Monday, January 30, 2006

Xin nian yu kuai::Chinese New Year::Year of the Dog



Sunday I was in Chinatown at the Chinese New Year Parade shooting one of my interviewees who studies King Fu at the Ng Family School. Back to my old stomping ground, Wentworth Ave.

I found Bob Bartoski on 25th and Wentworth carrying a school flag while nearby some of the 10 year old students were practicing a short form for demonstration. The Proviso East High School Marching Band was warming us as was 2 groups of Bag Pipers. Even my old elementary school, Haines was represented.

Odd looking at a place 45 years on. The Chicago New Years parade is like the shortest parade in the history of the form. It lasts about 20 minutes with floats by a lot of politicians. The best thing about the day is the same thing I loved when I was a kid, the dragon dancers and firecrackers. I still love it. There is nothing like good cheap food and a cup of hot jasmine tea on a cold day after the parade.

Chinatown has changed a bit since I lived and worked there in restaurant kitchens cleaning otu nasty ass aluminum garbage cans before the invention of garbage bags. There is a Sun Yat-Sen museum over one of the restaurants I used to work at and a Yang Tai Chi School on the second floor now,


I met Bob on the Fall River Count Dante website. Bob got an History Aqward for writing a paper on Chicago politics that discussed Count Dante and the early history of martial arts in Chicago.

Bob is a dedicated martial artist who drives in from the far South Side to workout at the NG Family School several times a week.

Bob has a copy of the Fall River World's Deadliest Fighting Secrets. I did not realize there were two editions until I saw his copy. The book is based on John's original edition. It is missing sections. The Aguiars of Fall River, official heirs to the Black Dragon Fighting Society legacy and this guy Ashida Kim have been feuding over the intellectual copyrights for the Black Dragon name, the logos and even the Count Dante's name.

The Ng Family School is right near my old elementary school, John C Haines. There used to be a Kung Fu School on 25th and Wentworth when I was about 14 and would visit Chinatown, but you could not join. The door would be shut if they saw you looking in during the summer. I picked up a move here and there from a few pals at Haines and I could buy books of forms from the souvenir shop on 23rd Place. I never got a lesson from John but he would tell us a lot of cool stuff. I think I showed him a book I got at that shop one of the rare times we would run into him downtown arounf Chicago and Rush or around Oak Street, as we evaded the police who always mistook us for shoplifters(No it was not me and my boys) and he might have wanted to get a copy.

Bob and I had a nice cheap lunch at a cafe after the parade and talked a little bit. He heard about the Kankakee article. Lots of work to do. I am fundraising and have started a new company in the middle of all this. Bob is a young guy, about 30. It is interesting to see how John Keehan is percieved a couple of generations later.

Meanwhile, heavy metal Count Dante and the Black Dragon Fighting Society is about to come out with a new CD. I have a budget to get to and a business meeting to prepare for. So I will continue this later

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Hairdressing Dante???

This lead may not yield any new info about John. What I have though is a guy who is an old timer from the wild and crazy Rush Street of the 60s and 70s. He can give me a sense Rush Street lore. I have sent him some pictures of Count Dante. He defininately knew a guy called Dante the Magician who hung out with a greek Belly dancer named Dorthea. The descriptions sound similar but I will not know anymore until he sees the pictures. I think I will interview him anyway. He knew a lot of people, kept up with the movings of the Chicago Outfit back then. This could be useful. He describes a collection of characters that would fill a Nelson Algren novel.

I am tired, I got up too early today.

World's Deadliest Hairdresser, Hynotism and Belly Dancers.

My old friend Mary Atherton, editor at Modern Salon magazine has come through for me with information on Dante's hairdressing career. One of my past jobs was working for Pivot Point Hair Schools in the publishing division. That is how I know Mary

I may have an informant. But the story is headed to tales of hypnotism, belly dancers and multiple identities. Well how odd it is actually. Nothing is too odd for this guy so far. Is this the same Count Dante. The legend continues to expand....maybe. I have to call the new informant this evening to see if I am on the right track. Singer, Martial Artist, Vault Robbbery Master Mind, Tournament promoter, and now Hypnotist???? Maybe this belly dancer girlfriend of Count Dante, Hypnotist/hairdresser was a Playboy Bunny or both.

King Day :: Funding in the Air? :: Doc Lighting

There are memories resurrected with this project. Context. My personal motivations, past actions influenced by contact with John Keehan, needs based on social circumstance.

