Steven Seagal- "Myth or Master"?
Fact or Fiction?
When you hear the name, Steven Seagal, you will get many answers on who people think he is? Some will say a high ranking Aikido black belt, an action movie star, an overweight mouthy liar, among others. But who is he really?
I think he is a little of everything. First off, I respect him as a martial artist. Anyone who has ever trained in a legitimate system know how difficult it would be to reach a 7th degree. I have over 20 yrs experience and I'm only a Sandan (3rd degree black belt) in Tracy kenpo. I trained in a lot of different arts, including aikido, but my point is you have to work your butt off to get this high of ranking, and have some serious skill level.
Let's take a look at what he has done?
He left the United States when he was a teenager and traveled to Japan because he wanted to learn a martial art from a master and not just a mcdojo that was on every street corner. This shows some uncanny determination, going to a foreign land where Americans aren't respected, at least in the martial arts world and still pursuing his dreams.
He trained hard and eventually became a 1st dan black belt and began to run a school in Osaka, Japan. He was the first Westerner to run an aikido school in Japan. I don't know if all of the stories of his altercations are true or not, but you would have to assume that he would attract trouble, since "he didn't belong"?? He also trained in kendo and became very proficient with the sword while living there.
He comes back to America and begins teaching here and attracts a lot of students, some which are Hollywood actors etc. This led to his first film "Above The Law", which showed all of America what Aikido really was. Up to this point it was all karate and judo. I would think with the different people that he trained and worked with, that someone would call him out as a fake if he was one? I believe most of his trouble comes from his arrogant personality and his mostly disrespectful attitude. Chuck Norris, who is still one of my favorite martial artists, was the complete opposite. He once was threatened in a small town by a thug who claimed he was sitting in his seat at a cafe. Chuck decided to move instead of beating the snot out of him, that's the kind of guy Chuck was. Later the guy upon learning that was Chuck Norris apologized and thanked him for not whipping him. I think if Steven would be a little friendlier that this would help him.
The rumors are countless on his supposed threats and altercations. Here are some of the most popular ones.
He is challenged by Jean Claude VanDamme and pulled a gun on him when he entered his dojo? He was choked unconscious by "Judo" Gene LeBell? He has been "called out" by a lot of modern day MMA fighters to fight and the list can go on forever. He has also claimed to be an ex bodyguard, ex CIA, Navy SEAL etc. He is a real life deputy sheriff in Louisiana, as depicted on his "Lawman" show on TV.
The truth is when you shoot off your mouth enough then sooner or later you have to back it up with action and Steven has never done that, hence his "fake" accusations.
I would love to work with Seagal and experience his teachings because I'm sure I would be amazed. It is a shame that someone with so much experience in a relatively unknown or unproven art is being remembered for all of the negativity. The guy is overweight but is also nearly 60 years old. I know guys half that age that look worse. I always liked the line "its not the size of the ship, but the firepower that matters". I've worked with some overweight masters before and they would clean my clock. Real fights don't last 30 minutes so being a world class athlete isn't a requirement, that only exists in sports. I was once taught that if the fight lasts more than 30 seconds, then your risks of serious injury greatens and I still believe that.
I wish Steven was given more respect as a martial artist and if there was a way to shine a more positive light on him, it would be nice if it would happen. His 7 children with four different mothers, as well as his sexual assault allegations don't help his reputation either. I would like him to do what many others have done, which is to write a book and come clean on everything. I think he could win some new fans and I would definitely read it.
Fact or fiction, I guess comes down to the people that really know him and what he can do. One thing is, I don't see anyone attacking him, unless its with their mouth, so there must be some uncertainty of his actual skills. You wouldn't want to be the one who got beaten by the big fat fake Steven Seagal, would you?? I choose to not test him.
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