Why a Cobra Kai Star Says Martin Kove ‘Is Kreese on and off Set’

Martin Kove

Getty Martin Kove strikes a pose at TCL Chinese Theatre.

In the first three installments of the Karate Kid film franchise, Martin Kove portrayed merciless Cobra Kai sensei John Kreese. The Vietnam veteran was reintroduced during the final episode of Cobra Kai’s first season. 

As Kove has convincingly played Kreese in three movies and a show, fans may be curious if he shares any similarities to the iconic character. 


Kove’s ‘Cobra Kai’ Costars Noted That He Is Similar To Kreese

Jacob Bertrand

GettyJacob Bertrand is  photographed at the Paley Center for Media in 2019.

In January, Variety reported that various Cobra Kai cast members spoke about the actor while being interviewed for a press junket. 

For instance, Jacob Bertrand claimed that Kove “is Kreese on and off set.” The 21-year-old explained that the actor shares his character’s tendency to glare and his habit of smoking cigars. 

“They yell ‘Cut!’ and he’s still sitting there glaring, grabbing the gi, he’s got a cigar going,” said Bertrand, who is best known for his portrayal of Eli “Hawk” Moskowitz.

He clarified, however, that unlike his character, Kove is “a real funny guy” and “the sweetest man ever.” 

Peyton List also stated the 75-year-old actor, like Kreese, has affection for her character, Tory Nichols, as well as Hawk. On the acclaimed series, the Cobra Kai team members are heavily influenced by Kreese and are violent.

“He loves Tory and Hawk. He’s like ‘My duo, my kids!’” explained the actress. 

She went on to say that she believes Kove enjoys being apart of the Cobra Kai cast.

“Every time I turn around he’s making videos for someone, being like, ‘No mercy!’ He gets so into it. I think he loves everything that has to do with Cobra Kai,” noted the former Disney Channel star.

Kove’s Karate Kid co-star and friend William Zabka seemed to disagree with the assessment that he is similar to Kreese.

“When you play a character, you find a piece of yourself that relates to this character and you blow it up. Marty has a piece of Kreese in him that when it’s amplified it’s this monster Kreese,” asserted the actor. “He’ll admit it, offset sometimes in different situations, that character — he has to push him back down. But Martin Kove is a gentleman, a sweetheart and a good man and a good friend. Nothing really like Kreese at all.”


Zabka Previously Spoke About His Friendship With Kove

Martin Kove does not believe that Kreese is a villain

GettyRalph Macchio, Martin Kove and William Zabka pose together at “Cobra Kai” press line during Comic-Con.

While speaking to Collider in 2019, Zabka discussed being able to work alongside Kove again in Cobra Kai. He noted that they had kept in touch since the release of The Karate Kid in 1984. 

“ I love him to death. We’re great friends, and have been for many years, and we’ve talked about these characters, on many panels across the country, for a long time, just way before the show came out,” said the 55-year-old. 

The actor also noted during fan events, Kove would share his support for Zabka’s character Johnny Lawrence. 

“People would ask, ‘Who’s the real Karate Kid? Who would win?’ Marty always has a lot of fun with, “Well, Johnny Lawrence is the true Karate Kid,” and playing that up, which I don’t adhere to, endorse, or buy into, by the way. He just had a lot of fun with that,” revealed the father-of-two. 

READ NEXT: Why Hawk Has a Scar on His Face in Cobra Kai

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