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Karate Kid & Cobra Kai Timeline Explained

The excellent Cobra Kai TV series expands The Karate Kid timeline in a way that could never have been predicted back in the 1980s. When the original Karate Kid premiered in 1984, few would have guessed that it would evolve into a franchise that has lasted over 36 years, which encompasses three sequels, a 2010 remake, and a hit TV series, Cobra Kai, which launched season 4 on December 31, 2021, with season 5 production already wrapped.

The original Karate Kid trilogy centered on Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) and his sensei and best friend, Mr. Miyagi (Noriyuki “Pat” Morita). While the first film was a self-contained story, the sequel, 1986’s The Karate Kid Part II, delved into Mr. Miyagi’s past and opened up the universe by hinting at the origins of Miyagi-Do karate. 1989’s The Karate Kid Part III was a retread of the original film that brought Daniel-san’s story to a close at that point. An attempt to revive the film series with a fourth movie, 1994’s The Next Karate Kid, was met with critical and box office disappointment, although it was the breakout role of future Oscar-winner Hilary Swank, who played Mr. Miyagi’s new student.


Related: Cobra Kai Season 4 Ending & All Twists Explained

The Karate Kid rebooted with a new film in 2010, with Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan playing new characters who undergo the same thematic beats as Daniel and Miyagi. Although it was successful at the box office and was produced by Will Smith, no sequel materialized and it isn’t considered part of The Karate Kid/Cobra Kai canon. Instead, The Karate Kid saga was revived in 2018 by Cobra Kai, which picked up the original film’s rivalry between Daniel and Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) and updated their story into the present day. Originally streaming on YouTube Red/Premium, Netflix purchased the first two seasons of Cobra Kai and brought it to a bigger audience, which turned Cobra Kai into a global hit series with seasons 3 and 4 (and Cobra Kai season 5 is on the way).

Daniel and Johnny’s personal animosity is now over three-and-a-half decades old and has been passed down to their children and students’ generation. Meanwhile, Mr. Miyagi’s legacy remains one of the most important elements of the saga, so that The Karate Kid and Cobra Kai timeline encompasses his pre-World War II origins into the 21st century. It could even be said that The Karate Kid story began long ago when Mr. Miyagi’s ancestor Shimpo fell asleep while fishing off the coast of Okinawa and came back from China 10 years later with the secret of Miyagi-Do karate.

Before The Karate Kid (1925-1984)

Karate Kid Young Miyagi Jack Pierce

1925 – Nariyoshi (Kesuke) Miyagi is born in Tomi Village in Okinawa. As a child, he was trained in Miyagi-Do karate by his father along with Miyagi’s best friend, Sato Toguchi, whom the elder Miyagi also treated like a son.

1940 – Miyagi falls in love with Yukie, who was promised to Sato in an arranged marriage. Sato feels dishonored and challenges Miyagi in a fight to the death. Instead, Miyagi leaves Okinawa and emigrates to the United States.

Related: How Cobra Kai Learning Miyagi-Do Changes Karate Kid’s Rules

1940-1943 – In Hawaii, Miyagi meets a girl who became his wife, and they moved to Los Angeles together. The Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, provoking the United States’ entry into World War II. Miyagi enlists in the U.S. Army and serves in the 442nd Infantry Regiment. At one point, Miyagi’s life is saved by Lt. Jack Pierce; to pay him back, Miyagi trains his friend Jack in Miyagi-Do karate, which ostensibly made Lt. Pierce Miyagi’s first student.

1943 – While Miyagi was serving in the war, his wife and unborn child die in the Manzanar Japanese internment camp.

1965 – John Kreese receives a pamphlet to enlist in the U.S. Army. He gets into a fight with a varsity jock and wins the heart of Betsy, whom he falls in love with.

December 18, 1966 – Daniel LaRusso is born in New Jersey.

Related: Karate Kid: What Happened To Daniel LaRusso’s Father

August 20, 1967 – Johnny Lawrence is born in Los Angeles.

1968 – Deployed in Vietnam, Kreese, Twig (AKA Terry Silver), and Ponytail are recruited by Captain Turner into his Special Forces team. Betsy dies in a car accident, a fact Turner withholds from Kreese. Their unit is captured by the Viet Cong and they are held as prisoners of war. Forced to fight each other, Kreese kills Turner when he learns Betsy is dead as U.S. forces liberate their POW camp.

1968/1969 – The All Valley Under 18 Karate Tournament is established in the San Fernando Valley. (Year uncertain because the tournament’s date moved from December in 1984/1985 to May in 2018.)

