Steven Seagal versus Judo Gene LeBell
Their showdown has reached mythic proportions to the point where even comedians who have nothing to do with these two guys are talking about their dust-up. Joe Rogan has talked about it. Ronda Rousey has talked about it. Ariel Helwani, the MMA journalist has tried to get the story from both Judo Gene LeBell and Steven Seagal.
And the funny thing is if you Google Steven Seagal versus Gene LeBell, the first thing you get is a description of the conflict with Steven Seagal. But maybe you stumbled onto this video and you haven’t heard the story about the dust-up between Steven Seagal and Judo Gene LeBell. I mean, hey man, it’s possible. I was talking to my little brother about this video and he’s in the music, he didn’t even know who Seagal or Judo Gene LeBell were. but I mean this is the guy who got to beat Michael Jai White. It’s crazy how the universe works, ain’t it? But anyway, so like I said, maybe you’re like my little brother and you haven’t heard this story. So allegedly, Steven Seagal and Judo Gene LeBell were having a conversation on the set of a movie. Some of the stuntmen had been complaining about Seagal hitting them.
And that’s why Seagal and Judo Gene LeBell weren’t talking in the first place. Well, somehow the conversation goes to Seagal talking about how he has this move and no one can choke him out. This move will get him out of any chokehold. Well, Judo Gene LeBell says, “well, okay, Steven, let’s see it”. And then he puts Steven Seagal in a chokehold and Seagal hits Judo Gene LeBell in the balls as hard as he can.
Well, Judo Gene LeBell sinks in the choke even deeper and then Seagal goes to sleep. And while he’s out, Steven Seagal pooped his pants or he pissed himself. Or no, he didn’t go to sleep, he tapped out but then he got up and people noticed that he shat himself as he’s trying to waddle his way to the bathroom. And I mean, can you see the problem here? Like, how come the details keep changing with this story. If a guy gets choked out and then he poops his pants, I mean, you think the story wouldn’t change so much, right? Like, it would stay consistent, right?
Well, see, the details about if Seagal peed or pooped, they’re a little sketchy because it turns out that this story didn’t actually happen the way people have been telling it and you’re probably asking, well, Prince, how do you know any of this? Well, it’s because Stephen Lambert was there to witness what really happened between Seagal and Gene LeBell.
Stephen Lambert, he’s a guy that I mentioned in some of my other videos where I say that he’s one of the first Kung Fu guys to really break into Hollywood as a stuntman. Now if you were into the whole 80s ninja craze movies, then you probably saw a lot of Stephen Lambert’s work. Now over the last year Stephen Lambert has been in a few YouTube videos and podcasts talking about this incident and even wrote about it in his book from the streets of Brooklyn to the halls of Hollywood. So I believe this happened on the set of Out For Justice, where Stephen Lambert and Judo Gene LeBell, both have uncredited roles. Conrad Palmisano was the stunt coordinator on the project and that’s important because whenever Steven Seagal is asked about this incident, his response is always, Oh, that’s a lie. Gene LeBell is lying. Just ask Conrad Palmisano.
What’s up, guys? I got a quick update to the video. So it turns out everyone who’s been saying that this happened on the set of Out for Justice was wrong. It was actually marked for death but I noticed that in the credits are Lincoln Simon and Stephen Lambert were both listed. Conrad Palmisano was the second crew director and the stunt coordinator and Gene LeBell has an uncredited role as a stuntman in the film and that lines up with the timeline for all of the stuff that happens with Steven Seagal getting called out and all the drama that went down in black belt magazine. But you guys haven’t gotten to that part of the video yet.
But anyway, Stephen Lambert says he was coming out of his trailer with another stun man Lincoln Simon when he saw Gene LeBell go to introduce himself to Steven Seagal, who was flanked by his two bodyguards. As Steven and Lincoln are approaching them, Gene LeBell and Steven Seagal are having a conversation and at this point in time, they had never met each other. Well, that conversation led to them talking about martial arts and at some point, Gene LeBell shares a technique that he likes to use. Steven, being like most martial arts people, tells him how it’ll never work. And then Steven Seagal says he has a 6th sense that it will allow him to escape from any kind of a hold.
So this kind of surprised me but Seagal asked Gene if he would show him a hold so that he could demonstrate how he’d get out of it. So this being just a demonstration, Gene LeBell walks behind Seagal and he starts to put his arms around him as if he were going to perform a rear choke. But as soon as Gene got his hands in position as if he were gonna walk through the technique, Steven Seagal immediately sidestepped at full speed, reaches up and slammed his arm right down between Gene’s legs.
