Back in the day when Steven Seagal was in decent shape, made commercially successful movies, and the details of his personal life didn’t overshadow his popularity, people were enthusiastic about his style of aikido.
One could easily say that Seagal was largely responsible for the aikido boom of the 1990’s. Many people got into aikido because of what they saw Seagal doing in his movies.
I wasn’t one of those people.
However, I did appreciate his highly practical approach and, as a law enforcement officer, needed techniques applicable to the human conflict I dealt with every day. What Seagal demonstrated in his earlier movies aligned with what he actually taught in his dojo, both in Japan and the US, and his aikido rankings legitimately come from the Aikikai World Headquarters in Tokyo.
1997 is what I call my ‘year of awakening’ in aikido. I attended some major seminars that helped me make sense of the art and my approach to training.
The month was April. The location was the Santa Barbara Zoological Gardens in California. Four days and no mats. We trained in a grass field. The weather was perfect. Overlooking the ocean on one side and a view of the mountains on the other.
I was aware of the cameras floating around Seagal Sensei as he demonstrated technique and interacted with the students, yet it didn’t really occur to me at the time that the footage would wind up in a documentary.
Or that I would be in the movie.
You see, I was in the documentary serving as Seagal’s demonstration partner, or ‘uke’ in Japanese, as he explains some of the details of a finger-grab wrist lock.
The documentary is out on YouTube and Vimeo. I’ve also got it embedded on Everyday Samurai Life.
Total time on screen: 14 seconds.
Yet things are not so good for Steven Seagal these days. He’s being fined over $330,000 by the regulatory bureaucrats of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
The crime? Exercising his right to free speech.
The SEC cooked up a new regulation, by themselves, to classify crypto-currencies as a security and then penalize people who say or write things about them without adding a legal disclaimer.
The SEC is a legacy of FDR’s Constitution-shredding New Deal brand of fascism that is still festering on the body public. These are the same programs that seized privately held gold, put Americans of Japanese descent into concentration camps, and corrupted power into the hands of the general government like no other modern president.
FDR put free speech in the crosshairs and it’s been under constant threat ever since. In his 1941 ‘Four Freedoms’ address, FDR claimed the right to use “the sovereignty of government to save government” from anyone who doesn’t give “full cooperation” to whatever hair-brained schemes the politicians and bureaucrats came up with.
How did a nation, based on consent, of the people, by the people, and for the people, get turned into government power wielded for the sake of government?
We The People have forgotten that government is a means and not an end. The Declaration of Independence makes it clear: governments are instituted with the consent of the governed to secure inalienable rights, including life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
It’s easy to see how people can get hypnotized by mass media, public schooling, and political fanfare into forgetting the purpose of government, as well as just how far things have strayed from Constitutional order.
Yet awakening to the truth is possible.
Awareness is the key in martial arts as well as political economy. Awareness is also the key to living a more successful and happy life.
Gaining awareness is easier when guided by those who have credible expertise. That is why we show respect to those who have ‘come before’ with the honorific title of sensei.
To see Seagal Sensei’s aikido in action, and a short cameo by yours truly, in addition to learning more about his SEC troubles, check out this article:
To your victorious life!
P.S. If you want to learn the politics, economics, and history outside the government approved propaganda go to the Liberty Dojo.