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Old 06-15-2005, 09:18 AM   #1
ad_adrian
 
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Steven Seagal Interview

The interview actually is two separate articles, and was originally published in two separate issues of "Off The Matt," the newsletter from Steven Seagal's Tenshin Bugei Gakuen - partially in the Fall of 1990, and the balance in the Fall of 1991.

Interview with Steven Seagal 20.11.01 08:47
Insight on Aikido

http://www.aikiportal.dk/main/seagal.gif

Question: What is Aikido?

Sensei:Got a couple of years? Aikido in the advanced stages becomes much more complicated. It's theoretically based on harmony rather than blocking, kicking and punching. We allow the other person to attack and use his own attack against him by becoming one with his movement and utilizing anatomical weak points, joint blocks and throws, etc. In a life and death situation the harder the technique becomes. Often times, the attacker creates the life and death situation, because the harder they come the harder they fall. These techniques will work on anybody but you really have to learn them. Aikido is not a quick art to learn.

Q: Why did you study Aikido instead of karate?

Sensei:I started in karate and was in search of a teacher who could teach me the mystical aspects of the martial arts. The people I studied with in karate didn't give that to me. I found Aikido and read some of O-Sensei's speeches and saw him.

Q: What master(s) did you study under?

Sensei: I was in and out of Japan as a youth and saw Tohei Sensei when he was still with Hombu Dojo. I studied with numerous teachers who you don't know and never heard of; from Isoyama Sensei to Abe Sensei. Just a bunch of people most of who are dead.

Q: Was there ever a critical point in your training career where you made a dramatic change?

Sensei: Yes, for six years I practiced about eight hours a day, that's a lot, in Japan. I was beating my head against the wall and I was making no progress. I wanted to transcend the physical aspects of Aikido. I was trying to do some of the things 0-Sensei was doing but I was getting nowhere because I was trying,. Finally one day, I went out into Kameoka in Ayabe province and started training with some of 0-Sensei's mystical teachers and started spending more time on the mystical aspects of Aikido. I experienced tremendous and dramatic changes in my technique in the first six months.

Q: Why didn't more of 0-Sensei's students find the mystical aspects of the technique interesting or important?

Sensei: 0-Sensei had a real old dialect named Tanabe. There's this place way up in the mountains, its a country area with a dialect, that's really hard to understand. I would talk to the other guys and I'd ask them what he was saying. They would say, "ah, he's talking about God and religion and that crap, forget about that and learn how to fight." That was the attitude. Yet, when I went up and studied with some of the same priests that taught
0'Sensei, I began to understand Aikido for the first time in my life. Because Aikido is more than waza.

Q: Have any of 0-Sensei's mystical teachings been translated into English?

Sensei: 0-Sensei was a priest in a sect called Omotekyo. They have some stuff in English, but I don't think you can get it in the United States, sorry

Q:I've heard a lot about hard-line and soft-line Aikido, can you touch upon what the difference is?

Sensei: 0-Sensei always talked about Go-ju-ryu, the circle, the square and the triangle. Aikido has to have all of these lines together. The basic movements are square, very square. When you get to the intermediate level, the square is always there but you see a lot of the triangle. When you get into the advanced level you see mostly the circle. But the square is always there.

Qo you ever use Ki-ai in your techniques? I don't think I've ever heard it from you.

Sensei: You won't want to. Ki-ai is very effective and when you do it right you'll paralyze your opponent.

Q: Is there a correct position to start?

Sensei: When somebody comes up and they're going to do something, you stand how ever is comfortable and you do what you have to do. The idea is if I am in left hanmi and somebody comes at me, he probably won't come at me in right hanmi because his face is going to be in your fist. However, you never know, the idea in the street is to empty yourself and let it come.

Q: In terms of technique what would you say is the most important?

Sensei: I would say "irimi" is the most important.

Q: In Aikido is it just practising to fight, or life and death situations?

Sensei: The difference between a real fight and sparring on the mat is the difference between swimming in the ocean and swimming on the mat.

Q: Is a technique based upon someone fully advancing and fully committing their body weight to you?

Sensei: Yes. In basic, beginning Aikido. But in advanced Aikido it doesn't matter.

Q: Not even with a punch like a boxer would punch?

Sensei: Not at all. It doesn't matter if they stay, if they run from me, if they stand there and do jumping jacks If I think I have to terminate a situation or neutralize a situation, I'm going to go after you. That is advanced Aikido. I don't need you to move. You can punch at me, you can do whatever you want.

Q: Then Aikido can be aggressive?

