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  1. shironinja is offline
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    Posted On:
    10/20/2004 10:15am

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    Count Dante

    "Meat Shake" posted the following image in another thread:
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    Now or never.
  2. shironinja is offline
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    Posted On:
    10/20/2004 10:16am

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    I did a search on Bullshido but could not find any other information on him.

    So I went to the Internet. Here is what I found and chosen to post as you may also find it interesting!

    What do you think -- could he have been an early founder of anti-bullshido or did his attempts at providing useful skills go awry?

    Born John Keehan, he trained under various martial arts masters during the infancy of organized American martial arts in the mid 20th century. Most notable of the early masters he trained under was sensei Robert Trias. Keehan, after gaining his black belt in karate went on to become a highly skilled karateka and sensei producing many highly skilled teachers.

    John Keehan was the co-founder of the United States Karate Association and served as the Head Instructor for the USKA until 1962. He left that organization in 1964 to form the World Karate Federation.

    Keehan grew disillusioned with conventional karate instruction's focus on ceremony, tradition and protocol over raw effectiveness and began developing his own style that he would promote as "street-effective". Through these efforts, he developed a heavily condensed but effective system that is now known as the Dan-te system, Dance of Death or sometimes improperly (given Keehan's dislike of traditional kata) the Kata-Dante. Theoretically, by learning all of the steps of this Dance of Death, you were an effective fighting master.

    During the mid 60s, John Keehan abrubptly changed his name to Count Juan Raphael Dante and began heavily promoting himself via comic book ads as Deadliest Man Alive. One had only to mail order for his instructional booklet The Worlds Deadliest Fighting Secrets (in which he outlined the Dance of Death) and they would also receive a free Black Dragon Fighting Society membership card. The Black Dragon Fighting Society founded by Count Dante is an American martial arts organization and has no connection with and should not be confused with the Japanese Black Dragon Society, an ultranationalist society during the 1930s and 1940s.

    Keehan explained the name change by stating that his parents fled Spain during the Spanish Civil War changed their names, and covered their nobility connections in order to effectively hide in America.

    In Chicago, Dante co-promoted America's first full contact style martial arts tournament.

    Dante drew an enmity from many of the Martial Arts traditionalists (many of whom were non-asian as well as Asian) who believed that he was destroying tradition and respectability. Although extremely campy by today's standards, the famous Deadliest Man Alive comic book ad reinforced this image. Many also felt that he was defiling the art by having "undesirables" as students. During that period of nationwide racial strife, Dante was one of the first American sensei to openly accept Blacks and other minorities as students. Admittedly, however, Dante also had many gang members and mercenary types as students. He also was vocal about how he felt that the Asian community was only willing to teach "watered-down" martial arts to outsiders or non-asians. During this period, Dante, also admittedly was charged with attempted arson when he and an accomplice (while under the influence of alcohol) were arrested while taping dynamite caps to a Chicago dojo. Dante explained this as the result of a disagreement with the dojo's owner over payment for a tournament that Dante had arranged there. The various enmities culminated in the Dojo War incident of 1970 where Dante and some of his students went to a rival Dojo of the Green Cobra Hall to discuss a peaceful settlement. Upon entering the school, they were apparently attacked by the rival Dojo's students. The brief battle resulted in the death of one of Dante's friends and fellow sensei, Jim Koncevic. As a result of this incident, Dante became much more subdued in his activities but nonetheless, he was officially disowned by the rest of the traditional martial arts community.

    Count Dante died in his sleep of internal hemorrhaging caused by a bleeding ulcer on May 25, 1975. The Black Dragon Fighting Society that he founded has since then been under the directorship of his personally chosen protege and successor, Grandmaster William V. Aguiar. It is currently headquartered in Fall River, Massachusetts

    There is also a rock band that is named in honor of Count Dante. Count Dante and the Black Dragon Fighting Society.
    source: http://encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com/Count%20Dante

    The Fall River location may now be gone. I could not locate more than minimal information on the internet. Possibly at:

    281 S Main St
    Fall River
    MA 02721 USA
    Now or never.
  3. shironinja is offline
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    Posted On:
    10/20/2004 10:17am

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    Also of interest is that there is an Ashida Kim reference to having known this "Count". Very amusing:

    My Dear Count,

    Thank you so much for your e-mail correspondence. It is a pleasure to be able to "speak" with another devotee of the martial arts who has learned the value of rhythm in combat and entertainment.