When I was a child I would travel all over the city with two friends, both now deceased. We had lots of adventures. There was no limit to where we would go. We claimed the city. No cop or individual was going to stop us. We could run fast and seldom got in more than a minor scrap; no one shot, stabbed or jailed.

One of the most memorable adventures I wanted to forget was on August 5, 1966. We were unoffically with a church group and unbeknowst to my family, in a march in Marquette Park with Martin Luther King. Fred and Ed showed up as I was going for comic books and said, let’s go. All I said was where. We ended up way west, somewhere near Kedzie. We hooked up with this Church group and rode with a youg deacon who told us it was gonna be rough. We did not care.

We claimed King, he shook our hands outside Quinn Chapel Church when he spoke there. We were banned from the sanctuary, banished to the basement to allow "guests" to have our seats. We went outside, it was too crowded and hot inside. We moaned and complained about it. But we were there when King came out. He shook all of our hands.

There must have been about 400 of us, maybe more, I am not sure. We were met by about 5000 angry white people. I was too scared to be scared. It was my first confrontation with true unadulterated hatred. No one had ever treated me like this even in Mississippi. I had no dioubt they would, I heard, but never saw THIS!

Marching behind Martin Luther King, I guess me and a lot of my buddies were radicalized. My buddy Eddie kept pushing nme forward, he was laughing at me, but I knew he was scared too. They hit King with a rock that day. A lot of people got hit, and the Marquette Park nazis burned a lot of the cars of people who came to the march. I do not remember how we got out of there. I remember being back on the bus headed home, Walking through Chinatown from Archer on the way home. I was one year into my study of Kyokushinki karate from a book. I felt all this power from punching homemade makiwaras, and I had to hold it in check. I felt like my mae geri and mae washi geri were powerful enough to finish ANYBODY.

There was no way to win. I was becoming. I was being born I guess. When I met these kids from South Africa in Tanzania 7 years later who were banned from their homes for opposing apartheid it was easy for me to understand them and why they were joining the military arm of the ANC.

We stuck to the program, but non-violence as a political tactic was a bit of a stretch to three 13 year old testoserone rich personalities. All hell broke loose, we were pursued by cops and Marquette Parkers alike. I would duck and Eddie would throw hands. Several of my friends swore they were getting guns later, one or two actually did. I was numb that day.

I was silent at home. I saw that picture of King him being shielded and the roar of that hateful crowd came back to me. I seldom realize my the depth of my own experiences. I admired King but abhored his tactics after this...I had power and I wanted to use it in my youthful enthusiasm. I believed in King but not in America after that day. King lead us bravely into the pit of this hatred, raw illogical hatred.

I was practicing everyday at this point. 700 punches first thing in the morning in the bathroom. 300 combinations. This was my secret. Michael Choy a classmate had showed me how to "stick" when I was close in on a boxer, tie 'em up and smack the dookie out of 'em.

We kicked each other in the stomach to get strong and invulnurable. We were brick breaking whenever we found some. My hand still aches from some of that abuse to this day. We wanted the Godhand, like Oyama, the death touch like Count Dante. King proved himself to us being out front like that and we wanted to protect him even if we started not to agree with him.

After the march, on the way home we got challenged and the nonviolence we practiced in the march was long forgotten. I think it was Eddie who jailhouse rocked an Italian catholic school boy yelling "Nigger" at us. He hit him so fast and snatched his feet from under him so hard that is sounded like his back broke. He got right up. The others took off and came back throwing bricks and rocks as we ran down the street. Ed stopped and actually caught a rock and threw it back and made contact. We were soon over several fences, backyards and through alleys, in Chinatown and home.

I forget about the climate I learned martial arts in. That picture of Martin Luther King being his by the rock has brought back those memories. My political consciousness was building.

How do I work this into the film? How strong will my voice be in it? John Keehan in his early day was definitely a radical, given where he came from, whom he went to school with. I for one never associated Keehan with the likes of those deluded clowns in Marquette Park, or when white kids chased us out of neighborhoods.

John was say stuff to us when we saw him, "They touch you, make them bleed, they make you bleed, you brake a bone. Then run, cause I don't want to read about you in jail for killing somebody." Brief encounters. Always funny, kind.

Funding in Air???
I have spent the past few days working up a presentation for a few potential funders. I have had some success at getting logistical support and equipment investments. Now for some cash for travel and crew fees.

The dream of shooting this project HD has come to fruition. I will tell all after I finishing shooting.

I got a great article on documentary lighting for a camera-operating friend of mine. The article quoted the work practice of another friend of mine, Oral User, who has a blog here Foremedia.

