Still on the hunt...
Of late I have had a few more connections between Count Dante and Satanism.
All I can do is gather the information and evaluate it after I cross-reference and look for evidence. How we got there....please do not ask.
I guess it is all part of the legend.
I visited San Francisco two weeks ago to look for evidence of associations Dante claimed with Ed Parker, T.Y. Wong and Jame Yimm Lee. I also hooked up with and interviewed the California Count Dante who gave me a great interview.
I was told that the old TY Wong School was at 880 Sacramento St. in San Francisco. John Keehan says he was introduced to Sifu Wong by James Yimm Lee, so this would have to have been before the argument over the $10, Lee and Wong had. This meeting makes sense because of James Yimm Lee"writings about poison hand and dim mak might have attracted Keehan to SF.
Oddly enough I passed a Y.C. Wong School of Kung Fu at 819a Sacremento on the way to finding 880. I will let you know what I find out about any connections between the two. At first investigation there seems to be none that was admitted to me. I have not spoken to Master Y.C. Wong as of yet. I never assume anyone is going to just tell me what I want to know. The first step is always starting a conversation. Not as easy as it sounds sometimes...
I also got to chill for an afternoon and saw Michael Franti and Spearhead at Power to the Peaceful. 50,000 21st Century California activists partying all afternoon in Golden Gate Park. It was a great concert that included Blackalicious and Sila and the AfroFunk Experience. Gotta have some Yin in the middle of all this yang I am immersed in.
A quick call to the the great Bob Wall at World Black Belt got me a few people to call in the San Francisco area, specifically Sid Campbell. I went looking for Ralph Castro, but he was in Hawaii. I did end up speaking with Sid Campbell who cleared up a few unsolved questions about another Killer Kung Fu ad that came out of Chicago same time as Keehan was running the Count Dante Ads. The Killer Kung Fu guy was called "EL Shaitan." Shaitan is an Islamic term for Satan. His name is definitely popping up a lot in my research. Well just so you know, I have not been feeling any more evil than usual. I am not about to run out and start living that Dante life so stop worrying.
Dan Kelly sent me this ad while he was researching the Reader Article. Sid is a wealth of information. I am adding him to my interview list.
It has been a whirlwind month. Had the Jazz Festival, Jazz Club Tour, shot a PSA with 3to1, did a panel at UC Irvine and a new trailer for the film. I still have my day jobs(gotta keep that when ya got kids).
Had a break in my office, someone took my laptop. Disastrous. Good thing the most important stuff is backed up and kept under lock and key. Please no conspiracy theories...I got enough issues to deal with reagrding this project. LOL
I have been looking at some scholarly types to talk to about the martial arts period and was introduced to the work of Vijay Prashad by Irene Chien in San Francisco. Vijay wrote a book called Everybody was Kung-Fu Fighting and Irene Chien is a PhD candidate at Berkeley doing some similar works. I am interested in discussing the impact of martial arts on American culture and cross influences from Muhammad Ali to Wu-Tang Clan.
A buddy of mine is working as a the Rza's stand-in in American Gangster so I am trying to get to the Rza as well. I need this kind of input in telling the tale seeking social meaning regarding these intersecting cultures.
This weekend I am due in Dallas Texas to a martial arts Roast hosted by Gary Lee. I will be in Dallas this weekend. Should be a lot of people there for me to talk to.
I compiled a list of my completed interviews for a producer and they are as follows:
**Sensei Bob Brown - Chicago*
Former Chicago Policeman, Brown studied with John Keehan from 1962-1967. Bob was with John from South Ashland and the School on Rush Street until he opened his own school, the "Tang Soo Do Academy." He tells of life in the Rush Street dojo above Mr. Kelly’s Jazz Club, the lion either jumping or being thrown out the window and landing on the back of a horse pulling a surrey and John’s womanizing.
**Nganga Tola-Na(Raymond Cooper) - Baltimore*
One of the greatest fighters of the 1960s, Tolo-na fought as Ray Cooper and was a prized student of Dante. Tolo-na was involved in a controversial fight with Mike Stone at the 2nd World Karate Tournament in which Master Robert Trias, head of the Unites States Karate Association blatantly robbed Ray Cooper of the Championship. Mike Feldkoff, martial artist and Dante confidant accused Trias of blatant racism in his officiating at the tournament. This event leads to Keehan resigning from the United States Karate Association and starting the World Karate Federation.
