"Look... I wasn't taught the difference between mercy and honor and I paid the price for it. If I'm extra hard on you, it's only because you have the potential to be better than I ever was. You want that, don't you?"
―Johnny Lawrence to Miguel Diaz[src]

John "Johnny" Lawrence is the secondary antagonist of The Karate Kid, a minor character in The Karate Kid Part II, and the main protagonist/central character of the TV series Cobra Kai. He was Cobra Kai's top student and later ex-sensei.

Pre Karate Kid

Johnny was born on August 20, 1967 to Laura Lawrence. Johnny never met his father. Laura would eventually marry a rich and abusive man named Sid Weinberg.

Johnny as a young kid, was very feeble and distant. He was also implied to have been a victim of bullying. He himself said he was the "weirdo kid" in school and didn't have a single friend and that Cobra Kai helped him "shed his loser skin" and become tougher and thus more popular at school. Growing up with Sid who was often rude and abusive toward him, Johnny would often distance himself through the 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 dismissed it as a waste (as he was the one paying the bills and thus the Cobra Kai tuition), as well as how Johnny already gets in enough fights at school. Mr. Weinberg 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 Karate tournament in 1982 and 1983, and not losing a single point in the latter (in 1983, he beat his friend Tommy in the finals. He made friends with Cobra Kai members Bobby Brown, Dutch, Tommy and Jimmy.

When Johnny and his friends 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 formally met Ali, and he soon went on to form a two-year relationship with her.

In the summer of their senior year, Johnny and his friends went to a bar and got so drunk that he missed Ali's birthday, which led to her ending the relationship. Johnny was very adamant about getting back with her, but never truly got his chance.

Karate Kid (1984)

On the last night of summer, Johnny and his friends from Cobra Kai drive their motorcycles to a beach party. One of the friends says their criminal records have been sealed, but Johnny wants to put whatever happened behind him as an "ex-degenerate". After Tommy (who, with his friends, sees clearly sees the beach) points it out, Johnny's attention turns to seeing Ali with an unfamiliar boy, inciting jealousy. Despite Bobby and Jimmy telling Johnny that he took a positive attitude towards whatever scraps he had with the law and urge him to take the same view towards Ali, as she is "ancient history", Johnny drives down to confront Ali, but she rejects all his advances, and the two quickly get into a fight. Daniel LaRusso intervenes, trying to stick up for Ali. Johnny quickly pushes Daniel down, and the two get into a brawl against Ali's protests in which Johnny wins and leaves, but not before being sucker punched by Daniel.

In the following weeks, Daniel occasionally falls under the ire of Johnny and the rest of the Cobra Kai gang, who harass him, which inadvertently gets Daniel kicked off the soccer team. Daniel thinks of joining a dojo to fight back, only to realize the one he checked out was Cobra Kai, giving Johnny and his friends another chance to hurt Daniel by overpowering him on their motor bikes and shoving him down a ravine. After this, the harassment seems to taper off. Another chance for harassment occurs, but when a teacher shows up telling Daniel a long and boring lesson, Johnny and his gang leave, not wishing to wait for a fight.

During a Halloween school event, Johnny was in a bathroom stall about to smoke a joint, when Daniel put a hose over him and drenched him with water. Johnny, enraged, gathered his friends who were clad in skeleton costumes matching Johnny's, and pursued Daniel down the street, before cornering Daniel at a chain link fence and beating him in revenge. Johnny attempts to continue the beating of Daniel, performing a move that, had it hit its intended target, would have likely killed an unconscious Daniel. Despite Bobby insisting that Daniel has had enough, Johnny tells Dutch to hold Daniel up before attempting a flying kick. That's when, unexpectedly, local child batterer and busybody Mr Miyagi showed up, causing Dutch to drop Daniel and Johnny to fail to hit Daniel. He then effortlessly proceeds in defending Daniel and assaulting Johnny and his friends, giving Tommy brain damage according to Johnny.

