Sunday, July 30, 2006

The Dragon Wars: Contact with the Green Dragons

I have finally made contact with the other side in the "Dojo War," members of what was then the Green Dragon Society. I have met with and spoken with an individual(whom I shall deem "my informant" ) who was there, I have documented his presence in the court documents as a defendent and he had more than basic knowledge of the incident. His son attended the dinner along with his wife. he was there in the court room during ther trial. We met over a chinese meal on the Northwest side.

To the former Green Dragons this is refered to as "The Dragon Wars." These martial artists of the Dragon Schools in Chicago had left Japanese martial arts because of the Americanisation, the diluting of the traditional systems. I cannot give you accurate details because I got a lot of information at one time over a good Chinese meal in what I always call the "gittin' to know y'all" phase. Later, after the dishes ahd been cleared away I asked permission to do an audio recording of his recollections of the Dragon Wars. I recorded him

Most importantly I got a history lesson about the Dragon Schools isn Chinatown that harkens back to my on youth. My presence in Chinatown as a nine year old on the hustle allowed me to observe quite a bit. I went to Haines School with Moys and Cheungs and knew a little bit of what was going on there martial arts wise. I did a bit of work at On Leong Trade association, even, what became know as the center of crime in Chinatown. What I heard last night filled in some blanks for me.

It is a pity that Green Dragon history for the moment begins and ends with April, 1970. I am hoping I can use this person's participation in the film to change all that. There is a strong and significant history of martial arts in Chinatown that needs telling.

But primarily, I was there to find out from Green Dragon members what happened to bring about this event of April, 1970.

First of all, according to my informant, on the night of the incident there was a knock at the door and the person outside said, "police." The voice seemed familiar and my informant said to not open it. Soon after that, the door was kicked open. Dante was the first person through the door and he hit Gonzalez in the eye, shattering it. It was not with his hands, not with nun-chakus but with a "mace". I was told that Konsevics other students were armed as well.

There were people "flying through the air." Space was being challeged and defended. Weapons in those days were along the walls of the dojo. This is the origin of much of the tragedy. The Green Dragons defended their space.

I was told that Jerome Greenwald was not the one who killed Jim Konsevic. It was not revealed to me who did. Apparently the incident was a clash of egos between Keehan and Greenwald. No one has said what the clash was over. I was told that more than one person died as a result of this incident.

Konsevic died on the spot, another person accompanying Keehan died several days later from injuries sustained from "falling on a Butterfly Axe." I may be calling the weapon the wrong name. I was not told this person's name. This is new information.

My informant told me he had seen Keehan before, he knew him from the early 1960s and was part of a committee that rejected him for membership in the Japan Black Belf Federation. he said he considered Keehan "unstable" even then.

Keehan challenged him. My informant had seen him before and knew he had incredibly fast hands. I was told he was able to use that against him, that he dislocated both of of Keehan's arms, immobilizing him. I was not told in detail how he accomplished this.

How Konsevic died, the pool of blood, the damage to the Black Cobra Hall, the clean-up the day afterwards were all part of the conversation. Apparently there were pictures fromthe incident. This is new information also. I was told that several Chicago papers and the New York Times ran pictures of the dojo walls and floor covered in blood. back in 1970 Chicago had several daily papers coning out moring and evening. I need to do another search.

When the case went to court a few bright moments seemed to be the attendance of Barbara Kemp. Playboy Bunny and, to the society pages of the Chicago Tribune, "Dragon lady of Rush Street." She is the woman in the hairdressing photo with Keehan in the Reader article. The Green Dragon defendants referred to her as "the blinking beaver" due to her obvious lack of underwear and "unladylike sitting position" during the court proceedings in the sweltering summer heat of August 1970.

One of the most important things I learned was why the case was dismissed. My informant tells me that the transcripts kept getting lost. The case had several continuances and each time there was afilure to locate transcripts and documentation. As a result of this, judge dismissed the case.

That is it. The years research and diligence has finally yielded some results. More later...


Mike Schremp said...

My God Floyd. I cant believe the things that you are digging up. This is unbelievable. Keep digging, Keep Digging

Nnedi said...

Wow, what really happened (or so was said) was even crazier than suspected! Count Dante's history gets juicer and juicer.

John said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
John said...

Two "dislocated" arms... impossible!
Also, Can you imagine the precision it would haven taken to clip a guy in the eye with a mace, with two dislocated arms? You would think that dislocated arms would have been mentioned this in the police report or the medical records. I've never heard anything about someone "else" dying either, until now.

According to Bob Cooley's book, "When Corruption Was King", there was a Mace involved, but he doesn't say exactly say who's hands it was in. However, had it been the Count's mace, he didn't use it on anyones head. Do you know what a Mace would do to a persons head? If the Count had used it on his head, there wouldn't have been no head left. (Although, it would explain the door being off the hinges, if the mace was his, opening doors, I believe, is all Dante used it for.) The Count took out that guys eye with his fingers. There is no doubt in my mind. Any BDFS fighter worth his salt could do it.

Your informant also told you that the case was dismissed due to they kept losing the paperwork. According to Cooley's book, pg 63, it says the charge of Murder against the Count was dismissed as a "matter of course" because the Count "could not have expected his friend to get run through by a spear". As far as the Aggravated Battery against both the Black & Green Dragons, the judge dismissed them because he felt that both parties were equally at fault.

That according to Cooley's book anyhow.

Green Dragon Alumni said...

I wasn't studying at the Black Cobra school but attended a different one on Cicero avenue. But we all heard the accounts.
In response the "John". Gonzalez was indeed hit with a weapon by the Count. We heard it was a pipe but could have been a mace. He was severely damaged, almost losing sight in one eye.

There were two main rooms in the Temple. One reserved for the instructors and the other for the regular classes. Konsevic entered the instructors room and we all know what the outcome was. Dante and the other tag-alongs charged into the main classroom which was populated by mostly black sashes, and a blue and a green sash. Dante and his crew were mobbed by the lower level students. I believe it might have been the Green Sash who dislocated his arms, but can't remember for sure. All I know is that it was being handed to them and it was Dante who first screamed out for everyone to bail. What Floyd was told pretty well matches up with what we were all told. It was a tragic event, but everyone got a kick out of the idea that the infamous Count Dante got his ass kicked by rookie black sashes and intermediate level Green Dragons.

The thing happened in the way it was described. Accept it. Deal with it.