1970 – While serving in the Vietnam War, John Kreese becomes the U.S. Karate Champion. He also saves the life of Terry Silver, who becomes his best friend and his karate student.

Related: Cobra Kai: Kreese’s Origin Explained (& Why He Turned Bad)

1974 – Daniel LaRusso’s father dies.

Pre-1979 – Back in Los Angeles, Terry Silver purchases the Cobra Kai dojo for John Kreese to run. However, Terry breaks the bad news to Kreese that his father demanded Silver run the family business, DynaTox. Terry leaves Kreese as Cobra Kai’s lone sensei.

1979 – Johnny Lawrence rides his bike and discovers the Cobra Kai dojo. Johnny’s abusive stepfather Sid Weinberg reluctantly paid for Johnny to join Cobra Kai.

Summer 1982 – Johnny meets Ali Mills during a screening of Rocky III and they begin dating.

Related: Everything Cobra Kai Has Revealed About Johnny’s Past

December 1982 – Johnny wins his first All Valley Under 18 Karate Tournament.

December 1983 – Johnny becomes the first two-time, back-to-back All Valley Under 18 Karate Champion, not losing a single point and beating his friend and fellow Cobra Kai Tommy in the finals.

Summer 1984 – Johnny got so drunk partying with Cobra Kai that he missed Ali’s birthday. Ali breaks up with Johnny. In New Jersey, Lucille LaRusso gets a job in Los Angeles and drives across the country with Daniel to start their new life.

The Karate Kid (1984)

The Karate Kid, crane kick, William Zabka and Johnny and Ralph Macchio as Daniel

End of summer 1984 – Daniel, who just arrived in LA, goes to a beach party and meets Ali, who he begins dating. Jealous of LaRusso with his ex-girlfriend Ali, Johnny and the Cobra Kai begin their rivalry with Daniel. Mr. Miyagi, the handyman at South Seas apartment complex where Daniel now lives, sees him practicing karate he learned at the YMCA.

Related: Cobra Kai: Why Johnny Really Hated Daniel In Karate Kid

Halloween 1984 – Daniel decides to prank Johnny at the West Valley High Halloween dance and pays dearly when the Cobra Kai leaves him badly beaten. Mr. Miyagi rescues Daniel. Together, they confront John Kreese at the Cobra Kai dojo and strike a deal for Daniel to face the Cobra Kai at the All Valley Under 18 Karate Tournament.

Fall 1984 – Mr. Miyagi trains “Daniel-san” in Miyagi-D0 karate and they form what would become a deep and lasting friendship.

December 18, 1984 – Mr. Miyagi gives Daniel a yellow 1947 Ford Super Deluxe for his 18th birthday.

December 19, 1984 – Daniel becomes the All Valley Karate Champion when he beats Johnny in the finals. Immediately after the tournament, Kreese attacks Johnny in the parking lot. Mr. Miyagi saves Johnny and humiliates Kreese in a fight. The Cobra Kai students all abandon Kreese and the Cobra Kai dojo is shut down.

Related: The Karate Kid’s Dirty Secret: Daniel Cheated To Win The All Valley Tournament

The Karate Kid Part II (Summer 1985)

Karate Kid 2 Daniel and Mr Miyagi

June 1985 – Mr. Miyagi builds a guest room in his house for Daniel, expecting him to live there for the summer when Lucille’s work relocates her to Fresno. Ali breaks up with Daniel at the senior prom and tells him she fell in love with a college football player. Mr. Miyagi receives a letter from Yukie in Okinawa that his father is deathly ill.

Summer 1985 – Daniel uses his college fund to accompany Mr. Miyagi to Okinawa. Daniel learns that Sato still wants to fight Miyagi to the death who Sato’s nephew Chozen starts his own rivalry with Daniel. Miyagi and Yukie romantically reconnect while Daniel sparks his own romance with Yukie’s niece, Kumiko. With Miyagi’s guidance, Daniel breaks six bars of ice in a bar, winning a bet with Chozen and Sato that becomes his new college fund. Sato presses his grudge match challenge with Miyagi and threatens to destroy Tomi Village if he doesn’t agree. Miyagi finally agrees but a hurricane strikes Okinawa the night before the fight. Daniel and Miyagi save Sato’s life and but Chozen is dishonored when he refuses to help Daniel save a young girl. Sato drops his grudge with Miyagi, becomes Tomi Village’s benefactor. Chozen attacks Daniel and Kumiko at the O-bon dance and challenges LaRusso in a fight to the death but Daniel defeats him with Miyagi-Do’s drum technique.

