- ""…ex-degenerate man. 8AM tomorrow, I’m a senior. I’ve got one year to make it all work, and that's what I'm gonna do… make it work. All of it!""
- ―Johnny Lawrence's first lines in The Karate Kid and most likely words he has long been haunted by.
- "No mercy, man."
- ―Johnny Lawrence
Johnny Lawrence, as a young kid, was very feeble and distant. Growing up with a harsh step-father, Johnny would often distance himself through use of his Walkman. However, one day while strolling home, Johnny came across a karate dojo by the name of Cobra Kai. Inside he found John Kreese teaching his students, which inspired Johnny greatly. He excitedly talked about the dojo with his mother and asked his stepfather if he could study karate, but Sid ridiculed him and relented only after Laura convinced him to let her son learn karate, thinking it could help him make friends. Johnny was enrolled into Cobra Kai and became a star student, winning the All-Valley tournament in 1982 and 1983 and not losing a single point in the latter.
When Johnny and his friend, Dutch, attended a screening of Rocky III in the summer of their sophomore year, they sat behind a group of girls. Dutch threw milk-duds at the girls, before one of them, Ali Mills, stood up and confronted him. This was the first time Johnny Lawrence formally met Ali, and he soon went on to form a two-year relationship with her.
Just shortly before the events of Karate Kid, Johnny and Ali got into a small fight and broke off. Johnny was very adamant about getting back with her, but never truly got his chance.
Karate Kid (1984)Edit
On the last night of summer, Johnny and his friends from Cobra Kai drive their motorcycles to a beach party. He reminds his friends that he wants to be an "ex-degenerate" but immediately becomes jealous when he sees Ali with an unfamiliar boy. He drives down to confront Ali, but she rejects all his advances, and the two quickly get into a fight. Daniel LaRusso, seeing a chance to insert himself and stick up for Ali, intervenes. Johnny quickly pushes Daniel down, and the two get into a brawl against Ali's protests in which Johnny wins and leaves.
Quite a bit later, during a Halloween school event, Johnny was in a bathroom stall, when Daniel put a hose over him, and drenched him with water. Johnny, enraged, gathered his friends, and chased Daniel down the street, before cornering Daniel and beating him up. That's when, unexpectedly, Mr. Miyagi showed up, defending Daniel and knocking Johnny out.
Miyagi and Daniel later showed up to the Cobra Kai Dojo, requesting of John Kreese that his students leave Daniel be until the All-Valley Tournament. Agreeing, Johnny was forced not to lay a hand on Daniel, which allowed for Daniel to torment Johnny until the day of the Tournament arrived.
Once the day of the All-Valley Tournament finally arrived, Johnny rocked his way up to the finals, where he was pitted against his now-rival, Daniel LaRusso. While Johnny put up a good fight, especially with his opponent having an injured leg, Daniel ended up defeating Johnny using the Crane Technique.
Karate Kid Part II (1986)Edit
Following the tournament, Johnny argues with John Kreese in the parking lot about how he did his best despite winning second place. Kreese, enraged by Johnny's loss, destroys his trophy and calls him a loser. Johnny insults Kreese, but Kreese quickly puts Johnny into a headlock.
Johnny's friends unsuccessfully tried to save him from Kreese, before Mr. Miyagi stepped in and defused the situation. Daniel and Miyagi then left Johnny in the parking lot.
Karate Kid Part III (1989)Edit
Johnny appears in a montage in the beginning of the movie. He along with his friends most likely left Cobra Kai following Kreese's assault against him after his loss in the tournament as in the present day Kreese is revealed to have no students left at the Cobra Kai Dojo.
In the past three decades in between Karate Kid and Cobra Kai, Johnny's life had gone downhill. He greatly detested his job as a home-improvement worker and moved to Reseda from Encino Hills. He fell victim to alcohol and was living life as a drunk. In the early 2000's, Johnny had a relationship with Shannon Keene, who gave birth to his son, Robby, but the relationship fell apart, and Johnny reportedly neglected Robby since birth.
At some point, Johnny's mother died. It is unknown when and how she died.
Cobra Kai (2018)Edit
Johnny meets his new neighbor, Miguel Diaz, whom he rudely brushes off any conversation with, and is annoyed to see another billboard advertising LaRusso Auto. After unintentionally offending a customer, Johnny loses his job.
Soon after, Johnny goes to a strip-mall and encounters Miguel buying Pepto for his grandmother. Johnny leaves the strip-mall and eats his food, while witnessing Miguel get thrown around by a bully named Kyler, and his friends. Kyler eventually throws Miguel onto Johnny's car, which sparks Johnny's attention and gives him an incentive to beat up Kyler and his goons—similarly to how Mr. Miyagi had beat up Johnny and his goons years earlier.
Johnny is arrested for the fight, and returns home the next day. His step-father, who bailed him out, is waiting for him, who hands Johnny a check as a means of buying Johnny out of his life. Johnny rips up the check without hesitance.
