Without Writing

The art of writing without writing… about fighting.

Steven Seagal… The Man Who Should Fail

This man’s face is too small and vicious for his head

Steven Seagal is one of the great martial arts success stories of the past few decades. Here is a man who studied an- at the time- obscure martial art, became a high-ranking instructor in that art, moved to Hollywood, was discovered, became a star and has since made close to forty movies. He is the star of his own reality TV show, has released two albums of his own music, and is a prominent religious, political and animal rights activist.

Oh wait. I forgot to mention: He’s a fantasist, a bully and a terrible, terrible martial artist. He’s a man who should have failed in life, if anyone should. He simply does not deserve the fame, fortune and public platform that he currently has. He should fail. If there were any justice in the world… he would.

Now, what I just said is in fact self-evident (anyone who has seen Seagal perform… or in fact speak should realise the truth of this) but in the climate in which we find ourselves, where  the prevailing “wisdom” is that Seagal is a “martial arts master” and spiritual guru, my claim qualifies as an extraordinary claim. And as such, it requires very detailed evidence to support it. Well, never let it be said that I do not shoulder my responsibilities:

This is an astronaut.

Point 1: Seagal is a martial artist in the same way that this halibut is an astronaut

Aikido doesn’t work. It’s not useful as a method of fight-training. It’s not martial. (Plus, as a method of improving physical fitness, it is lacking, and as a dance, it’s not particularly aesthetically pleasing. ) And it’s Steven Seagal’s only martial style. Therefore, Seagal doesn’t qualify as a martial artist. The fact that he’s touted as a “master” of Aikido is roughly equivalent to calling him a “master of picking his nose.” Which I’m certain he is.

Some might debate the statement “Aikido doesn’t work”. If they take issue with it, my response is this: Aikido is, at its very very best, a style in which:

1. People practice grasping their training partners in unrealistic and unlikely ways,
2. They then apply some force to their training partners in largely futile directions
3. Their hapless training partners then throw themselves in amazingly extravagant directions, due to the peer-pressure to conform inherent in the atmosphere of the school.

At worst, it’s this. A style in which those being thrown don’t even wait to be touched before flinging themselves into the air.

Here’s a conclusion: This kind of training will not prepare you for violence of any kind.

So Seagal is undeniably the master of a non-martial art… a master of pretending to throw ludicrously compliant, brainwashed people around.

Point 2:  Seagal is a fantasist; he has claimed to have been a CIA agent, as well as claiming to be a qualified police officer, and- let us not forget- a reincarnation of a Tibetan buddhist llama.

In this interview, conducted in the late eighties just before the release of Seagal’s first starring vehicle “Nico: Above the Law”, Seagal makes first dark hints that he- not merely his fictional character in the movie- was a CIA agent.  He swiftly progresses from dark hints to virtually outright claims.

Needless to say, those who have genuinely been in the CIA or involved with the CIA rarely blather on about their exploits to entertainment reporters.

Seagal has a reality TV series, in which he makes the streets safe for decent people. However, this is built on the statement that Seagal is a qualified police officer, which turned out to be untrue. 

Seagal also claims special spooky spiritual powers, and propagates the idea that he is a reincarnated Tibetan Buddhist teacher, in this interview. Note: There’s an excellent analysis of Seagal’s answers to the interview questions here.

All these claims are utterly nonsensical. Seriously. They’re ridiculous as individual claims, but as a whole? How many CIA-agent, part time policeman, reincarnated buddhist teachers are there in the world?

Lastly, he’s recently popped up again, claiming to be responsible for training Anderson Silva and Lyoto Machida to kick properly. Machida and Silva have played along, probably to try to get more favourable mainstream publicity… but real martial commentators have been less charitable to Seagal.

Point 3: Seagal’s a bully.

Despite his lack of martial skill, Seagal’s famous for injuring stuntmen on the sets of his movies, and famous for kicking stunt performers in the groin to “test whether they’re wearing a cup” or not, but humorously he’s also famous for falling foul of the legendary Judo Gene LeBell.

The great commentator, choreographer and all-round martial artist Stephen Quadros gave an interview in which he discussed Seagal’s on-set antics once.

The fine actor John Leguizamo fell afoul of Seagal’s wrath on set, and to his credit isn’t afraid to discuss the incident.

And lastly, the more uplifting story of Gene LeBell’s fracas with Seagal. Here’s Joe Rogan’s excellent rendition. However, it’s reported that LeBell was blacklisted following this incident, which just proves that beating a bully is only a good idea if the bully isn’t an influential individual.

QED, on the bully question.

So there we have it. Seagal is in my opinion a dreadful human being. And worse, he’s a Sofos made good. People like Sofos are dangerous because of their tiny degree of success and influence. Seagal’s more dangerous still because he has succeeded to a ridiculous degree.

Frankly I think  Sofos would win in a fight vs Seagal.

12 responses to “Steven Seagal… The Man Who Should Fail

  1. Peter 2011, December 19 at 8:19 pm

    He looks constipated in that photo…I admit to being enthralled by his early films.
    Anyway, although I was aware of some things (Gene Lebell’s ‘meeting’) there was quite a bit here I didn’t know so thanks for pulling it together.
    I saw watch his DVDs with a more jaundiced eye in future 🙂

    • withoutwriting 2011, December 20 at 1:21 pm

      One thing I left out of the article was: In his early movies, Seagal did an excellent job of “selling” the fake, pantomime moves of Aikido. He made them look more violent, and more practical than they are in reality. (Of course he was aided in this by some very experienced and skilled stunt performers.)

