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Why Dallas Dupree Young Was Never The Same After Cobra Kai

Kenny Payne has come a long way since being bullied by Anthony LaRusso (Griffin Santopietro) in Season 4 of Netflix's "Cobra Kai." Over the course of Season 5, Kenny emerged as one of Cobra Kai's youngest and most gifted students, especially when it came to wielding his sensei's Silver Bullet technique. And the actor who portrays Payne, Dallas Dupree Young, has also grown a lot since his "Cousins for Life" and "Ready Player One" days. Yes, "Cobra Kai" introduced Young to a whole new fan base, and the streaming series changed the young actor's life in so many ways.

Even after the massive shakeup the Season 5 finale left for Cobra Kai's students (and their martial arts futures), Young is eager to explore Kenny's home life in a more meaningful way moving forward. Young would love for the writers to delve into Kenny's relationships with his mother, father, and brother, but the actor knows his character is in good hands.

"I'm gonna trust the creative team," Young said in an interview with Yahoo! News. I can't wait to see what it's gonna do." While Kenny continues to evolve in the Miyagi-Verse, Young does the same in real life despite his relatively short stint on the streaming series. But do you know why Young has never been the same since appearing on "Cobra Kai?"

Cobra Kai opened up new doors for Young

Working on Netflix's "Cobra Kai" brought with it some new acting opportunities for Young — including the role of Tommy in "1-800-Hot-Nite." "That's the blessing of this show," Young said in the interview with Yahoo! News. "This show has opened so many doors for me." The film will give Young the chance to widen his range as an actor, and his 13-year-old character faces the harsh reality of growing up too soon when he's forced to live on the mean streets of Los Angeles without his parents.

The coming-of-age story also enabled Young to take a trip on the festival circuit promoting filmmaker Nick Richey's passion project. He shared with reporters where he forged his friendship with "1-800-Hot-Nite" co-stars Gerrison Machado and Mylen Bradford. "Probably Disneyland," Young said during an interview at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. "The conversations that we had together: That was the time where we all just really opened up about our feelings about the movie and also personal stuff, too. But we really got to bond with each other, honestly, and have a good time together."

Cobra Kai increased Young's acting knowledge

The set of "Cobra Kai" isn't a classroom, but there isn't anyone better than Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) or Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) to learn karate from, and in real life Young gets to practice the craft of acting with a number of seasoned pros. "In a way it does feel like acting school, but it has to be the most exciting acting school that I've been to personally," Young said in the interview with Yahoo! News. "I get the chance to learn from people like Thomas Ian Griffith, Ralph Macchio and William Zabka. And they teach me so many things about the art of acting. Just to have that guidance from them has been so special to me."

However, one of Young's biggest acting influences is none other than Denzel Washington. Young hadn't even been born when Washington won his Best Actor Oscar for "Training Day," but the "Cobra Kai" star studies the Hollywood veteran in an effort to hone his own craft. "I first came across Denzel Washington's work at the beginning of my career," Young said in an interview with The Permanent Rain Press. Young's mother wanted him to explore other African American actors, in the hope of finding inspiration, and during his research Young fell in love with "John Q." Now, it's Young's favorite movie.

Cobra Kai made one of Young's dreams come true

Many of the actors and actresses on the Netflix show definitely have an affinity for "The Karate Kid" legend, particularly how protective Macchio and Zabka are over their respective characters. Dallas Dupree Young loved the "Cobra Kai" streaming series before he ever took a step onto the set. Becoming part of the Miyagi-Verse was a dream come true for Young. "I was a huge fan of 'Cobra Kai,'" Young said in the interview with Yahoo! News.

"When I got the opportunity to actually film the project, just having the opportunity to work with some of the best actors that I personally work with and witness," Young continued. Young has definitely enjoyed his share of memorable moments on the show, and his most fond memory was Kenny's Silver-Bullet fight against Hawk (Jacob Bertrand). "I was so excited to finally fight him," Young said during an interview with The Permanent Rain Press. "And that definitely had to be my favorite scene. I was so grateful, uh, the outcome of the scene, too."

Cobra Kai inspired Young to get a six-pack

During the Season 5 episode, "Downward Spiral," Kenny shines as he channels his inner bad boy while once again terrorizing young Anthony LaRusso. Kenny then decides to rig the big race down the waterslide, so he and his Cobra Kais can stay in the waterpark while Miyagi-Do hits the bricks. However, while tormenting Anthony and sabotaging the inflatables were key moments, there's also the tiny issue of Hawk (Bertrand) and Robby (Tanner Buchanan) roaming the waterpark with their shirts off.

And who would have thought Bertrand's words would have motivated Young to want to get a six-pack? "We need to get Dallas shirtless in Season 6!" Bertrand told "Cobra Kai" co-creator, Jon Hurwitz, while on the waterpark set, according to Young's interview with the Permanent Rain Press. Young was immediately game, and he promised to carve out his abs before the beginning of production on Season 6.

Cobra Kai broadened Young's knowledge of martial arts

Young has been studying and practicing martial arts since he was six years old, so the actor was prepared for the physicality that goes along with being a performer on "Cobra Kai." However, he definitely broadened his knowledge of karate when he joined the cast in Season 4. "I really learned a lot of basic training and the philosophy that goes behind karate and taekwondo as a whole," Young said during his interview with The Permanent Rain Press.

"Don Lee and Ken Barefield, who are the stunt coordinators on the show, they've really just enlightened me and helped me with my knowledge of karate," Young continued. Young was also quick to point out that his new knowledge of karate helped him to be much more physically active in his day-to-day life, and that gave him the added flexibility to begin core and strength training. Young's martial arts evolution continues — as it does for so many of the other talented thespians on the hit show.

Cobra Kai introduced Young to one of his closest friends

Kenny definitely bullied Anthony LaRusso beyond acceptable limits in Season 5 of "Cobra Kai." One needs only point to the infamous bathroom scene, with the toilet bowl full of poo, to elicit the horrors of that unsavory memory. Thankfully, the showrunners cut away before Kenny and his pals dunked Anthony's head into the murky water.

Now, Kenny Payne and Anthony LaRusso might be fierce rivals on-screen, but away from the set actors Santopietro and Young are best of friends — and who knows if they would have ever met had it not been for the streaming series. "Griffin and I are honestly homies off-screen," Young said during his interview with The Permanent Rain Press. "He's one of my closest friends."

"With 'Cobra Kai' happening, we're both growing as actors and teenagers," Young continued. "So, we understand each other." These two performers have already had their own shining moments in the series, and each has had to circumvent their characters' original personalities and attitudes. At times, both have been OG Daniel LaRusso and Johnny Classic-like, and both young performers have exhibited an incredible acting range that enabled them to portray both the good and the bad traits in their complex characters.