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Walter Wong
03-18-2005, 02:00 PM
I remember seeing Marked for Death when it first came out. Didn't know much about Japanese swordsmanship then. I remember seeing Mr. Seagal having a sword fight at the end. Just wondering what his background is for Japanese swordsmanship. Was his training with a sword in Aikiken or a Koryu sword art or both?

ryujin
03-18-2005, 03:39 PM
More likely it was hollywood choreography.

Chris Li
03-18-2005, 03:50 PM
I remember seeing Marked for Death when it first came out. Didn't know much about Japanese swordsmanship then. I remember seeing Mr. Seagal having a sword fight at the end. Just wondering what his background is for Japanese swordsmanship. Was his training with a sword in Aikiken or a Koryu sword art or both?

I can't vouch for it one way or the other, but it was mentioned in a recent Aikido Journal discussion:

http://www.aikidojournal.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=6823

Best,

Chris

aikiwolf
03-20-2005, 12:32 AM
Steven Seagal holds a black belt rank in Kenjutsu.
He is a certified sword "master". :triangle:

mj
03-20-2005, 05:28 PM
Kenjutsu?

PeterR
03-20-2005, 11:51 PM
Black belt=master?

Abasan
03-21-2005, 02:12 AM
His later movie has him taking a role of a master swordsman attached loosely to CIA. So much so that fabled swordsmiths all feel that he is the only one worthy to use a sword. espcially in gun fights!

George S. Ledyard
03-21-2005, 02:33 AM
Steven Seagal holds a black belt rank in Kenjutsu.
He is a certified sword "master". :triangle:
John,
You've got a ton of problems here. First of all, kenjutsu refers to classical Japanese Sword arts. The various styles still being taught do not use the Dan ranking system. So one doesn't get a black belt in kenjutsu.

One does not get "certified" as a "sword master". This term has no meaning and no one uses it. Depending on what style of kenjutsu one is referring to one will find various teaching licenses or certifications. Menkyo Kaiden is a common one, Hanshi, Kyoshi, etc. are also used. To the best of my knowledge Steven Seagal Sensei learned all of his sword technique from within the Aikido context from teachers like Tanaka Bansen who were not members of any classical ryu ha.

Seagal Sensei's certification, if you will, is in Aikido and is his 7th Dan. That does not make him a "sword master".

Aikilove
03-21-2005, 06:11 AM
This has nothing to do directly with Seagal, but I do believe that dan-system is being used (perhaps together with menkyo system) in e.g. Yagyu shinkage ryu. E.g. Paul Manogue in New Jersey I believe is 3rd dan in this art.

Bill Danosky
03-21-2005, 10:35 AM
My take on this is, "So what?" Is anybody really that good that they can go their entire life and never get beaten? This is typically a hallmark of non-competitors.

Every time you compete, there's X% chance that you'll win and X% chance that you'll lose. Look at some of these UFC champs- In order to be the winner, you have to constantly be at the pinnacle of your training or you'll get beaten by someone who is.

George S. Ledyard
03-21-2005, 12:30 PM
This has nothing to do directly with Seagal, but I do believe that dan-system is being used (perhaps together with menkyo system) in e.g. Yagyu shinkage ryu. E.g. Paul Manogue in New Jersey I believe is 3rd dan in this art.

I checked with Meik Skoss from Koryu Books who is a member of the Yagyu Shinkage Ryu and he replied that the main line of the ryu uses the traditional licensing system. They are overseen by Yagyu Nobuharu Toshimichi, the 21st headmaster of the tradition.

However, he did reply: At least one group in Nagoya, Shinkage-ryu iaido (started by a man who received a teaching license and concentrates on what we in the Yagyukai call Yagyu Seigo-ryu battojutsu) issues dan-i menjo. I believe it's also connected to ZenKenRen; people in the organization also get grades from KenRen. I do not know if the Shinkage-ryu iaido people issue traditional licenses or not. There are other lines of Shinkage-ryu hyoho; to the best of my knowledge, they issue the traditional licenses.