Sensei: Let me tell you a secret, those who practiced with 0-Sensei, whenever they attacked him, they were afraid the'y were going to die. Ask my advanced black belts if they find it a piece of cake when they attack me. It is not a cake walk. For example, I'm in a restaurant and somebody pulls a gun and holds a bunch of people hostage. If I don't have a gun, I'm not going to wait for him to try and pistol whip me. I have to do something then, I have to know techniques where I can go to him, and that is what "irimi" is all about. Covering space from here to there as quick as I can with irimi. That is any one of a number of techniques. If you do them quick enough and your opponent doesn't move with it, they become strikes. Because they're going to hit and they're going to hit hard. if your opponent doesn't understand how to move with them, they're going to get hit in the real world.

Q: How can a disabled student get involved in the martial arts?

Sensei: It would depend on how disabled they are and which way they are disabled. If you have the use of your hands and your arms, then you can do Aikido almost the same as I can. The concept is that somebody must come to you. Once they come to you, the hand movements, the movements of the torso, and everything else are the same. In a lot of ways you can become a very good Aikidoist. I know that during the times I got hurt very badly I learned my technique properly was because I couldn't move.

Q: Can people that are 55 or 65 practice Aikido?

Sensei: I've had people in their 70's train in Japan and in their 60's and 70's train here.

Q: Could you explain zanshin and mushin?

Sensei: In the martial arts there are many concepts. I could write a book, I could spend the next several hours on these subjects. They are not something I would even attempt to talk about in 5 minutes, but I will take a second to talk about "mushin" because I mentioned it earlier. Mushin means empty heart, empty mind. Its very, very important in the martial arts. When Yagyu Tajimano Kami and different great mushin masters talk about this concept, they talk about the perfect and accurate reflection of all that is. I've taught courses on this. Its a very long story. One analogy is: the reflection of the moon on a placid Lake.When the moon breaks through the clouds, when the wind blows, the lake gets ripples in it the image of the moon gets distorted. Likening this to your mind and your heart. When you have thoughts in your mind and your heart, everything is distorted. In order to become one so that you can understand everything and sense everything the way it really is... you have to be completely-empty; completely calm. That is mushin.

Q:What is the relationship between Budo and Aikido?

Sensei: They are the same.

Q: There's some confusion because there's a wide range of attitudes towards Aikido, from a very soft martial art to a killing martial art.

Sensei: I think those are just silly aberrations. I think Bugei, if you look, Budo, if you look at the original Chinese calligraphy and you break it down, it means to stop war. Stop arms, stop war. So Budoka is a heihoka ,a warrior is really a warrior for peace, or a man of peace. You have to be powerful enough to stop war, you see what I am saying, because if you're weak you can't stop war, you get warred upon. You understand? And Budo has that yin and yang, it has that Tate to yoko no ito, izu no mitama to mizu no mitama. These are all Shinto terms. Yoko no ito means moon, feminine, water, love, the power of forgiveness, the power of love. Tate no ito means sun, we talk about masculine, we talk about fire, we talk about the power of decision. That is the time when you don't forgive, that is the power to cut. Those two elements have to live our within you in perfect harmony or you're out of balance, and that is the to murder your essence of Budo too. You have to have the ability and capability to decide to make decisions,to cut,to kill,and at the same time,you have to have the ability to love,to forgive,to be understanding.And those have to work together,but Budo is all of those things and Aikido is one of the millions of martial arts under the vast umbrella of Budo,you understand?

Q: What can we as Aikido students do to improve the political situation of Aikido?

Sensei: Unfortunately a lot of the teachers of Aikido are more concerned with who's better than who and who has more students. Am I wrong? In Aikido it doesn't matter who is better. It doesn't matter who's right and who's wrong, or who has how many students or whose dad is bigger than whose. Who cares? None of this matters, it has nothing to do with Aikido. What matters is that we all try to help each other to improve ourselves as human beings. Whatever styles come to us are welcome, nobody is better than anybody. Concentrate on the philosophical and the spiritual aspects of Aikido rather than who's affiliated with who.

Q: Sensei, I've been interested in Kotodama, could you explain it for us?

Sensei: Well, that's like trying to explain Buddhism or Christianity or any other mystical art. Kotodama would take me a couple of weeks to talk about, to where I felt comfortable. Kotodama is really the power of sound; holy sound and unholy sound. If I may use your sensei for a second, as he comes to punch me (Wada Sensei punches and Master Seagal lets go a "kiai") I do that. That is not a word, it is a sound he felt. He felt it in here (pointing to his heart) and in here (pointing to his head). Some of you felt it and some of you didn't. The power of sound can be used in a lot of different ways, but kotodama encompasses holy words and unholy words in sounds. Kotodama can be used for healing or killing, it is like any other magic, it can be used in both ways.

Q: Could you describe your focusing process on- someone when you are getting prepared for techniques? It seems like you're going through a very specific focusing process.

