This ‘Cobra Kai’ Actor Is Real-Life a Sensei

Johnny Lawrence, John Kreese, and Bobby Brown

YouTube Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka), John Kreese (Martin Kove), and Bobby Brown (Ron Thomas) in "The Karate Kid" (1984).

Many fans of “The Karate Kid” are familiar with the commitment the large cast and crew had to the authenticity of a movie centered around the Okinawan martial art. Director John G. Avildsen even went so far as to hire a professional martial artist, Pat E. Johnson, to train the actors in karate, given that most of them had no formal experience in the area.

However, what some fans may not know is that Ron Thomas, who portrayed Cobra Kai pupil Bobby Brown in both “The Karate Kid,” “The Karate Kid Part II,” and Netflix’s spin-off series “Cobra Kai,” has spent most of his adult life studying martial arts and is indeed an actual sensei in real life.

Here’s everything you need to know:


Bobby Was To Put Daniel ‘Out Of Commission’

Bobby Brown in "The Karate Kid"

YouTubeBobby Brown apologizes to Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) after trying to put him out commission in “The Karate Kid.”

Although Ron Thomas may be best known among the public for his role as Bobby, friend of Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) and fellow bully, in “The Karate Kid,” his career in martial arts has extended decades beyond his role in the film.

For fans who might have forgotten, Bobby might be best known for tripping Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) during a soccer game (at the behest of Johnny), then fighting him in the All Valley Karate Tournament near the end of the film. The malicious John Kreese (Martin Kove) orders Bobby to put Daniel “out of commission” near the end of the tournament, which Bobby reluctantly does by seriously injuring Daniel with an illegal kick to the knee. The remorseful Bobby profusely apologizes to the pain-ridden Daniel, but is disqualified before Daniel has a chance to talk with him. Despite Kreese’s plan, Daniel would of course go on to win the Tournament.

Bobby would appear in the TV series “Cobra Kai” about 35 years later, where it is revealed that he has become a pastor at a church. He first appears in season 2 episode 6 alongside returning characters Jimmy (Tony O’Dell) and Tommy (Rob Garrison), as they and Johnny reunite and spend the night on the road on their motorcycles, having fun and catching up. Tommy was terminally ill with cancer and died the next morning.

Bobby returned in episode 3 of season 3, when a drunk Johnny crashes one of Bobby’s sermons at church. He then agrees to accompany Johnny to visit his son Robby in juvenile detention, but Johnny reluctantly stands them up to be with Miguel Diaz in the hospital, infuriating Bobby and Robby. Johnny later tries to apologize, but Bobby doesn’t accept it.

‘Sensei Ron’ Has a Sixth-Degree Black Belt

According to his website, Thomas, who calls himself “Sensei Ron,” is now “one of the world’s leading personal development trainers and life mastery experts, an inspiring speaker, self-help author, life coach, and world martial art champion.” Thomas does this through public speaking, teaching courses, and writing novels. As the website explains, Thomas “has spent decades helping thousands of students gain access to their full potential … in the areas of motivation, confidence, high performance, leadership, communication, athletic achievement, and mindset.”

According to his website’s “About” page, Thomas had been naturally athletically inclined since the age of three. As the description explains, “The world of competitive sports proved to be a breeding ground for the type of confidence, focus, discipline, and determination that has served him throughout his lifetime.”

When it comes to martial arts, Thomas is a sensei in a form of jujutsu called Kodenkan, in which he holds a sixth-degree black belt. He is also a former trainer of the United States Sport Ju-Jitsu Team. The website elaborates on his expertise in the martial art: “Several of his students are national and world champions in their own right, all of whom have benefited from his martial art expertise and his in-depth knowledge of the high-performance mindset.”

It goes on to say that Thomas is most passionate about a prescription called “the psychology of excellence,” and even went so far as to receive formal training in this area. The website elaborates:

Taking the lead from the likes of Tony Robbins, Ron received a master practitioner certification in Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), Clinical Hypnotherapy, and TimeLine Therapy. Using these tools, he’s worked with hundreds of clients to help them achieve life and career breakthroughs, and a higher level of life mastery.

Sensei Ron also has a Twitter and Instagram page, the latter of which has nearly 50,000 followers, in which he promotes his work and sends out messages of inspiration and advice. One recent post read:

It’s been said that championships are won in the off-season…But the game of Life doesn’t have an “off season,” so now what? Each day we can take time out to go within. Meditation, prayer, reading, journaling, silence, stillness, breath work, affirmative thought … regular practice of these things don’t just prepare us to win at Life; they make us ready to face the game head-on.

According to NetflixLife, Thomas is set to appear in season 4 of “Cobra Kai.” Be sure to catch the upcoming season when it is released December 31.


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