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  • "Το budo δεν είναι το να ρίχνουμε τον αντίπαλο με τη δύναμή μας. Ούτε είναι ένα εργαλείο για να οδηγήσουμε τον κόσμο σε καταστροφή από τα όπλα. Το αληθινό budo είναι να δεχθούμε το πνεύμα του Σύμπαντος, να κρατήσουμε την ειρήνη στον κόσμο, να παράγουμε, να προστατεύουμε και να καλλιεργούμε σωστά, όλα τα πράγματα στη φύση" Μorihei Ueshiba
  • "Θεωρώ πιο γενναίο εκείνον που κυριαρχεί στα πάθη του από εκείνον που κυριαρχεί στους εχθρούς του. Η δυσκολότερη νίκη είναι εκείνη ενάντια στον ίδιο σου τον εαυτό" Αριστοτέλης
  • Keep One Point
  • Relax Completely
  • Keep Weight Underside
  • Extend Ki

MEETING STEVEN SEAGAL

On September 16th 2004, I flew from Athens to Sofia, Bulgaria. I was going to attend a seminar with Steven Seagal sensei, 7th DAN Aikikai. I am referring to the famous actor. I was informed about this seminar by my friend Kamen Radev, vice president of the Bulgarian Aikido and Ju-Jitsu Federation. I have been to Sofia (the name is Greek and means wisdom) a lot of times, most of them to attend aikido seminars. I’ve always had a nice time visiting this city; the Bulgarian aikidokas are really good. And nice people too. So on Saturday the 18th I found myself sitting seiza, on the floor of a basketball court. Everything was organized very well and all the trainees seemed impatient for the seminar to start. We sat seiza for about 29 minutes when Seagal sensei entered the tatami. We bowed and he immediately started the seminar. He is a tall, big buy, about 2 meters with very long arms. He looks better up close than in his films. He is very serious when he teaches. He speaks very clearly for an American and he doesn’t say a lot. He separated the black belts from the white ones and showed different techniques to the seniors and the beginners. The techniques for the black belts were exactly the same as the ones he does in his films, against kicks, punches, knives etc. Before that, I had the impression that what he did in his films was a kind of choreography. I was wrong. He executed the techniques the same way he executed them in the films, EXACTLY the same, force-wise and speed-wise. Everybody was impressed. The last 30 minutes of the three-hour seminar we sat down and he wanted us to ask him questions. The general idea of his answers was that he is not at all a violent person; he is a peaceful man who was asked to spread the art of aikido, internationally. Something he did very successfully through his films, especially the first five, if I can recall. He said that he has also trained in judo, kung fu and two different schools of sword, for which he is a certified teacher. Aikido-wise, his posture is a little bit different than the usual; his feet are not in a straight line. The weight of his body is distributed on both legs, which are actually bent in the knees. His style is quite dynamic but the Bulgarians are good ukes, so nobody was hurt, even though he was slamming them on the mat.
At the end of the seminar we took a few photos with him and then some of us gave him presents. I presented him with a picture book in English and Greek language with photos of the beautiful Greek country, which he seemed to like it a lot. He confided in me that he would like to come to Greece sometime, so of course I invited him. We have many fans of his here, not only people who train in aikido but also action-movies lovers. Another remarkable thing is that before he left, he shook hands with each and every one of the practitioners. After that, we sat seiza, we bowed and he left with his company of actors. Later I heard that he was shooting a film in Sofia. Everybody enjoyed the seminar very much, not to mention that is was for FREE!!! I have to thank Steven Seagal sensei for that. Also, I would like to thank Georgi Zarkov, the President of the Bulgarian Aikido and Ju-Jitsu Federation and my friend Kamen Radev for being so helpful to me and because they had organized and arranged everything so well. It was an unforgettable experience, which I think you’ll get to share if Seagal sensei comes to Greece sometime. See you on the mat…

Babis Keranis Sensei
President of the Hellenic Aikido Association-Fukushinkan Dojo, Athens Greece
5th dan So Hombu Aikikai Japan, Shidoin
Technical Advisor and Chief Instructor of the Hellenic Aikido Association