So it sounds like the group that uses the Dan rankings are an off shoot and not the main line YSR folks.

Aikilove
03-22-2005, 10:06 AM
Apparently Mr. Manogue is part of the Yamato Yagyu-kai, Edo Yagyu Shinkage ryu Heiho. Their headmaster are according to their homepage www.yagyu-ryu.org Sono Seigo. Seems legit to me. FWIW

Fred Little
03-22-2005, 11:02 AM
Apparently Mr. Manogue is part of the Yamato Yagyu-kai, Edo Yagyu Shinkage ryu Heiho. Their headmaster are according to their homepage www.yagyu-ryu.org Sono Seigo. Seems legit to me. FWIW

"Legit" and "mainline" are different concepts, though I can see how someone might draw the (unwarranted) implication that an "off-shoot" is somehow less "legit" than the "mainline."

The original question was whether it is possible to hold a dan-ranking in a koryu sword art. Here we have an example that shows that it is possible.

Whether Seagal does or not, and if so in which school, is a seperate question. I've never seen a claim that Seagal is affiliated in any way with this particular branch that does award dan-i.

So who knows? Not me. Though I do know that I enjoyed training with Paul at an aikido seminar a few weeks back and if I were looking for a good sword instructor in the Philly area, his classes would be on the short list of things to check out.

YMMV,

Fred LIttle.

George S. Ledyard
03-22-2005, 11:59 PM
I want to be very clear that I, in no way, question the legitimacy of Sensei Paul Manogue or the style in which he has Dan rank. I am not familiar with the syle at all.

I simply pointed out that the classical ryu ha did not, in most cases, use the Dan system. So it was unlikely that Steven Seagal had a Dan ranking in kenjutsu. As most people who read the forums know I have on many occasions made positive comments about Seagal Sensei's Aikido and the Aikido of his students. When I say that he is not a "sword master" I am not disparaging his training, just pointing out that he is not a student of a sword style. He learned his swordsmanship the same place that I have, namely from within mainstream Aikido. I know people who might be deemed "sword masters" and neither of us would be considered such.

Ron Tisdale
03-23-2005, 08:18 AM
Hi Fred,

I've visited with Paul and his school in Philly, he is excellent! A close friend of mine spent about two years training there, and his sword work and general body mechanics improved immensely! I would highly recommend his school. The pic of me trying to perform tameshigiri is actually from his back yard...

Ron

Aikilove
03-23-2005, 09:13 AM
Hi George, I didn't think you were questioning anything, but since I got the impression that you made an "absolute" statement, such as - there are no koryu ryuha that issue dan-ranks - and given that I recently heard of such a case (I believe at least) I just wanted to be nitpicking a little by stating that I knew of at least one case. ;) Btw, I would love to train with Paul Manogue if I ever get the chance.
Regarding on topic issues. Since I have but highest respect for Mr. Seagals aikido myself, I wouldn't mind knowing if you know for a fact if Mr. Seagal have not recieved sword training in any classical style (Such as Yaguy Shinkage ryu mentioned before). This is however only curiosity from my side.
I don't doubt that he did recieve bukiwaza training through his aikido training (perhaps through Isoyama sensei). But since I have heard from some of his students that his characteristic use of cutting and deflecting was developed out of his "classical" sword training, I would like to know if you know more about this than the little I do.

George S. Ledyard
03-25-2005, 03:55 AM
Hi George, I didn't think you were questioning anything, but since I got the impression that you made an "absolute" statement, such as - there are no koryu ryuha that issue dan-ranks - and given that I recently heard of such a case (I believe at least) I just wanted to be nitpicking a little by stating that I knew of at least one case. ;) Btw, I would love to train with Paul Manogue if I ever get the chance.
Regarding on topic issues. Since I have but highest respect for Mr. Seagals aikido myself, I wouldn't mind knowing if you know for a fact if Mr. Seagal have not recieved sword training in any classical style (Such as Yaguy Shinkage ryu mentioned before). This is however only curiosity from my side.
I don't doubt that he did recieve bukiwaza training through his aikido training (perhaps through Isoyama sensei). But since I have heard from some of his students that his characteristic use of cutting and deflecting was developed out of his "classical" sword training, I would like to know if you know more about this than the little I do.

