Miguel Diaz is one of the main characters in Cobra Kai.
Miguel is the neighbor of former karate champion Johnny Lawrence, who convinces Johnny to train him. Miguel helps him to reopen and establish a student base at Cobra Kai Dojo, though he quickly falls into the Cobra Kai mentality of "no mercy". As his attitude shifts, his relationship with Samantha LaRusso falls apart, leading to a dangerous rivalry of his own with Johnny's estranged son, Robby Keene.
Their rivalry reaches a boiling point, resulting in Miguel suffering a spinal injury, after getting sent over a balcony and hitting the stairs. When he does awaken from his coma, he is ready to rebuild his life in a healthier mindset. He recruits Johnny's help once again, this time, forming a new dojo away from the merciless teachings of John Kreese. Miguel is caught in the middle of his sensei’s long-standing rivalry with Daniel LaRusso, whom Miguel grows closer to, while balancing his relationship with Sam.
Miguel was born in 2002 in Ecuador to Carmen Diaz and an unnamed father. His father was a criminal with connections to a drug cartel. This dangerous lifestyle forced Carmen, who was pregnant with Miguel, to flee from Ecuador and take refuge in the United States.
An asthmatic and naïve 15 year old teenager with no self-defense reflexes, Miguel is attacked by a group of rich bullies while shopping in a bodega. The group is led by fellow West Valley High School student Kyler. Miguel is shoved into a nearby car but the event is witnessed by the car's owner, who intervenes primarily for the safety of his car. The owner himself shows great skill in karate, which Miguel admires, though the fight results in the police being called and the arrest of the man. Miguel returns home where he sees the man entering a neighboring apartment, and confronts him about the fight. Miguel learns the man is Johnny Lawrence, former All Valley Karate Tournament champion, though he's now a deadbeat drunk living in squalor. Miguel tries to ask Johnny to train him in karate so he can defend himself against Kyler, though Johnny refuses as he has no interest in helping anyone. Miguel's determination in this effort collides with Johnny's decision to reopen the dojo that taught him, Cobra Kai. Miguel becomes Johnny's first student, as well as, the dojo's janitor and site administrator due to Johnny's complete lack of technological knowledge. The new friendship raises concerns from Miguel's mother, Carmen, as she doesn't want her son fighting or participating in violence.
Miguel remains steadfast in his desire to learn. He improves quickly under Johnny's tutelage and becomes more confident at school, even recruiting his best friends to join Cobra Kai. Though Eli Moskowitz finds his footing at the school, Demetri ultimately leaves as he doesn't believe in the violent teachings or societal expectations of the members. This creates friction in Miguel's friendship with Demetri, which is especially furthered when Demetri finds acceptance at the rival Miyagi-Do Karate dojo. In the meantime, Miguel witnesses a female student confronting Kyler about rumors he spread about her. As Kyler becomes aggressive, Miguel inserts himself and easily disarms Kyler and the others that attempt to aid the bully. The student, Samantha LaRusso, is grateful to Miguel despite not needing his help due to her karate background. Miguel gains popularity at school for the act and respect from Johnny, which also results in a multitude of students joining. He ultimately begins to date Sam, which displeases Johnny due to Sam being the daughter of his thirty-year rival Daniel LaRusso.
As time passes, Johnny's aggressive teachings and negative outlook on the world begins to affect Miguel, who also picks up the attitude displayed from his only father figure. He begins to act jealous and possessive with Sam, especially when she befriends Robby Keene, an outsider with a bad home situation. After a series of misunderstandings between Sam, Miguel, and Robby, the friction reaches its breaking point during a bonfire party. When Sam and Robby arrive together, a drunk Miguel misunderstands their arrival and starts a fight with Robby. Sam intervenes and accidentally intercepts a punch from Miguel, causing her to end things with him. The rivalry between Robby and Miguel also begins, as Miguel blames Robby for all the issues he's had that year with Sam, instead of taking accountability for his own choices and actions. He also learns that Robby is Johnny's estranged son. This revelation spawns more jealousy from Miguel, as he now believes Johnny's change of heart regarding the dojo's mantra "strike first. strike hard. no mercy." is due to Robby's arrival.
The trial and tribulations of the year collide at the All Valley Karate Tournament. Miguel fights under Cobra Kai's banner with Johnny in his corner, while Robby Keene fights without a school backing him at that time. Miguel reaches out to Sam to apologize for his actions the past few weeks, but Samantha reminds him that his actions don't match his words anymore. Miguel rebukes the idea that he's to blame for their breakup or anything that followed, and threatens to hurt Robby in the tournament. Miguel reaches the semifinals alongside Hawk, who is ultimately disqualified for using aggressive tactics. Miguel, however, defeats the defending champion Xander Stone, allowing Miguel to advance to the finals. The last fight of the night is between Robby and Miguel. Robby is now supported by Daniel LaRusso and fighting with an injured shoulder after a cheap shot made in a previous match.
The match is even until Robby gains the upper-hand, and when Robby tries to help Miguel up, Miguel instead yanks Robby's arm and further injures his shoulder. The referee warns Miguel that if he does it again he'll be disqualified for unsportsmanlike conduct. Johnny, however, reprimands Miguel for his underhanded tactics and tells him to avoid Robby's injured arm. Miguel coolly states there's nothing dirty about winning. Miguel continues to fight aggressively and targets Robby's injured arm in ways that are barely legal in the sport. He ultimately wins the competition, becoming the newest All Valley Karate Tournament champion. As he celebrates with his family, Demetri tells him that Samantha left the tournament and didn't see him win.