I expect to be traveling fast and light. I will list my lighting equipment in future for those who want to know. Oral's lite pack is one to copy.

Friday, January 13, 2006

T-shirts for dollars


I am working on various ideas to promote the film. This is just one. Let me know if you like it.

To date this has been a low2NO budget production.I have some fundraising possibilities about to happen. Digital has made this all so much more easier.

Of Dreams Not about John

I just awoke from a dream. I came home one night to a party. As I walked in and deftly manuevered through the din of tinkling glasses and buzz of conversation I see 2 people sitting on the couch. It is Nelson Mandela and a bespeckeled film or diminutive height and is not Woody Allen. We greet each other as old friends in an uncharacteristically warm manner. I shake hands with Mr. Mandela.

I unburden myself of my books and computer bag and sit down. There is that commonly awkward silence you get when some people are not quite sure what to say to one another.

Spike ask me what I am working on. And I answered it is is a story a bout a book and it is really too emotional a subject for me to talk about.

Mr. Mandela, intrigued, says, "A Book? Really At least tell us something!"

I realize at that point I have not even fully developed the story. But my foot was already in my mouth for even mentioning it. Thus began a tale that literally has come to me in a dream. A tale from a time after the Riots following the death of Martin Luther King, a boy; a book; a bookselling elderly merchant seaman who worked on the Manhattan project with a false degree in mathematics and physics from the Sorbonne and MIT, a close friend of Einsteins; people who piss on a young boys dream of being an astronaut in the rubble of America's discontent; a marginal who comes to the aid of the boy and the conflict with the merchant seaman bookseller. It is a tales of struggle, redemption and triumph. The kids gets in the rocket. He does not fall prey to...the Dream Snatchers.

The story continued to unfold in my head as I awoke from the dream with clear recollection. I lie still for 5 minutes and replayed it as I continued to work on the story.

Where did this all come from? What a dream, vivid and in color, the smell of alcohol, the plush couch giving way as I sat down. The most interesting thing was the way my mind held a conversation with itself and made commentary while the dream took place, like a hundred voices in a cacophony of calculation.

I am dredging up personal demons with this documentary for sure. But angels are holding them at bay. Thus it is with every life, right out of the blues, the eternal battle between the sacred and the profane. Hell I was born in Mississippi, I guess I was born to a blues motif.

Folks who dream are probably more prone to the blues I guess.

So now I am beginning to think of how I construct this documentary. A blues tale. Great young talent gone arwry. With lyrical refrains from the poet Dante and the Tao te Ching. The Master, enlightened, chooses the material path. A sho nuff blues theme.

What a night.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Contact continues...


I am still getting results from the Kankakee newspaper article. I was not able to get back down there to talk to people this week. I have a part time job and got wrapped up in some things.

I have heard from a Keehan family member for the first time. I have discovered his family was from Southern Illinois and Missouri. His sister died of Cancer. I was hoping I would at least be able to talk to her.

John was not very close to his family in Southern Illinois. Some of them are embarassed by the newspaper article. Understandable. The family is not happy about this film being made.

But the family member was very surprised when I said there was no marker on John's grave. They said, "...that is odd, his family was rich."

This is what made the film happen, no marker on the grave. I told her,"Every person deserves a grave marker, something to mark the sign of his passing on this earth." Maybe the film will be his marker. We will see.


At one point the family member asked me if I was sure he was dead. Am I sure. All I know is what everyone else knows. People keep asking me this.

I did a lot of explaining. This was on the computer in a chat window. No one from the family seems to want to talk to me. The person who did seemed to be fearful of the family reaction. I asked for family pictures, anything, anyone to talk about John's early life on camera. No way.

This family member seemed a bit facinated by the subject hiself. This chat window conversation went on for an hour almost. I got odds and ends, but no images to back it up, no video interviews possible.

"Worldly fame is but a breath of wind that blows now this way, and now that, and changes name as it changes direction."

"We must overact our part in some measure, in order to produce any effect at all."

Dante Alighieri
Italian poet, born at Florence, 1265

John Keehan/Dante was not all bad, nor all good. How do we judge his life? Where does it pivot, where does the line between darkness and light get crossed? I am making this film!

What will I encounter next?

