Netflix’s hit series Cobra Kai and the More Than Miyagi documentary have The Karate Kid fans looking back on the film and its cast. The documentary, which focuses on the life of Pat Morita, features interviews with some of his The Karate Kid co-stars and a look back on the movie.
One of those former castmates is Ron Thomas, who played Bobby Brown in the film.
Thomas Had a Black Belt in Martial Arts Before ‘The Karate Kid’
Thomas’s love of martial arts precedes his time filming The Karate Kid. In an interview with CrookedLlama.com, Thomas said that he learned martial arts in response to being bullied in school. He revealed, “It was four against one, and I was really little when I was a freshmen in high school, like under a hundred pounds and not quite five feet tall. So I was like, ‘I need to go find some training.’ I trained in Jujitsu and Judo in Reno, and I got my black belt before I even moved to Los Angeles.”
Since Thomas’s character, Bobby Brown, was a skilled martial artist, it may come as a surprise that Thomas was told not to leverage his status as a black belt to help him earn the role. Thomas looked back on his audition for the film that launched his career. He told CrookedLlama.com, “I get this audition for this movie with a dumb title called The Karate Kid. My agent says, ‘Don’t tell them you’re a black belt. Just go in and focus on your acting. They want good actors. They’re going train you in any way in the martial arts. They aren’t necessarily interested in your background.’ I’m like, ‘I’m a black belt. The movie is called The Karate Kid. So you don’t want me to say anything?’ He’s like, ‘Nope, they want good actors. Don’t mix the two. If they ask you, you can say something, but if they don’t, keep your mouth shut.’ It’s kind of ironic, but that’s how it went.”
As we know, Thomas secured the role even without revealing his preexisting talent as a mixed martial artist.
Thomas Now Works as a Personal Development Trainer & Life Coach
In addition to reprising his role as Bobby Brown in two episodes of Netflix’s Cobra Kai, Thomas continues his passion for martial arts today as Sensei Ron Thomas. According to his website, he is currently working as “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.”
His website bio details some of his career highlights, reading, “In his roles away from the big screen, Ron has spent decades helping thousands of students gain access to their full potential. His personal development courses have helped countless students achieve breakthroughs in the areas of motivation, confidence, high performance, leadership, communication, athletic achievement, and mindset. His blockbuster curriculums include The Life Mastery Bootcamp, PIVOT: 360-degree empowerment training for entrepreneurs, and The Mindset Academy for Athletes.”
He has presented for companies including Aflac, Kaiser Permanente, American Home Shield, and California Association of Health Underwriters. Of his responsibilities in his current roles, Thomas told CrookedLlama.com, “If you’re a sensei in the martial arts, you’re a life coach by default. You’re helping kids and their parents. A lot of times parents will bring their kids to a martial arts instructor and say, ‘Fix my kid, man, he’s screwed up.’ Well, your kid isn’t screwed up, you are. I have to break the news to the parent that you are failing in this area, and you better wake up.”