Miyagi and Daniel later showed up to the Cobra Kai Dojo, requesting of Kreese that his students leave Daniel alone, but Kreese's stubbornness resulted in both Kreese and Miyagi deciding to have Daniel compete against the Cobra Kai in the All-Valley Tournament. Miyagi then requested Kreese to tell his students to leave Daniel alone until the tournament. Agreeing, Kreese ordered Johnny and his gang to stay away from Daniel until the debut of the tournament. While Daniel saw them rarely after that, there was an occasion where Daniel openly taunted Johnny and his friends as he knew they couldn't harm him. Johnny, furious at Daniel's taunts was almost ready to attack Daniel, until he was restrained by Bobby, who reminded Johnny of Kreese's order not to fight.

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. After Daniel won the first two points, Johnny went to Kreese, who told Johnny to “sweep the leg”, shocking and horrifying Johnny as a result (while also realizing that Kreese may have gone too far). Johnny followed through by sweeping Daniel's foot and fighting more aggressively, allowing him to tie the score. Daniel however ultimately defeated Johnny using the Crane Technique and winning the tournament. Johnny then gives the first-place trophy to Daniel and tells him he's all right (thus showing that he's now become Daniel's former rival).

The Karate Kid Part II (1986)

Immediately after the tournament's conclusion, the difference in sportsmanship was seen between Kreese and Johnny. Kreese shared none of Johnny's attitude about how Daniel LaRusso did a good match.

Johnny argues with 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 then returns the insult back at Kreese, calling him "sick", but Kreese quickly puts Johnny into a headlock and strangles him from behind.

Johnny's friends (aside from Dutch, who turns his back to Johnny) unsuccessfully tried to save him from Kreese but are assaulted/threatened with assault by Kreese as a result, before Mr. Miyagi stepped in and defused the situation by allowing Kreese to immobilize himself. He pretends to strike a killing blow before honking his nose, saying that for someone with no forgiveness, living is a worse punishment than death. Daniel and Mr. Miyagi then left Kreese in the parking lot, whilst Johnny and his friends dispose of their Cobra Kai gis, signifying their resignation from the dojo (and ultimately rejecting Kreese's ways).

Karate Kid Part III (1989)

Johnny appears in a montage at the beginning of the movie. He along with his friends left Cobra Kai, most likely 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.

When arguing with Terry Silver about the crane kick, Daniel references his victory over Johnny by saying that the Crane kick worked the last time, which angers Silver who in return basically tells him that his opponent Mike Barnes is way stronger than Johnny by replying "last time you weren't fighting this".

Pre-Cobra Kai

In the three decades since the tournament in 1984, Johnny's life had gone downhill. Being choked and nearly killed by Kreese continued to haunt him. Throughout this time, Johnny dated a number of other woman, but none of these relationships lasted since Johnny never truly got over Ali and just couldn't find the same spark with anyone else as he had with her. Johnny enlisted in the United States Air Force, where he spent several years on active duty. After he was discharged, he relocated to Colorado where he attempted to redeem himself while taking some college courses and working odd jobs, eventually becoming certified as a construction worker and moved to Encino Hills, where he was hired by a home improvement contractor, though he loathed this job.

He fell victim to alcohol and was taking to beer far more than was good for him. Sadder still, even though Johnny had walked away from Kreese, In a lot of ways, the damage was already done, and the marks were left because Johnny's temper and aggression stuck with him and this lead to him having many violent encounters and run in's with the law. In the early 2000s, Johnny had a sexual relationship with a fellow alcoholic, Shannon Keene. It was unknown if this relation was marital or extramarital.

Johnny got Shannon pregnant, which resulted in the birth of his only child, Robby, on February 4th, 2002. However, the entire pregnancy was plagued by a series of events which was beyond the power of Johnny and Shannon, but would cause further misery for them. While Shannon was pregnant with the baby, the infamous terrorist attacks occurred on September 11th, 2001, and both parents were concerned about the new type of society the baby would be born into as a result of this. Besides this, prior to the due date, Laura passed away, which for Johnny had been the straw that broke the camel's back.

As with most first-time parents, Johnny was already struggling with what the future held and what do as a new father, but he felt perplexed and depressed that his mother was gone, and was angry that his mother did not get the chance to raise Robby as an honored grandmother. There was also the simple fact that Johnny and Shannon simply were not getting along. The cascade of all unfortunate events caused Johnny to doubt himself, and when Shannon went into labor, Johnny was not there for his woman; instead, he drank in a diner across the street from the hospital.

