Who Played Cobra Kai in the Karate Kid?

The Karate Kid franchise is one of the most iconic in movie history, with millions of fans around the world still enjoying the films to this day. One of the key elements of the series that made it so memorable was the Cobra Kai dojo, the rivals of Daniel LaRusso’s Miyagi-Do karate school. But who were the actors that played the members of Cobra Kai in the Karate Kid movies? In this article, we’ll explore the cast of characters that made up Cobra Kai and the actors who played them.

William Zabka as Johnny Lawrence

Arguably the most recognizable member of Cobra Kai is Johnny Lawrence, the blond-haired bully and rival to Daniel LaRusso. Johnny was played by actor William Zabka, who also reprised the role in the Cobra Kai TV series. Zabka was born in New York in 1965 and got his start in acting in the 1980s. He auditioned for the role of Johnny Lawrence and won the part based on his performance. Zabka’s portrayal of Johnny Lawrence has become iconic, and he is still frequently recognized by fans of the Karate Kid movies.

Martin Kove as John Kreese

The leader of Cobra Kai was none other than John Kreese, a tough and ruthless sensei who instilled a „strike first, strike hard“ philosophy in his students. John Kreese was played by Martin Kove, who also reprised his role in Cobra Kai. Kove was born in New York in 1946 and has enjoyed a long and successful career in acting, with roles in movies like Rambo: First Blood Part II and TV shows like Cagney & Lacey. Despite playing a villain in the Karate Kid movies, Kove is beloved by fans of the franchise for his compelling performance as John Kreese.

Randee Heller as Lucille LaRusso

While not technically a member of Cobra Kai, Lucille LaRusso was an important character in the Karate Kid franchise as the mother of protagonist Daniel LaRusso. Lucille was played by actress Randee Heller, who was born in New York in 1947. Heller has also appeared in movies like The Brady Bunch Movie and TV shows like Mad Men. Although her role in the Karate Kid movies was relatively small, Heller’s performance as Lucille LaRusso was memorable and helped to ground the movies in a sense of realism.

Other Members of Cobra Kai

While Johnny Lawrence and John Kreese are the most well-known members of Cobra Kai, the dojo had many other students over the course of the Karate Kid movies. Some of the other actors who played members of Cobra Kai include:

  • Ron Thomas as Bobby Brown
  • Rob Garrison as Tommy
  • Chad McQueen as Dutch
  • Tony O’Dell as Jimmy
  • Israel Juarbe as Freddy Fernandez
  • William Bassett as Mr. Mills

Each of these actors brought their own unique talents to their roles, helping to make Cobra Kai a genuinely intimidating force in the world of the Karate Kid movies.

Frequently Asked Questions about Cobra Kai in Karate Kid

Since the release of the popular Netflix series, Cobra Kai, which is based on the original movie, Karate Kid, there has been a renewed interest in the original cast of the film. One of the most commonly asked questions from the fans is about who played Cobra Kai in Karate Kid. In this blog post, we are going to answer some frequently asked questions related to the topic.

1. Who played Johnny Lawrence in Karate Kid?

Johnny Lawrence, the main antagonist in the film, was played by actor William Zabka. Zabka was born on October 20, 1965, in New York City. He has also appeared in other films such as The Karate Kid Part II, National Lampoon’s European Vacation, and Back to School, among others.

2. Who played the other members of Cobra Kai?

Other members of Cobra Kai include Bobby Brown, played by Ron Thomas, Tommy, played by Rob Garrison, Jimmy, played by Tony O’Dell, Dutch, played by Chad McQueen, and Mike Barnes, played by Sean Kanan in Karate Kid Part III.

3. Did the original Cobra Kai actors return for the Cobra Kai series?

Yes, many of the original Cobra Kai actors return for the Cobra Kai series, including William Zabka as Johnny Lawrence, Ron Thomas as Bobby Brown, and Rob Garrison as Tommy, who sadly passed away in 2019.

4. How old were the Cobra Kai actors during the filming of Karate Kid?

The actors who played the Cobra Kai members were in their late teens or early 20s during the filming of Karate Kid. William Zabka, who played Johnny Lawrence, was 20 years old at the time of filming, while the other actors were in their late teens.

5. What happened to the Cobra Kai actors after Karate Kid?

After Karate Kid, the actors who played Cobra Kai went on to pursue different careers in the entertainment industry. William Zabka continued acting and also worked behind the camera as a writer and director. He also appeared in other popular films and TV shows such as How I Met Your Mother, Psych, and Cobra Kai. Rob Garrison continued acting for a while but later retired from the industry to work in construction. Ron Thomas became an active member of the Screen Actors Guild and works as an acting coach. Chad McQueen continued acting and also pursued a career in racing.

6. Did the Cobra Kai actors receive any training in karate for the movie?

Yes, the Cobra Kai actors received karate training for the movie. The actors were trained by martial arts expert Pat E. Johnson, who also played the role of the referee in the film. Johnson is a black belt in multiple martial arts and has been involved in martial arts for over 50 years. He also worked as a stunt coordinator for the film.

7. Are there any plans for Cobra Kai Season 5?

As of now, there is no official announcement regarding the renewal of Cobra Kai for Season 5. However, given the popularity of the series and the cliffhanger ending of Season 4, it’s highly likely that the show will be renewed for another season. Fans will have to wait for an official announcement to find out for sure.

Who played Cobra Kai in Karate Kid?

If you’re a fan of the 1984 movie „Karate Kid,“ you know that Johnny Lawrence and his gang of bullies at the Cobra Kai dojo are the main antagonists of the movie. But who played Cobra Kai in Karate Kid? In this guide, we will answer that question and provide a brief overview of the actors who played the roles.

The Main Actors Who Played Cobra Kai in Karate Kid

There were several actors who played Cobra Kai in Karate Kid, but the main actors include:

William Zabka

William Zabka played Johnny Lawrence, the leader of Cobra Kai and the main antagonist of the movie. A former high school wrestler, Zabka was a natural athlete and martial artist, and he performed his own stunts in many of the fight scenes.

Martin Kove

Martin Kove played John Kreese, the merciless sensei of Cobra Kai. Kove had worked as an actor for many years prior to his role in Karate Kid, but his performance as Kreese was one of his most memorable.

Ron Thomas

Ron Thomas played Bobby Brown, one of the members of Cobra Kai. Despite his character’s aggressive behavior in the movie, Thomas was actually a pacifist who had no martial arts training before working on the film.

Rob Garrison

Rob Garrison played Tommy, another member of Cobra Kai who is known for his iconic line, „Get him a body bag!“ Garrison had no martial arts experience before working on the film, but he received extensive training for the role.

Other Actors Who Played Cobra Kai in Karate Kid

In addition to the main actors, there were several other actors who played Cobra Kai in Karate Kid, including:

Tony O’Dell

Tony O’Dell played Jimmy, one of the members of Cobra Kai who appears in several scenes throughout the movie.

Chad McQueen

Chad McQueen played Dutch, another member of Cobra Kai who is known for his physical strength and aggression.

Frank Burt Avalon

Frank Burt Avalon played Randee Heller’s boss, who is also a member of Cobra Kai.

William Bassett

William Bassett played Mr. Mills, a Cobra Kai member who is often seen with the other members and who helps to enforce their cruel policies.


Knowing who played Cobra Kai in Karate Kid can add another layer of appreciation for the movie. From William Zabka’s charismatic and compelling portrayal of Johnny Lawrence to Ron Thomas’s pacifist roots, each actor brought something unique to their respective performances. With this guide, you can impress other Karate Kid fans with the knowledge of the main actors who played Cobra Kai and their background stories.

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