He hit Gene LeBell so hard in the balls that Stephen Lambert says that Gene LeBell’s feet left the ground. But here’s the thing, Seagal hit Gene LeBell, a full blast in the nuts with the back of his forearm but Gene LeBell still had his hands in place to perform that choke hold. So when Gene’s feet finally touched the ground, he immediately did a side step of his own which put him in position to sweep Steven Seagal off his feet and then slam him to the ground. Stephen Lambert said Seagal must have went flying at least 5 feet in the air before he slammed down on his back. He hit the ground full force with no match like a sack of potatoes. Seagal’s bodyguards were looking at each other like they didn’t know what to do when Seagal hit the floor. They then looked at Seagal and he shook his head at them as if to say, no, don’t do it. Gene LeBell then put his hand up to help Seagal up as if nothing happened and goes, and if I did that to you, let me show you what you could do. Like, he’s going on with the demonstration like the whole exchange it never even happened.
So Gene was attempting to demonstrate a choke so that Seagal could show him how he would escape it but it turned into Gene LeBell taking a forearm to the balls and Steven Seagal getting slammed on his back. And everyone watching this is kind of in shock and Stephen Lambert goes off to tell Conrad Palmisano that Steven Seagal and Gene LeBell are about to have a scrap by the trailers.
Now like I said, that’s important to remember because Seagal is always telling people to ask Conrad Palmisano about the incident but Conrad Palmisano wasn’t even there. He was with the director trying to unload a camera. The entire thing felt like it happened in a fraction of a second according to Stephen Lambert, like it was over as soon as it started. But that’s not what people heard when the story somehow leaked out from the set. So that raises the question as to how did a misunderstanding that led to Steven Seagal getting slammed on his back by Judo Gene LeBell morph into the version that everyone repeats where Steven Seagal was choked out by Gene LeBell and then soiled his pants. Ding, ding! Well, that’s the million dollar question.
Stephen Lambert wrote in his book detailing the incident that within weeks Steven Seagal and Gene LeBell’s conflict was the talk of the stuntman in martial arts circles in Hollywood. When he tried to tell people that Seagal never got put to sleep or went into convulsions or crapped himself, well, people didn’t care what he actually witnessed. They just kept on telling the version of the story that Joe Rogan and Ronda Rousey and Kevin Hart and everyone else has repeated. And why did everyone believe this version of the events? Well, because Steven Seagal is an absolute monster. Oh, oh, wait a minute. My bad y’all, that’s a different video. No, let’s think about this.
Who was spreading this story? It was stunt guys and martial arts guys. And do you know who was a martial artist around that time who was connected with people in the film industry? Bob Wall. The same Bob Wall who Steven Seagal made sure to call out in that video that he did with Jesse Enkamp. You know who else Seagal called out in that video as a liar? Judo Gene LeBell.
Now, I’m not saying that the late Bob Wall was behind this version of the story or how it spread but this is around the time that Bob Wall and Steven Seagal had a really big beef. Steven Seagal made a comment in one of his first interviews in Black Belt magazine, where people interpreted it as him issuing an open challenge. Seagal touched on this in his conversation with Jesse and Oliver, and remember how Seagal said that no one stepped up to the challenge? Well, that’s not true. See, Seagal allegedly made some negative comments about Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris.
Now, I’ve never seen any of the Bruce Lee stuff that he may have said but I did notice back then that Seagal wasn’t saying anything about having met Bruce Lee when he was younger. And the worst that I’d seen about Chuck Norris was him saying that he didn’t like Chuck Norris movies. Now at this point in time, a Chuck Norris movie would do well to make $10 million and a Steven Seagal movie would make like $40 million.
So there were people who didn’t like Seagal taking shots at Chuck Norris and Bob Wall was number one in that crowd. Bob Wall actually did challenge Steven Seagal and he put together a group of martial artists known as The Dirty Dozen, who all were willing to fight Steven Seagal in a sanctioned exhibition bout. Some of those guys didn’t actually have beef with Seagal. They were just fighters and were willing to step in a ring to see what he had and those guys included Bill “Superfoot” Wallace and Benny “The Jet” Urquidez.
Bob Wall recruited Gene LeBell to be part of that group but LeBell backed out because he said this whole thing with Seagal hurt his career. And that brings us to an interesting part of the story, how Seagal wanted to burry the story along with Judo Gene LeBell’s career. The whole thing about Steven Seagal getting choked out and crapping himself has caused Steven Seagal a lot of embarrassment. But the thing is, there’s a reason that people would so readily believe this story. Seagal does have a history of hitting stuntmen. Think about the version of the story that Kevin Hart told he started out saying that a stuntman told him how Seagal has a bad habit of hitting people on set.
Did you know that when Steven Seagal made the movie On Deadly Ground that a stuntman who didn’t know about the incident told Seagal that he’d been trained by Gene LeBell during his interviews. Seagal had a big smile when that guy was hired and he made sure to go extra rough on him in their fight scenes. I mean, like, that’s not even professional at all. People can get seriously hurt like that.
Even Stephen Lambert, the guy who came clean about all of this nearly had his arm pulled out of socket because Steven Seagal decided that he was going to change the choreography during their fight scene without telling anyone, including Stephen Lambert.