    To address your questions, I trained with Count Dante in Chicago at the 1968 Democratic Convention. You may have seen old news footage of the police battling protesters. Count Dante, at that time, was associated with the Blackstone Rangers, a street gang who later became known as El Rukn and whose leader was arrested in the late '80s for trying to sell guns to Libya.

    Myself and some chums had volunteered to be part of the security group, with the Rangers, to protect the protesters from the police, who everyone was certain were itching for a rumble. We were, of course, hopelessly outnumbered and outgunned. But it was a Helluva good fight! Ha! Ha!

    Our style of Ninjitsu places great emphasis on the ability to become invisible, so the enemy cannot hit you. Most of this is based on the wrestling principle of "going behind" the opponent by various tricky little steps. One of which is the standard Duck-Under-Go- Behind from a Collar-and-Elbow tie-up. So, you are probably already doing some of it.

    Part of this system is Kata Dante, which, with all due modesty on my part, can be found in Ninja Training Manual or Hands of Death, available from Citadel Press (Toll Free Number elsewhere on website) or from us at DOJO Press. It is, without doubt, the most savage and terrifying self-defense form known to man. BUT, I have taught several wrestlers in my local area parts of it to use in the Ring. The Palm Heel Strike to the Chin, for example, can really snap the guy's neck; or, if you hit him on the sternum with your forearm and he snaps his head back, can be easily simulated for demonstration.

    A total of 27 techniques in less than ten seconds. Count Dante invented it, and no one could do it as well as he.

    Presently, I only teach private lessons or seminars (see also website). The last few years I've been going to Australia quite a bit, and have spoken with Kickboxers and Wrestlers "down-under" who work for Bob Batwin in the Brisbane area to try and organize some matches. An associate of mine, Dieuseul Berto was scheduled for an Extreme Fighting Match in Sydney last December. He has also fought on the Professional Japanese Circuit, televised, and for the WCW at Universal Studios.

    Would very much like to meet with you at some future time. A few years ago I was speaking with Gordon Solie in Tampa after they came out with a Ninja character. I sent him one of my books. At first the Ninja was a good guy, running in and helping out the other heroes. But, one night, at a most crucial moment, just when he was about to pin the bad guy and settle the war, ANOTHER Ninja came to the Ring. The Black Ninja, Kendo Nagasaki. He shouted a command and the hero Ninja immediately "went bad." After that he used all sorts of "magic blinding powders" and "nerve holds" to decimate us poor Americans.

    He is now on the Japanese circuit. And, I included some of his techniques in my new book, Invisible Fist, coming out shortly from Citadel. I also play guitar and tell witty stories, and never eat more than twice my share, Ha! Ha! So, if we can be of any service to you, please do not hesitate to ask.

    Live long and prosper. The Force be with you.

    I remain, Ashida Kim, THE NINJA
    source: http://www.count-dante.com/letters.html

    Naturally the Black Dragon Fighting Society appears to have disparaged any such link:

    "Ashida Kim claims to be affiliated with the Black Dragon Fighting Society, but recently the head of that group, Bill Aguiar took legal action to stop Kim from claiming association with the group, of which he was never an official member."

    edit: added line breaks to Ashida's meanderings as he is "too cool for paragraphs".
    Last edited by shironinja; 10/20/2004 11:25am at .
    Now or never.
  4. Ronin is offline

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    Posted On:
    10/20/2004 10:20am

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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Your point?
  5. shironinja is offline
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    Posted On:
    10/20/2004 10:26am

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    Quote Originally Posted by ronin69
    Your point?
    It's ... kinda fascinating!

