Martin Kove on Having Fight Scenes With Pat Morita

Pat Morita

Getty Pat Morita acknowledges the crowd after singing the National Anthem at the Democratic National Convention in 2000.

In the “Karate Kid” film franchise and the acclaimed series “Cobra Kai,” Martin Kove plays ruthless sensei John Kreese. The character faces off Daniel LaRusso’s sensei Mr. Miyagi, played by the late actor Pat Morita, in “The Karate Kid Part II” and “The Karate Kid Part III.” During a 2017 panel at the New York Comic Con, alongside his “Cobra Kai” co-stars Ralph Macchio, who plays Daniel LaRusso, and William “Billy” Zabka, who plays Johnny Lawrence, Kove spoke about performing action sequences with Morita.


Martin Kove Spoke About Pat Morita During the New York Comic Con

During the New York Comic Con panel, Kove shared that having fight scenes with Morita, who passed away in 2005, “was interesting.”

“Pat was terrific and his stunt coordinator was incredible I mean just incredible,” said Kove. 

The actor then noted that the antagonistic character Terry Silver, played by Thomas Ian Griffith, was involved with the “Karate Kid Part III” fight scene between Mr. Miyagi and Kreese, which takes place at the Cobra Kai dojo. 

“It was fun. I mean it was a little over the top, you know, paint falling on you and fighting in that dojo and it was crazy and Terry Silver, Thomas Ian Griffith was a brilliant martial artist and a pianist and this fellow’s a script writer and all and I couldn’t do it because I got a series so it was interesting that he came on and you know, he was more of a Terminator than John Kreese ever was, you know, but fighting and that fight scene was a lot of fun. We had a ball,” shared Kove. 

The actor also discussed the scene where Miyagi defends Johnny after Kreese berates him in a parking lot following his loss at the 1984 All Valley Tournament in “The Karate Kid Part II.” During the scene, Miyagi proves he is a better martial artist than Kreese, who ends up shattering car windows with his fists. The actor explained that this moment “was originally the end of ‘Karate Kid one.'” He shared that during the production of the first “Karate Kid” film, he and Morita went over the fight scene “every single day for like three hours with Pat Johnson,” who was the film’s stunt coordinator. 

“Then on the set they decide after a couple of hours to end the movie in the tournament scene and so that scene the honking of the nose and the confrontation going through the window and all set up to be ‘Karate Kid II,’ the first scene,” said the actor. 


Pat Morita’s Daughter Revealed That Her Father Was Not a Martial Artist in 2014

In 2014, a “Karate Kid” discussion panel was held at the Japanese American National Museum in honor of the film’s 30th anniversary. During the panel, Pat Morita’s daughter, Aly Morita shared that her father was not a martial artist.

“My sister and I, we sort of joked like you’re going to be in ‘The Karate Kid,’ like what are you going to do? But no he didn’t know karate,” shared Morita. 

During the panel, the “Karate Kid” himself Ralph Macchio joked about his late co-star’s lack of martial art skills.

“I think on the sequel we almost got him to touch his toes,” quipped the actor. 

READ NEXT: Did ‘Cobra Kai’ Star Mary Mouser Practice Karate Before Playing Sam?


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