The Karate Kid Part III (Fall 1985)

Fall 1985 – Daniel and Mr. Miyagi return from Okinawa to find Daniel’s South Seas apartment building being converted to condominiums and Miyagi out of a job. Daniel decides to use his college fund to open a bonsai store with Mr. Miyagi. Meanwhile, a destitute John Kreese turns to Terry Silver for help; Silver sends Kreese to Tahiti and implements his plan to humiliate Daniel by hiring Mike Barnes as Cobra Kai’s new prized student. LaRusso meets Jessica Andrews, who provides pots for Mr. Miyagi’s bonsai trees. While Barnes harasses LaRusso, Silver befriends Daniel and slowly poisons him against Miyagi. Daniel breaks from Miyagi and joins Cobra Kai, only to learn that he’s a pawn in Silver and Kreese’s scheme to force him to defend his title. Mr. Miyagi comes to Daniel’s rescue and trains him once again to defend his title in the All Valley Tournament.

December 1985 – Daniel, who only has to fight in the final match as the defending champion, defeats Mike Barnes to become a two-time, back-to-back All Valley Under 18 Karate Champion. Due to the underhanded tactics Barnes used, which Silver and Kreese encourage, the All Valley tournament committee issues a lifetime ban on Cobra Kai.

Related: What Happened To Terry Silver Between Karate Kid 3 & Cobra Kai

The Next Karate Kid (1994)

Julie Pierce and Mr Miyagi in The Next Karate Kid

May 1994 – Mr. Miyagi travels to Boston to accept a Presidental accolade for his U.S. Army unit’s World War II valor. Miyagi meets Julie Pierce, the granddaughter of Lt. Jack Pierce. Miyagi accepts responsibility for Julie, who was previously trained in Miyagi-Do karate. Miyagi continues Julie’s training as she faces the Alpha Elite, the ROTC regiment that terrorized her and her high school.

Before Cobra Kai (1995-2017)

Cobra Kai Miyagi Grave

1990s – Daniel, who never went to college, enters the car dealership business, first as a used car salesman who outsells his boss. At some point in that decade, he meets Amanda, the woman he would marry. They became known as “Danny and Mandy, the best sales team in the Valley”.

Early 2000s – Johnny enters into a relationship with Shannon Keene while Daniel and Amanda get married.

October 14, 2001 – Samantha LaRusso is born to Amanda and Daniel.

January 2002 – Johnny’s mother Laura passes away, leaving him emotionally distraught.

Related: Why Robby’s All Valley Result Had To Happen In Cobra Kai Season 4

February 4, 2002 – Johnny and Shannon’s son Robby Keene is born. Johnny isn’t present at the birth because he’s at a bar getting drunk across the street from the hospital.

June 2002 – Miguel Diaz is born and he’s raised by his mother Carmen and his grandmother Rosa. Miguel’s biological father doesn’t know he has a son.

2002 – Daniel and Amanda open the LaRusso Auto Group together.

Related: Cobra Kai Explains Why Daniel Owns A Car Dealership (Thanks To Miyagi)

2005 – Anthony LaRusso is born to Amanda and Daniel. Kenny Payne is also born.

2009/2010 – Daniel converts a room in his home into a dojo and trains 8-year-old Samantha in Miyagi-Do karate.

November 15, 2011 – Mr. Miyagi dies. He leaves his house and garden in Los Angeles to Daniel.

Cobra Kai Season 1 (Fall 2017-Summer 2018)

Cobra Kai Miguel Crane Kick

August 2017 – After getting fired from his job as a maintenance man, Johnny Lawrence decides to reopen the Cobra Kai dojo. He also encounters Daniel LaRusso again for the first time since high school. Johnny meets his next-door neighbor Miguel, who becomes his first student.

Related: Who Is Miguel’s Dad In Cobra Kai? Every Theory

Halloween 2017 – Despite his Cobra Kai training, Miguel is beaten up by Samantha LaRusso’s boyfriend Kyler and his friends at the Halloween dance.

January/February 2018 – Miguel’s karate skills have rapidly improved and he defends Sam’s honor by beating up Kyler and his friends. The video of their fight goes viral, sparking an influx of new Cobra Kai students, including Aisha Robinson and Eli Moskowitz, who reinvents himself as Hawk. Robby Keene gets a job at LaRusso Auto Group to get back at his father and Daniel starts training him in karate.