Monday, January 09, 2006

Research-Do


Research... you gotta love it. In dealing with a subject where people have been dead for 30 years, where archival materials that existed before the dawn of digital have turned or are turning to dust, where information you need was deemed not important or had a low priority and was/is being destroyed presents some serious problems. It means one has to resort to some creative techniques to access the public's personal archives. Some people treasure old photos, some don't. When elderly people die, if there are no family members about lots of information that could hold research value to people like me could be, will be, is being, lost.

The 1965 Gladiolus Festival, site of the 3rd World Karate Tournament, where Dante/Keehan did his PT Barnum thing once again with a Quickdraw expert, a wild western guntotin' kind of guy. I have been told Dante beat him. But there are no pictures, no film footage, nothing but the cover of the program book.


I called the Kankakee Daily-Journal and the entertainment editor John Stewart hooked me up with this article you see here attached to the page. I got 3 calls the day the article ran. People with direct knowledge of and contact with Dante. Not many pictures, no film footage at all. All I can do is go back down there, talk to my subjects, hope something really good will be unearthed in the in the sifting for data.

Part of what makes it seem easy for me to do this research, I guess, is because I was there and took part in a little of the scene. People remember me as a silent observer at least. Everyone tells me I look familiar. I was in a few tourneys, but not anything special. I think I just went to get the feel of it.

After the coming of Bruce Lee on the Green Hornet, some of us got lessons from watching Gung-Fu Movies at the McVickers Theater in downtown Chicago. Before Bruce Lee's films there was 5 Fingers of Death, that fine-ass Angela Mao Ying, Sonny Chiba kicking booty all over the screen. I always remember that killer jump kick of Sonny's, but I forget the name of the film. I got lesson where and when I could, backyards, and basements, Lawson Y, Grant Park for Tai Chi.

On Saturdays there was Japanese Cinema at Francis Parker auditorium, it was run by Omar Kaihutsu, an insurance salesman. I feel in love with the craft of cinema watching Japanese movies. Watching Woman of the Dunes, and Zatoichi, Kwaidan, Sword of Doom. Lessons in action and composition. Really intense stuff for me at 14 years old. Lots of the martial arts crew, the serious folks, hooked up at Francis Parker auditorium for Japanese cinema.

By the time I was interested in competing I also was interested in photography and film, sort of. I started spending time in the darkroom. I left the country in 1974 and read about the death of Dante while I was in England or somewhere. I am not even sure. Maybe I found out after I came home in 1976, the first time.

He was dead, I was sorry about it, curious, but did not think much about it again for years. It takes a lot of distance, sometimes, to get a clear view of a person or thing.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

The Old West Meets Poison Hand



So where am I with this project? I am starting this blog way late in the process, or maybe it is right on time. The things that have occurred in my research and locating subjects to talk to about Dante is really a fantastic journey of rediscovery of my own life.

I drove down to Momence, IL to meet the head of the Gladiolus Festival. That is where Count Dante/John Keehan did a martial arts stunt with a quickdraw expert. I was looking for film footage and stills. I came up with zilch. I called the local newspapers and ended up talking to the entertainment editor. He wrote a story telling people I was doing this film and recounting the legend of Count Dante. I got three calls the day after the article ran. Another student of Dante, and a guy who says Dante signed his shodan (black belt) certificate.

I find myself dealing with childhood issues of image and identity. Why I chose to enter the study of martial arts was purely to put an end to the occasional asswhopping I would get from kids for whatever reason. I was not that outgoing because I stuttered...horribly. I had a thing for reading. My mom taught my sister and I to read when we were like 3 and 4. It was in a basement apartment on the Westside on Drake or somewhere. I have to ask her one day.

Reading probably saved my life. And..... dammit, I'll say it, and television too. Not fitting is was my pathway to the martial arts. On top of the racism of apartheid era Amerikkka I had to put up with the all too human need to form groups for exclusion, loathing of difference, and the need to fit in.

I got what I consider a pretty healthy skepticism of all human beings and "our" selfish motivations. What a life, you get chased out of racist Southport and end up in the Robert Taylor homes, which is bad turf for a kid from the Ickes to be in. Still it was against Jim Crow that I gladly joined the United Front of Resistance.

I know I am running far a field of talk about me making this damn movie. But these are the issues that lead me to the Amphitheater and the Coliseum, looking for personal power and salvation, to be better than I was, to defend myself and the helpless when and if it ever came to that. I was a reader, dreamer idealist, I believed in that as much bad ad there was, you would have to fight to make it better. That was the timbre of the times I was raised in. Count Dante was the man I would look to give me the poison hand, death in my hand and paralysis in my fingers.