    In the 1960's there already was American-based dis-satisfaction with conventional karate. I seek either:

    1) Debate on whether Count Dante was someone we can learn from -- did what he tried to do have merit?
    2) More information -- anyone have an original copy (the non-Ashida version) of the "The Worlds Deadliest Fighting Secrets" for instance??? If anyone on the 'net might have that ... I'd say it would be here on Bullshido!
    Now or never.
  6. Ronin is offline

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    Posted On:
    10/20/2004 10:32am

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    Count Dante was the first American Bullshidoka.

    He was the all that was wrong with the MA.
  7. shironinja is offline
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    Posted On:
    10/20/2004 10:38am

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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    On what basis? I'm still on the fence here... things that would help me to share your view:

    1) What was really sent if you responded to those comic book ads? Are we talking just an informational pamphlet to "Dan-Te" which they hoped would get you to sign up?
    2) What REALLY happened on Aug 1, 1968 during that competition? I am assuming this is the "full contact tournament" the first article mentions he promoted.
    3) How much did Ashida Kim base his wacky "theories" on Count Dante?
    Now or never.
  8. Ronin is offline

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    Posted On:
    10/20/2004 10:47am

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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    First, the "black dragon society" does exsist in Japan and he stole their name.
    Second, for someone who had issues with TMA, he NEVER challanged ANYONE of his contemporaries.
    Third, he was ALL about commercialising the MA, NOT bring back the "street effectiveness".
    Fourth, while he may have been correct in saying that the Asians were teaching "watered down" techniques, he was also the prime example of WHY they were doint it.
    Fifth, he was a clown.

    Do you need more?
  9. shironinja is offline
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    Posted On:
    10/20/2004 11:05am

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    Quote Originally Posted by ronin69
    Do you need more?
    I think I may require more... yeah. Sorry ... but when I have questions I have to ask them -- it is my nature.

    First, the "black dragon society" does exsist in Japan and he stole their name.
    The first resource I quoted says:

    "The Black Dragon Fighting Society founded by Count Dante is an American martial arts organization and has no connection with and should not be confused with the Japanese Black Dragon Society, an ultranationalist society during the 1930s and 1940s. "

    Second, for someone who had issues with TMA, he NEVER challanged ANYONE of his contemporaries.
    Challenged as in ... fought?

    "In Chicago, Dante co-promoted America's first full contact style martial arts tournament. "

    ^ again I assume that this was the Aug 1, 1968 tourney mentioned in the comic book advertisement. I'd ... seriously like to know what went on there!

    Third, he was ALL about commercialising the MA, NOT bring back the "street effectiveness".
    I haven't taken Dan-Te ... have you? I'd like someone who is able to compare this guy's karate roots with Dan-Te to discuss:

    "Keehan grew disillusioned with conventional karate instruction's focus on ceremony, tradition and protocol over raw effectiveness and began developing his own style that he would promote as "street-effective". Through these efforts, he developed a heavily condensed but effective system that is now known as the Dan-te system, Dance of Death or sometimes improperly (given Keehan's dislike of traditional kata) the kata Dan-Te."

    Fourth, while he may have been correct in saying that the Asians were teaching "watered down" techniques, he was also the prime example of WHY they were doint it.
    Why should asians teach properly to those who won't teach asians? In this respect Dante appears to be a pioneer?

    "During that period of nationwide racial strife, Dante was one of the first American sensei to openly accept Blacks and other minorities as students."

    Fifth, he was a clown.
    I don't know that yet ... but am open to the possibility of calling him a clown, yes.
    Now or never.
  10. shironinja is offline
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    Posted On:
    10/20/2004 11:09am

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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    I find it very easy to just say something sucks ... without providing reason and quoting additional resources whereas it is more difficult to point out WHY the work that someone did should not be looked upon favorably.

    Admittedly at Bullshido too often we tend to take the former approach.
    Now or never.
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