Steven Frederic Seagal is an American action film actor, producer, writer, martial artist, guitarist and a reserve deputy sheriff. A 7th-dan black belt in aikido, Seagal began his adult life as an aikido instructor in Japan. He became the first foreigner to operate an aikido dojo in Japan. He later moved to the Los Angeles, California, area where he made his film debut in 1988 in Above the Law. He became a major action star due to his blockbuster films of the 1990s, such as Under Siege (1992) and Under Siege 2: Dark Territory (1995), where he played Navy SEALs counter-terrorist expert Casey Ryback, but since then starred mainly in direct-to-video action films.
Seagal is also a recording artist and guitarist and the founder of Steven Seagal Enterprises. In addition to his professional achievements, he is also known as an environmentalist, an animal rights activist and a supporter of the 14th Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso, and the Tibetan independence movement.
Seagal, currently a 7th dan degree and Shihan in aikido, moved to Japan in his late teens and became the first foreigner to operate an aikido dojo in Japan. He was trained by Harry Ishisaka and received 1st dan degree or Shodan under the direction of Kochi Tohei. He continued to train in aikido as a student of Seiseki Abe, Koichi Tohei, Kisaburo Osawa, Hiroshi Isoyama and the second doshu Kisshomaru Ueshiba.
At the core of what drives Steven Seagal with all he does – his music, his Martial Arts and his acting – is his commitment to Asian philosophies and religion. As a Buddhist, Zen teacher, and healer, Steven lives by the principles that the development of the physical self is essential to protect the spiritual man. He believes that what he does in his life is about leading people into contemplation to wake them up and enlighten them in some manner. He lived and learned Japanese culture for over 15 years and his spiritual beliefs play a big role in his life. It is what has guided him to not only become a Martial Arts expert but, also a beloved actor, and distinguished musician. Most importantly, it is his genuine care for others that drives him to give unselfishly of his time and financial support to many charities across the world.
Steven Seagal is a versatile talent and an intricate human being, whose passion, selflessness, integrity and character are embodied in his work. To those that know Steven, they will tell you he is a deeply caring and giving individual who is driven to reaching the top of his game in every aspect of his life. To all of us who have enjoyed his movies, listened to his music, seen his Martial Arts expertise and learned about him as a person, we consider ourselves fortunate and are excited about what the future holds.