- "So have patience, my friend. I'm just getting everything rolling. When I'm finished with that kid, he'll be begging me to be his teacher! And you know what he's going to 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 going to thank me for it. ...Johnny, by the time that little twerp steps into the ring to defend his title, I'm going to have him thinking he's invincible. And then, he's going to find out what pain and fear really mean... right in front of a thousand people."
- ―Terry Silver to John Kreese[src]
A close friend of John Kreese from his military days, Terry Silver is a wealthy and corrupt billionaire/toxic waste dumper who helps Kreese get revenge on Daniel LaRusso after his humiliation at the 1984 All-Valley Karate Tournament. Also a Karate expert, Silver hatches an elaborate, time-consuming and expensive plot to trick Daniel into training with him so he can lose to Mike Barnes in the All Valley Karate Tournament and redeem Cobra Kai in the eyes of the public.
He is played by Thomas Ian Griffith.
- "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. 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 were imprisoned and forced to fight for the North Vietnamese's amusement above a pit of snakes. After one of his soldiers threw another into the pit, he told Silver that the pit isn't the worst part. When an NVA soldier told Terry to fight the captain, a frightened Terry hesitated, but Kreese volunteered, saving Terry's life as Captain Turner would have likely defeated and killed the inexperienced and traumatized Silver. During the fight, the NVA camp was attacked by the US Air Force, and the team was able to liberate themselves after Kreese killed their former captain. Terry then swore to John that since he, "saved his ass," he would be there for him for his entire life, anything he needs.
After his military service, Silver eventually became the CEO of the nuclear waste disposal company DynaTox Industries, though whether or not he founded the company is unclear. Terry also used his fortune to buy John Kreese the original Cobra Kai Dojo, sometime prior to 1979.
The Karate Kid Part III
Terry Silver seen in the start of the movie wearing white martial arts gi and training. He was happy to see Kreese in his mansion and hugs him. When Kreese reveals he is financially ruined, due to the Cobra Kai’s defeat at the hands of Daniel and Miyagi, Silver makes it a personal mission to help Kreese recover and avenge him. To this end, he sends him to Tahiti to recover from the severe hand wounds inflicted by Mr. Miyagi following Kreese's unprovoked assault on Miyagi, buys him twenty new dojos all over the Valley, recruits “Bad Boy” Mike Barnes to defeat and terrify Daniel, and has his thugs and Mike force Daniel to enter the All Valley Karate Tournament. He also pretends to train Daniel for the tournament, after Miyagi refuses to do so, though his motives are later revealed to be part of an elaborate plan to have Daniel perform acts that directly conflict with every value he learned from Miyagi's training, as well as physically hurt him.
He effectively gains Daniel's interest in the Cobra Kai training method, using such tactics as driving a convertible blue Ford pickup truck and wearing a shirt with an altered collar to appear “humble.” He has Daniel perform tasks such as “QuickSilver” method, but his deficient technique causes Daniel to injure himself, which amuses Silver who laughs at Daniel injuring himself, as he is fulfilling Kreese's wish for Daniel to suffer. He even pays a guy to harass Daniel in order for Daniel to get violent, which he does by punching him in the face. When Silver reveals his true motives to Daniel and orders Barnes to assault him, while he and Kreese starts taunting Daniel. Suddenly, Mr. Miyagi arrives and easily beats both Barnes and Kreese. Before fighting Silver, Silver mocks him. Silver then attacks Miyagi, only for the latter to counter his strikes, and use minimum and well timed offense to defeat him. After being defeated, he finds himself being mocked by Miyagi. Unafraid, Silver says that Cobra Kai will one day open around the every town & he will make sure that Miyagi will be forgotten.
At the climactic All Valley Tournament, Silver orders Barnes to keep the score tied until the sudden death round by committing illegal moves, in order to cause Daniel as much pain as possible before beating him in the end. At one point during the match, he tells Daniel that this is when the real pain begins. However, Daniel via encouragement from Miyagi uses the kata he was taught to defeat Mike in the sudden death match to score the point and winning the championship. Disgusted & humiliated, Terry walk out of the arena as all of his plans have completely failed.
