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Old 02-27-2013, 12:18 PM   #1
aiki-jujutsuka
 
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The Voice Steven Seagal interview

Hey everyone,

It's been a while since I've been on here... long story short I am going to be emigrating to Japan later this year to marry my fiancee and start a new life with her. Once I've got myself sorted out and settled into married life I fully intend on carrying on my martial arts journey and believe this will be the right time to make the transition from AJJ to Aikido.

Anyway, back on topic not sure if anyone has seen this interview with Steven Seagal but it seems fairly recent.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NvGBDU3k9-M

I've only watched part one but Seagal talks about how he began Aikido and references several of his early teachers and speaks about his relationship to them. He talks about moving to Japan and his connection to O'Sensei and his students as well as his experience of using Aikido. The final question addresses the nature of his black belt gradings and while I feel the interviewer generalized in his estimation of modern gradings, it was interesting to hear how severe Seagal's gradings were. Overall I thought the interviewer was respectful and the tone of the interview genuine, showing appreciation for traditional styles of martial arts, which is refreshing. I thought Seagal spoke well and incorporated some technical Aikido language where appropriate. I'm sure across all 4 parts this is a fairly comprehensive interview. I always enjoy listening to Seagal and he continues to inspire me.

I am not as knowledgable as I'm sure many of you are with the Aikido instructors and masters Seagal cites in this interview but I will look forward to reading your impressions and opinions of Seagal's answers.
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Old 02-27-2013, 02:07 PM   #2
graham christian
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Re: The Voice Steven Seagal interview

Congratulations first of all.

Thanks for posting the vid, I hadn't seen that one before. I found it excellent, even refreshing. It seemed very straightforward and open to me. A great insight into his own personal views and experience.

Now I'm going to watch the other three.

Peace.G.
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Old 02-27-2013, 02:21 PM   #3
Hellis
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Re: The Voice Steven Seagal interview

I like some of the early videos of SS doing Aikido - I watched the video and there are some interesting bits, but SS seemed very uncomfortable ? or perhaps it was me that was uncomfortable, I will not be watching the others.

Henry Ellis
Co-author of `Positive Aikido`
Aikido Controversy - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FMuDqKOjnls
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Old 02-27-2013, 03:46 PM   #4
aiki-jujutsuka
 
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Re: The Voice Steven Seagal interview

Thank you Graham and I agree with you about the interview.

Henry, I understand what you mean but I think Seagal was just being mindful of keeping his answers concise and clear so that people don't misconstrue what he means. Personally I think Seagal came across as very modest, clearly he has much experience of the Aikido world and developed a deep passion for Aikido, but when you begin to talk about the mysticism of some schools of Aikido it can be easily twisted or you could come across as arrogant and conceited. I thought he handled the questions deftly.
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Old 02-27-2013, 03:55 PM   #5
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Re: The Voice Steven Seagal interview

Quote:
Ewen Ebsworth wrote: View Post

Henry, I understand what you mean but I think Seagal was just being mindful of keeping his answers concise and clear so that people don't misconstrue what he means. Personally I think Seagal came across as very modest, clearly he has much experience of the Aikido world and developed a deep passion for Aikido, but when you begin to talk about the mysticism of some schools of Aikido it can be easily twisted or you could come across as arrogant and conceited. I thought he handled the questions deftly.
Hi
I have to agree with what you say, there are too many people waiting to pick SS apart at any opportunity.

Henry Ellis
Co-author of `Positive Aikido`
Aikido Controversy - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FMuDqKOjnls
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Old 02-27-2013, 08:15 PM   #6
Michael Varin
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Re: The Voice Steven Seagal interview

I watched this interview when it first aired, back in October 2012, if I remember correctly. In fact I still have it on my DVR.

It was a good interview. I watched it with my wife and a friend of ours. Well, I sort of forced them to watch it, as both ladies don't like Seagal. But they both said that the interview changed their opinion of him somewhat and that they liked the way he came across in the interview much more than in his movies.

I remember Seagal appearing very uncomfortable at the beginning of the interview. But that doesn't last. The interview is probably about 45 minutes long, so if it is broken into four parts on YouTube, Seagal probably only looks uncomfortable in the first part.