Both Miguel and Hawk are scolded by Johnny for their cheating/cheap moves during the tournament, stripped of 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 the punishment, Johnny explains to him that when he was younger, he did not show mercy or honor and eventually paid the price, and the reason he is being tough on Miguel is so that he can be a better man than 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 a new Cobra Kai student named Tory, and over time they become a couple. However, it's quite clear the girl he truly loves is still Samantha.
While dropping off some of his mom's food at Johnny's apartment, Miguel notices a picture of Robby on the fridge. He tells Hawk, and the two find out that Robby is Johnny's son. They assume that Johnny is only being hard on them because of his relationship to Robby. They confront Johnny, but the latter angrily tells them to mind their own business. However, Johnny later tells Miguel how he screwed up with Robby, and that he is proud to now be teaching Miguel, which makes their bond stronger and helps Miguel realize that Johnny isn't favoring Robby over him.
During a competition in the woods hosted by Johnny's sensei, John Kreese, Miguel finds out that Hawk was the one who instigated the vandalism of the Miyagi dojo and stole Mr. Miyagi's Medal of Honor, and Miguel uses the training exercise to defeat Hawk and takes the Medal. He goes to Sam's house to return it, but when Robby opens the door Miguel gives the Medal to him instead, trusting that he would give it to Sam.
As the relationships between Miguel and Tory and Sam and Robby progress, they cross paths at the roller-skating rink where Tory works. There, Miguel realizes that Sam and Robby are there as a couple. Tory sees this too, and she provokes Sam by kissing Miguel in front of her, making Sam jealous. Miguel and Sam then have an argument about why he is dating Tory, followed by Tory and Sam get into a physical altercation resulting in Tory falling. This leads Miguel to defend Tory against Sam, and Sam and Robby are kicked out of the rink.
During Moon's house party on the last day of summer vacation, the feud continues in a drinking contest between Tory and Sam, which results in a drunken Sam. During a quiet moment together, Sam realizes that Miguel was the one who gave back the Medal, and she thanks him. Then the two share a kiss, which they both immediately regret. 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 a locker. Unaware that Tory was attacking Sam before and Robby was trying to stop the fight, Miguel tackles Robby and the two fight. After gaining the upper-hand on Robby, Miguel notices Sam and Tory fighting. He runs to stop the fight, but is stopped by Robby who attacks him. With the assistance from two of his Cobra Kai friends, he manages to kick Robby into one of them who grabs hold of Robby. After being encouraged by his friend to go, Miguel runs to Tory and Sam, leaving Robby to deal with his two friends. After reaching Tory and Sam, he tries to stop Tory from attacking Sam, only for Tory to kick him in the stomach.
After Robby defeats Miguel's friends, he runs to help Sam, only for Miguel to stop him. They then continue their fight, which seems to be evenly matched. At times, Miguel has the upper-hand, and at times, Robby has the upper-hand. After gaining the upper-hand on Robby again, Miguel tells Robby that Sam loves him more than Robby, causing an infuriated Robby to aggressively attack Miguel and gain the upper-hand yet again. Miguel, however, manages to recover and get the better of Robby by flipping him over and trapping his arm in a lock. After seemingly winning the fight, he decides to show mercy due to Johnny's teachings. He lets go of Robby's arm and apologizes (possibly for kissing Sam). However, an infuriated Robby, who is likely still angry at Miguel for kissing Sam, gets up and kicks Miguel, who flips over the railing he was backed-up against. Miguel is admitted into the hospital in critical condition.
Miguel has a broken spine as a result of Robby accidentally kicking him over the railing, and he is paralyzed for a few weeks until Season 3, Episode 7, a few days before Robby gets out of the juvenile detention center.
While in a coma, Miguel is dreaming about fighting and beating an unknown opponent in the All Valley tournament, but eventually he wakes up. His legs, however, aren't functioning. While he is supposed to have surgery, it is unknown whether this will help him to walk again. Initially, Miguel blames Johnny for being in this position, but after some time Johnny starts giving hope to Miguel.
After Miguel is released from the hospital, Johnny begins performing exercises with him in order to help get his legs functioning. Initially, the exercises aren't effective, frustrating Miguel. However, while at a concert, Johnny and Miguel witness Miguel being able to tap his foot, giving everyone some hope. Johnny continues to work with Miguel, sometimes with unorthodox methods, especially in comparison to the physical therapy Miguel also receives. At the same time, Miguel helps Johnny with a Facebook profile.
While at a restaurant helping Johnny with photos for his Facebook profile, Tory sees Miguel. He expresses that he's upset that Tory did not come to visit him while he was in the hospital. He also does not like when Tory says that Cobra Kai is trying to get back at Miyagi-Do for what happened to him, since he does not see it as Miyagi-Do's fault. At the same time, Tory voices her disappointment for his kiss with Sam. Miguel still does not see this as justifying the fight Tory caused and the brutality with which she fought Sam, and he tells her that she needs help, which angers Tory, as she feels he is calling her crazy. When Miguel ends their relationship, Tory leaves upset and in anger. Later that day while training with Johnny, Miguel lacks motivation, which annoys Johnny, who does not know that Miguel is struggling because he is upset about his breakup with Tory. The two get into an argument, with Miguel accusing Johnny for giving up on his students. After he finishes his ranting, Johnny points out to Miguel that he is standing without assistance, making them both happy and causing them to hug. From then on, Miguel continues to improve with Johnny's training. Miguel goes from a wheelchair to crutches and eventually walking on both feet without the need of any support.
