Thus begins the introduction of Ashida Kim to his demonstration of the Dante originated, Kata Dante, Dance of Death. I actually recieved a copy of the Ashida Kim piece in the mail. He has become sort of my marketing hero. There is no more infamous a name on the internet. The name of Ashida Kim has inspired Wikipedia wars to have his history deleted, $10,000 challenges, membership in the Bullshido hall of fame. Looking at his performance on this video left me a little bit unimpressed, I think he needed another take. Be forewarned, these movements are trademarked and copyrighted, I will post some still of his performance.
Ashida's breakdown of the movements step by step shows he has an intimate understanding of the movements and he is at least a competent martial artist. Ashida Kim, unlike a lot of martial artists of his generation is at least in shape. Hate the Ninja if if you want, just spell his name correctly and if not Google will do it for you. I would not want to tangle with him.
I am definitely going to interview the guy. He has the only version on Dance of Death I have discovered on video. Is he credible? Anybody who inspires Wikipedia Wars is a candidate for interview to me quite frankly. His adventures with intellectual copyright and Coount Dante become part of the whole story.
I have not seen the Dance of Death since a friend of mine, Robert, whose last name I do not remember, showed me, whe I asked him about it. There was a rush of wind on my face and I was on my back still being tapped when I realized I had become his crash test dummy. Whatever kind of a nut Robert might have been he was not evil. It was too fast for me to even get scared. The fact is, he could do it. I was working out with Gregory Jaco and Clarence Jordan about that time. Jaco was like a Black Mas Oyama in Chicago. He had that solid look Oyama had. Jaco has this very gentle, quiet voice. He was a hard instructor. The first time I met him he had run the elite members of his class out to Maywood from the southside of Chicago, in the snow. Yeah I worked out in the snow with them...for like a hot minute. When you are moving and focused it is not so cold. Am I kidding myself???
We had an Explorer Post back then. Yeah. I know some of you may be asking, what the hell is an Explorer, it is senior Boy Scouts, 14-18.
I was a Boy Scout. I joined up when I was living in Ft Benning, GA. I got my Tote 'n Chip, a few other merit badges and even dreamed of Eagle Scout at one time. I saw one of the older scouts going for Eagle do an amazing native American fire-hoop dance one camp-out. It was like he had come out of his being and let an old spirit enter him, a young warrior was living again. I gotta be honest, I had NEVER seen a white person move like that. I get chills thinking about it. If there is spirit possesion, we witnessed it that night. It was an eerie night in the Georgia woods. I had great respect for this guy after I saw this. I remember him crying after it was over. I think I even just might have cried with him...just a little. There was something in those woods that night. That fire dance was magical.
I remember that more than the 'good Ole boys" we almost had to throw down with during that trip. They seemed to not like the fact we were black scouts with a white troop. Well it was Georgia, Stone Mountain, 1967 and our fathers were going off to Viet Nam together, and so would we, for better or worse. A lot my Scout troop did just that. Wow...the places we go in memory.
Exploring was a vocational program, each post had specialities, law enforcement, electronics, rocketry. I got hooked up with Jaco in the Robert Taylor Homes. Their Explorer post speciality was martial arts. We had a party one night in Maywood to raise money. The party was held in what remains a problematic spot in that suburb, 17th Ave near St Charles Rd. The uniform was not at all awe-inspiring to some of the attendees of our party. There were wisecracks and jokes about it constantly. The martial arts idea was constantly being challenged.
Somehow a fight broke out, I do not know how it started, I was in one part of the room and I saw the sister of one of out Explorers bleeding, a bottle had been thrown. Next thing i knew, chairs were flying and we were fighting about 25 crazy guys outs to take down the Karate dudes. In this din, I saw Jaco standing there and he would walk up to people and they would turn around and walk away like he had a protective shield around him.
This fight lasted 5 min. We cleared the place out. The young woman needed an ambulance. None of us was hurt, amazingly. Crazy stuff. I was shy of large groups of people after this happened. I was in awe of Jaco for a long time after this event. Jaco did not like to fight. It was in a situation like this that Mas Oyama killed a man with one punch so the legend goes. A night out and tensions filled the air. Jaco's warrior heart shined. That was what I wanted, more than ther Dance of Death.
Jaco was a master of tameshiwara(breaking stuff). He was also a weapons master who did some incredible demonstrations. I think all of his class at that time had to stand for one of his shuriken demonstrations back then. You know the drill. Against the plywoood board and hewould trace the outline of your body with these little sharp stars. Was he good? I have all my digits(typing with two fingers), four limbs and both eyes. I survied the martial arts , weapons demonstrations AND crash test dummy moments for wild-eyed Dante students.
Background materials continue to pour in as a result of the website and blog. I am greateful to all the people who have provided with me with concrete materials to work from. I have recieved video materials from London, One bad quality 3 sec video in windows media format of the man, Count Dante himself, performing the dance of death, source unknown. I have to identify the source of this file make a deal for it's use and I am home free.
The trail goes hot and cold, sometimes it enters zones I don't know if I should enter. I have been told by many that John Keehan was always known for having a voracious sexual appetite. In my first few weeks of research a woman who does not want to be interviewed unless I pay her; help with her biography of her Life With Count Dante; give her half the profits of the film etc, etc. , claimed that Dante kept her captive and used her as a sex slave for over a year.
Then I got a lead that leans toward Alistair Crowley, Satanism and Haitian VouDoun Sex Cults in a private clubs in Chicago. What duh Hell???? The problen with this is...I know people who were part of this cult from my dealings with members of the Psychic Institute back around then. All I was looking for was some help with meditation practices.
I hope to meet up with my new buddy Jim Quattroki this weekend to do some more work on my ten minute trailer.
Time management, a fine art.