One thing that’s always impressed me about Cobra Kai is how legit the fight scenes are. I remember watching season one and thinking that William Zabka, Xolo Maridueña, and the rest of the gang all seemed convincing in their scraps. Then, of course, in season two I was blown away by the final high school melee, and one of the fights that I thought was cool was when Samantha LaRusso, played by Mary Mouser, took on her arch-enemy, the half-crazed Tory (Peyton List).
Recently, I got to take part in the Cobra Kai press tour and asked Mouser herself about what went into the Cobra Kai training. To my surprise, she said that she came into the show with no martial arts training whatsoever. “I had no knowledge going into them. Like, negative…I was completely clueless. In season one I got to learn two specific stunts and was so excited about it, and was like, ‘please, please can I do more karate’, and they said ‘get ready for season 2!’”
She said that it was between season one and two that she started to get into martial arts, crediting a newly found love of Muay Thai. “For season two I got myself into a Muay Thai gym, and I started going there three times a week, then four times a week, by the end I was going five times a week. I was completely obsessed, loved it.”
She then explained how she and her cast-mates trained each season:
“Two weeks to a month out we get official training with somebody here locally in L. A before we go to Atlanta then once we get there we have a training schedule where we’re doing conditioning for our bodies, getting into shape, and then usually, by the time we get the first script and we do our first table read we start learning our first fight of the season. The first big fight every year is the episode five fight and the second big fight is the episode ten fight. So we get little pieces of our choreography and start working on our big fight as soon as we can.”
Pretty cool, huh? I have to admit, the hard work pays off and the quality of Cobra Kai’s action is one of the things that makes me love the show. Well, that and how badass William Zabka, Ralph Macchio, and Martin Kove still are in their original roles. Bring on season four!