      So, like you, I was also drawn in by his early work. Only subsequent research and personal experience of Aikido led me to re-evaluate my positive reaction to his movies.

      Of course, his later choreographic work is just sh*t. 😀

      As ever, thanks for the comment.

      • scotto 2012, September 26 at 7:42 am

        I’ve noticed that you’re very ‘down’ on aikido in a few comments. Besides aikido’s unfortunate association with Seagal, what don’t you like about it? I hope to god I’m not starting some kind of flame war in asking this!

      • withoutwriting 2012, September 26 at 9:20 pm

        No flame wars allowed on this blog!

        My reasons for stating that Aikido isn’t martial (and isn’t practical) are as follows:

        1. The majority of techniques are impractical; they can only be applied on a compliant training partner, therefore.

        2. There is no sparring or non-compliant aspect to the training. (Tomiki Aikido is an exception in this regard, though the “pure aikido” techniques used in this are still relatively impractical, when compared to techniques from a real grappling art)

        And one more reason I dislike Aikido is the unusually strong self-delusional tendency among Aikidoka regarding how “martial” their art really is. Bit cultish, IMO.

  2. Paragraph Film Reviews 2011, December 21 at 11:34 am

    I don’t know how he’s still managing to get film deals, although as someone who watches some of them I guess I’m fuelling the fire. He’s never had a decent fight, is an oafish mess these days, his ‘cop show’ is absolutely laughable and his recent films are beyond terrible.

    He really has it all going… down the pan… big time!

    • withoutwriting 2011, December 22 at 10:41 am

      Sadly, not going down the pan fast enough!

    • Chuck 2017, March 8 at 10:50 am

      Well people must still be offering him money if he’s still on the scene. I mean, you don’t get anything for nothing in these times. What it all comes down to is the M.A world being punished for it’s delusional thinking based on what is or not is real fighting. Yep! Bruce Lee, his philosophies, his art, as well as his movies, created a monster that is still ongoing to this day. I mean, I can’t believe the crap I read on the internet regarding practitioners and their art . Our style is the best and our style is unbeatable blah! blah! blah! The whole community is a mess and not one I’m willing to ever go back to let alone allowing any of my children to get involved with. My advice? Just stick with the old China/Hong Kong movies (GH films, Shaw Bros etc) Bruce’s films, Jackie’s films, Japanese Chambara movies, Some S.E asian films, and the best thought out Hollywood action/M.A films- John Wick etc and you can’t go wrong. At least you get what you pay for by skilled actors who are TRAINED to entertain without all the real life drama associated with the Martial Arts. Just my thought.

  3. Steven Seagal's Friend 2014, March 17 at 11:18 am

    you are a gay b**ch stop talking s**t what you dont know about I will kill you in one move b***h aikido style motherf**ker me and steven are great friends and your are nothing to me but just another target you are nothing, you have nothing and you are jelous of his power, his martial art skills, his films because you cant make anything remotely similar and most of all because you are a self entitled little s**t you think he deserves to fail well guess what autistic kid you will will fail and never become anything kid.

  4. Anonymous 2014, March 23 at 3:13 am

    I’m in Federal law enforcement in new Orleans I work in fugitive investigations, we were working in Jefferson parish Louisiana 3 years ago, and we were going after a big time criminal that we declared as a federal investigation, it just so happens we asked the Jefferson parish sheriffs office to assist us. There the fat ass was with a bunch of cameras, the producer came up to me and my men and asked us to sign some bull crap agreement not to let Mr Seagal to be in harms way and also to let him run the investigation because it would be better for their ratings. I was like WOW!! Are you f*&king kidding me. I told them basically told fuck off, that this is a federal investigation if you or your cameras get involved I would have them arrested for interfering and that goes for Seagal as well. Can you believe the nerve of this SOB?
    when I said that my deputy chief US marshal went up to JPSO Chief and told him that “he may have been a federal officer in movies and he may know how to beat up somebody but if he endangers me or my men I’ll shoot him myself he ain’t bullet proof.” I told the sheriffs office to keep your boy toy in the office this job is for real cops. He didn’t like that too much but there was really nothing he could do about it.
    My opinion Steven Seagal is one of the biggest assholes in real life.

    • withoutwriting 2014, March 23 at 7:21 pm

      I’ve always wondered what the reaction of law enforcement professionals would be to Seagal’s presence amongst them for the filming of his stupid reality show… Now I know.

      Many thanks for the comment, it’s much appreciated.

      PS: I’ve taken the liberty of anonymizing your details before approving the comment to appear, for your security. You might want to google your name and e-mail address to get an idea of how un-googleproof you are, and which websites you might want to try wiping your own information off of!

      • Chuck 2017, March 8 at 10:55 am

        Tru dat! Wouldn’t want Seagal hunting you down on the mean streets of Louisiana, complete with his practiced Eastwood glare. Hahahahaha!!!!

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