It is my understanding that he has no ranking of any kind from a classical ryu ha. That doesn't mean that he didn't pick up some classical sword... I studied two classical styles under Ellis Amdur Sensei for a while but I have no certification of any type in those styles. On the other hand there is some influence on my weapons work from that exposure. He may have been influenced the same way.

Aikilove
03-27-2005, 03:22 PM
Ok, thank you.

Charles Hill
03-27-2005, 09:12 PM
Hi,

There is some realy nice sword work in Haruo Matsuoka` Aiki Expo 2002 demo. It looks similar to what I have seen Seagal do in the movies. Considering their close association, one might study the demo`s video to learn something about Seagal`s sword.

Charles

Walter Wong
03-29-2005, 08:04 AM
Hi,

There is some realy nice sword work in Haruo Matsuoka` Aiki Expo 2002 demo. It looks similar to what I have seen Seagal do in the movies. Considering their close association, one might study the demo`s video to learn something about Seagal`s sword.

Charles
Thanks Charles. Can I get the DVD of that demo at this website?

akiy
03-29-2005, 09:19 AM
Thanks Charles. Can I get the DVD of that demo at this website?
There are no DVDs sold here on AikiWeb. You can buy that DVD at Aikido Journal's website, though.

-- Jun

Fabian Junker
03-29-2005, 12:54 PM
Hi there,

what I think is a good thing worth mentioning is that the ppl here tend to move away from bashing Steven Seagal, or they do not start it in the first place. As this thread shows, there are always interesting things to learn, regardless of what one man learnt from which guy and when and why and...

On topic, I study Escrima for quite some time now and it is my impression, that any training which heavily involves weapons training leaves a mark on body mechanics, hand movement and footwork, so George is most probably correct with his analyses.

Regards,
FJ

aikiwolf
03-30-2005, 01:01 PM
Although much of this has been mentioned before...
The reason for my posting is from these articles.

"Sensei Seagal holds black belts in Karate, Aikido and Kenjutsu and has also studied Judo, Kali, Kendo, Eastern Philosophy, Shinto Religion, and the Holistic Arts (including Acupuncture, Herbology and Calligraphy)."
http://www.journaled.com/MA/Aikido/SSeagal/main.htm


"Seagal also holds black belt rank in kenjutsu..."
from http://martialarts.jameshom.com/library/weekly/aa081400.htm

"Q: I read in an article that kenjutsu is a part of your life?

Sensei: Well, to me Aikido and kenjutsu are the same thing. If you've seen my technique, I'm always cutting. Today we just did a couple of stabs at this and that, but when you watch me a lot you'll see I'm always cutting with the feet and the hand; tesabaki, ashisabaki. The hand and feet angles are all kenjutsu. "
From students' interview with Steven seagal
posted on http://www.geocities.com/Colosseum/Sideline/8510/seagal_articals2.html

Also from the same interview.
Q: Many years ago, when I saw "The Challenge," I saw your name in the credits. I was wondering how you got in to do the choreography?

Sensei: This is an interesting story. I was in Kyoto and there was a sword master by the name of Onoha Ittoryu,very very good at the inside stuff .Mifune, the Japanese actor, was to do "The Challenge." The guy who choreographed all the famous director Kurosawa's stuff, "Red Beard", "Seven Samurai" and all that had just died.

He was a great kenjutsu master and Onoha Sensei would not teach these people and believed I was a good swordsman. They came to me and hired me to choreograph the fighting and the sword and Mifune said, "Who is this white guy?" Mifune said to call up this Onoha guy and tell him to get down here. Onoha comes down in a Hakama and Kimono, the next day. He walks over to Mifune and says, "I came down here to tell you that this guy over here can teach sword as good, if not better than anybody I know." He bowed and left."