Now that Miguel can walk again, he goes back to school, but not before telling Johnny he will help recruit students to Johnny's new dojo, which Johnny calls Eagle Fang Karate. At school he rekindles his friendship with Sam, and expresses disappointment in Hawk after learning from Demetri that Hawk broke Demetri's arm. Miguel's and Hawk's friendship ends as a result of Hawk's ruthless actions. Luckily for Miguel, some of his classmates join Johnny's dojo such as Mitch and Bert. They begin training together, but Miguel still struggles with his recovery. He hurts himself while attempting to kick in training, but Johnny tells him that it's alright and that no one expects him to be back to his normal self. After Mitch gets news that All Valley is cancelled, Johnny tells Miguel it's okay, since he would not have been able to compete anyway, which angers Miguel who protests and wants to defend his champion title. Johnny tries to make Miguel understand that he does not want to risk Miguel getting hurt again, but Miguel is adamant on competing and defending his title. The conversation ends with Miguel storming into his apartment and Carmen talking to Johnny about her believing in him saving the All Valley Tournament.
In the community hearing about the tournament, Councilperson Roberts is summarizing that the All Valley Tournament should be banned because of the school brawl and the City Council thinks that karate is the problem, but then Miguel shows up. Miguel points out to Roberts that he was involved in the school fight, and that he was the one who was kicked off the second floor balcony and was paralyzed as a result, and he tells the Council that it was Johnny who helped him walk again. He then explains to Roberts that he was bullied and how karate is a means of teaching kids to defend themselves, and that tournaments are safe places to practice these skills. He also credits Johnny for his success. He is joined by Sam who makes similar arguments. Miguel ends his case by saying that the All Valley should be allowed to be held to give the kids ways of defending themselves. Moved by their pleas, Councilperson Roberts allows the tournament to resume, making both Miguel and Sam happy and hug.
Back at Miyagi-Do dojo, Miguel and Sam are chatting and celebrating their accomplishment of saving the tournament, and Miguel jokingly gives Sam a hard time about Miyagi-Do. Miguel even teases her into taking him down a second time, reminding of their first date. The two briefly spar, but then stop and stare at each other (romantically). Unfortunately, in that moment Robby just so happens to walk in on them together, having come to see Sam after his release from juvenile detention center, and he accuses Sam of cheating on him with Miguel. Miguel tries to calm Robby down, tells him it isn't Sam's fault and points out how Robby wasn't there for Sam when she had panic attacks and PTSD from Tory's attack and the school fight, but Robby angrily tells Miguel to stay out of it. Miguel refuses to do this, and it becomes clear that the rivalry from season one continues. Robby then reignites their rivalry and attempts to punch Miguel, but Sam blocks his punch and pushes Robby away, while telling him to stop. Robby angrily states that they deserve each other and then breaks up with Sam. This leaves Sam devastated and Miguel shocked over nearly being attacked by the same person who put him in the hospital.
The following morning, Miguel and Sam are inside the Miyagi-Do dojo, where Miguel is looking at a picture of Mr. Miyagi and holding Daniel's Okinawan hand drum. Sam asks Miguel to put the drum in his pocket and attack her. Miguel does so, but is blocked by Sam the same way Daniel blocked Chozen's attacks in Karate Kid 2. Miguel then performs a take down, causing both to fall. On the ground, the two kiss, but they are walked-in on by Daniel LaRusso. Although initially tense, the relationship between Daniel and Miguel softens as the two bond over the car Daniel got from Mr. Miyagi. Daniel tells Miguel certain facts about Johnny and his rivalry with Johnny, which Johnny never told Miguel, helping Miguel realize both sides to the rivalry between the two senseis.
Later that night, Sam invites Miguel and the other Eagle Fang students to her house while Amanda and Daniel are out in the Country Club Dinner with Ali and Johnny. She wants all of them to work together, which no one can agree upon except Sam and Miguel. However, after some discussion they agree and unite. And thankfully, it was just in time, since Tory interrupts the "party" with a group of Cobra Kai students, including Kyler. Miguel is especially unhappy to see that Kyler has joined Cobra Kai due to his past bullying. The Cobra Kais then attack, resulting in a fight. Miguel first pins Mikey to the table, but then faces Kyler. Kyler has the upper-hand for most of the fight due to Miguel still recovering from his fall off the balcony in the high school brawl and only recently returning to training. However, while being repeatedly hit by Kyler, Miguel remembers the encouragement Johnny gave him while in the coma and his dream about competing in the tournament, as well as imagining Robby as his opponent. Now, regaining his confidence, Miguel defeats and knocks out Kyler, and thanks him for the motivation. After the fight ended, Miguel and Hawk alongside Demetri manages to stop Sam and Tory from fighting before Tory leaves she calls both Miguel and Hawk "traitors". Later on, Miguel returns home bloodied up recovering with ice pack, as Johnny is about to confess his love for Carmen and Johnny gets shocked at Miguel and tells him what happened, after learning the event Johnny fled to Cobra Kai dojo to confront Kreese.
