveals to Kreese that their plan to expose Stingray's lies only ended up getting Daniel hurt by Silver, Kreese sees it as a small victory and calls Daniel a means to an end. Later on, when Daniel and Johnny go to prison to meet Kreese, he expresses no interest in talking to Daniel and only wished to talk to Johnny. Kreese only agrees to help them so long as Daniel helps get Kreese out of prison with his resources, though Daniel tricks him and expresses no interest in helping Kreese leave prison.

Terry Silver

"Daniel: That's bullshit, you tortured me.
Silver: Please. You were a hothead. All I had to do was wind you up and get out of the way. And...if you're being honest with yourself, you know you liked it. You were powerful, free. You just don't wanna admit there's always been a little Cobra Kai in you.
"
Daniel and Silver
TerryBreaksDanielKK3

Terry personally made Daniel one of his biggest enemies in 1985, after John Kreese recruited Terry to ruin Daniel so they could win the All Valley Karate Tournament. After learning how Daniel and his sensei led to the fall of Cobra Kai, Terry took it upon himself to enact revenge on Daniel for Kreese. He hired Mike Barnes to defeat LaRusso at the All Valley and later made Mike force Daniel to sign an application to the tournament when he refused. Terry and Mike both eventually orchestrated a staged fight where Barnes attacked Daniel so Silver could "rescue" Daniel and gain his trust. Terry became Daniel's sensei in Cobra Kai and turned Daniel against the teachings of Mr. Miyagi. Silver greatly enjoyed seeing Daniel hurt himself with the QuickSilver method, maniacally laughing in secret at the teens pain. He turned Daniel into a violent person and continued to fuel this "killer instinct" when he paid a man to harass Daniel at a nightclub. When Terry finally revealed his true intentions to Daniel, he took great pleasure in seeing him scared and beaten during most of the tournament, as he instructed Mike Barnes to score a point and lose that point over and over so that Daniel would experience more pain until the sudden death round. Daniel ultimately won the tournament and destroyed Terry and Kreese's plan in the process.

CK S4 Terry Daniel

Terry's actions left a big impact on Daniel, as even years later, Daniel held traumatic memories of his encounters with Silver. In 2019, Silver returned to the valley at the behest of Kreese and apologized to Daniel for his actions. Daniel refused to accept his apology and wanted Silver to leave everyone alone. The refusal fueled Silver's hatred for Daniel and motivated him even more to destroy the Miyagi-Do's in the upcoming karate championships. Daniel saw Silver with the Cobra Kai's and warned his former student Robby Keene of the twisted methods Silver notoriously used. He warned Robby that the strength Silver could provide was amazing, but one day, he would wake up with some innocent kids blood on his shirt and hope it wasn't too late to change. Silver confronted Daniel and the pair had an intense conversation as Silver insisted he did nothing to Daniel but light the spark within. Daniel's always had a little Cobra Kai in him, after all, a statement that made Daniel leave to avoid causing a scene. Despite their complicated history, Daniel stayed away from Silver during training for the tournament but did warn both Johnny and Amanda about Silver's antics in 1985. Jessica Andrews later reveals to Amanda the extent of what Silver did to Daniel and both women think that he never got over the trauma, fueling his obsession in the present.

Following the defeat in the 51st All Valley, Daniel becomes obsessed with taking Silver, falling victim to the man's psychological warfare. He drives his family away as Amanda can't see Daniel's motives for refusing to let the past go. Feeling badly for his actions towards Stingray, Daniel goes to the man's house to make peace, which is paid for by Silver. The man is present and attack Daniel mercilessly, ignoring his attempts to garner peace. After being badly injured by Silver and threatened with death, Daniel gives up the fight just as everyone else is finally ready to join him in it. After Silver is exposed by the Miyagi-Do and Eagle Fang students, he challenges Daniel to a rematch. For once, Daniel goes on the offensive using a combination of Miyagi-Do, Eagle Fang and Cobra Kai techniques and even applying Silver's own QuickSilver training of him to the fight. Daniel defeats Silver who is arrested for his litany of crimes as the Cobra Kai students abandon him. In the aftermath, Daniel and his family and friends celebrate Daniel finally taking down Silver.

Chozen Toguchi

Karate Kid II Daniel v Chozen

Daniel's former and deadliest rival was in Chozen, as their rivalry began in June of 1985, when Daniel and Miyagi visited Okinawa. Chozen often bullied and harassed Daniel, but Daniel overcame Chosen in the end and ultimately humiliated him by not fulfilling the "fight to the death" pact they had made prior. In 2018, Daniel returned to Okinawa to save his business, where Kumiko orchestrated a reunion between the former enemies. Their reunion was awkward as he still harbored anger. This led to another fight between the two men where Chozen shows Daniel deadlier techniques of Miyagi-Do that Mr. Miyagi hid from him. Chozen beats Daniel and is poised to kill him, only to humorously honk his nose as Daniel did to Chozen years before.

