- "There's no honor in being merciless."
- ―Miguel Diaz
Miguel Diaz is a teenager who is Johnny Lawrence's neighbor turned top student of the Cobra Kai Dojo. He is one of the main protagonists in the Cobra Kai web series. He briefly becomes the main antagonist by the end of season 1, though he attempts to better himself in the show's second season in hopes of getting back together with Sam.
Fictional Character Biography
A naive asthmatic with low self-esteem, Miguel is attacked by a group of rich bullies led by Kyler while shopping at a strip mall. When the bullies shove Miguel on Johnny's car, Johnny attacks them before he is arrested.
Miguel becomes Johnny's first student in the new Cobra Kai dojo. Aside from learning karate, he is the dojo's housekeeper and website administrator. In short time, Johnny becomes a father figure to Miguel, despite objections from Miguel's concerned mother.
When Samantha confronts Kyler over rumors he spread about her, Miguel beats up Kyler and his clique, gaining popularity in the school and earning Johnny's respect. He and Samantha become a couple. Unfortunately, Cobra Kai's philosophy begins to affect Miguel's values as a series of misunderstandings with Samantha and Robby encourages him to become much more violent and ruthless, which results in Samantha dumping him.
At the All Valley Karate Tournament, he along with Eli Moskowitz (Hawk) reach the semifinals. In the semifinals, he defeats the defending the champion Xander, thus allowing him to advance to the finals. Prior to the finals he apologizes to Samantha for his behavior, but when Samantha rebuffs him for the way he has been acting, Miguel defends his actions by threatening to hurt Robby in the final, which causes Samantha to leave the tournament. He faces Robby in the finals. During the finals he viciously attacks Robby's shoulder which was injured thanks to Hawk in the semifinals. However, even with his injured shoulder Robby is able to tie the score at 2. When Robby tries to help Miguel up, Miguel instead yanks Robby's arm and further injures his shoulder. The referee warns Miguel for unsportsmanlike contact. When Johnny tells him not to fight dirty, Miguel's response is "there is nothing dirty about winning", which shocks Johnny. Miguel manages to defeat Robby, thus winning the tournament for Cobra Kai. Following his victory, Miguel is upset to learn from his friend Demetri that Samantha left.
Both Miguel and Hawk are scolded by Johnny for their cheating/cheap moves during the tournament, stripped from their black belts, relegated to white belts along with the rest of the class, and forced to do 50 push ups under Johnny's order. When Miguel confronts Johnny about what he just did, Johnny tells him when he was younger he did not show mercy or honor and eventually paid the price as a result and the reason he is being tough on him is so that he is a better man that he (Johnny) ever was.
At first he wants to talk things over with Sam. He sends her some apology texts but she doesn't respond. Sam later blocks him making him further guilty and upset. However, he soon meets new student at the Cobra Kai dojo named Tory, and overtime they become a couple.
After going into Johnny's house to give him some food, he notices a picture of Robby on the fridge. He tells Hawk, and the two find out Robby is Johnny's son. They assume that Johnny is only being hard on them because Robby is his son. They confront Johnny, but the latter angrily tells them that to mind their own business. However, Johnny later tells Miguel how he screwed up with Robby, and that he is proud that he is teaching him making their bond stronger and realizing that he isn't favoring Robby over him.
During a competition in the woods hosted by Johnny's sensei John Kreese, Miguel finds out that Hawk trashed Miyagi's dojo and stole his badge of honor, and Miguel in turn defeats Hawk and takes the badge. He goes to Sam's house to return the badge, but when Robby opens the door Miguel gives him the badge.
During a party at Moon's house a drunk Sam thanks Miguel for giving back the badge and the two share a kiss, but the two then both immediately regret it. However, they are unaware that Tory sees them.
When a school fight starts on the first day of school, Miguel sees Robby holding Tory against the locker. Unaware that Tory was attacking Sam before and Robby was trying to stop the fight, Miguel tackles Robby and the two fight. During the fight, while trying to stop Tory from attacking Sam, she accidentally kicks Miguel in the face, causing him to have a bloody lip. After a long fight Miguel has Robby in an arm hold, but decides to show mercy due to Johnny's teachings. However, Robby gets up and kicks Miguel off the railing. Miguel is admitted into the hospital in critical condition.
