Greetings to all!
I have only just now come to this thread, and could not possibly address all of the individual erroneous material found in the posts, and associated "news" material found in the posted links. Since brevity may serve me better here - I will forego trying to clear up what none will chose to believe anyway.
...anyway, having been there through all of it, and knowing all the players quite well - including many who were with Seagal since the late 70's, several fellow aikidoka from our dojo who served as both his personal assistants and macrobiotic cook during the years of 1991 to 1999, knowing other unmentionable parties, along with being either on the set, or having my close senpai & kohai be on the set for all of the movies since above the law... I could say much to plainly portray each and every one of these events as I know them to have occurred. However, nobody really wants to know the truth. I say this because what really happened is really rather BORING! Except where it isn't, and then nobody would believe it even if I had it on film (a-la the Zapruder film and associated evidence and the idiotic conclusion that Lee Harvey Oswald was the sole triggerman to ice JFK)
Now on the other hand, the aikido - at that time, at least, really was something!
In all these years, having traveled incognito to many dojos outside of our former and current affiliation, I have only ever heard two things on the mat from various students and even some high-profile instructors. The first thing I would hear would be about how bad of an aikidoka he was, how his movies were bad for aikido, and his "public" persona was detracting from how great the art really was. This all from person's who had never met him directly, nor trained with any of his senior students. The second thing I would hear is the sound of a student's black belt falling to the ground, just previous to declarations of "I wasted ten years learning impractical dance moves, and now I must start over." This from handfuls of students who finally did have the chance to meet and train with him and his senior students.
Here is the one truth I will leave you with...
"Believe half of what you see, and NONE of what you hear or read." for just as in aikido, if you don't have a direct experience of it 9read - feel it), you will never learn what the teacher really is doing up there.
Aren't you glad I was "brief?"