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Having changed for the better, Chozen genuinely enjoyed paying Daniel back in such a fashion and dropped his act. Recognizing that Chozen had in fact changed, Daniel received training in pressure points and Chozen provided Daniel with a secret scroll with more information on the technique. Chozen revealed to Daniel that after their fight, he was filled with shame and wanted to die before Sato saved him and helped Chozen become a better man. Daniel offered his forgiveness to Chozen who accepted it, as it meant a lot to him. Daniel admitted to enjoying the friendly end to their rivalry and wished that all of his rivalries could end so well. Daniel later told Kumiko that he and Chozen learned something important from each other as she had hoped. When Daniel lost the 51st karate championships to the cunning Terry Silver and John Kreese, he was meant to close the dojo and hang up his senseiship for good. However, the maniacal ways of Cobra Kai forced Daniel to break his pact and enlist the help of Chozen to end Cobra Kai once and for all.

While working with Daniel against Cobra Kai, Chozen is shown to greatly enjoy helping him and being friends. When Daniel apologizes for what he thinks is a wasted trip, Chozen tells him that it's never wasted to help a friend and the two even discuss the possibility of Daniel's family visiting Chozen in Okinawa at some point. After learning how much Chozen loves Kumiko, Daniel gives his friend relationship advice.

While working alone with Johnny briefly, Chozen and Johnny try to one up each other in stories of how they had bullied Daniel in the past before switching to stories that show their admiration and respect for him. Chozen brings up the mercy that Daniel had showed him in their fight to the death and watching Daniel saving Yuna during a typhoon. When Johnny counters with seeing Daniel defeat a man using the pressure point technique, Chozen laughs and informs Johnny that he had taught Daniel that move.

Robby Keene

Robby was a friend of Daniel and former employee at LaRusso Auto. They first meet when Robby is hired at LaRusso Auto, but Daniel is unaware that Robby is Johnny's son. Within no time they develop a friendship. They become closer when Robby does karate with Daniel. However, after finding out that Robby is Johnny's son. he kicks Robby out as he feels used and conned. Despite the anger, he roots for him in the All Valley Tournament and eventually forgives him and becomes his teacher in the finals. Unfortunately Robby loses, but Daniel is proud of him for fighting honorably. After the tournament, Daniel takes Robby to his house and enlists him as his first student in the newly re-opened Miyagi Do Karate.

Robby comes to stay at Daniel's house after his mother takes off. This combined with Miyagi Do Karate allows them to interact even more. However, when Daniel finds Robby and Sam at Johnny's house the morning after Sam got drunk in a party, an angry Daniel rebukes Robby and says he lost his trust. Daniel then leaves, making Robby upset. Later at the hospital following the school brawl, Daniel is shocked to learn that Robby kicked Miguel off the railing.

Robby goes on the run and Daniel tries to find him. Shannon calls Daniel to talk to Robby, and Daniel tells Robby that he turned him to the Police to get a shorter sentence of a few weeks at Juvie. Robby thinks Daniel betrayed him. After Robby is handcuffed and taken away by the police, Robby orders Daniel to not visit him in juvie as he thinks Daniel betrayed him. The next day after being questioned and placed in juvie, the officer calls him to a phone call and Daniel calls him from the dealership with Amanda by his side and tries to talk to Robby, but Robby hangs up on him which makes Daniel upset. When Robby is released from juvie, Daniel and Johnny tell him that he always has a home with either of them, but Robby tells Daniel and Johnny to leave him alone and walks away. After Daniel defeats Kreese at Cobra Kai, Robby coldly tells Daniel, Johnny, Miguel and Sam to leave.

Following the 51st All Valley, Robby reconciles with both Daniel and Johnny. Daniel admits to believing that he'd failed Robby and tries to apologize, but Robby reassures Daniel that he didn't fail him, and Robby just didn't understand what Daniel had been trying to teach him until he witnessed someone that he was mentoring make the same mistakes. Robby helps convince Daniel to rejoin the fight against Cobra Kai while rejoining Miyagi-Do himself.

Other Relationships

Gallery

Quotes

Daniel LaRusso/Quotes

Trivia

  • In 2018, that character of Daniel LaRusso was inducted into the Fictitious Athlete Hall of Fame.
  • Originally, the character was named "Daniel Webber", but after Ralph Macchio booked the part, the character's name was changed to LaRusso to reflect Macchio's Italian-American heritage.
    • It was important to the cast and crew to have a positive representation of Italian-Americans, due to the harsh depiction of Italian-Americans in media at the time. Mark Kamen, Randee Heller, and Ralph Macchio was presented with a letter of commendation by Italians Against Discrimination for The Karate Kid.
  • His 2010 remake counterpart is Dre Parker.
  • He is a fan of REO Speedwagon.
  • His drinks of choice are club soda, Ketel Martinis, and Don Julio 70.
  • Daniel is a fan of the HBO television series, Game of Thrones.
  • As of Head of the Snake, Daniel has defeated all of his enemies from the original film trilogy.
  • He and Johnny Lawrence are the only characters of the show to have appeared in every single episode.
    • There was, however, one episode where the former only had one scene.
  • He is only the second character to yell Johnny Lawrence's catchphrase "Quiet" after John Kreese.
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