Cobra Kai (2018)

Season 1

In 2017, while living in Reseda, Johnny worked as a home-improvement worker but was fired after an argument with a persnickety customer. Afterwards, Johnny went to a convenience store where he encountered a group of high school students bullying his neighbor Miguel Diaz. The bullies provoke Johnny after they pushed Miguel into his Pontiac Firebird. After a brief fight in which Johnny defeats the posse of students, Johnny was arrested. The next day, Johnny is released from police custody. He comes home to see his stepfather Sid, who has had enough of his problems and gives him a check to "buy him out" of his life. That night, Johnny is at home drinking when he has a flashback of his high school days and goes out for a drive.

While driving around the city at night he ends up at the All-Valley Sports Arena where he was defeated by Daniel LaRusso and was nearly choked to death by his own sensei, John Kreese. He is snapped back to the present when a vehicle driven by Yasmine who was with two other girls end up smashing into his Pontiac Firebird, an enraged Johnny attempts to chase after the teenagers but the crash disabled his car. His car ends up being towed to Daniel LaRusso's car dealership and for the first time in 34 years, he comes face to face with Daniel. Daniel is happy to see Johnny and has his car repaired for free. While at the dealership, Johnny recognizes one of the teenagers from the night before as none other than Daniel's daughter. After his visit at the dealership, Johnny decides to re-open Cobra Kai and his neighbor Miguel becomes his first student.

While teaching Miguel a lesson, Johnny is interrupted by a call from the headmistress of Robby's school, who informs Johnny his son was caught with drugs. An angered Johnny chastises Robby over the phone about the dangers of drugs and how he will throw his life away, to which Robby retorts if that is true he will turn into his father. Hurt by that insult, Johnny asks the schoolmarm to report the matter to Robby's mother (who is nowhere to be found).

Another time Johnny was in his office filling out insurance forms, when he was approached by Daniel over the matter of being arrested for the fight with the teens, as one of them was a suitor to his daughter. Without either man getting the full story, they begin trading insults, but it stops short of a fight, as neither man wants a rerun of their high school years. While Daniel berates Johnny for being a go-nowhere who has trouble with his own son, Johnny returns the insult that Daniel ought to get his own house in order considering her daughter's boyfriend and his gang attacked his student, who was smaller than them. This scene reflected that while Johnny is indeed in poverty and a failed relationship, he is far better aware of his troubles than Daniel's own, as Daniel's troubles with his own children are masked by his social status. From a familial and financial standpoint, the tides are turning against Daniel and towards Johnny, albeit very slowly.

After a few months with only having one student (Miguel), Cobra Kai becomes very popular and he gets a full dojo. He eventually goes to Sid's house, where he gives him all the money he used to buy back Cobra Kai. He tells Sid he never needed his money, and then bids him farewell for good, as he no longer needs him in his life. Afterwards, Johnny decides to try to make amends with his son, Robby. After he hears a commotion outside his apartment he discovers Daniel's cousin smashing his car with a bunch of biker goons. Enraged Johnny defeats the goons and makes Daniel's cousin tell him where he lives. Johnny goes to Daniel's house to confront him, but the fight is defused by Daniel's side of the story, who truthfully states he had nothing to do with that and is appalled by Louie's conduct, as well as Amanda, who invites Johnny to have breakfast with them. Daniel makes amends for the lost car by giving Johnny the car of his choice from the LaRusso Auto Group. During this, Daniel and Johnny begin to bond, but after Johnny discovers Daniel had been teaching his son karate Johnny gets angry and shoves Daniel into his karate trophies. After a night of binge drinking, Johnny goes to the All-Valley Tournament with his class. Cobra Kai has a marked presence at the tournament, with Aisha Robinson making to the quarterfinals, Hawk to the semifinals, and Miguel to the finals. Miguel defeats his own son Robby by fighting dirty in the championship round. After celebrating his empty victory at the dojo, knowing he's driven his son further away and misguided his students, a shadowy figure walks in who congratulates Johnny. The figure emerges and turns out to be his old sensei, Kreese.