Sensei: It's a cycle. When I'm instructing, it's just their body position and my body position. When you really throw, you have to collect yourself and start to culminate energy. You'll set them up, grab their "ki", you grab them from way out and you bring them to you. When they come to you, you do what you want to do, it's like lightning. Onisaburo, who, as you know, was 0sensei's spiritual teacher, wrote the Kanji ku kaminari which means"Budo is lightning." The culmination of electricity and power between heaven and earth, that's really what bugei (the martial arts) is.

Q: How should the uke be setting up for this?

Sensei: The uke should not be thinking about taking anything nor thinking about doing his ukemi. He should only be thinking about attack. In the advance stages you don't even think about attack, you just attack.

Q: Could you give me your interpretation of Musubi?

Sensei: Something meets to become one, its very simple.

Q: Like the relationship between uke and nage?

Sensei: It can be, I can say Musubi in 15 million ways-it's like taking the word marriage in English. Musu means to become one to bring together.

Q: Would you elaborate on how you breath?

Sensei: I don't breathe. (Picking someone for ukemi). I'm not going to throw him, I'm not going to do any technique. He's going too attack. (He attacks). Can you see where I stopped and started breathing? You probably can't see it. I never breath during one confrontation. When I do multiple attack with 3,4, or 5 people attacking me at the same time, I'm breathing very, very slightly between each one. This is the way I do it. I'm not saying that your sensei would do it that way.

Q: Why do you do that?

Sensei: Because with me ;the epitome of my power is in a position where I am flexing and bringing everything together. Its more of an exhale: you inhale when you want to bring somebody in or grab them and once you get them you can't inhale because they can penetrate you.

Q:Sensei, I've been reading a little about the Mushin and the proper state of mind to have when fighting-not to draw back, not to draw forward, to wait to have the open mind. Are there any exercises to develop that?

Sensei: I think meditation, understanding that when you become one with all things, you develop a sphere, like a mirror, that is a perfect and accurate reflection of all that is. When somebody attacks with great evil, you reflect that and their greatness will come back at them. You are not God ,but you become one with God and you allow God to be the judge of how that technique will come back at them. In other words, if somebody attacks me out on the street, I don't think to myself, "I'm going to get this guy and I'm going to kill him." I don't think at all, I just react to his specific energy and I do what I have to do. In accordance with what I've said earlier; whether I take a life or save a life, ultimately there is no difference. I would rather save a life. But if, for example, I was standing in the middle of the street and saw the "night stalker" slit someone' s throat and then he turned to kill me;my action might be to terminate him. I would feel bad about taking human life, but I don't feel it would be my decision. It would be an act of my training. Action and reaction in terms of force and levels of negativity. Does that make sense to you? I would rather be nice as I said earlier, but if I have to not be nice, I'm very prepared to do that.

Q:So what you're saying is not a question of you being nice or not nice, but of you're reflecting what is in the mirror?

Sensei: That's exactly what I was trying to say.

Q:I'd like to know if you have a similar attitude in relation to healing, for people who need help?

Sensei: Well, it's very different ... but similar in the sense that I don't treat too many people anymore and the only people I do treat are people I feel want to be better and have a, kind of karma with life that I can appreciate. In other words if somebody comes to me who has a bad heroin habit and thinks he wants to get better but I know he's not going to, I'm not going to treat him. if somebody in this dojo came to me' today and said, "I'm having a problem with I my ovaries and if I felt this person really wanted to get better, I would treat her. Do you see what I am saving? I look at the individual and see what I can see from them and try to work with that.

Q: And your experience with 0-sensei?

Sensei: I have very little experience with 0-sensei. I was able to see him several times. I've seen him speak. I was very close to his spiritual teachers and I still am. I think I was the only white person to ever go exactly in the footsteps of 0-sensei in terms'of his mystical training. I became a priest in O'moto Kyo and went to all the aesthetic training with the priest that 0-sensei was raised with. I never really knew him. I never got to butt heads with him on the mat or was thrown around by him or anything else.

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.

Q:It seems today that your Aikido was very pragmatic; a street oriented type rather than other Aikido styles which are not as pragmatic as your style. I was wondering if you at any point explored any others avenues of Aikido?

