Born on April 10, 1952, in Lansing, Michigan, Seagal's interest in martial arts was formed during his time in Japan, where he taught English and immersed himself in the country's culture. It was during this period that he encountered Aikido, a martial art developed by Morihei Ueshiba that emphasizes blending with an opponent's attacks and using their energy to control and subdue them.
He trained under various Aikido masters, notabley Koichi Tohei and Kenji Tomiki, developing his skills and deepening his understanding of the art. His proficiency in Aikido eventually led to him receiving a 7th-degree black belt and the title of Shihan. His unique approach to Aikido combined traditional techniques with his own innovations, setting him somewhat apart in the Aikido community.
Seagal's reputation as an Aikido master opened doors in the entertainment industry. His unique blend of martial arts prowess and charismatic screen presence led to a successful career as an action film star. Movies like "Above the Law," "Under Siege," and "Out for Justice" showcased his martial arts pedigree on the big screen, introducing a wider audience to the the martial art of Aikido.
Throughout his career, Seagal continued to make use of Aikido and its principles. He often incorporated Aikido techniques into his film choreography, helping to popularise the art. Seagal also ventured into teaching Aikido, first in his father-in-laws dojo.
While Seagal's journey in the entertainment industry brought him fame and recognition, his link to Aikido remained a cornerstone of his identity. His obsession with Aikido's philosophy of harmony and balance continued to be of use to home both his on-screen performances and his personal life.
In summary, Steven Seagal's remains an influencing figure in the world of Aikido even if not for the best reasons. From his early days of training in Japan to becoming a skilled practitioner, instructor, and influential action star, his path in Aikido has left an indelible mark on both martial arts and popular culture.