I am a big fan of Seagal. I always have been. He has made some bad movies, but he possesses a lot of skill and that cannot be denied.

One thing that raised my eyebrow in the interview was Seagal's statement that he met Morihei and heard him lecture shortly before Morihei died. Seagal said he never trained with him in anyway. Somehow I felt Seagal was being dishonest. I could very well be wrong, but I was under the impression that Seagal didn't arrive in Japan until after Morihei's death.

In any case, I do believe that Seagal made more of an effort to understand aikido on a deep level than probably any other modern practitioner.

-Michael
"Through aiki we can feel the mind of the enemy who comes to attack and are thus able to respond immediately." - M. Mochizuki
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Old 02-28-2013, 12:32 AM   #7
aiki-jujutsuka
 
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Re: The Voice Steven Seagal interview

I will try and watch the other parts later, I'm a big fan of Seagal's earlier movies where you can clearly see the Aikido influences and I enjoyed his Lawman series. I think there are many strings to Seagal's bow and isn't always given the credit he deserves.
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Old 02-28-2013, 04:25 AM   #8
ryback
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Re: The Voice Steven Seagal interview

I have always considered (and still do) Steven Seagal sensei as one of my main influences in Aikido. His undeniably clear and effective technique always stands out, it's what i'm trying to achieve in terms of waza.It's true he has made many wrong choices along the way but i prefer to view those choices as an example to be avoided, it keeps me aware and after all he is human.
I hate it how people are always ready to speak badly about him and about his weight when it's true that most of them are fatter than him and they never had his skills in aikido.Things have been said about him that, one would be unthinkable to dare say, for another 7th dan aikidoka, and that is very direspectful.
I have already seen the interview before this thread was made and I agree with almost all of the above posts.
Having done a great research about Steven Seagal sensei through many years (i have even written an article about him fo a martial arts magazine once) i've known all of the things he is talking about for many years and I think is great to have a recent interview where all of his Aikido background is summed up.
For most of the things he is talking about(like how tough his grading is, or how hard is his randori) are actually videos to prove it.
Most people always say that he is arrogant, but everytime I hear him speak always seem like a humble, modest Aikidoka to me, listen when he says "i'm still the guy in the corner trying to get his one foot in front of the other" or something like that.
And from personal contact with one of his earliest Uke i know that he is a great teacher and a person that can inspire you very much to follow through all the long road of Aikido training.
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Old 02-28-2013, 11:43 AM   #9
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Re: The Voice Steven Seagal interview

Quote:
Michael Varin wrote: View Post

One thing that raised my eyebrow in the interview was Seagal's statement that he met Morihei and heard him lecture shortly before Morihei died. Seagal said he never trained with him in anyway. Somehow I felt Seagal was being dishonest. I could very well be wrong, but I was under the impression that Seagal didn't arrive in Japan until after Morihei's death.
.
If I remember correctly, I remember seeing Seagal sensie in a photograph circa 1968-1969 with O-sensei and a bunch of other students. Seagal has huge sideburns. If my memory and this photo is acurate then he did see/meet O-Sensri. Anyone else remember this photo?

風柳 剣人
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Old 02-28-2013, 02:25 PM   #10
Garth Jones
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Re: The Voice Steven Seagal interview

Seagal was born in 1952 so he would have only been 16 in 1968. It is my understanding that he did not go to Japan until the early 1970s, after O'Sensei died.
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Old 02-28-2013, 02:47 PM   #11
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Re: The Voice Steven Seagal interview

Quote:
Henry Ellis wrote: View Post
Hi
I have to agree with what you say, there are too many people waiting to pick SS apart at any opportunity.

Henry Ellis
Co-author of `Positive Aikido`
Aikido Controversy - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FMuDqKOjnls
Seagal clearly knows his aikido. I don't think anyone questions his aikido chops. What I think many aikidoists resent is the way Seagal acts. He is, for better or for worse, the most famous aikidoist in the Western world, and so his behavior reflects on us all. Perhaps it's unfair of us to expect Seagal to be an ambassador for our art, but his celebrity has put him in that position.