Season 2

Johnny is shocked that Kreese is alive. He however is still angry at Kreese and even attacks him. Despite struggling at first, he is able to get the better of Kreese. He puts him in the choke-hold, but then remembers Kreese choke-holding him following the 1984 tournament. Not wanting to be like him, he shows mercy by letting him go. Kreese however, does not feel the same way and he kicks him. Kreese tries to convince Johnny that they should work together at the dojo but Johnny refuses as he is a better person and knows he is still evil. At the dojo, he scolds Miguel and Hawk for their cheap shots at the tournament, announces that cheating will no longer be tolerated, strips all his students to white belts, and forces Miguel and Hawk to do 50 push-ups. Johnny warns Miguel that there is a fine line between mercy and honor, and he paid an expensive price in the past for crossing that line.

However, when Kreese fixes his second-place trophy from the 1984 tournament and apologizes for his behavior, Johnny forgives him and allows him to co-teach at the dojo.

When his students are goofing off at a practice, Johnny orders remedial training to give them an attitude adjustment. He orders the kids to mix cement, then borrows a cement mixer from a friend. Demanding several kids get inside the drum, Johnny says they are to make that drum move on their own power or become living statues, frozen in time, and cement. Johnny's lesson to the kids was that they will stagnate just as cement that stays in one place for too long hardens and gets stuck. Kreese congratulates Johnny for getting the students' attitude back on track and offers to buy him beers (though he has mild concern the lesson could have gone too far). While walking with Kreese, Johnny is met by Daniel, who came to speak to him about Shannon's residence being inappropriate for Robby due to her nonpayment of utility bills. However, when Daniel sees Kreese, he is convinced more than ever Cobra Kai is out to ruin him.

When Miguel and Hawk find out that Robby is Johnny's son, they believe he is being hard on them because they dishonorably attacked his son and even confront him. Johnny reveals that while Robby is his son, he does not tolerate cheating and tells them to mind their own business. However, he soon tells Miguel how badly he screwed up with Robby and that what he likes the most about his job as sensei is that Miguel is a good student who takes instruction well.

When Daniel advertises Miyagi-Do karate as a tuition-free dojo, Johnny believes Daniel is attempting to steal his customers. Daniel is indeed attempting to do this in order to stop Kreese, although he privately admits to Amanda that unlike Kreese, Johnny knows his limits. A demonstration by Miyagi-Do at a carnival is suddenly upstaged by Cobra Kai, who give the crowd a rousing performance set to hard rock music, and engineering by Kreese. Johnny ends the show by smashing several wood blocks that are on fire, earning him a standing ovation and causing people to see for themselves that Cobra Kai earned the recent All-Valley win. This is antithetical to Daniel, whose attempt to recreate the infamous ice block break he did in Japan was aborted.

After hearing from Miguel that Kreese's stories aren't adding up, Johnny becomes suspicious. He follows Kreese into a homeless shelter. When the two meet face to face, Kreese explains that he couldn't get reenlisted in the army because they wanted young blood, and he has been living in the homeless shelter for a long time. Now, Johnny puts his full trust in Kreese.

Under Johnny's nose however, Kreese poisons several of Johnny's students' minds particularly Hawk and gets them to be more ruthless. When Daniel confronts Johnny about destroying his dojo, Johnny tells him he does not know what he is talking about, as he had nothing to do with that, and was unaware Kreese ordered Hawk and some other of his students to do this. Johnny then tries to get one of them to reveal that they destroyed the dojo by punishing them, but no one cracks. Johnny, however, gets a phone call which forces him to leave for the day but not before telling Kreese to run the dojo.

Johnny goes to a hospital where he meets former Cobra Kai friends Bobby and Tommy and soon, Jimmy. Tommy has been diagnosed with cancer. Knowing that Tommy does not have much time to live, the four spend the day hanging out so Tommy can spend his final day having good memories. That night, Tommy admits that he had feelings for Ali and encourages Johnny not to give up hope that he can change the course that his life took. Tommy dies in his sleep, which devastates his friends. Upon his return to his dojo, Johnny finds out that Kreese has been poisoning his students' minds and turning them into corrupt and vicious human beings, and angrily forces Kreese to leave the dojo for good.

