Seagal was born in Lansing, Michigan. A 7th-dan black belt in aikido, he began his adult life as a martial arts instructor in Japan, becoming the first foreigner to operate an aikido dojo in the country. He later moved to Los Angeles, California, where he had the same profession. In 1988, Seagal made his acting debut in Above the Law. By 1991, he had starred in four successful films. In 1992, he played Navy SEAL counter-terrorist expert Casey Ryback in Under Siege. During the latter half of the 1990s, Seagal starred in three more feature films and the direct-to-video film The Patriot. Subsequently, his career shifted to mostly direct-to-video productions. He has since appeared in films and reality shows, including Steven Seagal: Lawman, which depicted Seagal performing his duties as a reserve deputy sheriff.