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The Top Seven Awesome Things You Didn't Know About Steven Seagal

by nathanbloch   March 13, 2009 at 10:00AM  |  Views: 62,580

Steven Seagal has been a cultural icon representing everything squinty and badass about action films for the past 20 years. A lot of people think they know everything there is to know about this mysterious man of part-time law enforcement and energy drinks, but the truth of the matter goes deeper. Much deeper.

Source: A&E TV

By Nathan Bloch

7. Steven Seagal speaks fluent Japanese


Source: Nathan Shanahan/Getty Images

It’s pretty impressive that the man spent ten years in Japan and became a 7th dan black belt aikido master, and then came to America to teach overprivileged Hollywood insiders like Michael Ovitz the craft of kickin’ butt.

On top of all that, the man speaks fluent Japanese. Some have suggested that Seagal isn’t the real deal, that he’s just a fat, bloated, cowardly sack of crap who runs like a girl and is incapable of doing any of his own stunts or even telling the truth on a regular basis. To those apostates I would reply: Sayonara, pussies. Seagal has your number – and yes, he can count that high.

In Japanese, too.

6. Jean-Claude Van Damme challenged Steven Seagal to a duel


Source: Evan Agostini/Getty Images

Okay, so he didn’t challenge Seagal to a duel, exactly…no knives or rapiers or guns would be involved. But he most definitely did challenge him to a fight. I believe his exact words were: “I'm not a fighter, I'm a lover. If somebody's going to speak bad about me, I will walk away. But if a guy like Steven Seagal slaps me once, I will slap him twice as hard. Life is full of violence.” Wow, thems ain’t lovin’ words, thems be fightin’ words.

Would this be the all-time best showdown ever in the history of multicellular life on planet earth? Perhaps. Few real or fictional fights can compare. A few that would be in the running: Batman vs. Superman, Alien vs. Predator, Abraham Lincoln vs. Barack Obama, or Mike Tyson vs. a younger, even crazier Mike Tyson. Otherwise JCVD vs. Steven Seagal takes the cake, hands down.

An interesting side note to this fact is that after Tyson had his butt handed to him on a balsa wood platter by Lennox Lewis, Seagal manned up and did what had to be done: he challenged Lewis to a boxing match, even promising to follow boxing’s rules and leave his lethal weapons (his right and left legs) out of the fight. Lewis is still contemplating the challenge. It’s this blogger’s opinion that Lewis is waiting for Seagal to turn 70 before taking him up on his offer.

5. A mystical dog saved Steven Seagal’s dojo in Japan


Source: TAO CHUAN YEH/Getty Images

How much this is truth and how much this has now become Steven Seagal lore is hard to say, but it’s important as part of the creation myth of Seagal’s greatness. Among the great origin stories – the Popol Vuh, the Koran, the Bible – Seagal’s has some of the best stories, full of the richest metaphors.

Legend has it that while living in Japan and training in aikido, Seagal adopted a stray white dog. A few days later the dog began barking at him and brought his attention to the fact that his dojo was on fire. Seagal got help and successfully extinguished the fire, but the dog was nowhere to be found. He never saw this mystical white dog again.

The lesson of this story is that magical things involving mystical animals are no big thang to Steven Seagal, and if that dog hadn’t warned him about the fire then another, way more mystical, even whiter dog (or wolf or bear or tiger) would have warned him.

Basically, it’s really hard to burn down Steven Seagal’s dojo, so don’t even try.

4. Steven Seagal was a 17th century monk in a past life


Source: John Heller/Getty Images

This, too, is a very difficult fact to verify. Seagal has explained his beliefs regarding his past life: “My old Buddhist teachers have identified the person I was in a past life. I was a 17th-century monk called Chungdrag Dorje. I believe this is true, but I don't dwell on it.”

And that’s the kind of modesty you come to expect from Steven Seagal. Here’s a guy who’s been told, point blank: You were a big friggin’ deal 400 years ago, a really holy son of a bitch. Anybody else would blow it out of proportion and write a memoir. Not Steven Seagal. Guy just takes it in stride and tells reporters every now and then – and never dwells on it. I found out I used to whistle when I was a baby and I still haven’t shut up about that.

Some of you cynics out there have probably already written some snarky comments about Seagal’s past life, but before you hit the post button you should read on. Turns out Seagal’s spiritual mentor, or instructor, or whatever – Penor Rinpoche – is the person responsible for discovering the secrets of Seagal’s personal history. He said, “When I first met [Steven Seagal], I felt he had the special qualities of a tulku within him,” but Seagal “has not undergone the lengthy process of study and practice necessary to fully realize what I view as his potential for helping others.”

The take home message here is that Steven Seagal was a big friggin’ deal 400 years ago. And he’s not exactly chopped liver now, either, even if he’s not the most helpful person on the face of the planet according to Pinot whoever. What were you in your past life? A squirrel?