How many black belts does Steven Seagal really have?

Steven Seagal is a great many things: Actor, blues musician, a reportedly difficult coworker, and possibly useless in an actual fight. Today, Seagal's "special envoy" position with Russia might be his main claim to fame — apart from the assorted Me Too allegations against him, as Vox reminds us. However, back in the days when his notoriety didn't revolve largely around the letters "W," "T," and "F," he had some fame as a martial artist. Although he has been known to spin the occasional tall tale about his abilities and role in training assorted famous fighters, his status as a dude who is very good at aikido is rarely disputed. Should his claims of aikido royalty be taken at face value, though? Does he have the black belt (or, better yet, belts) to prove his skills, or is he one of those martial arts actors who don't even have a black belt?

Steven Seagal has surprisingly many black belts

Whatever your opinion of Steven Seagal may otherwise be, his black belts are very real. Yes, that's "belts" in plural: Though Seagal is mainly known for his aikido wizardry, Biography tells us he's also the proud owner of black belts in karate, kendo and judo. Seagal has been heavily into martial arts since he was a small child, and he moved in Japan when he was 17 to "study Zen" and hone his martial arts skills. He ended up spending around 15 years in Asia doing all sorts of Steven Seagal things, such as "studying Eastern philosophy" and working as a martial arts choreographer ... all of which might actually explain a lot of his "dresses in weird pseudo-Asian costumes and acts like some sort of cowboy monk" vibe.