Steven Seagal once broke Sean Connery’s wrist while training him for a Bond movie

Before he was an action star, Steven Seagal trained Sean Connery for a James Bond movie, and broke his wrist.

steven seagal broke sean connery's wrist

Many people may not know this, but before Steven Seagal’s action movie heyday, he worked as a martial arts instructor and choreographer. Most famously, he was super agent Michael Ovitz’s martial arts teacher. Ovitz, notoriously, thought he could make anyone a movie star, and proved it by securing Steven Seagal a movie deal at Warner Bros, where he made Above the Law… and the rest was history.

Another guy Steven Seagal trained was Sean Connery, who was one of Ovitz’s first major clients. The agent paired Connery up with Seagal to get him into shape for the unofficial James Bond movie, Never Say Never Again. Connery was fifty-two at the time and had a couple of fight sequences in the film, so Seagal was brought in to whip him into shape. One day, while sparring, Seagal broke Connery’s wrist. The urban legend is that Connery did something that made him angry, and the assault was deliberate, but that seems hard to believe. Connery himself was fond of telling the story, always portraying it as an accident, such as in this interview he did with Jay Leno back in the nineties.

“We had this training in the building where I had an apartment, and he was really very good,” Connery says, mentioning that the training was in Aikido. Connery admits he got a little cocky because “I thought I knew what I was doing. The principle is that it’s defence so its a pyramid, and I got a bit flash and I did that (holding arm outside the pyramid) and (miming a chopping motion) he broke my wrist! It was so well put together here that I still have it…broken.” Indeed, Connery tells Leno that twelve years after the incident a doctor told him the wrist was still broken, and maintains it still gave him trouble in certain motions.

It should be said that Connery doesn’t seem all that fazed or even angry in the telling of the story, and at the time Seagal’s ego was in check enough that it (probably) was just that – an accident. Of course, his egomania did get the better of him as time went on, such as an infamous story we’ve written about here that involved him yelling at Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau of all people, and the fact that he only has forty-one minutes of screentime in Under Siege. Whatever the case may be, I maintain that the first five movies Steven Seagal made (Above the Law, Hard to Kill, Marked for Death, Out for Justice and Under Siege) are all pretty awesome, although you can absolutely stop there and – with the possible exception of Executive Decision – pretty much discard everything else he ever did.

Do you think it was an accident that Seagal broke Connery’s wrist, or do you believe the urban legend that Seagal was angry? Let us know in the comments.

About the Author

Chris Bumbray began his career with JoBlo as the resident film critic (and James Bond expert) way back in 2007, and he has stuck around ever since, being named editor-in-chief in 2021. A voting member of the CCA and a Rotten Tomatoes-approved critic, you can also catch Chris discussing pop culture regularly on CTV News Channel.