But that is not who I meet, I met John Keehan, a nice guy, a showboat who was kind to shorties. He marched to the beat of his own drum and it is easy to see how some followed him so easily at times.

I never had a lesson from him, a few conversations over the years, at tournaments or even running into him in the streets up north when we would play hooky from school.
I have not thought about this stuff in years. Dim Mak, the death tough, Poison Hand.

I guess I have become contemplative because I did not expect this project to consume so much of me. But I was a guy who could smash bricks and boards also. I used to let people hit me in the stomach before they fought me. I got a rep for knocking a guy out who attacked me in a phone booth; I had a pair of nun-chakus that got me on the front page of a west suburban newspaper when I was at Triton College.

Memories come back...A lawyer visits me in jail, tells me what my charges are then freaks out because I don't have a scratch on me. "But two cops got hurt and one with a broken nose. I do not remember all that. It was a blank; multiple assailants of the male-euro variety before at Triton had attacked me. I do remember thinking, "I am not having this."

It was the timbre of the times, a time of resistance. John Keehan to some of us was Mr. Smith with no Wesson. He could give us the power to BE!

Che and Fidel were our heroes "down there in dem projekts" and we knew Kennedy could not kick his ass mano a mano, that Fidel kicked Batista's ass fair and square. Politics came to us early back in the day. Fidel and them looked pretty cool to 8 and 9 year old black kids, there were black soldiers with him on the 6:00 news. I would hear Huey Newton say, "Power is the ability to define phenomena and make it act in a desired manner." What better definition of reality than to be able to go toe to toe with a foe and rest his opposition in peace on a field of champions. My friends and I thought only punks and cowards send others into battle for their person. Every gang leader we knew was a punk. 'Nuff said on that.

I think when I went looking for Keehan/Dante’s grave marker and did not find it there may have been a sense of outrage. Outrage that no one thought to mark his passing. Thinking that his memory, good and bad, would be for naught. In the course of trying to make this film I look at the people he taught and wonder how we lose sight of who we are, drift away from old friends, carry old grudges into eternity and tend to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

John lost his best friend, Jim Konsevic and it changed his life. It saddened Kenny Knudson, because Jim was not only his sensei, but a buddy also. Loss.

Most of the people I am talking to about Keehan are in their sixties and older, I am not far behind. The 60s keep coming back. This is yet another tale of the fantastic, of legend, good and bad, corruption that is so Chicago.

I think I was never a fighter really. I just wanted to survive. I have outlived a lot of my friends. Maybe because I was not a straight up fisticuffs guy, violence was not a pastime of mine. I was special order fighter, ask me right and I might serve it up. I seldom looked for it. I did not function on or really walk with what the caporieristas call "malicia." Which implies cunning, trickery, and aggressive awareness of my world. I was looking for a path with a heart, that old Don Juan cliché. I eventually used Taoism to do it.

My rage was actually cooled by my response to violence. There was nothing in beating someone up, emptiness. I had no follow through I was told. I know how lucky I am to have survived it all and see 5 decades, most of the world and have two healthy, sane, compassionate, moral sons who share my world view without me pushing it onto them.

Now what was my point this morning when I started this post??? What was I doing that made me start this Sunday blog? Oh yeah, Dim Mak.

I had though I was going to leave Dim Mak out of this. The "Death Touch."
The comic book adverts told us of its existence. But those of us who were hip knew you would not learn it from a book. But it was still cool to see Dante in the ad looking like a fugitive from a Blaxploitation movie, big Afro, beard and trimmed sideburns. Ready to whoop that dim mak on the man or whoever.

It is part of the lore and legend of Martial Arts. Is it real? Well does it matter, lots of us, I am convinced just like a good story. We like the magic of a fantastic reality. All is know is there are things I leave alone and never worry about because sometimes "those who tell don't know, and those who know, don't tell."

What happened today is that I found a guy who is a practitioner of Dim Mak who lives not far from me in Melrose Park. Nat King Cole led me to this project. He just finished working with an old British student of his doing a film on Nat King Cole for TV show in the UK that uses a Trance Channeler to find the spirits of dead famous people. I shizzle you nizzle!

Where the hell is all of this going???? Stay tuned for my next non-linear, ranting and stream of consciousness postings.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Searching for Count Dante

Searching for Count Dante

January 2006...still chasing ghosts


How did it all start? All I wanted to do was dispel a rumour. I was long over the conspiracy theories, long past worrying about someone controlling my world. But a fond childhood memory was involved, a guilty pleasure. Recollections come back in a flood of images.

