The Karate Kid films and the spinoff series Cobra Kai have impacted the art of Karate endlessly. They stand as icons in terms of the popularization of this martial art. Cobra Kai has rarely been called out for its technical issues. In fact, viewers have seen time and again how much work the actors have put in. A recent example is when they jumped into a pool of cold water at freezing temperatures. But, can Cobra Kai actors actually do any Karate?
Can the Cobra Kai actors actually do any Karate?
The actors playing the protagonists- Mary Mouser (Samantha) and Xolo Maridueña (Miguel) had the least experience in Karate. Maridueña said that he had taken a year or so worth of training at a “very young” age but did not truly get into the martial art until he was booked for season 1 of Cobra Kai.
As for Mary Mouser, the actress has been training quite intensely ever since the show began. She said in an interview how she acknowledges the fact that many martial art geeks would be watching the series. This meant additional pressure to “make them proud” while ensuring they look impressive to the newer fans as well. “I am clearly still a novice in this world, but Samantha is not. So it’s fun to get to stretch myself, to see how much I can push myself to look like I’ve been doing Karate for all these years, when in total probably have about a year’s worth of training so far,” she added.
The Karate pros
It is not just swag that Hawk brings to the table in the Netflix Original series.
Actor Jacob Bertrand who plays Eli Hawk Moskowitz can deliver the most in terms of Karate technicality. While he might not be a “karateka”, the actor has been into Karate since he was 8 years old. While he gave up on it before moving on to other interests, he never really left the field of combat sports. Bertrand took up grappling training for two years and hence, boasts the most Karate experience in Cobra Kai.
Another Cobra Kai actor who can do a little bit of Karate is Tanner Buchanan. The actor revealed how he took up taekwondo as a hobby that “most kids around the age of 10-12 do“. Just like Bertrand, the actor quit the hobby in his early teens. However, he took up training in Muay Thai, another martial art/ combat sport, while filming Designated Survivor for a period of eight months.
As for the veteran actors Ralph Macchio and William Zabka, the two only have Karate training as far as the Karate kid films and the Netflix series Cobra Kai goes. While Zabka had taken up training due to being typecast in other films.
Why the cast deserves more attention for their portrayal of Karate
After 4 seasons worth of shooting with professionals and intense training, it is only the Karateka Cobra Kai fans who can tell apart whether or not the actors can do Karate. Jacob Bertrand said “the next couple of days after those types of shoots, you’re definitely sore for at least two days. You’re running the same thing over and over again at 110%.”
Considering the fact that the actor has years of training in combat sports, this makes the actors and their performance all the more impressive.