Spring 2018 – Johnny learns of Cobra Kai’s lifetime ban from the All Valley Tournament and he successfully gets the ban rescinded, despite Daniel’s efforts to thwart him.

May 2018 – Johnny finds out Robby has been training with Daniel, who in turn learns Robby is Johnny’s son. Daniel drops Robby as his student. Sam, who has been dating Miguel, breaks up with him over his jealousy over Robby living at the LaRussos.

Related: Cobra Kai: Sam’s Karate Kid Callback Turns Her Into Daniel

May 19, 2018 – Miguel beats Robby to win the 50th Anniversary All Valley Under 18 Karate Championship for Cobra Kai. Daniel decides to re-open the Miyagi-Do dojo and accept new students to take on Cobra Kai. Having heard about Johnny resurrecting Cobra Kai, John Kreese returns.

Cobra Kai Season 2 (Summer 2018)

Jacob Bertrand William Zabka and Xolo Maridueña Martin Kove and William Zabka in Cobra Kai Season 2 YouTube Premium

June 2018 – Johnny allows Kreese to join his Cobra Kai as a sensei while Daniel’s new Miyagi-Do opens with Robby and Samantha as his first students.

July 4, 2018 – Daniel’s attempt to introduce Miyagi-Do with an exhibition at Valley Fest is foiled by Johnny and Cobra Kai, whose own performance goes viral and creates interest in Lawrence’s dojo over LaRusso’s.

July 2018 – Tory Nichols joins Cobra Kai and immediately becomes enemies with Samantha after an altercation at a beach club. Some of the new Cobra Kai recruits, including Demetri, find Johnny and Kreese’s methods too extreme for them and they join Miyagi-Do. Hawk and the Cobra Kai attack Demetri at the mall but Sam and Robby together defeat them in a brawl at the food court. Tory and Miguel start dating.

Related: Cobra Kai: Why Tory Is So Important To Kreese

August 2018 – Johnny learns that Tommy is dying and he reunites with his high school Cobra Kai friends to give Tommy one last night. Tommy passes away the next morning but while Johnny is away, Kreese steals the ownership of the Cobra Kai dojo behind Lawrence’s back.

Late August/Early September 2018 – Moon throws a party the night before the first day of school. Sam defeats Tory in a drinking contest but Tory catches Sam kissing Miguel. When the police raid the party, Robby brings a drunk Sam to Johnny’s apartment.

First Day of School 2o18 – Daniel finds Sam at Johnny’s apartment and the two come to blows. At West Valley High, Tory commandeers the school intercom and calls out Sam. Tory and Sam begin fighting and the melee draws in both Cobra Kai and Miyagi-Do factions in an all-out brawl. Tory cuts Sam’s arm with a spiked bracelet but Robby kicks Miguel over a balcony when Diaz shows him mercy. Miguel is critically injured and both he and Sam are hospitalized. Daniel closes down the Miyagi-Do dojo in his grief while Johnny, distraught over Miguel, learns that Kreese has stolen Cobra Kai from him. Johnny throws his phone away and doesn’t see a Facebook friend request from Ali Mills Schwarber.

Cobra Kai Season 3 (September 2018-December 19, 2018)

Cobra Kai Johnny Kreese Daniel

Fall 2018 – Johnny and Daniel team up to find Robby and he gets placed in juvenile detention. Miguel wakes up from his coma and has surgery to repair his back. Daniel travels to Japan and Okinawa to save his car dealership. While in Okinawa, Daniel-san reconnects with Kumiko and Chozen for the first time in 33 years. Johnny takes over Miguel’s rehab and he’s able to regain the use of his legs. Cobra Kai fights Miyagi-Do’s students at Golf N’ Stuff and Hawk breaks Demetri’s arm. Amanda joins Daniel in trying to put a stop to Kreese and Cobra Kai. Johnny begins corresponding with Ali Mills Schwarber on Facebook.

Related: Cobra Kai Gave Fans The Ali & Johnny Date Karate Kid Never Did

After encouraging Johnny to become a sensei again and start a new dojo, Miguel returns to school as Johnny founds Eagle Fang Karate with ex-Cobra Kai members. When the 2019 All Valley Tournament is canceled, Johnny, Kreese, Daniel, Sam, and Miguel all appeal it and get the tournament reinstated. Johnny becomes romantically involved with Miguel’s mother, Carmen.