Pre Cobra Kai
It is unknown what happens to Silver after the 1985 tournament. It is possible that he goes back to his unethical company. It is possible that he plans another revenge scheme, which most likely does not succeed. It is also possible that he is caught for his illegal and unethical actions at DynaTox and is imprisoned. At some point, most likely after the tournament, the All Valley committee bans Cobra Kai from competing due to his, Kreese's and Barnes actions.
The board of the All Valley Karate Tournament tells Johnny Lawrence that the unethical actions of Silver, Kreese, and Barnes at the 1985 All Valley Under 18 Karate Tournament got the Cobra Kai Dojo banned for life. The board asks Johnny what is his relationship with Terry Silver, to which Johnny replies that he doesn't even know who that is. Johnny is unaware of Silver's actions, as everything the latter did took place about a year after Johnny left Cobra Kai. ("All Valley")
Terry is not mentioned by name, but his presence is felt to a much greater extent than it is in Season 1. When Kreese is telling Johnny about what he's been up to, he reveals that an old war buddy (almost certainly Silver) offered him a job, but he didn't take it because he considered it a "handout". ("The Moment of Truth")
At the Cobra Kai Dojo, Kreese tells Johnny that "a buddy of [his]" took the 1970-1972 U.S. Army Karate Champion photo that Kreese has kept hanging in the dojo ever since it was opened. Kreese then looks upset when Johnny does not bother to ask more about his friend, further implying that Terry was likely the friend in question. ("Lull")
He appears in some flashbacks in 1968. He is apart of a mission in Vietnam along with Kreese and a few other soldiers. During the mission however, his radio erupts, causing the group to be captured by the Vietnamese. After his fellow soldier Ponytail is shot dead by the Vietnamese, Terry becomes horrified and blames himself for this. While captured in Vietnam, he is tasked to fight his captain, which he hesitates to do until Kreese decides to take his place. After Kreese frees Terry and the other soldiers, Terry tells him that he owes him and will do anything Kreese asks of him in the future. Back in the present day, Kreese makes a call to Terry (most likely)
After being captured in Vietnam during the war and seeing his fellow soldier Ponytail be killed by the Vietnamese, Terry is shown to be scared and traumatized. After being rescued by Kreese, Terry promises him that he owes him for the rest of his life, and the two would then go on to be close friends. It can be assumed that Silver's traumatic experiences in Vietnam would have a negative effect on his personality and life, as after military service, he becomes the CEO of DynaTox Industries, that illegally dumps toxic waste into the ocean without showing any remorse.
When Kreese is financially ruined due to Daniel and Miyagi, Terry makes it a mission to avenge Kreese and make Daniel and Miyagi, most notably Daniel suffer. His goal is to cause Daniel and Miyagi great pain and suffering. He goes as far to pretending to befriend Daniel and manipulating him into behaving ruthlessly for a short time and performing tasks that cause him great pain, before eventually scaring Daniel by revealing his true motives. During the All Valley tournament, Terry orders Mike to commit illegal moves, which will prolong the fight, in order to cause Daniel a lot of pain. At one point during the fight, Silver makes it clear to Daniel that he wants him to suffer. However, after his plan fails in the end, a disgusted Silver walks out.
Terry's actions after military service and in his revenge scheme, prove he's a psychopath, and corrupt human being. However, despite his poor character flaws, some positive characteristics he has are his devoted loyalty to Kreese and desire to repay Kreese for saving his life numerous times while in the war.
Like the Cobra Kai mentality, Terry strikes first and hard, and displays a lot of offense. He easily beats Snake and Dennis during his sparing match with them. However, he only possesses very little defense, which makes it easy for Miyagi to beat him. During his fight with Miyagi, the latter easily wins by countering all of his strikes, while displaying little and well timed offense.