With nearly 40 franchise years under his belt, Cobra Kai star Ralph Macchio reveals if he actually knows karate. The hit Netflix series continues the story of Macchio’s Daniel LaRusso and Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) from 1984’s The Karate Kid, as the Cobra Kai dojo reopens its doors. Many veterans from The Karate Kid movies have reprised their roles throughout the series, which is now in season 5, which recently premiered on Netflix to critical acclaim, becoming the highest-rates season for the series since its debut.
Season five of Cobra Kai follows Johnny and Daniel as they continue to try and bring down the Cobra Kai dojo, which was taken over by Terry Silver (Thomas Ian Griffith) after he frames John Kreese (Martin Kove) for attempted murder. Sean Kanan returns as Mike Barnes from The Karate Kid Part III, a former rival of Daniel who now joins forces with him. There has been lots of debate on whether the stars of the show and the Karate Kid movies actually know karate and have been trained in a martial art before shooting, or if they’re only performing the moves for the series, and now, one star is sharing whether he is versed in the martial art.
« That would be a gentleman by the name of Pat E. Johnson. If you’ve seen The Karate Kid film, he played the referee in the final tournament, and that was Pat Johnson. He taught all of us, trained me in goju-ryu style, Okinawan classic karate, and Pat Morita as well. He was a big part of creating all of those sequences. Most often I don’t [use a stunt double]. I really try to do all the stuff. Certainly it was easier back in the day. Yeah, I’ve hurt myself a few times. You know, I’ve never broken anything. That’s just made the biggest mistake ever saying that out loud. »
While Cobra Kai star Ralph Macchio does not have a black belt in karate in real life, the quote above shows that he still attempts to do his own stunts for both the hit Netflix series and the franchise as a whole. At the age of 60, Macchio explains that doing his own stunts is more difficult now than it was when he made The Karate Kid. However, rarely using a stunt double in the show proves how committed he is to the role and gives great authenticity to the character of Daniel LaRusso.
Most of the characters in Cobra Kai are starting to grow old, but that’s not necessarily a problem. As the actors grow older, their characters also start to mature even further. Daniel LaRusso and Johnny Lawrence aren’t high school rivals anymore, and can’t do the same karate work as they used to back in John G. Avildsen’s film trilogy, however, that doesn’t mean the actors can’t perform their own stunts, especially when it comes to training some of the younger characters of the show who may eventually take over Cobra Kai and Miyagi-Do Karate as Cobra Kai will likely continue with a season 6.