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.