Back at Cobra Kai, when Daniel is getting the better of Kreese, Miguel and Sam show up and stop the fight between them. Robby arrives and stands next to Kreese, siding against his old sensei and father in the same move, and shocking Daniel and Johnny. Robby angrily shouts at Miguel, Sam, Daniel and Johnny and tells the four to leave. The following morning, Miguel and the other Eagle Fangs show up at the Miyagi-Do dojo, where they begin training under Johnny's and Daniel's leaderships in preparation for the tournament against Kreese, Robby, Kyler, Tory. Mikey, Doug, Big Red and the rest of the Cobra Kais.
As training begins under the new dual leadership of Daniel LaRusso and Johnny Lawrence, Miguel is caught in the middle of their feuding. He wants the opposing senseis to get along and tries to work with Samantha, who is back as his girlfriend, to achieve a sense of unity between the men. After an unsuccessful first day, Miguel and Johnny arrive to their apartments where Miguel talks about Rocky III. He tells Johnny that in the movie, Rocky and Apollo had a rough history but they had to work together in order to defeat Clubber Lang. Miguel compares the situation to the merge and how they need to put his and Daniel's differences aside in order to defeat Cobra Kai. The next day, Miguel and Sam are hanging out but notice Hawk with a sledgehammer. However, they are relieved to learn that he and the other students are building an Okinawan sparring deck, the same one from the painting inside the dojo. The two join him and shows Daniel and Johnny the first step to working together.
The Diaz's have dinner with the LaRussos but Miguel accidentally spills wine on Daniel. During one training session with Miyagi-Do, Eagle Fang is tasked with catching the koi fish in the dojo pond. Hawk offers to go practice at a Chinese restaurant, but Miguel tells him his mom has to pick him up. However, Carmen has car trouble and Daniel offers to help after telling Miguel about the tow company's prices. After their training session, Daniel brings Carmen's car to his repair shop. Back at Miyagi-Do, Miguel catches a koi and earns the Miyagi-Do headband. However, Johnny watched the exchange and becomes jealous over the two.
In another training session, Miguel and Daniel are doing kata much to Johnny's jealousy. Johnny offers to make Miguel dinner but he tells him that he was going with Daniel to work on his mom's car. While Daniel is repairing her car, the two bond with each other. Daniel explains how he blew his money on his trip to Okinawa and a bonsai tree store. He also talks about the true meaning of Miyagi-Do. After the car is fixed, Miguel and Daniel go on a test drive where they are listening to "Sailing" by Christopher Cross. Daniel explains that the 80s also had soft rock and not just hard rock. Distracted, Miguel ends up speeding through a yellow light and Daniel warns him on what to do if he were to take Sam out on drives. He talks about his dad and how he ended up in a bad lifestyle. He meets with Sam at a party place for Daniel's worker's child. They kiss in front of Tory, who also works at the party place, angering her. Miguel, Sam and the rest of the Eagle Fangs and Miyagi-Dos are then at a drive-in where they end up in a confrontation with Cobra Kai. He tells them to meet in the baseball diamond only for Miguel not to show up. In the end, Cobra Kai is drenched with the sprinklers. Hawk is impressed with his idea and they leave. He tells Johnny about the incident but he gets upset about what he did but Daniel praised it, telling him how restraint is important.
At school, Miguel and Sam tell Hawk and Demetri that Daniel and Johnny are going to have a rematch at Miyagi-Do. When he gets home, he notices Johnny train and tells him he doesn't care about their rivalry. During the fight, him and Sam are the referees for the match. The fight ends but Miguel leaves Miyagi-Do after realizing the merge failed.
Eagle Fang learns about the new updates for the upcoming All Valley Karate Tournament. Miguel tells him that they should give Sam a chance in their dojo, but Johnny rejects the idea. He then goes to the school field with Johnny to try to find a girl but to no avail. Miguel tells Moon that they need female students but she turns him down. At Moon's behest, the two then go to a gymnastics center to recruit Piper. Before she goes to her friends, she accepts their request, happy that they finally found their female student. Before class, Eagle Fang is waiting for her. However, they learn that Piper ended up joining Cobra Kai, upsetting them. Miguel explains that Cobra Kai ordered new gear and is the reason why they got new students. He then explains to Johnny that he made him a champion and needs to think outside the box. Remembering Bert's idea, they go to a debate trial and recruit a girl named Devon to join their dojo.
Johnny begins a dangerous training session and has Miguel become co-sensei. After the class, the rest of his classmates are upset that he got to be co-sensei. Later, Miguel cuts class to go to the dojo with Johnny. He then tells Miguel that he wants to become Miguel's father. After, Miguel and Sam want to learn the flying tornado kick and he approves. When he gets home, he tells Johnny and his mom that the reason why he came home late is because he was with Samantha. Johnny begins to act like a dad towards Miguel but he is upset with how Johnny and his mom's relationship is going.
Miguel and his family go to the LaRusso house to take pictures with the LaRussos before the prom. He tells Sam that they are happy to put karate aside in order to spend the night with each other. During prom, Miguel and Sam share a dance but get distracted with Robby and Tory dancing. At Stingray's afterparty, Sam and Miguel get in a fight with Robby and Tory. Unfortunately, they lose the fight after Robby throws Miguel, Tory and Sam in the pool. When he gets home, he helps a drunken Johnny to his bed and reveals that he loves him but he mentions Robby, saddening him.