Sensei: The physical technique of Aikido at the level I'm teaching has nothing to do with the mystical applications in the way that you're referring to, i.e.,there is Go-ju-Ryu (hard, soft and flowing). Now 0-sensei always said, "Bugei wa Bugei desu." The martial arts are the martial arts. And, "Aiki wa odorijanai." He always said that Aikido is not dance. If you ever took 0-sensei's Aikido, or watched him, you'd be scared to attack him because he didn't play. As soft as he was, if you weren't there, you'd get hurt. Aikido is serious and it has to work. That is what the founder said and he was right.Aikido has to work. All I'm doing is teaching you how to make your Aikido work because it doesn't work for a lot of you. I try to teach you how to make it real. There is nothing unspiritual about that at all. In fact it's more spiritual. It's real, it's not an illusion, it's not a cartoon. You have to feel it to understand it. 0-sensei was a great mystic but his Aikido worked. There are lots of people who tried to get him on many different occasions, from before he started Aikido to long after. They found out it's no joke. And if you can't do that; if you can't walk out into that street and let a couple of gang bangers come at you with baseball bats, and know that you' re going to do the right thing, you don't know Aikido. It has to be real; otherwise take up aerobics or something. I go into some dojos and see somebody attacking and the guy falls and nobody touches anybody. Is there anybody in here who can throw anybody without touching them? You've got to make it work. I'm serious.

Q: Are you saving that some Aikido dojo's are too passive?

Sensei: There are dojo's that teach that way (throwing without touching); and I think that in order to teach that way you first have to learn the basics and within the basics you have to be able to make them work. Once you've learned the basics and made them work you can get into the magical stuff that takes 20-30-40-50 years to get the feel for.

Q: How would one pursue the mystical aspects of Aikido after achieving the basics?

Sensei: It would be available with me, or any other person who has that kind of mystical background. When you get close enough to your teacher, he decides if he wants to teach you.

Q: Can another religion or spirituality be just as valuable as Omoto Kyo has been to your Aikido?

Sensei: I would imagine so, it certainly could be. One thing about Omoto kyo, and even 0-sensei said, that every religion says, "We are the path, any other path is wrong and you will go to hell." There is no religion that I know that doesn't say that except Omoto-kyo. We're all going up the same mountain, there might be different paths but we're all trying to get to God. Everybody has their own way to get there.

Q: What part of Aikido came from swordsmanship?

Sensei: All parts, when I do nikyo, I cut. When I do irimi, I cut, shihonage, it's all kenjutsu.

Q: How old were you when you opened your dojo?

Sensei: About 22.

Thank you all very much.
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Old 06-15-2005, 09:48 AM   #2
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Steven Seagal Interview

Quote:
Q: And your experience with 0-sensei?

Sensei: I have very little experience with 0-sensei. I was able to see him several times. I've seen him speak. I was very close to his spiritual teachers and I still am. I think I was the only white person to ever go exactly in the footsteps of 0-sensei in terms'of his mystical training. I became a priest in O'moto Kyo and went to all the aesthetic training with the priest that 0-sensei was raised with. I never really knew him. I never got to butt heads with him on the mat or was thrown around by him or anything else.
Can anyone post details on the above? 'Very little experience'...Ueshiba Morihei had already died by the time Seagal Sensei got to Japan, from what I've been told. Was Seagal Sensei refering to video?

Is there any documentation as to the Omoto kyo connections? Does anyone know the requirements / training required to be a priest in that sect? Do they have 'priests'?

Was Seagal Sensei refering to Abe Sensei when he spoke of 'his spiritual teachers'?

I know a lot of what Seagal Sensei has said has been taken out of context...Sean, might you be able to answer some of these questions?

I'd like to make it clear that these questions are genuine, and not intended in any way as a slur. I'm just seeking clarification.

Thanks,
Ron

Last edited by Ron Tisdale : 06-15-2005 at 09:52 AM.

Ron Tisdale
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"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
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Old 06-15-2005, 10:13 AM   #3
ad_adrian
 
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Re: Steven Seagal Interview

i do beleive that interview is genuine, he was 22 when he first opened his dojo....he's a man well into his 50's now.....late50's
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Old 06-15-2005, 10:37 AM   #4
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Steven Seagal Interview

From http://www.journaled.com/MA/Aikido/SSeagal/main.htm

Quote:
Seagal Sensei studied under Koichi Tohei (another for Orange County, California) in the summer of 1974 before traveling to Japan shortly thereafter.
If he went to japan for the first time in 1974, how could he have possibly met or seen Ueshiba M. alive? I'm not saying the article isn't genuine...I have some questions about the accuracy of the impressions it gives. Some of those impressions may be unintentional, or were added during the transcription of the interview, or by the writer. But dates don't lie.

From the encyclopedia at AJ:

UESHIBA, MORIHEI
(14 December 1883-26 April 1969).

Best,
Ron

Last edited by Ron Tisdale : 06-15-2005 at 10:42 AM.

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Old 06-15-2005, 12:55 PM   #5
rob_liberti
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Re: Steven Seagal Interview

I agree Ron.
Quote:
I found Aikido and read some of O-Sensei's speeches and saw him.
The "and saw him" part gives that impression. Combined with
Quote:
I was in and out of Japan as a youth and saw Tohei Sensei when he was still with Hombu Dojo.
give the impression that he went to Japan prior to 1974 as a youth and saw him.