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Old 03-01-2013, 01:43 AM   #12
Hellis
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Re: The Voice Steven Seagal interview

Quote:
Matthew Story wrote: View Post
Seagal clearly knows his aikido. I don't think anyone questions his aikido chops. What I think many aikidoists resent is the way Seagal acts. He is, for better or for worse, the most famous aikidoist in the Western world, and so his behavior reflects on us all. Perhaps it's unfair of us to expect Seagal to be an ambassador for our art, but his celebrity has put him in that position.
Matthew

You make a rather valid point, I think you are correct, people do tend to believe that Seagal is the western ambassador of Aikido, I doubt that this is Seagal's intention ?
As I have said before, I like his technique which is mostly tight and direct as opposed to uke floating on the end of a distant finger.
A friend of mine who is a writer for a popular martial arts magazine, interviewed Seagal, he said it was the most unpleasant interview he had ever been involved in, he described Seagal as the most arrogant person he had ever interviewed.

Henry Ellis
Co-author of `Positive Aikido`
Aikido Controversy - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FMuDqKOjnls
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Old 03-01-2013, 01:55 AM   #13
aiki-jujutsuka
 
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Re: The Voice Steven Seagal interview

Steven's film career has waned over the last decade or so, his tv series True Justice seems to have been successful but he's nowhere near the Hollywood star he was back in the late 80s/early 90s. I think two things went against him, one his films have been very formulaic and two the rise of MMA has brought scrutiny and criticism over the realism of Aikido as a legitimate form of self-defence. It really annoys me the way in which MMA belittles traditional martial arts and implies they only work "in the movies".

I've never met Seagal before so I can't speak about his personality off camera but one of the things that inspires me is just how much time he dedicated to mastering Aikido. Seagal earnt his fame in Hollywood, he didn't just have the right look, he genuinely had the skills and knowledge to make a credible action movie star. It seems that celebrity doesn't mean as much today when you have "reality" stars; Seagal is an intelligent and talented person who put in the effort and paid his dues.
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Old 03-01-2013, 01:44 PM   #14
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Re: The Voice Steven Seagal interview

Quote:
Garth Jones wrote: View Post
Seagal was born in 1952 so he would have only been 16 in 1968. It is my understanding that he did not go to Japan until the early 1970s, after O'Sensei died.
He says in that interview that his father was in Japan doing military stuff and he allowed him to visit him. This was before he moved over there.
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Old 03-01-2013, 03:50 PM   #15
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Re: The Voice Steven Seagal interview

Good interview.....
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Old 03-02-2013, 05:12 AM   #16
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Re: The Voice Steven Seagal interview

I enjoyed the interview. I'm a Steven Seagal fan but this was the first time I heard that he met Bruce Lee. Bruce Lee died July 1973. Also SS father was a math teacher in 1968-69 according to all the bios. I've read.
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Old 03-03-2013, 02:01 PM   #17
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Re: The Voice Steven Seagal interview

I believe that I remember reading an interview with Seagal sensei's mother where she stated that Seagal had received an in insurance settlement resulting from a knee injury while training in karate. Consequently, this allowed him to make several trips over to Japan with the late chief instructor of the Orange County Aikikai prior to later moving to Osaka. Therefore, it would seem at least plausible that Seagal sensei could have met Osensei.
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Old 03-11-2013, 07:30 PM   #18
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Re: The Voice Steven Seagal interview

Interesting interview and I must admit I'm a fan. However, his arrogance shines bright when he's asked if he is as fast as he was 10 years ago and he responds "maybe faster" with that serious look hahah. Priceless Seagal response. Check it out in part 3 at 9:20.
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Old 03-12-2013, 01:21 AM   #19
aiki-jujutsuka
 
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Re: The Voice Steven Seagal interview

yeah I saw that bit too! he may or may not (probably not) be faster than he was 10 years ago but his endurance and cardio certainly won't be as good!
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Old 03-12-2013, 06:33 AM   #20
ryback
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Re: The Voice Steven Seagal interview

Quote:
Cameron Tarr wrote: View Post
Interesting interview and I must admit I'm a fan. However, his arrogance shines bright when he's asked if he is as fast as he was 10 years ago and he responds "maybe faster" with that serious look hahah. Priceless Seagal response. Check it out in part 3 at 9:20.
Well he may appear to be confident (who wouldn't at his aikido level) but not necessarily arrogant. He doesn't sound arrogant when he says that in aikido he is still that guy in the corner trying to put "one foot in front of the other".
I have met aikido teachers with not even one third of Seagal sensei's skills and they were reeeeaaaaally arrogant!
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Old 03-12-2013, 06:44 AM   #21
ryback
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Re: The Voice Steven Seagal interview