During the All-Valley tournament, Johnny talks to Miguel saying he knew about his fight with Robby and Tory and understands his situation. He tells him to focus on the tournament. Later, Miguel participates in the skills competition where he shows off his offensive skills but Eagle Fang falls in sixth place. In the one-on-one matchups, he easily beats his opponent and advances. His opponent in the semifinals is his former Cobra Kai and Eagle Fang classmate and his friend, Eli Moskowitz. They are evenly matched until Miguel knocks Eli down, though no point is awarded due to a block. Miguel prepares to deliver a kick, but ends up pulling a muscle and collapsing. The injury he suffered was the same from the school brawl. As he writhes in pain, the medic tends to Miguel's injury.
Because of his injury, Miguel decides not to return and lets Eli advance to the finals, where he would win the boys division. Before the finals, Miguel and Sam reconcile and takes an Uber home. Upon arriving home, Miguel writes a letter to his mother and grandmother saying that he is going to Mexico City to find his biological father. Unbeknownst to him, Tory Nichols won the tournament by beating Samantha 3-2, giving Cobra Kai the grand championship, and also that Terry bribed the referee to ensure she would win, alongside the fact that his biological father does not know about his existence.
Miguel initially appears as a naïve, good-natured, kind-hearted teenager. Initially, Miguel will only fight for those he cares about, but the longer he's exposed to Cobra Kai's mentality, he becomes an aggressive karate champion who makes his former tormentors afraid to be around him. More negative tendencies begin when he becomes paranoid in his relationship with Sam, letting his insecurities take hold. Miguel's transformation from a mild-mannered and pleasant person into a vicious and obsessively competitive individual represents the way that Cobra Kai's "strike first" and "no mercy" rule corrupts students.
Despite becoming indoctrinated into Cobra Kai's "Strike First, Strike Hard, No Mercy" code, he remains loyal to his core friends and Johnny above all-else. He becomes conflicted when Johnny begins to teach mercy, and has difficulty adjusting. He rebuffs Kreese's teachings, realizing that's not what Johnny wants them to learn. After discovering that Hawk vandalized the Miyagi-Do dojo and stole Mr. Miyagi's Medal of Honor, Miguel returns it, showing his decency, honor and understanding the value of the Medal, despite his prior actions and Cobra Kai's ruthless mentality. He begins to accept the new form of teaching, allowing him to be merciful in the school fight. When this action results in his paralysis at the hands of Robby Keene, Miguel's personality shifts. He becomes bitter, blames Johnny for the circumstances, and vengeful towards those that put him in this situation. He also begins to pity himself and loses hope of regaining mobility. Johnny helps guide him into realizing the situation is temporary, and helps him regain both his mobility and confidence. The incident gives Miguel a better understanding of empathy and a clearer picture on the world he's immersed himself in. He rekindles his relationship with Sam and becomes more open-minded towards those he used to despise.
While training under Daniel, Miguel begins to develop an appreciation for Miyagi-Do and its methods of avoiding violence, as seen when he lures Cobra Kai into a trap by tricking them into meeting the Miyagi Do and Eagle Fang students at the baseball diamond. At the same time, he begins to drift apart from his loyalty to Johnny and Sam, due to the former's relationship with his mother and Sam's aggression towards Tory, but he manages to patch things up with Sam at the Tournament and also tells he will always root for her. Despite this, he begins to become increasingly distant from the people he cares about, and becomes despondent after mistakenly believing he is nothing more than a replacement for Robby, after Miguel tells Johnny he loves him. This leads him to lose his confidence and drive to win the tournament and leave the Valley.
- "Yeah, it all happened so fast. Everything just came together. I was blocking. I anticipated. I slithered."
- ―Miguel to Johnny[src]
After he begins his karate training with Johnny, 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, however, he can turn on the offense when he needs to. During the tournament, Miguel used Miyagi-Do's well known technique: The Crane Kick perfectly by pure imitations. 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 fights with Robby at the All Valley Tournament and school brawl, though he also knows when to fight a fair fight and show mercy. 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.
Miguel's biggest weakness is letting his guard down, which allows his opponents to attack him by surprise and beat him. After gaining the upper-hand on Tory in their sparing match, he ends up dropping his guard by offering Tory his hand, who uses this opportunity to flip him over and beat him. After seemingly beating Robby in the school brawl, he drops his guard by letting Robby go. However Robby then viciously attacks Miguel, who is unable to defend himself due to dropping his guard, resulting in Robby unintentionally rendering him unconscious and severely injuring his spine.
While Miguel defeated Robby in the All Valley tournament, their match was basically even, despite Robby's injured shoulder putting him at a disadvantage. During the school brawl, Miguel successfully pins Robby to the ground without fighting dirty, showing that Miguel's skills have grown. Miguel's physical strength has come a long way since he began his training. Near the end of the school brawl, he dented a metal railing when he attempted to kick Robby. After his back injury, Miguel suffers some physical ailments and limitations. When he starts walking and training again, his kicking is weak and he almost hurts himself. Since his legs are not back to full form, this puts him at a disadvantage in his fight with Kyler, until he regains his confidence.