Johnny develops a crush on Miguel's mom Carmen but is upset when she is seeing someone else. However, when he notices that her date is unfaithful, he beats him outside of a bar and forces him not to see her again. He then asks her out and the two go on a date. However, when Daniel and his wife Amanda LaRusso come to the same restaurant and have to sit with Johnny and Carmen both Johnny and Daniel are unhappy. At first, they brag about their dojo's, but after Johnny tells Daniel that he kicked Kreese out of Cobra Kai, the two bond, joke around and appear to be getting along. Johnny even finds out from Carmen that the LaRusso's had enrolled his son into his alma mater, which he appreciates.

After Johnny comes home from his date someone knocks on his door. He thinks it's Carmen, but when he opens the door he is shocked to see Robby and a drunk Sam. He allows them to spend the night. He tells Robby the following morning that he will have to tell Daniel what happened, but Robby tells him not to and that he will take the fall. However, when Daniel knocks on Johnny's door, Johnny admits that Sam is inside but does not allow in Daniel until he calms down, and shuts the door. Daniel then kicks the door open and the two have a brief fight until Sam and Robby intervene. Daniel angrily takes Sam home.

Johnny takes Robby to his first day of school and has an awkward conversation with his son about the LaRusso's, with Johnny ignoring a phone call from Miguel. After Miguel is rushed to the hospital as a result of Robby kicking him off a railing at school, Johnny goes to the hospital. At the hospital, Carmen blames Johnny for Miguel's injury and tells him she does not want to see him again, Johnny listens to a voicemail Miguel left earlier and peaks in Miguel's room, who is lying unconscious, causing him to cry and feel guilty.

Johnny goes back to the dojo where he sees Kreese training several of his students. Kreese tells him he and a landlord made a agreement for him to take full ownership of the dojo. Several of Johnny's students are now training with Kreese, and Hawk blames him for Miguel's injury. Feeling betrayed by Kreese and his students, Johnny angrily leaves the dojo, but not before telling Kreese that if he wants Cobra Kai; it's his.

Johnny goes to the beach where he angrily throws his phone into the sand. He then spots the Cobra Kai logo on his car and in disgust, throws his keys into the car and walks away. Unbeknownst to him, Ali, whom he sent a Facebook message to, has sent him a friend request.

Season 3

In the teaser, Johnny appears in a few scenes. In once scene both Johnny and Daniel are outside (most likely right outside his apartment), where Daniel asked him "What did you think would happen". Johnny is shown to have a scar on his face and a possible black eye. In another scene Johnny, who still has those injuries, is in some sort of cell, possibly a jail cell. In a third scene, Johnny, still with the injuries, is shown standing outside Miguel's room in the hospital, and it appears that he can see Miguel.

Fighting Style

Johnny delivering a complex kick

"The best student in the history of Cobra Kai."
John Kreese[src]

Johnny is an extremely skilled and aggressive fighter, with his mentor John Kreese even claiming that Johnny is the best student in the history of the original Cobra Kai Dojo. During his younger days, Johnny would often strike first, coming at his opponents with vicious combos. During his fight with Daniel in the All Valley tournament, the latter had the upper-hand until Johnny fought more aggressively and dirty, which allowed him to come back and almost win.

Johnny fighting against Kyler's gang

By adulthood, Johnny's skills improved even further, to the point that he could take on multiple opponents with relative ease, and with Johnny even managing to overpower Kreese (albeit with difficulty) until he showed Kreese mercy, and was subsequently defeated by Kreese exploiting this opportunity. As an adult, Johnny remained an aggressive fighter, though more tactical. His main strength is offense (as Johnny tells his students that more offense is the optimal defense), but Johnny does show solid defense as well, evidenced by his fights with Daniel, Kyler and the latter's gang, as well as Kreese.

Johnny is incredibly strong. He can smash bricks, as seen during a presentation, and break a bonsai tree pot with a kick. Daniel and Graham have also noted Johnny for his strong grip. He also easily pulled out a man's earing during a bar fight.


Karate Kid

"It's just that he thinks he can do whatever he wants to people."
Ali Mills to Daniel LaRusso[src]

Johnny was an arrogant bully who repeatedly bullied Daniel due to the latter becoming friendly with his ex-girlfriend Ali. During the finals of the All Valley tournament, however, he expresses shock when Kreese tells him to sweep Daniel's foot, which shows that Johnny does know when to draw the line. After losing to Daniel, Johnny lets go of his sadness at losing and anger at Daniel, and personally hands Daniel the trophy and congratulates him, showing he is a good sport.

