- "Those two jerks are taking up 100% of my time from now on. So just have patience, my friend. I’m just getting things rolling. When I’m finished with that kid, he’ll be begging me to be his teacher. And you know what he’s gonna learn from me? Pain in every part of his body, and fear in every part of his mind. And here’s the kicker: he’s gonna thank me for it. Him, I hurt through the kid. Johnny, by the time that little twerp steps into the ring to defend his title, I’m gonna have him thinking he’s invincible. Then he’s gonna find out what pain and fear really mean... right in front of a thousand people."
- ―Terry Silver to John Kreese[src]
Terry Silver is a close friend of John Kreese from their shared time in the military. Terry is the wealthy and corrupt owner of a toxic waste facility. He co-founded the first Cobra Kai Dojo alongside Kreese, and later helped enact revenge on Daniel LaRusso after Kreese's humiliation at the 1984 All Valley Karate Tournament.
Silver hatched an elaborate, time-consuming, and expensive plot to trick Daniel into training with him. He planned for Daniel lose to Mike Barnes in the All Valley Karate Tournament, which would redeem Cobra Kai in the eyes of the public. His plan failed, which led to Cobra Kai being closed for over thirty years.
Military Career (1968-1972)
- "I owe you man, you saved my ass. Anything you need, I'm there for you, your whole life. You hear me Johnny? Your whole life. I owe you."
- ―Terry thanks John Kreese[src]
During the Vietnam War, Silver, Kreese, and "Ponytail" were under the command of Captain Turner. In 1968, while on a mission in North Vietnam, static from Silver's radio caused their team to be discovered and captured by NVA forces. While in captivity, Ponytail was executed much to Silver's horror, and the rest of their team was imprisoned and forced to fight for the North Vietnamese’s amusement above a pit of venomous snakes. After one of Turner's soldiers threw another into the pit, he warned Silver that the pit wasn't the worst part. When an NVA soldier told Silver to fight Turner, a frightened Silver hesitated out of terror. Kreese volunteered, saving Silver's life, as Captain Turner would have killed the inexperienced and traumatized Silver. During the fight, the NVA camp was attacked by the US Air Force, though Kreese killed Turner despite the impending rescue. He then freed his remaining allies from the cage they were trapped in. Silver embraced Kresse and swore to be there for him for his entire life, no matter what he needed.
- "Johnny, every business has a slump at one time or another. Look at this, ten years ago, nuclear was the preferred waste. You could dump it anywhere. Now, everybody's a detective. I'm Lucky if I make one deal a year without being indicted."
- ―Terry Silver to John Kreese[src]
After his military service, Silver eventually became the CEO of the nuclear waste disposal company DynaTox Industries prior to 1975. He also used his fortune to buy John Kreese the original Cobra Kai Dojo, sometime prior to 1979.
In 1985, Terry Silver wore a white martial arts gi and trained heavily. He was happy to see Kreese in his mansion and hugged him. When Kreese revealed he was financially ruined, due to Cobra Kai’s defeat at the hands of Daniel and Mr. Miyagi, Silver made it a personal mission to help Kreese recover and seek revenge on the enemies. He first sent Kreese to Tahiti to recover from the severe hand wounds inflicted by Mr. Miyagi. Next, he bought him twenty new dojos in the Valley. After reading about a karate “Bad Boy” Mike Barnes, he hired him to defeat and terrify Daniel. After hiring Mike, he had his thugs and Mike force Daniel to enter the All Valley Karate Tournament. He also pretended to train Daniel for the tournament, after Mr. Miyagi refused to do so, though his motives were later revealed to be part of an elaborate plan to have Daniel perform acts that directly conflicted with every value he learned from Mr. Miyagi's training, as well as physically harm him.
