If you remember the 1980’s as I do, the Karate Kid franchise is a classic. An underdog tale with great music, the good guy winning in the end and getting the girl, and several references that have made it into pop culture lexicon. Even people who haven’t seen the movie know the Karate Kid, Mr. Miyagi, wax on/wax off, and the crane technique. My beloved Alabama Crimson Tide adopted the “crane technique” as a touchdown celebration last season over 35 years after the movie premiered. The Karate Kid is such a classic that it’s reboot as Cobra Kai on Netflix continues to be wildly successful and will soon begin its fifth season as a streaming behemoth.
What I’ve enjoyed most about Cobra Kai series is that it is told primarily from Johnny’s perspective. If you’re Johnny, Daniel is the bully! Daniel always starts things he can’t finish (until Mr. Miyagi steps in). Daniel moves in on Johnny’s girl, butts in on their conversations, and when Daniel sprays Johnny with a hose at the Halloween dance, Mr. Miyagi is there to save him from another beating by taking down Johnny and three of his friends. Then, Mr. Miyagi and Daniel have the audacity to march into the Cobra Kai dojo to demand a cease fire to train until the tournament. Which, of course, allows Daniel free reign to torment Johnny and Cobra Kai at school. And let’s not even get started on the illegal kick to the face that wins Daniel the All-Valley Championship!
If our collective experiences over the last few years have taught me anything, it’s that there can be two wildly different perspectives on the exact same event. Wildly different. Even over the simplest and most basic things. As hard as these differing perspectives may be to comprehend, they are reality to those who hold and experience them, much like Johnny and Daniel’s in the Karate Kid. I encourage you, and ask you to help hold me accountable, to continue to do what’s best knowing that we all don’t see the world the same way. As Mr. Miyagi said, “no such thing as bad student. Only bad teacher.”