Karate Kid 2

Johnny defends himself against Kreese when the latter berates him for losing the tournament. He even calls Kreese a loser. By this point it is clear that Johnny sees Kreese's true colors.

Cobra Kai

In the following decades, Johnny was still greatly affected by his disillusionment with Kreese (after being nearly killed by his former mentor), and losing Ali forever, in addition to further verbal abuse from Sid. He did, however, somewhat seems to have accepted his loss to Daniel.

Season 1

"I may not always win, but I never back out of a fight."
―Johnny Lawrence[src]

34 years after his defeat in the All-Valley tournament, Johnny is a very bitter man. Divorced, working as a handyman, and stuck in the past, Johnny barely understands the world of the 21st century. Smartphones and the Internet baffle him, and modern music nauseates him. Most galling of all, however, is Daniel's success. Everywhere Johnny goes, he is bombarded by ads for the LaRusso auto dealerships, serving as a constant painful reminder that his old rival has succeeded where he failed.

Johnny's relationship with his son Robby is strained, due to Johnny neglecting him his whole life, which has made Robbie resentful towards his father and bent on doing everything he can to make Johnny suffer. While Johnny has expressed the desire to make amends with Robby and Robby himself did seem to want to work things out with Johnny after Shannon tells him Johnny wanted Robby to live with him, Robby goes back to disliking him after seeing Johnny hugging Miguel, though Johnny was unaware that Robby saw him. Despite their failed relationship, Johnny does care about Robby, and Robby in turn shows that he cares for Johnny by accepting his apology following his loss in the All Valley tournament.

After Johnny begins training his neighbor Miguel, he teaches him to be merciless. However, over the course of the first season of Cobra Kai, he begins to care for Miguel and realize that he is the only person that has not given up on him. This way, Miguel becomes something of a surrogate son for Johnny.

Johnny tries greatly to redeem himself but is surrounded by people who don't believe he deserves it. Daniel, Shannon and Robbie being the top ones.

Although Johnny had congratulated Daniel after the 84 tournament, he still holds resentment towards him, as even though Daniel and Ali broke up, he was still the one who stole her away. He also views Daniel coming into his life the moment everything really went bad for him and never stopped.

In the 6th episode of the first season of Cobra Kai, it is revealed that when Johnny was a kid, he was nice and caring, but was often bullied and ridiculed by his stepfather Sid. In the ninth episode of the first season, Johnny tells Daniel about Sid's bullying. It is possible that Sid's nasty upbringing, combined with Kreese's aggressive teachings had a bad mentoring effect and taught him to be a bully towards others.

During the All-Valley tournament, when Robby is harmed by an illegal move from Eli, Johnny rushes on to the mat to see if Robby is badly hurt. While considered odd for a rival sensei to do this, it was likely chalked up to Johnny showing concern for all contestants and reprimanding his own for fighting dirty. During the finals, he demands Miguel fight clean, saying Miguel can win without focusing on Robby's tender shoulder. Miguel disobeys Johnny, vigorously grabbing Robby by the right arm when Robby asked to be propped up. This angers Daniel, who thinks Johnny ordered Miguel to do this, although Robby seems to believe that Johnny did not order it, accepting Johnny's apology.

Following the Cobra Kai winning the All Valley tournament, Johnny begins to feel guilty that his karate lessons have turned Miguel into a vicious and dirty fighter.

Season 2

"I'm gonna be a bigger man."
―Johnny Lawrence to Daniel LaRusso[src]

Johnny attempts to become a better and more honorable person. This includes Johnny scolding Miguel and Hawk for their cheap moves in the tournament, announcing to his students that cheating won't be tolerated, advising Miguel not to be merciless like him, and granting his former sensei Kreese a second chance (as he believes Kreese has changed). This is greatly due to Johnny, who unlike Daniel, wants to give others a second chance and because in the long run Kreese ultimately was the closest thing he ever had to a father and the only other person, besides his mother, who believed in him.