I certainly jumped the gun saying Seagal Sensei is a sword "master" however, it seems to me that many jump to conclusions and assume his skill level is not very proficient. It is my opinion that a large number of these are due to lack of knowledge of his training (which I am guilty of as well) and some other are due to outright jealousy.

Steven Seagal is in the limelight and often under the microscope because of what he does. But as far as his Aikido...in my opininon he is a much better Aikidoka than an actor.. (hmmm not sure if that is a ringing endorsement or not. ) Listen to him speak, attend a seminar or two, and as with most good instructors, there is a likelihood you will learn something valuable.

Separate the actor from man and martial artist. They are two separate beasts.



John

-But I could be wrong.

Ron Tisdale
03-30-2005, 01:23 PM
Sensei: This is an interesting story. I was in Kyoto and there was a sword master by the name of Onoha Ittoryu,very very good at the inside stuff .Mifune, the Japanese actor, was to do "The Challenge." The guy who choreographed all the famous director Kurosawa's stuff, "Red Beard", "Seven Samurai" and all that had just died.

Ok, sorry, but this is REALLY rich. Ono Ha Itto Ryu is the name of a STYLE...not a PERSON!

Ron (I really hope Seagal S. didn't make that mistake, and it was just someone transcribing what he said who made the error...)

I should also note that just because something is on the internet, doesn't make it true...take what you find with a grain of salt, check their facts, ask questions like you did here. Now, the really important part....LISTEN when folks try to set straight something that is obviously false on its face...

aikiwolf
03-30-2005, 03:21 PM
I definitely agree with you Ron. On the Internet does not make it true... However the article is orgininally from the "Martial Arts Masters" profile series magazine, which I believe is published by the Kung-Fu Illustrated group (could be wrong there... ) on a magazine dedicated to Steven Seagal.
I'll dig it up and post the relevant information.

I would think it's a transcription error as (you would hope) magazine writers would be held to a somewhat higher standard.
Unfortunately unless you hear the unedited tape of the interview, who knows what was said. We can only hope honesty from Mr. Seagal and professionalism from the writer.

Thanks for all of you enlightening comments!

John

Chris Li
03-30-2005, 03:28 PM
Ok, sorry, but this is REALLY rich. Ono Ha Itto Ryu is the name of a STYLE...not a PERSON!

Ron (I really hope Seagal S. didn't make that mistake, and it was just someone transcribing what he said who made the error...)

I hope so too...

In any case, the weapons instructor for the Seven Samurai was Yoshino Sugino (from Shinto Katori-ryu) and he was definitely still alive at the time that The Challenge was made.

Best,

Chris

jitensha
03-31-2005, 12:37 PM
Onoha comes down in a Hakama and Kimono, the next day. He walks over to Mifune and says, "I came down here to tell you that this guy over here can teach sword as good, if not better than anybody I know." He bowed and left."

This is very odd....this sounds like a borrowed (and distorted) version
of what happened during production of The Seven Samurai between Yoshio Sugino and Junzo Sasamori (Ono-ha Itto-ryu). Maybe it's just
a weird coincidence. A nice
article about it can be found here (http://www.aikidojournal.com/article.php?articleID=3&highlight=sugino)

Ron Tisdale
03-31-2005, 01:37 PM
Hmmm, and they seem to get the distinction between a style and a person down right, too...

RT

Misogi-no-Gyo
03-31-2005, 05:00 PM
I definitely agree with you Ron. On the Internet does not make it true... However the article is orgininally from the "Martial Arts Masters" profile series magazine, which I believe is published by the Kung-Fu Illustrated group (could be wrong there... ) on a magazine dedicated to Steven Seagal.
I'll dig it up and post the relevant information.

Well, actually it was first printed in our Fall, 1990 dojo Magazine, which at the time was called Off The Mat. It was then "borrowed" with permission by the magazine, who apparently "forgot" to mention where it came from.

I would think it's a transcription error as (you would hope) magazine writers would be held to a somewhat higher standard.

