Rivalry is at the heart of Cobra Kai, which means friends become enemies and enemies become friends very quickly over the course of the show. It’s hard to determine if any friendships will truly stand the test of time when the friends become rivals on an episode-by-episode basis.
That’s true of Miguel Diaz and Eli “Hawk” Moskowitz. When they first meet, they’re both picked on by the same bullies, and they bond over an increasing interest in karate. That’s not enough to maintain their friendship, however, when Miguel leaves Cobra Kai and Eli fully embraces his Hawk persona. It doesn’t always seem like the two are really friends.
7 Miguel Latches On To Eli As The New Kid In School
When Miguel is a new student, he doesn’t easily make friends. The only students receptive to him wanting to spend time with them are Eli, Demetri, and Aisha.
Miguel largely hangs out with them because there isn’t anyone else for him to hang out with at first. Ultimately, they find things in common, and he convinces them all to try karate with Johnny Lawrence, but initially, he’s just the new kid looking for somewhere to fit in.
6 Eli Doesn’t Defend Miguel From Bullies
There is a sort of safety in numbers when kids are being bullied in high school. That doesn’t end up being the case for Miguel and his new friends though. When Miguel is targeted along with himself and Demetri, Eli doesn’t go out of his way to defend Miguel.
In fact, though Miguel stands up to the bullies more than once, and then ends up using his karate skills to physically defend his friends, Eli tends to completely shrink in on himself around the bullies.
5 The Two Don’t Hang Out Outside Of Classes
Friends tend to want to spend time together outside of school grounds. That’s not usually the case for Miguel and Hawk. They have classes together, and they sit together at lunch, but they don’t actively hang out outside of school.
The only time that changes is when they’re in Cobra Kai together because all of the Cobra Kai students stick together. They operate as a pack more than as friends. They have class together, and they train together, but they don’t bond outside of that.
4 Hawk Doesn’t Accept The Differences Between Them
When Eli fully embraces who he is as Hawk, he doesn’t tolerate dissent. That includes when his “friends” in Cobra Kai have other interests than him.
Once he’s Hawk, Eli is all about Cobra Kai, and pretty much only Cobra Kai. Any time Miguel mentions anything that remotely sounds like taking a step back from Cobra Kai, especially after Miguel is injured, Hawk is completely against it. To him, Miguel is a teammate, but he’s a teammate who should be agreeing with everything he says. It’s not unlike Sam pushing her father’s teachings on Robbie initially, which is why some audience members question their friendship as well.
3 Once Miguel Is Injured, He And Hawk Barely Speak
Miguel suffers an incredibly serious injury after the hallway fight at school. For months, he can’t walk on his own. Hawk makes a brief visit to see him at the hospital, but can barely even look at Miguel. It’s likely there’s some guilt there because of his own participation in the school brawl between dojos, but there’s no indication after that of Hawk even attempting to be there for Miguel.
Miguel does cut himself off from his old friends, but none of them actively try to encourage him to get back on his feet other than Johnny. It’s Johnny who is there for him while Hawk is busy becoming the new leader of the Cobra Kai students.
2 Hawk Threatens And Hurts Miguel’s Other Friends
Despite their differences, even when two friends grow apart, they don’t need to harass or attack their old friend’s new friends. That seems like a given. That’s not the case for Hawk.
When Miguel doesn’t return to Cobra Kai, he starts spending more time with people who aren’t involved in that particular dojo. He starts to see that Cobra Kai, particularly under the leadership of John Kreese, is a toxic environment. Hawk seems to take that as a personal insult – that anyone would practice karate outside of Cobra Kai. He repeatedly targets his own former friend (and Miguel’s current friend) Demetri. Hawk threatens and injures Demetri and other friends of Miguel’s who aren’t part of Cobra Kai instead of just letting everyone go their separate ways. It starts to really turn Hawk into a villain.
1 Miguel Flat Out Says They’re No Longer Friends
Miguel’s back injury is the catalyst for him to see how bad of an environment the Cobra Kai dojo is. When Hawk and the other students don’t listen when Miguel says he doesn’t want revenge on any of the Miyagi-do students, they don’t listen to him. He doesn’t try to get through to them once they don’t.
When Sam mentions Miguel’s Cobra Kai friends, Miguel flat out refutes her use of the word. He tells her that Hawk and the other guys in Cobra Kai aren’t his friends anymore. Miguel saying that does put the nail in the coffin of their friendship for a long time.
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