I wanted to start watching Cobra Kai but I have only seen The Karate Kid (1984) and The Next Karate Kid (1994). Do I need to see any other previous films before watching Cobra Kai for better understanding?
Maybe not. Here is why.
Cobra Kai is supposedly bringing back feud between Daniel LaRusso and Johnny Lawrence. The Karate Kid 2,3,4 does not have anything to do with Johnny Lawrence.
But . . .
The Karate Kid 3 does have to do with Cobra Kai. So if you wanna know how Cobra Kai dojo went down then you will have to watch The Karate Kid 3.
Characters from The Karate Kid such as Daniel, Johnny, Kreese, and Ali are there in Cobra Kai.
Chozen and Kumiko are from Karate Kid II who are in Cobra Kai.
Characters from Karate Kid III too are in Cobra Kai.
So that the audience understands the hatred and their rivalry, Cobra Kai has flashbacks of the Karate Kid III.
However, to understand the reasons vividly, you should watch the Karate Kid movies since Cobra Kai is a follow up of the Karate Kid films (except the 2010 remake).