Sunday, September 24, 2006

Struggling to make sense...

And now we come to the chapter in which I describe the internet wars over the legacy of Dante and the Black Dragon Fighting Society(BDFS). What's it all about? The conversation is going hot and heavy at their site right now

After the blackballing of Dante in Chicago, primarily because the death of Jim Konsevic in the 1970 Dojo/Dragon War, he was befriended by Bill Aguiar, a karate instructor from Fall River, MA. They became very close, with Dante going to Fall River to help Aguiar open another school to teach the Black Dragon concepts. In several articles in Black Belt Magazine it was reported that the leadership of the Black Dragon Fighting Society was passed on to Aguiar as well as development of it's concepts. Aguiar claims not only leadership of the school but ownership of all intellectual property and copyrights as well. Yet I have an interview with Crista Dante that was emailed to me in which she states all business interest were signed over to her. She is nowhere to be found presently but I have a feeling she is going to turn up at some point. Then the truth with come out.

This ownership of copyright and ownership has led to conflicts with "Ninja" Ashida Kim and rock singer, Count Dante of San Francisco. Ashida Kim was forced to remove all references of Dante from his site. The Count of San Franciso continues his tribute band to this day. And he continues his study of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) for the day he may have to defend his right to do so it seems. :-)

The present head of the BDFS wants to be paid for an interview. He has an archive of materials that may or may not be invaluable. I have not seen an inventory list so I cannot say. I suspect so, but the proof is ALWAYS in the pudding.

Paying him for the interview is not something I am going to agree to. Paying for the use of archival materials is another story. I am not going to go deep into this at the moment.

There seems to be some fear that I am going to disrort the role of Fall River in the documentary. Why? I have no idea. Fall River is not my primary concern for the moment as I am struggling to get the story here in the midwest and on the west coast locked first.

How and why Dante went to Fall River will be covered throughly. I know where everyone is and how to reach them. Whether they want to talk is up to them. Was Dante making a come back. Was he preparing to disappear? Did he really want to become a priest or was it more theatrics and smoke screen? Is there a connection between Fall River and the Puralotor Vault Robbery? Questions abound and it is overwhelming to think I can answer them all.

There seem to be possibilities of connnections between the Amur River Black Dragon Society and the BDFS through an Indiana sensei Dante was associated with. One of the old Instructors out there seems to have been associated with the Amur River Black Dragons at some point before World War II.

Then there is the information about Dante and Anton LeVey, chief San Francisco Satanist, both pet lion owners. What next?

There is a still a lot of passion in this tale of Dante that reverberates 30 years after his death.

1 comment:

John said...

Unfortunately these "Internet wars" are getting real tiring. We just want to have a normal website like every other MA school that does... but the legend of Dante seems to be a block in that path.

People are usually either trying to steal our content (which is why Bill took down the archives, or they're saying that Dante wasn't a real martial artist because he advertised in comic books... which was actually the move of a marketing genius.

I want to clear up some things said in this post, in the same order I read them.

Aguiar met Dante for the first time in 1967 (before he opened his own school in Fall River, later that the same year). This was before the death of Jim Konsevik.

As far as who owns the intellectual rights to the BDFS, I'm not going to argue this point as I have spent the last 3 days doing just that on our own site. They're in Bills name and legally that's all that matters. Bill and Crista were on friendly terms, and Bill even had her home phone number. I know this because he called her sometime right after we discovered the Asshida Kim site, to ask her if she had ever heard of him, which she hadn't. The truth is, if Crista would have owned them, they would have went to waste anyhow and the BDFS would have died. I think once you do find her, you will find that Aguiar did the right and legal thing with no objections from her at all. In fact, I think that Bill has a lot of Dante's property (Martial Arts Gi, leather coat, World's Deadliest Fighter belt, etc.) because she shipped it to him. I don't know why else Dante would have left that stuff behind, or brought it to Fall River in the first place if that wasn't the case. (Bill III would know.)

As far as the "rock singer" Dante... we originally thought it was kind of cool that someone would honor Dante in such a way. We were prepared to name him the Official BDFS band! We just asked that in exchange for using our trademark he agree to a couple of reasonable conditions. 1) He put on his homepage that he was a parody/satire of the BDFS, and not the real thing. We didn't want first time visitors looking for us to think that the BDFS was just a band! 2) He put a link to our homepage on his homepage, so that confused visitors would be able to locate us easily.

That was it! Reasonable requests I thought. We weren't even asking to charge him a fee. He refused for what reason I will never know. As far as his site still being up... hopefully by the time this film is released that won't be the case. Trademark infringment also carries some heavy-fines so we will probably be getting himself into more trouble than he can afford.

I agree with you that Bill shouldn't be asking to be paid for an interview... he's not Elvis! But besides the archive material, the info he can give you in very invaluable. It might be second-hand from his dad, but his dad knew a lot of inside stuff, and he shared it all with his son. Besides, you will also get to interview other direct students of Dante's, John Cole & others.

I don't think that you are going to "distort" the role of Fall River. A lot of people do think that if you don't come to Fall River, you won't get the full story, and will only have Chicago's version. I know that these things take time though, and with some patience you will eventually make your way there. At least I hope. This movie won't be complete without Fall Rivers input.

I am quite positive that there is a connection between Fall River and the Puralotor robbery. I've never heard this directly though... just hints of it in various conversations. Bill III would know for sure though, and now that his dad is deceased and safe from prosecution I'm sure he will share all he knows.

Take care and good luck,

John P.
BDFS