Seagal moved to Japan at some point between the ages of 19 and 21 with his father who was visiting for military purposes, and met karate masters and decided to remain in Japan. He received his 1st dan degree (shodan) under the direction of Koichi Tohei. He continued to train in aikido as a student of Seiseki Abe, Tohei (whose aikido organization, Ki Society, Seagal refused to join in favor of staying with the Aikikai), Kisaburo Osawa, Hiroshi Isoyama and the second Dōshu Kisshomaru Ueshiba. He attained a 7th dan degree and Shihan in aikido, he also holds black belts in Karate, Judo, and Kendo and became the first foreigner to operate an aikido dojo in Japan.
April 10, 1952
Lansing, Michigan, United States
I am hoping that I can be known as a great writer and actor some day, rather than a sex symbol.
A 7th-dan black belt in aikido, Seagal began his adult life as a martial arts instructor in Japan.