**Sensei Ken Knudson - Chicago*
Professional Karate competitor in 1970s, trained by Jimmy Jones and best friend Jim Konsevic, who dies in the 1970 Chicago "dojo/dragon war" between the Black Dragon Society and Green Dragon Society. Founder of Sybaris "Love Hotel" chain, Died Feb, 2006 in a plane crash.
Knudson speaks of John Keehan’s legitimacy as a martial artist and tells the story of the night of the dojo war when his sensei Jim Konsevic called him to join them in their visit to the Green Dragon society and describes the bloody aftermath and death of Jim Konsevic.
**Sensei Doug Dwyer - Chicago*
Best Friend of John Keehan. Pipe fitter and Coast Guard officer, he traveled with Dante by car to train with Bob Trias in Phoenix, Arizona, to Canada, New York and was with him through the mid-sixties. He helped with the pet lion, acquired the bull John was going to fight and was arrested with John the night of planting the dynamite caps on Gene Wyka's dojo window.
**Sensei Jimmy Jones - Chicago*
First generation student of John Keehan, Leader in training and tournament promotion in 1970s-1990. Tells the story of first meeting Keehan the day he breaks his hand breaking a brick and then joining his school. Parted ways with John over his unscrupulous business practices.
**Art Rapkin - Madison, Wis*
Studied with John Keehan when he was 17 and inspired by the example of Count Dante went on to become a hair dresser and to adventures in the jungles of South America ending up in the in the narcotics trade in the 1970s. After spending 3 years in a Mexican jail, from where he challenged Bill Aguiar to a death match over his claim to the inheritance of the Count Dante legacy he returned to the US and became a healer.
**Sensei John Sharkey - Chicago area*
Knew John Keehan as a child. Was with John when he got the bull for the tournament promotion in 1963. Talks about the prevalence of dojo rivalries in the 1960s.
**Sensei Ben Peacock - Chicago*
Student of Jimmy Jones. Kate Champion with numerous run-ins with Sensei Trias is race related situations. Meet Dante numerous times with Sensei Jimmy Jones.
**Bob Cooley - Federal Witness Protection Program*
Former Chicago Policeman and mob lawyer who turned state's evidence and worked as a mole for the FBI. He is the man who literally took down the Chicago Outfit and the 1st Ward rackets. He is presently in the witness protection program with a Million dollar price on his head. Cooley defended Dante in the Dojo War court case and hung out on Rush Street with him and shared girlfriends in the early 70s. Cooley confirms Dante's involvement in the 1974 Purolator vault robbery.
**Sensei Gregory Jaco - Kankakee*
My personal sensei. Gregory Jaco was famous for his elaborate breaking and weapon's demonstrations. Jaco is the father of rapper Lupe Fiasco. One of my fellow students under Jaco, Robert Tobias, used to periodically study with Dante. Robert is presently doing 60 years to life in an Illinois Penitentiary. Jaco gives a history of Martial Arts in Chicago, tells of Mas Tumura secretly teaching black students after hours and of his experience trying to join the Black Dragon Society and the ritual involved.
Bob "Count Dante" Calhoun - San Francisco*
Head of the Tribute Band, "Count Dante and the Black Dragon Fighting Society"
Bob Calhoun could possibly be Count Dante's orphaned son sent west after his death. Calhoun created the persona not knowing if Dante was real, alive or dead, until he put up his website in 1998. Then all hell broke loose. He was contacted and threatened by people claiming to "own the legacy" of Count and wanted him to cease and desist
Anonymous Green Dragon - Chicago*
Audio Interview with an Anonymous member of the Green Dragon Society.
He is fully vetted and documented as having been there in court documents He was present the night of the "Dragon War" when Dante paid a visit to the Green Dragon Society. He tells a very dubious story of his encounter with Dante in what was essentially a 30-45 sec fight, which resulted in the death of Jim Konsevic. He refused to be interviewed on camera but agreed to a audio interview in which he says he dislocated both of John Keehan's arms.