Johnny shows that he still cares about Miguel by advising the latter to me merciful and a better man than he (Johnny) ever was, and telling him that what he appreciates the most, is training him. He even develops a crush on Miguel's mom Carmen, but is sad to learn she already has a boyfriend. However, when Johnny learns the boyfriend only plans to use her for casual sex, Johnny attacks the fornicator and warns him to stay away from Carmen.

Johnny tries taking Carmen's advice in trying to end the rivalry with Daniel as no matter who is right, no good comes from a rivalry for either side.

Besides his temper and ignorance of the changing times, One critical weakness Johnny seems to have is his  unspoken desire for love and companionship. In years since his mother's death (Her being his sole source of love and support) the rest of the world (especially his ex Shannon and son Robbie) continued to view him as a degenerate, thug and lost cause. Hence his run in with Daniel and Robbie in the hardware store was what compelled him to give Kreese a second chance. Unfortunately, this has been used against him more than once. This also compels him to make unwise decisions,  as when Robbie brought the hungover Samantha over. Robbie implored his father not to tell Daniel. Johnny had intended to be responsible but his desire to have his son back won over him.

After Kreese returns, Johnny wants nothing to do with his former sensei, but after the latter fixes his second-place trophy and apologizes for the way he treated him, Johnny, believing Kreese has changed, allows him to co-teach with him at the dojo. However, under his nose, Kreese poisons several of Johnny's students' minds and renders them more ruthless. When Johnny finds out, he promptly kicks Kreese out.

Johnny still cares about Robby, even though the latter is still angry with him. He even tells Miguel how badly he screwed up with Robby. However, when Robby's girlfriend Sam gets drunk at a party, Robby takes him to Johnny house where they spend the night. The following morning Johnny takes him to school. They seem to be on good terms.

Unfortunately, everything ultimately comes crashing down for him during a school fight, when Miguel gets the better of Robby, but lets him go (as per Johnny's earlier advise) and even apologizes to him, only for Robby to kick him over the railing, severely injuring Miguel, which breaks Johnny's heart and causes Carmen to break up with him as a result. Moreover, Kreese takes over the dojo and kicks Johnny out, and several of Johnny's students have joined Kreese and accused Johnny of being responsible for Miguel's injury. Johnny now feels like a complete failure, and apparently disappears after abandoning his car and phone.


  • In the original Karate Kid, Johnny was seen as the main villain, until the end, where it was revealed he was a misguided teenager that was influenced to behave this way by the true main villain.
  • There are multiple signs of Johnny being mentally and emotionally trapped in the 1980s.
    • He owned a Pontiac Firebird built in that decade.
    • He is a fan of Poison and Guns N' Roses.
    • He dismisses Miguel (and his generation in general)'s schooling on issues like "genderizing", having grown up in an era of less cultural sensitivity.
    • He demands Miguel and the rest of his dojo "man up", accepting no excuses, as seen by his "curing" Miguel of his asthma by saying that will not be a handicap in his class and discarding his inhaler. He also is dismissive of Eli saying that he might be on the autism spectrum, saying that he doesn't know what that is but "you need to get off it pronto".
    • He has watched Iron Eagle religiously which ironically featured Larry B. Scott & Rob Garrison as characters who could pass off as doppelgangers for Tommy & one of Johnny's former fellow Cobra Kais.
    • He also is unaware that he has to deal with more regulations in running the dojo than the Kreese-era Cobra Kai did, being held to the same government standards as a gymnasium or yoga studio.
  • Johnny never knew his father. This was seen at one point when Johnny tries to instill machismo in Miguel by asking how his father would like it if he could not defend himself against the bullies. When Miguel answers his father is deceased, Johnny pauses, then drops the subject.
  • According to Johnny, Tommy beat Darryl Vidal in the quarterfinals of the 1983 All Valley Tournament, to which Johnny remarked he had to face Vidal in the semifinals of the 1984 tournament.
  • Johnny won his championship in 1983 by defeating Tommy in the All-Valley Karate Tournament.
  • johnny is one of the only characters who has been both an antagonist and a protagonist, the other being daniel larusso.



  1. We know that Daniel LaRusso was born in December 1966. We also know that Johnny Lawrence was born eight months after Danie Larusso, placing Johnny's birth around August of 1967, making him almost 51 years old in Cobra Kai, and Daniel almost 52.
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