Rob

Last edited by rob_liberti : 06-15-2005 at 01:03 PM.
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Old 06-15-2005, 03:02 PM   #6
Misogi-no-Gyo
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Re: Steven Seagal Interview

Hi Ron,

I'll try to offer up what I know... Though I don't think it will help much

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote:
Can anyone post details on the above? 'Very little experience'...Ueshiba Morihei had already died by the time Seagal Sensei got to Japan, from what I've been told. Was Seagal Sensei refering to video?
I'm not too sure about this one. I do believe that he saw a demonstration once, but he went on to say that he had no personal mat time with O-Sensei at all.

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote:
Is there any documentation as to the Omoto kyo connections? Does anyone know the requirements / training required to be a priest in that sect? Do they have 'priests'?
Well, I have been to Ayabe and met with some of the priests there. Seagal Sensei had definitely been there. A few of us from the old Tenshin Dojo were received in a very interesting manner. When we were introduced as students of Seagal Sensei, there was an immediate change in the interaction and we were taken through some of the lesser seen parts of the temple grounds. As for the requirements, etc... well I don't know any of that information.

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote:
Was Seagal Sensei referring to Abe Sensei when he spoke of 'his spiritual teachers'?
Abe Sensei was not one of O-Sensei's spiritual teachers. it was the other way around in my opinion. However, there were others who were counted amongst O-Sensei's influences with whom Seagal Sensei may have come in contact.

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote:
I know a lot of what Seagal Sensei has said has been taken out of context...Sean, might you be able to answer some of these questions?

I'd like to make it clear that these questions are genuine, and not intended in any way as a slur. I'm just seeking clarification.

Thanks,
Ron
What I can say is that I know of quite a few things that Seagal Sensei has said in the past that were true and verifiable that he now claims to either have not said, or won't say anything about anymore. So regardless of what may appear to be true, or not true, the fact is most people will never really know. Personally, having been on the inside and outside of many of the latter circumstances, I would say two things about these kind of things:

1. If you really think you need to know, it better have something to do with improving yourself or your aikido.

and if you got your head on straight...

2. Ask him when you see him.

It was an interesting interview, nonetheless due to many of the things he didn't say. If you new what he was talking about, much could be gleaned that would be lost on the average person reading it over and over and over... Oh well, back to training...



.

I no longer participate in or read the discussion forums here on AikiWeb due to the unfair and uneven treatment of people by the owner/administrator.
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Old 06-15-2005, 05:09 PM   #7
Chris Li
 
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Re: Steven Seagal Interview

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote:
I agree Ron.The "and saw him" part gives that impression. Combined with give the impression that he went to Japan prior to 1974 as a youth and saw him.

Rob
According to his ex-wife's book, she met him in California while attending a seminar there with Koichi Tohei - who was still with the Aikikai at the time.

Best,

Chris

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Old 06-15-2005, 09:41 PM   #8
Charles Hill
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Re: Steven Seagal Interview

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote:
Does anyone know the requirements / training required to be a priest in that sect?
I was told every member of Omoto Kyo is, by definition, an Omoto Kyo priest. It seemed to be a point of pride that all are equal in the organization, and all can take part in ceremonies. A person is considered a member after they attend a two week training in Kameoka.

Charles
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Old 06-15-2005, 09:57 PM   #9
ad_adrian
 
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Re: Steven Seagal Interview

exactally.....he said it him self he was in and out of japan as a youth....
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Old 06-15-2005, 11:18 PM   #10
Rupert Atkinson
 
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Re: Steven Seagal Interview

Someone lent me a Ueshiba video to watch some time ago and I remember seeing Segal's name on the credits though he was not in the film - I always imagined it was the same 'Segal.' Not sure exactly wich Ueshiba video it was but I will try to check.

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Old 06-16-2005, 07:51 AM   #11
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Steven Seagal Interview

Hi Shaun,

Thanks for the response. I'll keep all of that in mind. And thanks to the others with the info on Omoto kyo. That was something I never knew!