During the brief alliance between Daniel and Johnny, Miguel trains under Daniel and learns some Miyagi-Do tactics such as circling his opponent, blocking his opponents, and avoiding fights when necessary. After the spilt between dojos Miguel primarily uses Eagle Fang/Cobra Kai Karate when he fights and gained an aptitude for aerial spin kicks. Despite being affected by his injury, Miguel is still able to hold his own against his rival Robby Keene during their prom battle and land hits on him before being thrown in the pool. In his semifinal match with Eli Moskowitz, he matched him blow for blow and knocked Eli down despite the latter newly learning and becoming competent in Miyagi-Do Karate. Miguel might have beaten his former classmate if he didn't pull a muscle and decided to withdraw from the match.
Carmen is Miguel's mother, and they have an extremely close bond as she is the only parental figure he had as a child. Carmen is often overprotective of Miguel, especially after he decides to do karate. While she forbids him from doing karate after he is beaten up by Kyler and his gang, she is then persuaded by Johnny to let him do it. Following this, she doesn't seem to be as protective, though she seems ambivalent about the violence that continues to be involved. In the end of Season 1, she is seen cheering on Miguel from the beginning to the finals of the All Valley Tournament. However, after the school brawl, Miguel is admitted to the hospital due to the fight with Robby, and Carmen is shown to be distraught and extremely distrusting of Johnny. Carmen is with Miguel in the hospital before and after he wakes up from his coma. After waking up from his coma, she is there to make sure he is ok. When Miguel is released from the hospital, Carmen eventually expresses her appreciation to Johnny for helping Miguel recover and walk again, and Johnny and Carmen get back together.
Rosa is Miguel's maternal grandmother. Rosa supports his decision to do karate. When the nurse tells Rosa and Carmen to remind a comatose Miguel that they are there and to talk about things he loves, Rosa talks to Miguel about his favorite sports teams. Rosa is the first person who asks Johnny to be there for Miguel, and reminds him that that Miguel needs him. She asks him to pray with her, which Johnny accepts.
Johnny is Miguel's karate sensei, a father figure, and neighbor. When they first meet in Season 1, Johnny is rude to Miguel. However, one night at Reseda Mini Mart, Johnny engages in a fight with Kyler and his gang for harassing Miguel after witnessing Miguel being pushed by Kyler to his car. Miguel attempts to explain to the police that come to arrest Johnny that it wasn't his fault, he did not just attack the teenagers, which reveals his growing attachment to Johnny. The following morning, Miguel asks Johnny to teach him karate, but Johnny refuses to teach him at first. Later, Johnny changes his mind when he reopens the Cobra Kai dojo.
In many ways, Johnny becomes a Mr. Miyagi to Miguel, who is more often reminiscent of Daniel than Johnny. Johnny passes on his Halloween skeleton costume idea to Miguel, though their situations are reversed from Johnny and Daniel in the original The Karate Kid. This time, Miguel is the one badly injured by Kyler and his gang, and Johnny is the one to find Miguel and bring him safely to his apartment. This results in Carmen wanting to forbid Miguel from continuing karate and coming near Johnny. After some time, Johnny realizes that he truly cares about Miguel, who is one of the only people who hasn't given up on him. So, he then persuades Carmen that she should let him back into his dojo and he promises not to fail him. Carmen agrees to let Miguel do karate again, but only if Johnny makes sure that next time Miguel will be able to defend himself.
With Johnny's training, Miguel becomes a skilled fighter, which allows him to defeat Kyler and his gang, resulting in several students joining Cobra Kai and Johnny even giving his old gi to Miguel as a reward. Miguel and Johnny bond over the course of season 1, with Johnny even giving Miguel advice on dating Daniel's daughter. In the season 1 finale, Johnny expresses discomfort when Miguel fights dirty against Robby in the All Valley Tournament. While he advises Miguel not to fight dirty, he continues to anyway, which allows Cobra Kai to win the tournament. Despite the victory, Johnny feels bad about what Miguel has become.
In season 2, Miguel and Hawk are rebuked and punished by Johnny for their dirty tactics in the tournament. When Miguel confronts him, Johnny says he paid the price for not knowing the difference between honor and mercy, and wants Miguel to avoid making the same mistake. Their bonding continues, with Johnny even telling Miguel that he is proud to be teaching him. In the finale, Miguel gets the better of Robby, but lets him go after remembering Johnny's advice. However, this backfires, as an enraged Robby attacks Miguel and Miguel flips over a railing, rendering him unconscious and severely injuring his spine. At the hospital, Johnny listens to a voicemail Miguel left earlier and peeks into Miguel's room and sees him lying unconscious, causing him to cry and feel guilty.
When Miguel wakes up from his coma in the beginning of season 3, he is cold to Johnny at first, as it was Johnny's teachings that he followed that led to him ending up in the hospital. However, after some time, Johnny begins giving a hopeless Miguel courage, and they become close again with Johnny helping Miguel return back to training and Miguel helping Johnny with his dating and social life via Facebook and accepting that Johnny was seeing his mother. When Miguel is released from the hospital, Johnny works with Miguel to help him walk again through training, and eventually Miguel begins to walk again. After being able to walk, he joins Johnny's Eagle Fang Karate dojo. By the end of the season, The Eagle Fang and Miyagi Do dojos have merged, and Miguel along with the rest are training at Miyagi-Do with Johnny and Daniel as the co-sensei's.
