Steven Seagal is grand marshal for Cave Creek's Fiesta Days
When Steven Seagal got word of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, it hit close to home.
The country has given him many things to be thankful for.
He grew up in Japan and much of his time spent there has formed who he is now - he became an expert and teacher in martial arts, studied Eastern medicine and religion, and learned to play the guitar.
At one point he was one of the biggest action stars in the world, using those skills to fight bad guys on the silver screen. He's released music CDs and played with B.B. King.
Currently he is starring in "Lawman," in its second season on A&E shooting in Maricopa County, as a deputy sheriff under Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
His latest gig is grand marshal for the Fiesta Days Parade on Saturday in Cave Creek. The Republic interviewed Seagal via e-mail about his experiences in Japan and in the Valley:
Question: What were your first thoughts when you heard about the tragedy in Japan?
Answer: I have family, friends and students who live in Tokyo and the Sendai area that fortunately were safe after the devastation of the earthquake and tsunami, but I'm deeply saddened and shocked as we all were, and are, at the destruction of lives and property caused by this tremendous tragic event. I usually visit Japan once or twice a year, and I want to get there soon to visit my family and students.
Q: What were your experiences like there?
A: I was engulfed by Japan's culture, and fell in love with its people, food, way of life, their discipline as well as their devotion to Budo, or the Martial Way.
Q: What part of Japan did you live in?
A: I was living and training in Osaka under one of the top masters of Aikido and calligraphy. It was there that I became fluent in Japanese as well as mastering the art of Aikido. I opened my own dojo in Japan.
Q: Why did you get involved in the martial arts?
A: Like most young people, I got involved in the martial arts to learn to protect myself and to become stronger and more confident, but I soon found that the martial arts also include healing as well as improving one's spiritual strength and fortitude through rigorous, hard training that stays with you throughout your life.
Q: Do you teach Aikido as well?
A: Yes, but it does not matter what martial arts one studies, what matters is who the master is. Instead of spending 10 years learning a different style of fighting, spend 10 years finding the right teacher first.
Q: Why did you decide to get into law enforcement?
A: I believe it's a good way to help people and make the world a better place.
Q: What's it like working under Arpaio?
A: He's not afraid to serve and protect the people and tell the truth. It's been an honor to be able to get out and try and make Maricopa County a better and safer place.
Q: How did the title of grand marshal of the Fiesta Days Rodeo come to you?
A: One of my brothers (fellow co-worker) on the SWAT team asked me, and being that I love rodeos, I felt it would be a great event for me and my family to enjoy as well as a good way for me to serve the community on my down time.