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
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Old 06-16-2005, 08:00 AM   #12
Mike Sigman
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Re: Steven Seagal Interview

Quote:
Shaun Ravens wrote:
Personally, having been on the inside and outside of many of the latter circumstances, I would say two things about these kind of things:

1. If you really think you need to know, it better have something to do with improving yourself or your aikido.
Given that Seagal has said many things publicly and has deliberately made himself the object of public attention, I personally can't see why people should be discouraged from asking questions by stipulating it "better have something to do with improving yourself or your aikido." Looking at the website Ron posted, I noticed something about the CIA and did a quick cross-check via some search engines. Here's just one of a number that show up on Google:
http://www.lukeford.net/profiles/pro...ven_seagal.htm

Apparently there are some very valid questions about some of Seagal's claims; that's a fact that is apart from any attempt to either gratuitously denigrate or to gratuitously enhance Seagal's reputation. Hopefully, anyone who has the best interests of Aikido and Aikidoka at heart will encourage people to keep looking and asking questions. I was certainly interested in Seagal's reputation for credibility at one time, simply because I like to have an indicator that will tell me how heavily I can weight someone's pronouncements about the martial arts. Personality isn't the issue... weighting and judging sources of information is the issue.

FWIW

Mike Sigman
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Old 06-16-2005, 08:32 AM   #13
ad_adrian
 
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Re: Steven Seagal Interview

look this is going back to ppl making stuff up about seagal.....dont beleive everything u read. so many ppl put stars down..and i know for a fact that ppl r against seagal just for spending more time in movies then his dojo and say he has betrayed aikido because he went to the movies...i know plenty of ppl that have started aikido because of seagal...like it or not seagal is a good force on aikido
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Old 06-16-2005, 09:13 AM   #14
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Steven Seagal Interview

Hi,

I think you missed the point of the last post...and perhaps the point of my inquiries as well.

Best,
Ron

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"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
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Old 06-16-2005, 10:22 AM   #15
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Steven Seagal Interview

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
Given that Seagal has said many things publicly and has deliberately made himself the object of public attention, I personally can't see why people should be discouraged from asking questions by stipulating it "better have something to do with improving yourself or your aikido." Looking at the website Ron posted, I noticed something about the CIA and did a quick cross-check via some search engines. Here's just one of a number that show up on Google:
http://www.lukeford.net/profiles/pro...ven_seagal.htm

Apparently there are some very valid questions about some of Seagal's claims; that's a fact that is apart from any attempt to either gratuitously denigrate or to gratuitously enhance Seagal's reputation. Hopefully, anyone who has the best interests of Aikido and Aikidoka at heart will encourage people to keep looking and asking questions. I was certainly interested in Seagal's reputation for credibility at one time, simply because I like to have an indicator that will tell me how heavily I can weight someone's pronouncements about the martial arts. Personality isn't the issue... weighting and judging sources of information is the issue.

FWIW

Mike Sigman

Segal Sensei is a major figure in contemporary American Aikido. Therefore it is perfectly reasonable to want to research the details of his life and training.

It is important to distinguish between his movie persona and his real person. I think these get mixed up sometimes, perhaps even in his own mind. All that CIA, Special Ops stuff is a bunch of hype used to promote his early movies. Much of the stupider material you see quoted from Segal Sensei was in entertainment industry interviews.

If you just stick to Aikido, it's clear that he has been a dedicated practitioner and teacher. It's somehwhat difficult to deteremine what he is doing currently since almost all of his students who are well known have broken with him.

As to the murky association with O-Sensei... I personally do not think he ever saw O-Sensei while he was alive. I think that's another part of the murky history that made him seem mysterious and somehow different than the regular teachers we are all familiar with.

On the other hand I have little doubt that he took advantage of his time in Japan to investigate the resources available for spiritual training. It fits his nature...

- George

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Old 06-16-2005, 12:00 PM   #16
DustinAcuff
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Re: Steven Seagal Interview

Here's my two cents:

Since it looks as if the issue (that can be solved) is did Segal meet O Sensei, lets use a bit of common sense detective work. How old is Segal? How many years was he alive at the same time as O Sensei? Where was he and what was he doing those years?
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Old 06-16-2005, 01:25 PM   #17
Chris Li
 
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Re: Steven Seagal Interview

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
Segal Sensei is a major figure in contemporary American Aikido. Therefore it is perfectly reasonable to want to research the details of his life and training.
Of course, many other major figures in Aikido (including Morihei Ueshiba) also have the details of their life and training researched, examined, and questioned on the various internet forums. I don't recall ever seeing an objection in those cases.

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Chris

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Old 06-16-2005, 05:40 PM   #18
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Re: Steven Seagal Interview

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote:
Of course, many other major figures in Aikido (including Morihei Ueshiba) also have the details of their life and training researched, examined, and questioned on the various internet forums. I don't recall ever seeing an objection in those cases.

Best,

Chris
Hi Chris,

I didn't, haven't and doubt that I will ever object to anyone wanting to know anything about Seagal Sensei. What I have said in the past is that I have seen several camps of individuals creating posts about various things over the years. I have categorized them into four distinct groups. I am sure that they won't make anyone really happy, but I am really not concerned with making anyone really happy. People can put themselves into whichever category they like - it really doesn't matter much to me...