He effectively gained Daniel's interest in the Cobra Kai training method. He used such tactics, as driving a convertible blue Ford pickup truck and wearing a shirt with an altered collar to appear “humble.” He had Daniel perform tasks such as “QuickSilver” method, but his deficient technique caused Daniel to injure himself, which amused Silver who laughed at Daniel's injury. He was fulfilling Kreese's wish for Daniel to suffer. He even paid a man to harass Daniel to entice him into violence.
When Daniel later told Silver that he would not compete in the tournament, Silver revealed his true motivation to Daniel and ordered Barnes to assault him, while he and Kreese taunted Daniel. Suddenly, Mr. Miyagi arrived and easily beat both Barnes and Kreese. Silver verbally mocked Mr. Miyagi and then attacked. Mr. Miyagi countered his strikes and used minimum and well-trained offense to defeat him. After being defeated, Silver found himself mocked by Mr. Miyagi. Angry and unafraid, Silver warned that Cobra Kai would one day open around the town and he would ensure Mr. Miyagi was forgotten. However, Daniel retaliated by saying that Silver, Barnes, and Kreese would be the forgotten ones, rather than Mr. Miyagi.
Following Barnes victory at the penultimate match of the All Valley Tournament, Silver gave a speech where he claimed that they would open multiple Cobra Kai Dojos to instill the same values that he was taught. Prior to the finals, Terry ordered Barnes to keep the score tied until the sudden death round by committing illegal moves, to cause Daniel the utmost pain possible, before ultimately beating him in the end. At one point during the match, he told Daniel that this was when the real pain began. However, Daniel, via encouragement from Mr. Miyagi, used the kata he was taught to defeat Mike in the sudden death match. He scored the winning point and won the championship. Disgusted and humiliated, Terry walked out of the arena with his plans having failed.
Johnny Lawrence reopened the dojo and sought to compete in the upcoming All Valley Karate Tournament. He learned that the dojo held a lifetime ban after the unethical actions of Terry Silver, John Kreese, and Mike Barnes at the 1985 tournament. The board questioned Johnny on his relationship to Terry Silver, to which Johnny stated that he didn't know who the man was.
An adult Daniel LaRusso explained to his student the enticing side to Cobra Kai Dojo, and how he had once fallen into the dojos way of life. He explained the ramifications of the dojo both on his personality and actions, with Silver being shown in a flashback.
Terry appeared in a slew of flashbacks to 1968, where he was part of a special military unit in Vietnam alongside John Kreese and Ponytail. The men became friends and looked out for one another, especially during the difficult training process they had to endure. The unit was sent on a mission to investigate a Vietnamese camp. While Ponytail was planting explosives that Kreese would then ignite, Silver's radio malfunctioned and alerted the enemy to their location. Kreese couldn't bring himself to ignite the explosive while Ponytail was in harms way, leading to the entire unite being kidnapped and tortured by Vietnamese extremists. The soldiers were tortured and forced to fight one another to the death, solely for the entertainment of their captors. Ponytail was executed by the captors, leaving Terry horrified.
He blamed himself for Ponytail's death and their capture, while their unit captain Turner blamed Kreese. After one of Silver's fellow soldiers threw another fellow soldier into the pit, he told Silver that the pit wasn't the worst part. Silver was chosen to fight against Captain Turner, but Silver froze out of fear. His hesitation spurred Kreese to take Silver's place in the fight. Kreese won his fight against Turner and sent him to his death, just as US military forces arrived to rescue the unit. Kreese freed Terry and the other soldiers. Terry hugged Kreese and told him that he owed him for life, and that he would be there for him forever.
- "All right, all right, I've heard enough. I've made up my mind. This slope, what's his name? Miyagi, and that punk kid, I'm gonna get them for what they did to you. They made you suffer, so I'm gonna make them suffer and suffer and suffer. And when I think they've suffered enough, then I start with the pain."
