Sunday, April 09, 2006

John Keehan at large....still looking



I guess I have come to the conclusion that I should not try to figure John Keehan out. I have been relistening to interviews. He is forgiven much by many of his friends of 40 years ago. They do not forgive him for his recklessness, they celebrate him for his contributions. I cannot get that unmarked grave out of my mind.

April 24, 1970, 36 years ago. The anniversary, if you wanna call it that, is coming up in a few weeks. The night of the Dojo War in which young Jim Konsevic lost his life.

I have spoken with someone local who was with Keehan and Konsevic at the Black Cobra Hall. I will not use his name as I am not sure if I will get to interview him on video. He did not know why he was there. He thought it was just a meeting and then out to dinner. He had no idea what was coming. Now, I cannot imagine such a thing.

To walk into a place, to be there 2 minutes, then have all hell break lose and your sensei dead with another 90 secs.

That is it. John Keehan was said to have torn the door off the hinges to get in. My source, a student of Jim Konsevics says a student of his kicked the door off to get out. In John's version from Official Karate Magazine he says alot of things that just are not true, based on testimony I have from people who were there. But those accounts vary also. This is a real Rashomon story.

John's old friends, Doug Dwyer, Bob Brown, Jimmy Jones, were not around for this adventure. They had long parted company with John. Konsevic was his running buddy, his partner in crime. Konsevic was down for whatever. No one knows what sparked the weapons attack. They just suddenly started coming out of the back room, in street clothes, armed to the teeth with classic Chinese weapons. I still have not managed to locate anyone from the Green Dragon Society outside of one person. I will not mention the name of anyone related to this incident unless I have already interviewed them. They deserve their privacy.

It was all fantastically wrong. What drives a person to this kind of action. I ask knowing I have been part of this kind of thing. What gets into our young minds. Consequences, remorse, regret all for the aftermath, all avoidable.

I was relistening to an old interview with Doug Dwyer, his best friend until they parted company. Doug is a really sweet person. A very sharp guy and a fondly remembered Sensei by many of his students. He had to let John continue on his life's journey alone. John needed someone in his life to keep him reined in, apparently, no one could

The true nature of fighting must be to never have to fight. That is what I am thinking about this evening.

I have been told there is a leather jacket that John wore to the Dojo war. It is supposed to have knife cuts all over it. That would prove he did not hide under a desk, or duck into a back office. Yet, how do I establish if it was really his. Do I pursue this artifact and include it? Is it worth whatever monetary value is put on it in order to add substance to the film? Or do I pass it by and let the rashomonia take it's course.

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