Samantha is Miguel's girlfriend for a few episodes in of season 1 and once again from season 3, and she plays a similar role in the rivalry between Miguel and Robby that Ali played between Johnny and Daniel in The Karate Kid. On his first day of school, Sam catches Miguel's eye and he wants to approach her, but he is interrupted by Kyler. After defeating her ex-boyfriend Kyler and his gang during the lunch altercation, the two go on a date and become a couple. Their relationship mascot is an octopus from the prize Sam earned on their first date together. However, their relationship becomes strained when Sam does not want to bring him to her house to meet her family, due to Miguel being a member of Cobra Kai, which is the rival dojo to her father's Miyagi-Do. Things get more strained when Sam does not respond to his texts, though this was not Sam's fault. Unbeknownst to Miguel, Sam's mother took her phone away. Still, she eventually manages to get a hold of her phone and wants to meet Miguel at the party, which she arrives at with Robby. Seeing this, Miguel assumes they are together, confronts Sam and attacks Robby, but he accidentally hits Sam instead. After this, she asks Miguel to leave her alone and their relationship ends for the rest of season 1.
In season 2 , the two don't have much interaction. Initially, Miguel wants to make things right and rekindle their romance, but Sam wants nothing to do with him due to his actions. When spending more time with Tory, he falls for her and starts dating her instead. Sam, however, has bad blood with Tory and disapproves of Miguel dating her. She even confronts him about it, upsetting Miguel. On the night before the first day of school, a drunk Sam thanks Miguel for returning Mr. Miyagi's Medal of Honor, and the two share a kiss, but immediately regret it due to them already being in relationships. They are unaware of the fact that Tory saw them, which is what leads to Tory attacking Sam the next day in school, and to the fight between Miguel and Robby. After Robby flips Miguel over the railing, Sam is horrified both at what Robby did and Miguel's condition. At the hospital she tearfully says that she hopes Miguel is ok.
Shortly after waking up from his coma in season 3, Sam visits him and gives him a get-well card, and the two apologize to each other for the whole situation. Sam organizes fund raise for Miguel's surgery with the help of Miyagi-Do students. After Miguel is able to walk again, he returns to school and rekindles his friendship with Sam. Over time, they rekindle their former romantic feelings for each other and end up back together. Sam and Miguel work together to bring Eagle Fang and Miyagi-Do together, and by the end of season 3, Miguel is training with Sam and the other Eagle Fangs and Miyagi-Dos at the Miyagi-Do dojo.
Tory is Miguel's love interest in season 2. With Miguel initially being upset over his breakup with Sam, Tory, who had joined Cobra Kai and taken interest in Miguel, helps him get over his breakup. The two quickly become a couple, and while Miguel does not know the full extent of Tory's family background, he knows she works hard, and he s willing to defend her behavior against the criticism of others. Tory also has an influence on Miguel about what can be considered fair or not fair in fighting and in life. However, Tory witnesses Miguel and Sam kissing the night before the first day of school. In the school brawl that she instigates, Tory, still angry over the kiss, kicks Miguel in the stomach when the latter tries to stop her from attacking Sam. She is horrified, however, when Miguel is kicked over the railing by Robby.
The next time they see each other is while Miguel is at lunch with Johnny, who is posing for pictures for his Facebook profile. Tory sees him when Johnny goes to the bathroom. Miguel shows that he's upset with Tory for not coming to visit him in the hospital. He is further upset when Tory says that Cobra Kai is trying to get back at Miyagi-Do for what happened to him, while Tory voices her disappointment for his kiss with Sam. Miguel tells her that she needs help, but this angers her, as she feels he is calling her crazy. Miguel then breaks up with Tory for her role in severely injuring Sam and starting the school brawl, and then she leaves in anger. The next time they see each other is when the Cobra Kai students enter Sam's house in order to attack the Miyagi Do and Eagle Fang students who had just formed a truce. Miguel tells Tory she doesn't have to do this, to which Tory says "it's too late". Then a fight breaks out, which Cobra Kai loses. Before Tory leaves, she calls both Miguel and Hawk traitors.
Hawk is one of Miguel's closest friends. They meet in the school's cafeteria, where Demetri introduces them, and immediately become friendly due to being somewhat outsiders and bullied by Kyler and his gang. Eli joins Cobra Kai after witnessing Miguel using his skills from Cobra Kai training to beat up Kyler and his gang. After becoming Hawk, he would go on to become one of the top students along with Miguel. Despite Hawk's abrasive personality and actions, as well as the two getting into a fight over Mr. Miyagi's Medal of Honor that Hawk stole, they remain close friends. At the end of the school fight, when Miguel has fallen from the second story balcony. Hawk immediately recognizes Robby as the one responsible for this. He is also one of the first at the scene on the stairs and tries to wake Miguel up, but a policeperson tells him to back off. Hawk believes that their sensei, Johnny, is indirectly responsible for the situation Miguel is in.
In Season 3, Hawk is one of the people who regularly visits Miguel in the hospital. He interrupts Sam's visit to Miguel and keeps the rivalry between Cobra Kai and Miyagi-Do alive, extending so far as to organizing the theft of the fundraising money for Miguel's surgery (though it is implied that the money does become contributed to the costs of the surgery in Cobra Kai's name). After Miguel is able to walk again, he returns to school, where he is welcomed back by Hawk. However, after learning from Demetri that Hawk broke Demetri's arm, Miguel confronts Hawk and shows disapproval about him letting Kreese get inside his head. Hawk's latest actions lead to their friendship ending. However, their friendship is likely rekindled when Hawk redeems himself by defecting from Cobra Kai and becoming part of Eagle Fang, joining forces with Miyagi-Do.