1. Ding Dongs - individuals who have an agenda (typically not stated, often not even known to them) which is in some manner of form to denigrate someone whom they do not know.

2. Sincerely interested Ding Dongs - these are people that have no axe to grind, and no agenda, but are merely curious folk who would just like to know. They really don't have anything to gain by knowing, but they waste a tremendous amount of effort bantering about amongst the websites and via private messages between themselves and others from categories 1, 2 & 3.

3. Other Senseis who don't see themselves in categories 1 & 2 - The truth is if I had a dollar for every time I was present when someone of self-importance said something completely inaccurate about Seagal Sensei to their students either in front of a class or at a major seminar, well... I would have a few dollars, wouldn't I? This is either in regards to his history or his technical base. I get a good chuckle, which is always good for me, right up until the time when they demonstrate something that is supposed to compare to Seagal Sensei's techniques, using specific things which have come to light over the years -- things that we have disseminated via seminars that now other sensei's have adopted into their own repertoire. Now I am all for that, and have no complaints about that at all. However when it doesn't really compare, and is full of openings that one could drive a truck through, well, the chuckling stops there. That says nothing for the countless times I have read things over and over and over about Seagal Sensei that are totally untrue, things I have gone out to specifically correct, only to see the same individuals post the same nonsense over and over and over. But after all, they are Sensei with a capital "S" so let's not argue with em…

4. Those who want to know, to improve themselves, their students and their aikido - The one thing I can say about Seagal Sensei during the years I was at Tenshin Dojo is this; If you had a question he would answer it to the best of your ability to understand it. He left you with much to think about, usually in deep reflection of yourself and your path. That is why I always say to those in any of the first three categories if you really want to know ask him directly. Seagal Sensei is not that hard to reach at all. I haven't seen him or contacted him in any manner in years, but I am sure I could get in touch with someone who would see him in the next 24-48 hours and could get a message to him, should I have something important enough to cause me to do as such.

In all the years that people have posted their best and worst on internet message boards... I have yet to hear of one aikidoka who has done just that. That doesn't mean that there have not been those who have tried, it just means that they found themselves relegated to one of the first three categories, and that really isn't a loss to anyone but them.



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Old 06-16-2005, 05:47 PM   #19
Chris Li
 
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Re: Steven Seagal Interview

Quote:
Shaun Ravens wrote:
4. Those who want to know, to improve themselves, their students and their aikido - The one thing I can say about Seagal Sensei during the years I was at Tenshin Dojo is this; If you had a question he would answer it to the best of your ability to understand it. He left you with much to think about, usually in deep reflection of yourself and your path. That is why I always say to those in any of the first three categories if you really want to know ask him directly. Seagal Sensei is not that hard to reach at all. I haven't seen him or contacted him in any manner in years, but I am sure I could get in touch with someone who would see him in the next 24-48 hours and could get a message to him, should I have something important enough to cause me to do as such.

In all the years that people have posted their best and worst on internet message boards... I have yet to hear of one aikidoka who has done just that. That doesn't mean that there have not been those who have tried, it just means that they found themselves relegated to one of the first three categories, and that really isn't a loss to anyone but them.



.
Hmm, I'm not sure how I'm improving myself if I ask a question about, say, Yoshimitsu Yamada, on an internet forum. I'm pretty sure, however, that I could do so without being put in a "ding-dong" category for not calling him up at home and asking him when his his birthday is.

Best,

Chris

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Old 06-16-2005, 05:59 PM   #20
Mike Sigman
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Re: Steven Seagal Interview

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote:
Of course, many other major figures in Aikido
Hmmmmmm.... what makes Seagal a "major figure" in Aikido? At best he seems well-known, via his movie stuff, and he's certainly controversial.... but does that make him a "major figure" in the art? One one hand, he's popularized Aikido via his movies; on the other hand, he's done and said so many squirrely things that he's detracted from Aikido. But putting all the hoopla to the side, and not even really having a dog in this fight, I'm curious to hear what's the rationale behind him being a "major figure" as opposed to a "well-known figure".

Mike
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Old 06-16-2005, 08:48 PM   #21
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Re: Steven Seagal Interview

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote:
Hmm, I'm not sure how I'm improving myself if I ask a question about, say, Yoshimitsu Yamada, on an internet forum. I'm pretty sure, however, that I could do so without being put in a "ding-dong" category for not calling him up at home and asking him when his his birthday is.

Best,

Chris
Hi Chris,

I don't think your question is invalid, in the least. Again, I am not putting anyone in any category. I just took the liberty of assigning the categories based upon what I have observed over the years. As it goes, people simply put themselves in the category via their own actions. Some of my own students have certainly asked some doozies over the years, and I have given them some interesting looks in return so it appears that no one is really immune.

