Steven Seagal Aikido: Movie tough guy, Steven Seagal is well known to cinema fans as a great martial artist come lawman, soldier and general Hollywood spook character.
Few people have been able to sort the fact from fiction about his life, but I’ll tell you one thing… Stevel Seagal’s Aikido is very real and very darn good.
I say this as a moderately-able Aikido student, at least I made black belt. But I have seen a lot of high-grade teachers in my time in various countries, and Stevel Seagal Aikido is good stuff. The real deal. I would have loved to train with him.
Steven Seagal learned his Aikido during the 1960s and 70s and was awarded his shodan (1st level black belt) by Koichi Tohei Sensei, the founder of Shin Shin Toitso Aikido, also known as the Ki Society. Koichi Tohei Sensei also taught my first Aikido teacher, Viginia Mayhew, who I learned from in Hong Kong during the 1960s.
Seagal’s first movie, Above The Law made in 1988 showed some pretty good Aikido moves. They should have been good, too, because Seagal is a now 7th Dan black belt – which makes Steven Seagal a real Shihan or martial arts ‘teacher-of-teachers’.
The only bone I have to pick with Mr Seagal (just a difference of opinion, sir!) is that Steven Seagal projects this violent Hollywood tough guy image, which I personally dislike. I just don’t feel that’s the way to show Aikido in the best light.
But then the founder of Aikido, Morihei Ueshiba (O-Sensei to his followers) might have actually enjoyed Steven Seagal’s movies and cheered as he kicked ass. Who can say for sure?
One thing is certain, however. Thanks to Steven Seagal, Aikido is a martial art that millions more people are now very much aware of.
So, I personally thank you, Steven Seagal Sensei. You have done much to promote Aikido.