As a diehard fan of The Karate Kid and now Cobra Kai, Reseda has been a mythical place since I was 11 years old. Hailing from Orange County, Ca, I could never hear or see anything related to Reseda and not think about Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio), Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) and the epic karate battles that seemed to be happening all the time in the streets of that Southern California city. Now, with 4 Karate Kid feature films and 3 seasons of Cobra Kai to its credit, it's hard not to wonder if perhaps this great city might not be suffering from a cinematic karate plague?
Before you completely throw out that idea (and cite other movies that show Reseda in a different light) ask yourself, is there anybody in any of The Karate Kid vehicles that doesn't care about karate? Case in point, The All-Valley Tournament is a very big deal. It's so big that they have nearly packed town hall meetings to discuss it!
Daniel LaRusso almost loses his marriage over karate. He's been fighting Johnny Lawrence for nearly 4 decades because of this sport. An entire high school was brought to a prison-like riot because of two dojos' battle for karate supremacy. Miguel (Xolo Mariduena) nearly lost his life in this battle, yet, what's the first thing he does upon recovering? He starts trying to practice karate before he can walk! In fact, karate has essentially destroyed Johnny's relationship with his son Robby (Tanner Buchanan), and at no time is there ever a thought of giving up the sport and working on things through conversations and father-son visits. To the contrary, Johnny, Daniel and everybody else merely doubles down on their karate training in the hopes that this will find them the "elusive" balance that Mr. Miyagi assured them was theirs.
Now, we know that Kreese (Martin Kove) and his Cobra Kai disciples are obsessed with karate. Even with their arcane (especially by 2020 standards) methods, this does nothing but bring in more recruits. Daniel and Johnny try and have a more measured approach. However, even they can't steer clear of the plague. All the while, somehow Reseda continues to function as a Mecca of business and culture. It is a credit to their urban planners, who probably have to account in their yearly budgets for the toll that this karate plague is going to take on their city.
As you start examining films like Friday Night Lights and their football plague, or Vision Quest with its wrestling plague, or Hoosiers with its basketball plague, the normalcy with which these sports take over and effect towns is not uncommon. In fact, all one has to do is look at ESPN's schedule and they'll see that our entire year not only follows, but is DEPENDENT on these sports plagues. They generate money, jobs, and have created entire industries that aren't simply going to go away.
What we see of Reseda in both The Karate Kid movies and Cobra Kai is nothing but a microcosm of this culture shown to us through a Karate plagued lens.