Yes, this is entirely possible. Although a very stringent process for confirming transcriptions and translations was instituted, it may have been an oversite by any one of a number of people over the months it took to put these issues together. This was the first issue, so again anything is possible


Unfortunately unless you hear the unedited tape of the interview, who knows what was said. We can only hope honesty from Mr. Seagal and professionalism from the writer.

Yes, I do believe that I have the original video tape I shot during this July 1990 question and answer session. One of the issues is that there was this wickedly loud air conditioning system at Jack Wada Sensei's old San Jose dojo location. The sound quality of the tape was very bad because I was on one end of the room and Seagal Sensei was on the other end with the A/C system somewhere in between us. When I have some time I will have to pull these tapes out of the vault and see if what was said is audible.

However, as he is certainly available to speak with through various channels, someone could just ask Seagal Sensei directly.



.

George S. Ledyard
03-31-2005, 07:48 PM
Although much of this has been mentioned before...
The reason for my posting is from these articles.

"Sensei Seagal holds black belts in Karate, Aikido and Kenjutsu and has also studied Judo, Kali, Kendo, Eastern Philosophy, Shinto Religion, and the Holistic Arts (including Acupuncture, Herbology and Calligraphy)."
http://www.journaled.com/MA/Aikido/SSeagal/main.htm


"Seagal also holds black belt rank in kenjutsu..."
from http://martialarts.jameshom.com/library/weekly/aa081400.htm

"Q: I read in an article that kenjutsu is a part of your life?

Sensei: Well, to me Aikido and kenjutsu are the same thing. If you've seen my technique, I'm always cutting. Today we just did a couple of stabs at this and that, but when you watch me a lot you'll see I'm always cutting with the feet and the hand; tesabaki, ashisabaki. The hand and feet angles are all kenjutsu. "
From students' interview with Steven seagal
posted on http://www.geocities.com/Colosseum/Sideline/8510/seagal_articals2.html

Also from the same interview.
Q: Many years ago, when I saw "The Challenge," I saw your name in the credits. I was wondering how you got in to do the choreography?

Sensei: This is an interesting story. I was in Kyoto and there was a sword master by the name of Onoha Ittoryu,very very good at the inside stuff .Mifune, the Japanese actor, was to do "The Challenge." The guy who choreographed all the famous director Kurosawa's stuff, "Red Beard", "Seven Samurai" and all that had just died.

He was a great kenjutsu master and Onoha Sensei would not teach these people and believed I was a good swordsman. They came to me and hired me to choreograph the fighting and the sword and Mifune said, "Who is this white guy?" Mifune said to call up this Onoha guy and tell him to get down here. Onoha comes down in a Hakama and Kimono, the next day. He walks over to Mifune and says, "I came down here to tell you that this guy over here can teach sword as good, if not better than anybody I know." He bowed and left."

I certainly jumped the gun saying Seagal Sensei is a sword "master" however, it seems to me that many jump to conclusions and assume his skill level is not very proficient. It is my opinion that a large number of these are due to lack of knowledge of his training (which I am guilty of as well) and some other are due to outright jealousy.

Steven Seagal is in the limelight and often under the microscope because of what he does. But as far as his Aikido...in my opininon he is a much better Aikidoka than an actor.. (hmmm not sure if that is a ringing endorsement or not. ) Listen to him speak, attend a seminar or two, and as with most good instructors, there is a likelihood you will learn something valuable.

Separate the actor from man and martial artist. They are two separate beasts.



John

-But I could be wrong.

Actually, the original story was that Donn Dreager was hired to be the technical advisor for the movie. Seagal Sensei somehow met the director and was invited to praticipate as well. Dreager Sensei, who did have certification in the Katori Shinto Ryu (as well as in Jodo) had a discussion with him about his qualifications to advise on "kenjutsu" since he wasn't a student of any kenjutsu school. Seagal replied that he was a student of Tanka Bansen (very senior O-Sensei student with a dojo in Osaka). Dreager Sensei politely pointed out that this was all well and good but that Tanaka Bansen was not a student of kenjutsu either. Dreager Sensei knew pretty much everybody who was anybody in Japanese martial arts and certainly knew every foriegner training in classical arts in Japan.