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Ewen Ebsworth wrote: View Post
yeah I saw that bit too! he may or may not (probably not) be faster than he was 10 years ago but his endurance and cardio certainly won't be as good!
Unfortunatelly, i must agree with the second part of your post.
If i had to say anything negative about him is only that he is not in shape anymore. That surely affects his endurance and physical condition and even worse it sets a bad example.
Whether we like it or not, a martial arts teacher should be an example for his students and not only technicaly. Steven Seagal sensei has the technical skills, not doubt about it, but when it comes to nutrition and physical condition he does not reflect the discipline that a master should.
On the other hand, in order to be fair, his extra weight could be some kind of health problem (although that's no excuse) and let's keep in mind that other teachers fatter and less skillful as he is are rarely the target of such critisism as he has suffered.
He has been one of my greatest aikido inspirations and i'm glad that he is well and active!
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Old 03-12-2013, 09:15 AM   #22
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Re: The Voice Steven Seagal interview

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Yannis Mousoulis wrote: View Post
Unfortunatelly, i must agree with the second part of your post.
If i had to say anything negative about him is only that he is not in shape anymore. That surely affects his endurance and physical condition and even worse it sets a bad example.
Whether we like it or not, a martial arts teacher should be an example for his students and not only technicaly. Steven Seagal sensei has the technical skills, not doubt about it, but when it comes to nutrition and physical condition he does not reflect the discipline that a master should.
On the other hand, in order to be fair, his extra weight could be some kind of health problem (although that's no excuse) and let's keep in mind that other teachers fatter and less skillful as he is are rarely the target of such critisism as he has suffered.
He has been one of my greatest aikido inspirations and i'm glad that he is well and active!
I concur, Seagal is an inspiration to me too. It's a shame he's not in the condition he was (or similar to) during his early film career in the late 80s - early 90s. However, I do wonder does Seagal still practise Aikido on a regular basis? The impression I got from his Lawman series as well as his involvement with MMA is that he still teaches martial arts, but splits his time between many different things and I'm not sure how much Aikido plays a part in that anymore.
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Old 03-12-2013, 11:07 AM   #23
ryback
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Re: The Voice Steven Seagal interview

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Ewen Ebsworth wrote: View Post
I concur, Seagal is an inspiration to me too. It's a shame he's not in the condition he was (or similar to) during his early film career in the late 80s - early 90s. However, I do wonder does Seagal still practise Aikido on a regular basis? The impression I got from his Lawman series as well as his involvement with MMA is that he still teaches martial arts, but splits his time between many different things and I'm not sure how much Aikido plays a part in that anymore.
I agree completely. Although i have seen recent videos of him practicing kumi tachi and showing aikido techniques to his fellow cops with the assistant of a japanese uke, he doesn't seem to be as devoted as he used to be.
It's clear that he still practices with his senior students though, but maybe not very often...
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Old 03-12-2013, 11:27 AM   #24
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Re: The Voice Steven Seagal interview

I can imagine if Seagal is already a 7th Dan and he's a part-time police officer, amatuer musician, film & tv star then his motivation or time to dedicate to Aikido nowadays must be less. Aikido played such a big part of his life that I don't blame him if he wants to pursue other arts. However, as Aikido still plays a big part in his fight scenes and choreography then I would assume he still practises.
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Old 03-12-2013, 11:58 AM   #25
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Re: The Voice Steven Seagal interview

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Ewen Ebsworth wrote: View Post
I can imagine if Seagal is already a 7th Dan and he's a part-time police officer, amatuer musician, film & tv star then his motivation or time to dedicate to Aikido nowadays must be less. Aikido played such a big part of his life that I don't blame him if he wants to pursue other arts. However, as Aikido still plays a big part in his fight scenes and choreography then I would assume he still practises.
Exactly what i mean. His speed and skill in the true justice series indicates he is still doing it.
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