Mouser, Macchio, and Zabka had the chance to sit down for a virtual chat with SYFY WIRE to discuss the recently released third season of Cobra Kai. A major theme throughout the discussion was how the show effectively utilizes nostalgia to craft a more compelling story, and Mouser got into how viewers sometimes need to look closely to pick up on subtle callbacks. As it turns out, the most famous move from the original Karate Kid makes an appearance when you least expect it, but you have to slow down the scene to catch it.
“One of Samantha’s first moves was in the movie theater, and it was blocking Kyler from making a move, and it was supposed to literally be a ‘wax on, wax off’ situation, except a modern take on it,” Mouser explained. “If you slow it down, you can tell that, but I think that’s like the same kind of thing: You have to look for these cool little moments and pieces.”
In 1984’s The Karate Kid, Daniel LaRusso learns the “wax on, wax off” technique while literally waxing a car. Later, he puts it to good use by incorporating the movement into his karate arsenal, allowing him to deflect oncoming attacks. You have to look carefully, but if you pay attention when Kyler grabs Samantha by the arm in Cobra Kai, she uses that famous circular motion to get him off her. From early on in the series, it was abundantly clear that Daniel gave his daughter some training, and it foreshadows the skilled fighter she becomes later on. Not only does the moment show how you shouldn’t mess with Sam, but it also connects her with Mr. Miyagi and allows him to live on.