During the third season of Cobra Kai, Tory Nichols (Peyton List) finds a parental figure in the likes of Sensei John Kreese (Martin Kove). After she faces expulsion for initiating a massive fight, the teenager becomes her ailing mother and younger brother’s caretake. Despite being on probation and assigned community service hours, she also works two jobs but still struggles to pay her rent. This causes her predatory landlord to harass her and make a lewd proposal.
In Season 3, Episode 2, Kreese, impressed by Tory’s karate skills and ruthless attitude, visits her apartment. He sympathizes with her situation and tells her that she can attend his classes at Cobra Kai for free. After Tory leaves for work, he also protects her by violently threatening her landlord.
Peyton List Revealed That Martin Kove Was Initially Unimpressed With Her Martial Arts Skills
While Kreese recognizes that Tory is a gifted martial artist, Martin Kove initially did not share the same opinion about Peyton List. In a recent interview with PopSugar, List, who had limited experience in the martial arts, stated she has enhanced her fighting skills through rigorous training since she joined the cast. She revealed that Kove, who has an extensive background in martial arts, commented on her current skill level. According to List, he confided that he had previously expressed his doubts about her to his co-star William “Billy” Zabka, who plays Johnny Lawrence.
“He said, ‘When I saw you in season two the first time, I was talking to Billy in the corner going, ‘Why did they hire this girl?’ Like, ‘Thanks, Marty,'” said List with a laugh.
The publication noted the actress keeps her training consistent by attending “martial-arts classes online” and “going over moves with her stunt double” Jahnel Curfman, who is also one of Cobra Kai’s stunt coordinators.
“If I can get it in every day, I do. And we go for hours and hours, and I’ve really fallen in love with martial arts,” explained List.
Jahnel Curfman Commented on List’s Abilities as a Martial Artist
During an exclusive interview with Heavy, Curfman spoke about being List’s stunt double. She commented on their strong bond and stated that she considers them to be “great friends.” She also mentioned that List’s martial art skills have improved over the seasons.
“I really am proud of her and how much work she’s put in. Especially, coming in and having no martial arts training. But she had worked really hard. In Season 3, we saw a huge improvement in her martial arts. She just physically was really strong. She was training a lot and just working out on her own, and having that base of strength is really important when you get in there and start doing your fights,” said Curfman.
She went on to say during the show’s third season, “she was able to do so much more of her own choreography.”
“I was able to really cater to her with some of the choreography and things at the point that we knew she could do really, really well. She has gorgeous kicks,” noted the stuntperson.
To see more of List, be sure to watch Cobra Kai, available to stream on Netflix.