December 19, 2018 – Ali returns to LA for Christmas and goes on a date with Johnny. At Miyagi-Do, Miguel learns about Mr. Miyagi for the first time and gets to know Daniel. After rejecting Kreese’s attempts to recruit him, Robby goes to Cobra Kai and eventually joins them. Ali, Johnny, Daniel, and Amanda meet socially at the Encino Hills Country Club and reminisce about high school, which ends with Ali brokering a truce between Johnny and Daniel. Egged on by Kreese, Tory leads Cobra Kai into an invasion of the LaRusso’s home where Sam and Miguel have gathered Miyagi-Do and Eagle Fang to work together.

After the fight destroys the LaRussos’ house, Johnny and Daniel both fight Kreese at the Cobra Kai dojo. Sam and Miguel stop Daniel from possibly killing Kreese and Robby sides with Cobra Kai. Kreese agrees to settle all of their differences at the next All Valley Tournament in Cobra Kai season 4, with the losing dojo(s) pledging to leave the Valley for good.

Cobra Kai Season 4 (Late December 2018-May 19, 2019)

cobra kai season 4 daniel image

Late December 2018 – April 2019 – Daniel and Johnny combine their dojos and train both their students and each other in Miyagi-Do and Eagle Fang’s styles. To even the odds, Kreese recruits Terry Silver but finds him to be a completely different person who left karate behind. Meanwhile, Robby joins Cobra Kai and teaches them Miyagi-Do’s defensive style. With Kreese back in his life, Terry rejects his new life and joins Cobra Kai as co-sensei, bankrolling new equipment and gear that spurs a recruitment drive. Johnny grows jealous of Daniel training Miguel while Sam becomes interested in learning Eagle Fang’s offense.

Related: Cobra Kai Season 4 Surprise Cameo Unifies Karate Kid’s Original Trilogy

Kenny Payne, the new kid at West Valley Middle School, is bullied by Anthony LaRusso and joins Cobra Kai, which Robby becoming his mentor. Amanda’s attempt to intimidate Tory to leave Samantha alone backfires and Mrs. LaRusso feels responsible when she learns about Tory’s difficult life. Silver and Kreese visit Miyagi-Do and Daniel panics at the sight of his old enemy. LaRusso insists that Miyagi-Do become the dominant style of the combined dojos, which leads to Daniel and Johnny fighting again. When their fight ends in a draw, Johnny and Daniel break their agreement and go their separate ways with their dojos and students.

April 2019 – May 2019 – The All Valley council creates new rules for the tournament, including a boys and girls division. Johnny begins recruiting for a female Eagle Fang student and recruits Devon Lee. Miguel learns Johnny and his mother, Carmen, are dating. Sam is incensed when Amanda agrees to sponsor Tory returning to West Valley High. Daniel and Amanda discover Anthony is Kenny’s bully. Cobra Kai ambushes Hawk and shaves his mohawk, shattering his confidence. After the junior prom, Robby tells Miguel that Johnny would rather be with his real son. Diaz is heartbroken when a drunk Johnny calls him “Robby” after he suffers a beating from Terry Silver. Stingray returns to Cobra Kai but is humiliated by Kreese; later, a drunk Terry Silver agrees to let Stingray into Cobra Kai but beats him so badly he ends up hospitalized.

May 19, 2019 – Terry Silver secretly pays off the All Valley’s referee to score key fights in Cobra Kai’s favor. Miguel is injured in the semi-finals against Hawk and decides to quit the tournament without telling anyone. Moon gives Hawk back his confidence and Moskowitz upsets Robby to win the boys’ All Valley Championship for Miyagi-Do. Johnny and Daniel both agree to coach Samantha together and let her combine their styles against Tory in the girls’ All Valley final. But thanks to Silver bribing the referee, Tory beats Sam to win the All Valley Championship and Cobra Kai wins the tournament’s Grand Championship. The victorious Silver announces his plan to open Cobra Kai dojos all over the San Fernando Valley.

After the tournament, Tory learns Silver bribed the referee. Robby reunites with Johnny, who then learns Miguel left for Mexico City to find his birth father. Johnny promises Carmen he’ll bring back Miguel. When Stingray wakes up in the hospital, he tells the police he was attacked by John Kreese. Kreese is arrested for attempted murder and he realizes Silver betrayed him, with Terry now the sole sensei of Cobra Kai. At Mr. Miyagi’s grave, Daniel decides not to honor his agreement to shut down Miyagi-Do. Chozen joins LaRusso and agrees to teach Daniel-san how to go on the offense in Cobra Kai season 5.

Next: Will Miguel Be In Cobra Kai Season 5?

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