Wondering why people put so much stock in nattering (contributing to gossip when one has no dog in the fight) is simply my own pet peeve. I just prefer to see people focus that energy somewhere else where it might actually amount to something positive. It seems as thought there are few takers, though.

Taking nothing away from any aikido shihan whose birthday you care to know, although contemporaries in some respects, I don't believe the two are equals on all fronts. Last time I checked, and it wasn't too long ago, the lambasting of said particular shihan was met with a completely negative reaction and the thread being pulled from three major websites - and what I posted was based upon my own personal experience, as opposed to some Ding Dong nattering on about miscellaneous crap they took to be important via some lame-ass internet search they did over a cheap bottle of chardonnay. Yet over and over and over, the negativity with regards to Seagal Sensei is not only permitted, but contributed to by other well-know aikido Senseis who, low and behold have incorrect information they continue to disseminate regardless of the fact they don't know what the heck they are talking about. Well, their credibility goes out the window in my book, but I guess it is okay with them because no one really cares about that when they take Seagal Sensei's credibility and trash it for their own begrudged purpose.

If you have the time to do the research, take a look back at most of the negative Seagal Sensei threads over the past few years and I'm sure you will find that there are four or five of the same individuals who always feel the need to post incorrect information, or reiterate veiled commentary based upon inaccuracies about topics about which they have no real concept of truth. I could list these people, but hey - you already know who they are so I don't see the point.

Come the day when Matsuoka Sensei writes a tell-all book from his perspective about all the negative things he experienced under his Master for over 25 years, and I give everyone else a pass when it comes to slinging their own version of B.S. Of course, since Matsuoka Sensei, the one person who certainly has garnered the right to write such a story would rather have his veins pulled out one by one through his nostrils while still alive than write such trivial bull$hiit, no one gets such a pass while I still have a candle burning. Truth be known, if you asked Matsuoka Sensei about it all - and I have, if he added up the columns of positive and negative things he experienced under Seagal Sensei which column's total would outweigh the other, I think the answer might surprise many people - that should he have the chance to, he wouldn't have changed a thing.

In the meantime, I'll keep holding my breath waiting for all the B.S. people drone on and on about to stop. You'll find me in the dojo working on my kokyu waza, or doing misogi. As for the time it takes for me to write these posts, well you can call me Sisyphus, I know, I know but it is really my own personal hell, a shugyo-based misogi purifying the web message boards of the miscellaneous dirt one can find there on any given day. At least I know that I'll have something to do for a long time coming.

I would recommend that those with minor curiosities or major axes to grind do the same, but somehow I know that I can count on one hand the months (weeks, days or minutes, really) before some Ding Dong (YES, those Dobule D's are capital and are synonymous with BOOB) shows up somewhere, sometime soon, infallible internet research in hand, and blathers on about something they haven't a clue about. Care to count with me…?



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Old 06-16-2005, 10:08 PM   #22
ad_adrian
 
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Re: Steven Seagal Interview

shaun,

i dont know what you are classing me in...but i was merely posting the interview for fun and some information to read not for people to doubt if its true or not.

adrian
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Old 06-16-2005, 10:15 PM   #23
Ryan Bigelow
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Re: Steven Seagal Interview

"1951" is listed as year of birth on stevenseagal.com .
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Old 06-16-2005, 10:52 PM   #24
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Re: Steven Seagal Interview

Quote:
Adrian Stuart wrote:
shaun,

i dont know what you are classing me in...but i was merely posting the interview for fun and some information to read not for people to doubt if its true or not.

adrian
Hi Adrian,

I wasn't putting you anywhere specifically. Since I was the original publisher of the article you quoted, and approved it being posted here, I guess you could say that I am as much a party to the content of the thread as are you. You didn't post ridiculous questions, or comments, only the interview, itself. While I am not sure, nor do I care what your motives were, I really didn't see it as a problem for me, for you or for Seagal Sensei, but I guess I should have realized that you can't mention Seagal Sensei without the typical muck oozing from the crevices by which some people feed themselves. I think Ron's comments were legitimate, hence my open response to it. Beyond that it quickly turned into a revealing exercise - where what was revealed was that people have way too much time on their hands, and need a bit of re-alignment in focus, but hey... that is just my opinion, so pay me no mind.



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Old 06-16-2005, 11:48 PM   #25
ad_adrian
 
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Re: Steven Seagal Interview

shaun,
true...i respect your opinion as i do most of the people on this board, i actually found this interview on a steven seagal site. i for one think seagal is a great influence for aikido...he has got hundreds if not thousands of ppl worldwide to get into aikido and to truely understand the way of harmony! my thumb's up go to seagal sensei.

adrian
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