Friday, 1 March 2013

Steven Seagal Aikido Master

One of the things that inspires me the most about Steven Seagal was his dedication as a younger man to mastering Aikido. In this interview with The Voice Seagal explains his martial arts journey that led him to embracing Aikido and moving to Japan. As a young man in Japan Seagal trained rigorously and explored all facets of Aikido, including the mystical teachings of the Omoto-kyo religion. 

Seagal had a deep conviction that Aikido needed to work not just in the dojo but also on the street, something that explains how he was able to successfully cross over from the world of Aikido to Hollywood action movie star. Seagal's Aikido in the words of his own students was "severe", his black belt gradings legendarily brutal. While not all Aikidoka will approve of Seagal's contribution through film to the art, his career and example as an Aikido instructor (being known as Take Sensei) is one of the biggest influences in my desire to one day make the transition to Aikido. I love Seagal's description in the interview of the "soft...sublime... and the wrathful" aspects of Aikido. He has shown me that Aikido is able to be a powerful form of self-defence. What Seagal has demonstrated throughout his career (as can be seen be seen in the documentary The Path Beyond Thought) is that "soft" needn't mean weak or ineffective. Aikido as budo is a dynamic martial art.

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