There is some more to the story but I'm not going into it here. I can't remeber whether Dreager Sensei's name appeared on the final credits or whether he bailed on the project. Maybe someone who has an original copy could check on it.

Misogi-no-Gyo
03-31-2005, 11:06 PM
Actually, the original story was that Donn Dreager was hired to be the technical advisor for the movie. Seagal Sensei somehow met the director and was invited to praticipate as well. Dreager Sensei, who did have certification in the Katori Shinto Ryu (as well as in Jodo) had a discussion with him about his qualifications to advise on "kenjutsu" since he wasn't a student of any kenjutsu school. Seagal replied that he was a student of Tanka Bansen (very senior O-Sensei student with a dojo in Osaka). Dreager Sensei politely pointed out that this was all well and good but that Tanaka Bansen was not a student of kenjutsu either. Dreager Sensei knew pretty much everybody who was anybody in Japanese martial arts and certainly knew every foriegner training in classical arts in Japan.

There is some more to the story but I'm not going into it here. I can't remeber whether Dreager Sensei's name appeared on the final credits or whether he bailed on the project. Maybe someone who has an original copy could check on it.

Ledyard Sensei,

With all due respect, is this something that was related to you directly by Donn Dreager?



.

George S. Ledyard
04-01-2005, 01:03 AM
Ledyard Sensei,

With all due respect, is this something that was related to you directly by Donn Dreager?



.Actually it was told me by a close friend of Donn's who was in Japan at the same time.

Misogi-no-Gyo
04-18-2005, 12:05 AM
Follow-up

I have had a chance to review my copy of the original interview. There was definately a transcription error. What Seagal Sensei actually said was, "There was a master named Ono-Sensei, he was a master of Ono-ha Itto-ryu..." I was not involved in the original transcription. I simply forwarded the video I shot to those that did.

Now, while this does not clear up who Seagal Sensei did study with, and I would not elaborate on that here (even if I did know), it does go to substantially prove one thing that I have said over and over and over again - that being (and I mean this for everyone here who likes to quote second-hand sources, be they internet or otherwise...) If you really want to know, go ahead and ask Seagal Sensei yourself. If you don't want to muster up the balls to do that, (I mean he does appear in public) then it is probably better not to make public statements that may, in fact, reveal that you either don't know what you are talking about, or have some other agenda, conscious or otherwise.



.

Ron Tisdale
04-18-2005, 08:50 AM
Hi Shaun (I owe you a letter...I promise I'm mailing it today!)

Well, I'm certainly relieved that it was a transcription error. Does anyone know of an Ono Sensei? I'm not sure that anyone here has said something that shows they 'don't know what they are talking about'. Different people often have different takes on the same event. I'm sure that there are more than a few that have trained with me on what I thought were some of my best days, and they came away thinking 'what a putz".... :)

Best,
Ron

NagaBaba
04-22-2005, 01:29 PM
Here you have Steven Seagal master swordsman: ;)

http://images5.theimagehosting.com/segal-vs-sealssmaller.gif

Charles Hill
05-19-2005, 08:00 PM
Hi,

Again, I am not qualified to say that Haruo Matsuoka`s swordwork is the same as Steven Seagal`s. It looks similar to me. Anyway, I just got Matsuoka`s Virtual Dojo dvd with a kenjutsu class on it and I think it is terrific. There is 20-30 min. of swordwork on it as opposed to the few seconds on the Aikido Journal tape. If you are interested, you should check it out. This might also be a good place to say that this was my third order with budovideos.com and they definitely get an A+.

Charles

Walter Wong
06-01-2005, 11:33 AM
Here you have Steven Seagal master swordsman: ;)

http://images5.theimagehosting.com/segal-vs-sealssmaller.gif
Love Family Guy. :D
What a great show. :)

Sanshouaikikai
06-01-2005, 01:19 PM
Walter Wong is my new best friend! Awesome post, man!!! LOLOLOL!!!!