Robby and Miguel have tense relations from the start. One could say he is Miguel's main rival. While the two don't have much interaction, they never have a positive one. Both dislike each other since their separate and unaware moments of first seeing the other. Their rivalry is similar to Daniel and Johnny's original rivalry, but on more personal levels. Miguel hates Robby for stealing Sam away and Robby hates him for stealing his father, who is Miguel's sensei. In the penultimate episode of season 1, Miguel and Robby meet at a party, where Miguel has gotten drunk out of desperation over Sam not returning his texts or calls. When Miguel sees his girlfriend and Robby walking together to the party, he is immediately jealous. Getting the wrong idea, he attacks Robby, but accidently pushes Sam in the process, leading her to dumping him. In the season 1 finale, Miguel and Robby face off in the All Valley Tournament, where Miguel viciously attacks Robby's shoulder which was injured thanks to Hawk in the semifinals, allowing him to defeat Robby and win the tournament, though it was a close match.
In season 2, they don't have much interaction. When Miguel went to Daniel's house to return Mr. Miyagi's Medal of Honor that Hawk stole, he was shocked when Robby opened the door. He does not realize that Robby was not yet really together with Sam; he was there because the LaRusso's took him in after his mother abandons him for a short period. Still, Miguel gives him the medal, trusting that Robby will give it to Sam. Instead Robby, worried the admission would ruin his chances with Sam, pretends to find the medal in the Miyagi-Do dojo. Sam finds this out through Miguel at the party, but appreciates that Robby admitted it to her in the end before the school fight. When the school brawl starts, Miguel becomes involved when he notices Robby is holding Tory, Miguel's girlfriend, against a locker. Unaware that Robby was trying to stop the fight, as well as believing he was attacking her, Miguel attacks Robby, causing the two to fight. Their fight is long and intense, and it appears to be evenly matched. Eventually, Miguel flips Robby and put his arm in lock, but after remembering Johnny telling him to show mercy, he lets Robby go and apologizes. Unfortunately, an enraged Robby attacks him again and flips him over the railing, resulting in Miguel falling on the stairs below and suffering a broken back. Horrified at what he had done, Robby runs away.
Later in season 3, Robby, who was recently released from juvenile detention, sees Miguel, who is now walking again, with Sam. Getting the wrong idea, he tries to attack Miguel, only to be stopped by Sam. Robby then walks away and his relationship with Sam ends. Later, when Miguel and Sam show up at Cobra Kai to stop Daniel from further escalating his fight with Kreese, Robby comes out and tells all of them to leave.
Daniel is Miguel's girlfriend's father and later his co-sensei. In Season 1, they see each other for the first time when Daniel goes to confront Johnny about Kyler being assaulted by Johnny. Johnny tells Daniel the truth about what happened, since it was really Kyler who had attacked Miguel. Daniel is shocked to know that Miguel is training under Johnny, and warns him not to be like him. Daniel tells his daughter to stay away from any Cobra Kai students, without knowing that Miguel and Sam are dating, which strains Sam's and Miguel's relationship. Miguel does not know about Daniel's advice about whom Sam should date, and he attempts to introduce himself to Daniel before thinking that Sam is actually interested in Robby, who happened to be eating dinner at the LaRusso house that evening.
On the other hand, Johnny was shocked to see Miguel is dating Daniel's daughter, and he decides to tell Miguel his side of the story about Daniel. This causes Miguel to dislike Daniel and not want to be associated with the LaRusso family.
Miguel and Daniel do not interact directly over the first two seasons, seeing as Miguel is Johnny's student, though they see each other at numerous occasions, including the All Valley Tournament. There, Daniel witnesses Miguel using his signature move, the Crane Kick, against the opponent in the preliminary round, much to his chagrin.
Upon meeting LaRusso for the first time after his recovery in season 3, Miguel starts to see that they have more in common than he previously believed, and he begins to respect LaRusso and his methods, as well as his perspective in the rivalry with Johnny. By the end of the season, Miguel trains at Miyagi-Do with the Miyagi Do's and Eagle Fang students, with both Daniel and Johnny as his co-senseis.
- Aisha Robinson (Close Friend/Co-student)
- Kyler and Brucks (Enemies)
- John Kreese (Former Sensei/Enemy)
- Bert (Friend)
- Mitch (Friend)
- Moon (Friend)
- Yasmine (Friendly)
- Brucks (Former Bully)
- A.J. (Former Bully)
- Rory (Former Bully)
- Miguel can speak fluent Spanish and English.
- He has an asthmatic condition that requires the use of an inhaler in the first-half of Season 1, though it is implied that training strengthens his lungs and the condition loses severity for him.
- Miguel had braces for all of Season 1 but got them removed before Season 2.
- Robby and Miguel have fought each other twice, and both have won once through unethical tactics:
- Miguel won by attacking Robby's injured shoulder, which includes him yanking it when the latter attempts to help up him by offering his hand.
- Robby won by attacking Miguel and kicking him off the railing after the latter released Robby from a hold and apologized for their skirmish.
- Hawk has given Miguel two nicknames: El Serpiente ("the snake") for his first-place victory in the All-Valley tournament and El Diablo de la Lluvia ("The Rain Devil") for getting members of the Cobra Kai dojo wet.
- Miguel and Johnny have opened up dojos together twice.
- In the video game adaptation, he is voiced by Joe Zieja.
- In season 1, Miguel and Sam's relationship is similar to Romeo & Juliet.