- ―Terry Silver to John Kreese[src]
After being captured in Vietnam during the war and seeing his fellow soldier Ponytail be killed by the Vietnamese, Terry was frightened and traumatized. When Kreese rescues him, Terry promises that he owes him for the rest of his life, and the two would then go on to be close friends. He kept his word and in the 1980s, Kreese came to ask him for help and Terry obliged. He had become wealthy through unethical toxic waste dumps, and had the means to help Kreese. He concocted a viscous plan to harm and destroy Daniel LaRusso and Mr. Miyagi in every possible way. He pretended to befriend Daniel and won his trust, only to take amusement and glee in the pain Daniel felt as the training continued. He took even more amusement when he revealed his true motives to Daniel and had Mike severely assault Daniel. He made it clear that Daniel losing the tournament alone wasn't enough, and that he needed to suffer as much as possible. At the All valley tournament, he made Daniel suffer by having Mike commit aggressive and illegal strikes, in order to prolong the fight, and Silver even evilly told him when the real pain would begin at one point.
He has little morality and will do anything to win. He is cunning, manipulative, and excellent at manipulating the view of himself. He is calculating in his actions, choosing to play a mental manipulation as opposed to a physical assault. He knows how to sweet talk his way into earning people's trust. His actions can be seen as far worse than the other villains Daniel has encountered, as they make their actions up front, while Terry hides his true nature until it is time for him to reveal himself.
Terry's actions after military service and in his revenge scheme, prove he's a psychopath, and one of the most manipulative and corrupt villain's to cross Daniel's path. However, the only thing that outweighs his cruelty is his unending loyalty to Kreese.
- "I’ve always lived my life by the rule “if you get, you give.” For the last 20 years, I’ve gotten from karate. I’ve gotten discipline, health, self-confidence, inner peace, everything that makes me what I am today. And today it’s time for me to give back."
- ―Terry Silver[src]
Terry Silver was originally trained in the art of Tang So Doo by Captain George Turner for the purposes of unarmed combat while serving in Vietnam; a Korean style of martial arts that balances kicking and punching, and relied on using the hips to produce more power behind kicks. Along with fellow soldier and lifelong friend John Kreese, he learned the basics while serving in the army and later studied it more extensively still under the tutelage of their former commanding officer's master Kim Sun-Yung of South Korea sometime thereafter, and became a highly skilled practitioner himself. Like Kreese, Terry strikes first and hard, and emphasizes on speed and an arsenal of kicking techniques to overwhelm his opponents. He easily bests Snake and Dennis, whom he had hired to train Mike Barnes, during his sparing match with them, even though he is prone to telegraph his moves on occasions because he fights to impress or shock those around him as much as he does to beat his adversaries. His defensive capabilities, however, leave much to be desired, as he is so accustomed to overwhelm inferior opponents by fighting aggressively, that he ends up leaving himself open to the more shrewdly calculated counters of Mr. Miyagi, who easily counters his strikes and uses well timed offensive strikes to beat him with ease.
Terry Silver is Kreese's best friend, having fought together in Vietnam. After Kreese saved his life in Vietnam, Silver promised Kreese that he owed him for the rest of his life, and the two went on to be good friends. After they were discharged from the military, Silver founded the Cobra Kai Dojo and enlisted Kreese as the sensei. In The Karate Kid Part III, Kreese, who lost all his students following his actions in the aftermath of the 1984 All Valley, accepts defeat by handing the keys to Silver. However, Silver refuses to let him give up and concocts a revenge scheme. While Kreese is insistent that Silver doesn't owe him anything, Silver reminds Kreese that he saved his life countless amounts of time. Unfortunately, Silver's plan fails when Daniel defeats Mike Barnes in the All Valley Karate Tournament, resulting in Cobra Kai being shut down.
Daniel is one of Terry's biggest enemies.
- Mr. Miyagi (Enemy)
- Mike Barnes (Employee/Hired to humiliate Daniel once)
- Ponytail (Friend)
- George Turner (Superior/Enemy)
- Snake (Employee)
- Dennis (Employee)