I was a fan of John Keehan aka Count Dante because he was tough, and he was fair. A genuinely nice guy to some of us kids from the projects. I first heard of him when he had driven a bull down State Street in 1964 maybe, to promote the Karate Championship at what I think was Medinah Temple or the Coliseum. He said he was going to kill the bull, Mas Oyama style. A Shuto to the head then a punch to the skull???? We would never find out.

"Someone" dropped a dime to the anti-cruelty society and they came down and stopped the bull killing. Odd though, we still had stock yards back then. They offed the bulls with a sledgehammer to the skull. I think they used the same argument with Oyama when he was in Chicago in 1955. Oyama killed 2 bulls in Chi'. One in 1952 and the other in 1955. John Keehan obviously got that idea from our man Mas.

John is loved and hated, nothing in between. He is crazy or just a renegade. At the age of 11 or twelve it is great to meet someone who tells you you can be all you can be without joining the military. But John had been in the military...I am moving too fast...

In May of 2005 I started research on a film I am calling "The Search for Count Dante." I heard from three people that John Keehan/Count Dante was alive and well, hiding out in plain site in Chicago. This is a man who was reported dead in 1975.

My childhood idol, Count Dante/John Keehan, the coolest white dude in Chicago, World's Deadliest man, Hairdresser, bodyguard, all around toughguy, flawed individual, the Darth Vader of martail arts, walker of lions and master of the fine art of "Coo-Chi." I had buried him in my mind 29 years ago. I found out he was dead a year after. Here i have three people in trhe course of several months telling me they either "heard," saw him, or actually sat down and had a drink with him.

I was working on a documentary with Brit director Ian Hunt about Nat King Cole. As we moved about the city I kept running into people I have not seen in years. I saw a lot of people I knew from my martial arts period going to and fro as we were shooting.

Invariably the conversation comes down to how we miss John Keehan. I was not a student. I was a student of a student of a student probably. But if we saw John at a tournament or on the street he actually remembered me and my buddy BoyJack.
John is a symbol of the times when martial arts had mystery, John also had the first full contact event at the Coliseum, he was condemned, villified. "Martial arts without rules is Violence" someone said.

Well 30 years later UFC is all the rage and making all the money from what I hear. I am not necessarily a fan. But there are some talented all around fighters out there and John Keehan in my humble opinion uppped the ante in martial arts back in the 1960s.

I started to study martial arts in the mid-1960s. I was 10 years old, I worked out with a friend at his house in the projects, we started learning from books Then when he took lessons he would practice with me and I would learn by working out with him. We kept it secret cause we were always getting our asses kicked. Well, I was always getting my ass kicked, William was a fast runner. I would fight anyway. later for the extra exertion.

I also had some minor instruction in Chinatown. Living in the Ickes Housing projects, going to Haines School, I worked in Chinatown on weekends. We all had a hustle to keep ourselves in Comic Books and Nehi sodas. I did the nastiest jobs I ever did in my life in Chinatown, cleaning out nasty sticking gunk laden garbage cans with Lye.

I had a friend who worked at restaurants there and he took me along because I said I wanted a job. Well that was the job, a metal brush, some lye and nasty-ass alumnum garbage cans.

But that is how I got little things I needed. Comic books, balsa wood gliders, bus fare downtown to hang around Rush Street, go to the Planetaruim and get a Chicago Hot dog, or go with my crazy Dinosaur loving friend Fred to the Field Museum to hear his commentary on the age of the big beasts.

While in Chinatown, I would see things, I almost got beat up in Chinatown one day when I was working. I saw some of the local thugs coming through and ducked in the restaurant, but I had to sweep the front walk, of course they saw me. And I got laughed at for "working for the Chinaman." Well these two guys were nice to me and paid me right away, if not fairly.

I got pushed and swung on and almost decapitated by someones left hook until one of the REstaurant owners came out and pulled me inside. I was soon back on garbage can detail. They fed me and one of the guys put my hands up, and showed me how to "stick" and counter, no dancing more smothering of motion. I liked that. It gave me a sense of how to at least not get hurt by engaging and getting right inside. I guess this was my first introduction to martial arts first hand.

By the time I met John Keehan I had a little bit of knowledge, and he encouraged me and Boyjack to get some training at the Lawson YMCA or to come to his school on the Southside. He also had a school for a while on Rush Street near Mr. Kelly's.

And now I am back on his trail. Searching Chicago for his ghost, for scraps, old weathered trails of his passing. I am starting to have some luck.