In a world filled with reboots, Cobra Kai, the TV series sequel to the popular 1980s Karate Kid franchise, stands as one of the most popular. The series brings back Daniel LaRusso and Johnny Lawrence as adults and introduces the next generation of fighters, including Daniel's daughter and fan-favorite, Samantha (Mary Mouser). But while Sam kicks serious butt on the show, Mary Mouser says her Cobra Kai fight scenes are a lot harder than she makes them look.
"I have had the best time with all of the training and getting to push myself beyond my limits, getting to learn all these new skills," Mouser tells Elite Daily. "It's not something that comes second nature. I never did sports. I've never been very active. So it's been a big adjustment, but it's become something that I'm passionate about even in my off time."
Even with three seasons under her belt, Mouser admits to being "pretty clumsy" and taking a while to master her moves. "Just about every stunt I try, at least the first time, I epically fail," she says. But she keeps getting up and trying again. Case in point: Learning how to do a tornado kick, also known as the triple crescent. It's a kick in which the fighter does a full rotation in the air as a distraction before kicking their opponent with the back leg as it passes. It's also a kick Mouser has a lot of trouble with.
"For some reason, my body does not want to do a tornado kick ... There's something about the timing — about the first foot hitting the ground — that my body doesn't want to do. It's the weirdest thing," Mouser says. "So my big mission for myself was ... to learn how to do a tornado kick."
After training with Cobra Kai's stunt coordinators, Mouser finally got the kick down. But the real test came when she had to perform it during a major fight scene in Season 3, Episode 5. For the big brawl, Sam leads the Miyagi-Do into a fight in an abandoned laser tag warehouse as payback for an earlier incident instigated by Hawk (Jacob Bertrand). In the scene, Mouser needed to make the opening move, shoving Hawk and then flying into her tornado kick. But she just couldn't get it right.
"I messed up probably 20 takes," Mouser confesses. "I literally just walked out of the room for a minute because I was about to cry tears of frustration."
But Mouser wasn't about to give up. "The stunt coordinator was like, 'Look, you got this. We're all here for you, however much time you need,'" she says. "And lo and behold, the next take, I did get it. And they all came running in, and they're like, 'You did it.' I'm like, 'I did it.'"
Cobra Kai is already green-lit for Season 4, the first to be produced by Netflix after it was acquired from its original home on YouTube. That means Mouser will likely learning new moves — and nailing them in epic fight scenes — soon.
Cobra Kai Season 3 is on Netflix now.
Reporting by Lexi Williams