Miguel, impressed by Johnny's fighting prowess, asks Johnny to be his Sensei, but Johnny refused. Going out for a ride, Johnny had a flashback of Kreese strangling him in the parking-lot during the events of Karate Kid Part II, before hearing a loud crash. Turning around, Johnny saw that a group of girls had crashed into his car. Johnny confronted the girls, but they raced off, leaving for his car to be towed.
Johnny later went to LaRusso Auto to pick up his car, where he reunited with Daniel LaRusso, and is shocked to see that one of the passengers in the hit-and-run is none other than LaRusso's daughter. Johnny left with his car, and finally agreed for Miguel to become his student. Johnny went on to reassemble the pieces of the check his step-dad gave him, which he used to rent a space in the strip mall and open a Dojo for his own.
However, with only one student, Johnny struggled to pay rent and failed to attract more students by passing around flyers. Impressed with Miguel's devotion, he trains him harder and takes him to his school Halloween dance dressed in the skeleton outfit that Johnny and his Cobra Kai friends wore to the dance in their senior year. LaRusso catches him hanging flyers around the school and confronts him but runs off to follow Samantha and Kyler into a classroom. Johnny later finds Miguel on the floor in the locker, severely beaten after Kyler and his friends attacked him. He returns Miguel home, and Carmen demands that Johnny stay away from her son.
Later, Johnny learns that his son had been absent from school for a month and attempts to talk to his son, who refuses to listen and taunts his father about how successful his karate rival, LaRusso, had become. He later interrupts Shannon's date with a businessman and confronts her about neglecting their son and allowing him to skip classes, but she rejects his offer to care for their son and tells him there are no second chances to be a parent.
Johnny initially refused to train Aisha Robinson due to his fact that he never allowed females to train in Cobra Kai, but Miguel convinced him to train her. Thus, Lawrence allows her to train. He compliments Aisha that she's a natural Cobra when she attacks her own friend back. He later gains more students to train, however half of the students, including Demitri, are quickly left the dojo due to Lawrences' harsh teaching. Even Lawrence tells Eli, whom Sensei Johnny called him lip, to "flip the script", in which Eli leaves. However much to Johnny, Miguel and Aisha's surprise, Eli comes back with his new look and Johnny nicknames him Hawk.
At Miguel's urging, Johnny tried to enroll his dojo in the All-Valley Tournament but is enraged when he learns that Cobra Kai was banned from the tournament since 1985. Johnny went to the All Valley Tournament committee, in which Daniel is part of. Despite Daniel's rejection, Cobra Kai is later reinstated after he told the committee that Johnny's Cobra Kai is different from his "dead" sensei's (Kreese) as he teaches the students, who are bullying victims, to become stronger.
When Miguel shows a photograph, his girlfriend Samantha from his cellphone to Johnny, he quickly warns him that Miguel should be careful to the LaRussos as he narrates Miguel about his rivalry with Daniel. When the two arrive to their apartment complex from training, Carmen invites Johnny over for dinner, tells him the story of her marriage, and how she doesn't let the past haunt her. Moved by this, Johnny cleans his apartment, beings taking the first steps to a healthier lifestyle, and pays back Sid the money he used for the dojo. While writing a letter to Robby in hopes of reconciling, Johnny suddenly hears the breaking of the glass, in which turns out that Louie, Daniel's cousin, destroys his car, claiming that this is considering as a "message" from Daniel LaRusso before Johnny fights Louie and his goons. He angrily asks Louie where Daniel resides, in which Louie answers him that Daniel is in Encino Hills.
Johnny goes to Daniel's residence to confront him, but Daniel refutes him and he tells them that he never torched his car, until Amanda intervenes to settle themselves at breakfast. Daniel hesitantly gives Johnny his new car and they spent their time doing the test drive and sharing their fond moments about their past at the bar. As Johnny fetches Daniel back to his house at night, Johnny suddenly sees his own son Robby, whom Daniel trained, much to Johnny's anger on Daniel. Robby quickly defends Daniel from his own father, and Johnny leaves, hurt that his son had more respect for LaRusso and was willing to hurt his own father to protect his boss. In turn, Daniel forces Robby to leave his house.
At the All Valley Tournament, Johnny and his Cobra Kai students entered into the tournament, with Hawk and Miguel are qualified into the semi-finals. Much to Johnny's surprise, his son Robby enters into the tournament alone, until Daniel finally accepts Robby and becomes a representative of Miyagi-Do. After Hawk is disqualified due to illegal contact against Robby, Johnny quickly approaches his son to check, but the referee denies him to get near to his son. Johnny suddenly realizes that his students have become corrupted by the cruel teachings of Cobra Kai. During the final fight between Miguel and Robby, Miguel tells Johnny that he would take advantage of Robby's injured arm, but Johnny tells him that he doesn't have to fight dirty, in which Miguel declines and he tells them that he can do this. Miguel finally wins the All Valley Tournament. After the tournament, Johnny approaches Robby to say sorry to him; they are somewhat reconciled before Robby leaves with Daniel.
Back at Cobra Kai Dojo, Johnny hears someone is entering the door. Initially assuming it to be Miguel, Johnny is surprised to see former sensei John Kreese, much to his surprise. Kreese congratulates him that Cobra Kai is back on the top and he tells him that the real story has just begun.