"There's no honor in being merciless."
―Miguel Diaz to John Kreese[src]

Miguel "Miggy" 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 is the deuteragonist of season 1. Despite being an antagonist in the end of the season, he is able to better himself in season 2. Miguel is of Ecuadorian descent, and Hawk nicknamed him El Serpiente ("the snake") for his first-place victory in the All-Valley tournament.

Fictional Character Biography

Cobra Kai

Season 1

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 and a rivalry between him and Robby to form.

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 to avoid Robby's right arm and that he can win without fighting 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 hugs his mother and grandmother, but is also upset to learn from Demetri that Samantha left.

Season 2

Despite being one of the primary characters and focuses in season 1, this season sees his role reduce significantly.

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. But it's quite clear the girl he truly loves is still Samantha.

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. After gaining the upper-hand on Robby he 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 he 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 he face, causing him to have a bloody lip.

After Robby defeats Miguel's friends he runs to help Sam, only for Miguel to stop him. They then continue their fight, Their fight seems to be even. 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. 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 apologies (possibly for kissing Sam). However, an infuriated Robby who is likely still angry at Miguel for kissing Sam, gets up and kicks Miguel off the railing. Miguel is admitted into the hospital in critical condition.

It is possible that Miguel has a broken spine as a result of Robby kicking him off the railing, but that has not been confirmed or denied. The fate of Miguel is currently unclear.

Character

Appearance

At the beginning of Season 1 Miguel is a tall young man with short black hair that is parted at the left and short at the back. Near the end of Season 1 he allows his hair to grow out a bit in the back, sides and front but otherwise retains an appearance consistent with the beginning of Season 1. He almost resembled a young Daniel LaRusso.

Personality: Season 1

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 the change of character he goes through is significant as he went from a nice kid who was incessantly bullied to an aggressive Karate champion who made his former tormentors afraid to be around him. 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.

Personality: Season 2

"We're not all assholes."
―Miguel Diaz to Robby Keene[src]

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 and stays loyal to his friends. 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 in combat, takes the badge and goes to Sam's house to return it, showing he is still a good person at heart despite his prior actions and Cobra Kai's ruthless mentality. 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, having a broken neck.

Fighting Style

"Yeah, it all happened so fast. Everything just came together. I was blocking. I anticipated. I slithered."
―Miguel Diaz to Johnny Lawrence[src]

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, 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 fights 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 (in a manner not too dissimilar to Johnny Lawrence underhandedly attacking Daniel LaRusso's injured leg in the 1984 All Valley Tournament) 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 in season 1, their match was basically even despite Robby's injured shoulder putting him at a disadvantage, and Miguel himself had to attack his shoulder and fight dirty to win. Their fight and the result showed that Miguel was an inferior and less skilled fighter than Robby. In the school brawl in season 2 however, Miguel successfully pinned Robby to the ground without fighting dirty, showing that Miguel is a more skilled fighter than he was in season 1, as well as that he was the better and more skilled fighter than Robby at that time. Although it should be noted that Robby was angry and not focused when Miguel said that Sam loves him more than Robby, which gave Miguel the upper hand on him.

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.

Trivia

  • Despite being one of the main protagonists of the show and the deuteragonist in season 1, his role in season 2 wasn't as big as it was in season 1 most likely because several side characters from season 1 such as Hawk, Sam, Robby and even Demetri got their own story-lines, which resulted in a lot of screen time being taken from Miguel. While Miguel is a main character and does have story-lines in season 2, his story-lines aren't as big as Hawk's, Sam's and Robby's, causing their roles to be bigger than his and Miguel himself not to be a central character.
  • He has asthma
  • 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.

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