Steven Seagal’s Aikido – Real or Fake?

Do you want to know the real Aikido? I have watched a video of Steven Seagal, a famous American action star, demonstrating his Aikido skill in front of a Russian crowd. According to the author, Show Word, this video is one of the best demonstration of Aikido in self defense. Now, let us examine the video if this is true.

From 0:00 to 0:32 is a demonstration of a defense against a series of two punches on the face. You will notice here that his first reaction to the attacker’s first punch is a stretched arm block, a basic move in Wing Chun Kung Fu.

Normally, in this case, Aikido technique is applied immediately after the first blow. This video  about reacting to an initial attack is a good example.

Going back to Seagal’s video, Steven applied Aikido on the attacker’s second punch by neutralizing it using a variation of tenchi nage or heaven and earth throw.

The next routine, from 0:33 to 0:43 is not a clear demonstration of proper arm lock. He modified it by adding a strike on the neck before putting down the attacker. The real Aikido is the ultimate in ethical defense. You should not cause injury to your attacker.

The next routine, from 0:44 to 0:54 is a variation of irimi nage characterized by  that dynamic reversal of the motion. The only problem here is that he put the attacker in a very strenuous position before putting him down, a technique which is not allowed in ethical Aikido.

The next routine, from 0:55 to 1:24 is an application of a basic arm lock against an armed attack. Steven make it sure here that at least he performed a real Aikido technique.


Let us read some interesting comments about this video.


Jesus Contreras

“He uses these skills in the buffet line”

A very funny comment. People expect that martial arts practitioner should be in a physically fit condition.


Harry McCartney

“after watching one of Steven Segal’s gun defense techniques I was attacked a couple of weeks later and I realized what I saw him do it saved my family. thank you Stephen”

Here is a good commenter who was able to apply what he learned from the video regardless of the originality of the technique. Steven’s modified version although quite unethical is still practical.


James Matthews

“I know people talk shit but this guy knows his stuff. He was the first foreigner to open a dojo in Japan. The Japanese would never allow gaijin to open a dojo unless he knew what he was doing.”

I think this person is right. The Japanese would never allow Steven to open a dojo unless he knew what he was doing. Perhaps the Japanese did not mind the kind of Aikido Steven is practising.



“All these moves are easy when you rehearse them a dozen times. Won’t work in real bare knuckle combat”

That is only true if you will learn by memorizing techniques. Aikido Masters advise students to understand the basic principles behind like blending, leading, and extending.



“More like rehearsed dance moves than any fighting I have seen.”

Performing a routine in Aikido is like rehearsing until you achieve perfection of a certain technique. You will notice that there were a lot of kids during that demonstration and free fighting techniques are not recommended for beginners.


Big Guns

“can aikido still be practiced this day and age???? It has no relevance to self defence what so ever!! Maybe some sort of martial dance???”

The importance of Aikido to self-defense is its highest ethical value. It is purely self-defense. There is no attack in Aikido. You must defend yourself without hurting others. The philosophy behind implies that you are defending against a  close relative, for example your brother. There is nothing wrong with Martial Arts as a form of self-defense but the application of attacking moves while depending yourself might kill your attacker, in this case your brother. Spiritually speaking, all the people in the world are our brothers and sisters.



In my own honest opinion, Steven’s video could be one of the best demonstration as far as self-defense is concern. But if the founder of Aikido, Master Uyeshiba were alive today, he might not agree because Steven modified it to make it easier for the practitioner to defend himself at the expense of hurting the attacker which is not consistent with the founder’s primary objective.

The ultimate merit of this video is its practical application in our daily lives. It happened on one commenter who was able to save his family after recalling the techniques taught by Steven. For those who are not familiar with Aikido, these demonstrations open a new door for a unique approach to self-defense.

I would recommend this video for those who want to study “modernized Aikido” as performed by Steven. You can compare his style with the original Aikido and find out what could be easier for you.

A good question here is:

“It is easy to throw an attacker in motion by blending your energy towards and lead him to that direction. But how would you throw an attacker if both of you are in equilibrium especially if he is stronger than you?”

The answer is by applying moments (Physics). In this situation, you need to step aside a little without affecting your balance or center of gravity so that you can extend your arm to produce a torque that is higher than the attacker’s torque thus producing an unbalance force that causes its motion.


image via pixabay

video via youtube








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