Giving Seagal His Due

TPM Reader WL tells me that whatever nonsense Steven Seagal is involved in now, whatever warlords he’s chilling with and whatever reincarnated Lama he is, when it comes to pure martial arts, the guy was the real deal …

As an old martial artist, I followed the career of Steven Seagal from the beginning. He is actually a pretty elite talent, having been the first American ever to be certified to teach Aikido in Japan; this is a pretty big deal in the martial arts.

When he came to Hollywood, he did meet with some success, married Kelly LeBrock (the gorgeous woman in Weird Science), and then began to be seduced by that success. His marriage crumbled, and he really hasn’t had a decent movie project since Under Siege I/II in the mid-90s. I think for a while his ego got the better of him, as can happen to anyone in that environment, but I’ve gotten the impression he might have gotten back ahold of himself as time has passed. But as anyone can tell you, once you have been at the top, it is hard to let go, and he has to make his money somewhere.

With his movie career, I’m sure he has tons of contacts around the world, and lots of name recognition. Who knows what sorts of projects he is really involved in, and what projects are just using his name for their own purposes giving him a few bucks on the side. I’m sure there are lots of Republican groups that might parlay that into publicity for their own causes, although Steven doesn’t strike me as the Ted Nugent type. What I can tell you is that as a martial artist, it was not just movie stuff; he was among the elite in that arena, whatever his other flaws are, and it wasn’t just movie magic.