Johnny pretty easily takes out the four bullies, even if he loses his slice in the process, but Kyler attacks from behind, puts him in a chokehold, and asks, “What’s the matter? Having trouble breathing?”
Johnny struggles for a moment before elbowing and flipping Kyler. Following a brief second round with the bullies, Johnny subdues Kyler again. With his hand locked around Kyler’s throat, Johnny repeats the same question — in a much more badass fashion. The scene establishes Johnny as someone who still has the skills, despite being 36 years older than he was in The Karate Kid. But Kyler’s dirty move is reminiscent of another bully, Mike Barnes (Sean Kanan) from 1989’s The Karate Kid Part III.
Also known as “Karate’s Badboy,” Barnes works for Cobra Kai co-founder, and toxic waste disposal tycoon Terry Silver (Thomas Ian Griffith). As the main thug in Part III, Barnes hides his connection to Silver as he faces off against Daniel multiple times (which even briefly drives Mr. Miyagi’s pupil into the Cobra Kai dojo). Then, Barnes dons the Cobra Kai gi, and puts a beat down on young LaRusso at the All Valley Karate Tournament.
Silver and Cobra Kai sensei John Kreese (Martin Kove) look on as Barnes fights dirty, landing one illegal punch after another, and verbally abusing Daniel in the meantime (while a way-too-permissive referee does very little refereeing). He delivers a series of gut punches, and then drops Daniel to the mat before looming over the boy and saying, “What’s the matter, sweetheart? Having trouble breathing?”