Re: Do we need another Steven Seagal?
Well, let see..... I'm, a bit overweight, have a receeding hairline, speak Japanese, and am a bad actor - pick me!
Seriously though, it's all about fashion and what is relevant AT THE TIME. When "Above the Law" etc came out, it was at the tail end of the 80s MA craze - where striking arts ruled (Chuck Norris and JCVD were gods). An alternative came in, and people thought "Wow - this guys has the legitimate power (he lived in Japan for chrissakes - you can become a ninja master by just flying over Japan, don't you know?), coupled with his persona for invincibility - remember in his early movies how he was always immaculately dressed and never got beaten up? Tough guys would try and hit him, and he would evade and do something awesome.
People saw the moral high ground and were attracted by it.
I'd argue that in 2012, the whole emo and antipathy culture rebels against this - they want to make up their own parameters as to what institiues the moral high ground. Couple this with the "I want result now" attitude that has been created by information overload, and people are headed towards combat sports.
Doesn't help that Seagal got caught up in his own myth and became a laughing stock and running kjoke in MA circle, either.
So - does it matter? Why are you doing aikido? Do you care if it has a good reputation with the public / your peers or not? Or, are you worried about the future of aikido? Do you think it is drawing the wrong people? Either way, the most importnat thing we can all do for the future of aikido is practise sincerely and honestly - the rest will follow.
(Aside - watched a couple of Bruce Lee movies last weekend - "The Big Boss" and "Way of the Dragon". the stroiking was terrible - over-committed punches and kcks with no balance. Times change and what was great was no longer relevant. Whatever happened to BETA?