And when I checked a Facebook group made up of members of stunts unlimited, a stunt man’s group, I couldn’t find a single positive comment about Steven Seagal and a lot of the older members in that group probably worked with Seagal on some of his projects. I got the story about Bruce Lee and Gene LeBell in The Green Hornet from an older guy in that Facebook group. So, a lot of people don’t like Seagal and it’s not because of some CIA conspiracy or very powerful people being paid off to say bad things about him, it is because he’s really a shady dude. Like, how he tried to bury Gene LeBell’s career over an incident that was his fault in the first place. So like I was saying, multiple times Seagal has tried to arrange to have Stephen Lambert come clean and tell the story. His friend Ron Balicki, Dan Inosanto’s son-in-law and good old Conrad Palmisano who wasn’t even there to witness the incident had always been part of these projects.
According to Lambert, every time they try and film whatever this project is supposed to be, it turns into trashing Gene LeBell’s reputation. And I’m not sure what the beef is between Ron Balicki and Gene LeBell, or if he’s just sticking up for his friend Steven Seagal, but when I tried looking into this stuff for a video that I meant to do last year, I found a rather lengthy Facebook post by Ron Balicki that was questioning everything about Gene LeBell and calling him out as all kinds of frauds and liars.
Now if you also consider the Conrad Palmisano, a guy who was a stunt coordinator, is also involved in this drama, well, you can start to see why Gene LeBell didn’t want to be involved with The Dirty Dozen. If you’re not understanding the connection, Conrad Palmisano would be the person in charge of hiring stuntmen for different projects. Even though Gene LeBell was a member of the Stuntmen’s Association, it meant that he might have a hard time getting hired on a job if the stunt coordinator or someone with pool wasn’t also a member of that same association.
So like I said, all the Steven Seagal stuff had a negative impact on his career and as we’ve seen in my most recent Steven Seagal video, I don’t think Seagal was above crying and Conrad Palmisano to put out the word to his friends that Gene LeBell was difficult on set and they shouldn’t hire him. Now I can’t remember who I heard this from, but someone in the industry caught cap on this whole Gene LeBell-Steven Seagal’s story because they said if Gene LeBell actually fought Seagal on set and made him crap his pants, it would probably shut down production for the day. LeBell would have been fired and he would have had a hard time getting hired for other projects once the word got out that he was fighting the star of the movie and choking him out to sleep.
And I’m not sure why no one brings this up when they talk this stuff about how Gene LeBell slammed Bruce Lee or he put him in a fireman’s carry or whatever they claim happened in their so-called fight on the set of The Green Hornet, and I’ve got an update on all of that stuff too. But, I mean, all of this just goes to show that people like making up these stories and spreading them for whatever reason and I don’t know. Gene LeBell also has a tendency to lean into that stuff now but back in the 90s, he was really trying to distance himself from all of these stories.
Now the reason he’s leaning into it now is because he’s an old man. He was teaching grappling and if he was doing any work on movies or tv, it was because he’s Judo Gene LeBell, an old guy in the industry who’d earned his stripes. But I believe him that all of this stuff made things hard on him back when Steven Seagal was a big box office action movie star.
Do you want to know something that I’ve noticed when it comes to Steven Seagal? It’s how the truth is almost always a better story than the lie that Seagal likes to spread. Seagal is always trying to have the truth come out that he didn’t get choked to sleep and crap his pants but he doesn’t want people to know that the whole thing was his fault or that he got slammed hard on his back after showing how great of an Aikido master he is. And I don’t know what it is about Steven Seagal that he has this inability to accept his losses like the rest of us. I mean, I thought taking an L over and over again was what would eventually make someone a great martial artist. Professor Cheng Man-Ching has a famous saying that goes something like this, “learning real Kung Fu skill is to invest in loss”. And the first time I tried to spar with a boxer, I couldn’t hit the dude. The first time I did Sanda rounds with my Tai Chi teacher, who had a few Sanda tournaments under his belt, he slammed me over and over again. I think he may have did a couple of WWE finishers on me. It was a very humbling experience.
Steven Seagal though, he’s invincible in all of his movies. He never gets hit. In his Aikido demonstrations, he’s untouchable. The one time he actually shows that he’s not the perfect martial artist, he tries to bury the story instead of embracing the truth and there’s nothing wrong with admitting that you had a less than gracious moment. It’s part of Buddhism but Seagal seems to lack that ability. Even in his old age, it’s just one of the many problems with Steven Seagal that I’ve talked about here on YouTube. Like I said, he’s a bit of an enigma and that he’s worshiped by his fans and Aikido students who see him as being some representative, who legitimizes their style, but at the same time he’s this problematic guy, who’s propped up on a bunch of lies that always trace back to him. And it’s the reason why he’s his own worst enemy.
And I know that there are people out there who want to prove to me that he’s completely legit and he has all this great stuff when it comes to martial arts that I really need to listen to. But I’m going to stick with Michael Jai White and say that a real lifelong martial artist would take better care if they want to represent their self as a lifelong representative of the martial way. So don’t be like Steven Seagal. That means that you need to keep training, remember to breathe, and come holler at me on the next video.
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