Miguel initially appeared as a naive, good-natured, kind-hearted teenager. He was similar to Daniel LaRusso before he joined the Cobra Kai. Miguel is much like a hybrid of Johnny and Daniel from the first Karate Kid film, and is significant as he went from a nice kid who was incessantly bullied to an aggressive Karate champion. This gradual swirl into rage began when he was convinced that his girlfriend Samantha thought that he was not worthy to meet her family, and was secretly seeing someone else instead (Robby). Miguel proceeded to take out all of his aggression on Robby in the All-Valley Tournament. It is suggested that Miguel's transformation from a mild-mannered and pleasant soul into a vicious and obsessively competitive individual represents that Cobra Kai's "strike first" and "no mercy" rules corrupt innocents and turn them into antisocial bullies. This is expressed when Miguel attacks Robby's shoulder.
Despite becoming indoctrinated into Cobra Kai's "Strike First, Strike Hard, No Mercy" code, in the end of season 1 and during the tournament, being corrected by Johnny seems to calm him down. He's still a nice kid that respects his Sensei. This is also later shown where he initially rebuffs Kreese's teachings realizing that's not what Johnny wants them to learn. After discovering that Hawk trashed Daniel's dojo and stole Miyagi's Medal of Honor, Miguel defeats Hawk, takes the badge and goes to Sam's house to return it, showing he is still a good person at heart. Despite still being interested in getting back together with Sam at first he soon meets a new Cobra Kai student named Tory and the two start dating. However an error of kissing Sam at Moon's party leads to a school brawl the next day. Mistakenly believing Robby is attacking Tory, Miguel attacks him. He follows through Johnny's earlier advice to show mercy to not make the same mistakes he had done. Unfortunately this act causes Robby to kick him off a railing, resulting in him being seriously injured.
After he begins his training Miguel develops into a solid all-around fighter. Not as flashy as Eli Moskowitz, Miguel favors simple, effective techniques and combinations. His defensive skills, movement, and timing are excellent; he can wait out an aggressive opponent and pick the right moment for a counter, as seen in his match with Xander Stone. Like any true Cobra Kai, however, he can turn on the offense when he needs to. He is also skilled against multiple opponents, as displayed in his lunchroom fight with Kyler's gang.
When his anger gets the better of him, Miguel fights more aggressively and underhandedly, evidenced during his fight with Robby at the All Valley Tournament and school Brawl, though he does not fight underhandedly in the latter. Miguel has fought underhandedly, evidenced at the All Valley Tournament, where he aggressively attacks Robby's injured shoulder and even yanks it in the finals.
- Despite being one of the main protagonists of the show, his role in season 2 wasn't as big as it was in season one because Kreese and Hawk took up more screen-time.
- Miguel Diaz can be compared to the following characters:
- Daniel LaRusso - both are being bullied and yet saved by their Senseis (Miyagi and Lawrence respectively) who later taught them about Karate in which it made them win the Under 18 All Valley Tournament. Both have their signature move, the Crane Kick. Both date the ex girlfriends(In Daniel's case, Ali, and in Miguel's case, Sam) of the guys that bullied them(In Daniel's case, Johnny, and in Miguel's case, Kyler). Also both are fatherless (Miguel had never met his real father, while LaRusso's father is deceased when Daniel was 8 years old), being raised by their mothers, and taught karate along the series of labor tasks by their father-figured senseis (Miyagi and Lawrence respectively)
- Johnny Lawrence - both are being broken up by their ex-girlfriends and became aggressive bullies due to the corrupted teachings of Cobra Kai. Johnny didn't tell him the whole story, that he was the one who bullied Daniel and he and Ali were broken up before dating Daniel.
- Miguel pulling Robby's injured shoulder in the finals mirrors Johnny elbowing Daniel's injured knee in the original movie. However the difference is that Miguel was more than willing to fight dirty, while Johnny expressed reluctance and discomfort in doing so.
- The two experienced a role reversal in their fight in season 2 as Miguel shows mercy, but Robby in turn viciously attacks him off guard.
- He was similar to Darth Vader when he fell into the dark side.
- Due to Miguel becoming an aggressive person, and dirty and unethical fighter near the end of season 1 he can be considered changed into a bully during the last episode of season 1.
- However, in season 2 he does show that he is still a good person despite some of the Cobra Kai teachings.