Friday, December 28, 2007

Recap of my 2nd year with this dastardly film!!!


Happy New Year to all!!!

In the course of making this film I have had adventures i never imagined. I knew I was in for a wall of "secrecy and plausible deniability" but I was not prepared for the high level of obfuscation and crap I have encountered along the way. I am talking to people in the witness protection program, former specials ops people from the military, mob-connected individuals and occult masters and faced with attempts to stuck me up to see archives that may or may not exist for large amounts of money. This is in no way a typical documentary. This is the bed I have made and I am in it to the end.

Most recently, I am shocked at how new faces continue to appear. This past Saturday, I interviewed Ben Nevarez, a Mexican immigrant to Chicago in the early 1960s who started his study of karate in Mexico and joined Dante's school in 1962. He traveled with Dante to a tournament in Canada held by Mas Tsuroka in 1963. More on this in my next blog entry.

I made a decision about this time last year to go to Fall River and try to see what I could do to get them involved and come to some kind of a deal regarding their archive. Aguiar had already told me he wanted money for an interview and $10,000 to look at the archive site unseen. I had already been in touch with his lawyer and asked for paperwork proving their claim of copyright and never got anything but questionable documents attached to cease and desist orders. I tried to make peace and an opportunity for us to move forward in a positive manner.

I accepted the invitation of John Creeden III to come to Fall River. He said he was breaking away from Aguiar and that his father, John Creeden, Jr. had film footage that they had rights to. I asked about meeting Aguiar while I was in Fall River and they said it was not a good idea.
They said Bill Aguiar was not the owner of the footage.

I went there to interview John Creeden, Jr., and I did. I never put it online. I was waiting to see how things panned out. One thing led to another and I got involved with Barron Sheppard, who wanted to come on as an investor in the film. The first time I heard froim Sheppard , he offered to pay for a headstone for Count Dante's grave. That is how we got to talking.

Sheppard is a martial artist, martial arts historian and business man. He was looking for angles to do business on the novelty of these martial arts oddities, and saw the Black Dragon Fighting Society as a marketable commodity for t-shirts and fight wear due to Dante's early advocacy of mixed martial arts.

Playing no favorites, he sought to buy out both Ashida Kim and Bill Aguiar. I introduced him to the Creeden's. Creeden sold film footage to Sheppard for $1000.00 with the understanding that he was purchasing it to do with as he pleased. One of the uses would be for the film. I was specifically interested in the wrestling footage and the poison hand demonstration by Dante himself. Creeden III tried to go into business with Sheppard. Creeden, in trying to go it alone even went so far as suggesting making peace with Ashida Kim to capitalize on his international connections. After numerous delays in recieving the footage from Creeden he had a dubious feeling about doing business with Creeden. When the footage arrived it was very poor quality and had been shot off of a TV screen, it was not produced from the 8mm film footage as agreed.

My trailers had been up since Fall of 2006. I put up another in February of 2007. When Aguiar would not answer my emails back in 2006 I made it clear that I was claiming Fair Use of materials from the 1968 book by John Keehan/Count Dante. At the same time I contacted the Fair Use Project for Documentary Film, explained my dilemma and was taken on by them as a pro bono client.

I interviewed Master Ronald Duncan while I was out there. For me that was highlight of the trip. He was someone I had always wanted to meet. Critics can say what they will about Duncan, all I can say is they no idea of his skills and experiences. I leave it at that. Talking smack over this internet has no value and is very easy to do as we continually witness.

Sheppard, not realizing the virulent hatred the Fall River Black Dragons had for Ashida Kim, explained to Creeden he had bought up all of Ashida Kims footage for the same amount of money. Suddenly it because a contest to be paid more then Ashida Kim was being paid. When some of the footage showed up on YouTube associated with video featuring Ashida Kim, Fall River went ballistic.

Sheppard then soured on the whole idea, he no longer wanted to deal with drama that came with these "novelties." He dropped the idea after Creeden's crap. Sheppard pulled out, he ceased his business with Ashida Kim also. So Creeden is the only person to receive money from Sheppard in that deal.

Aguiar began reissuing the Cease and Desists to get the Videos taken down off of YouTube due to copyright infringement. He was successful in that momentarily. All of my videos were reinstated eventually. He even managed to get footage by Tom Palazzolo removed. Tom's footage was from the 1964 2nd World Karate Tournament.

Aguiar filed suit against me, Barron Sheppard and his wife, and Ashida Kim in September. We go to court in the beginning of 2008. We have a date of January 11, but have asked the court for an alternate date of Feb 11 as a key attorney in the case is having a baby a week before that date and as we who have children know, babies have a habit of coming when they feel like it. I will know the exact date this week.

The whole point of this film is to illuminate the social history of martial arts on the one hand using the implausible story of John Keehan/Count Dante as it's center piece. On the other hand it's purpose is to demystify the character of Count Dante and bring some clarity and closure to his urban mythology and accompanying controversial histories.

I have managed to make many discoveries on my own. I am eternally greatful to the late Ken Knudson for opening the door for me to begin my research in earnest and being my first interview.

The Fall River people are engaged in undermining me by interfering with my efforts to interview people in Fall River. It is quite clear that they have none of the control they claim to have over people that are creditable interviews, people who were alive and active during the pertinent time periods I am investigating. They are blowing just so much smoke. This will become apparent in the coming months.

I was in Pittsburg in November and I met members of then International Black Dragon Society courtesy of Dr Lawrence Day. Master Michael Felkoff was there and I got to see a kinder more friendly International BDFS.

I continue to make good progress with things thus far. Recently the Green Dragon Society has lifted it's head on YouTube. They are presenting all of their dirty laundry in public as well as spinning tales and lecturing me in absentia on how I should do the film to put attention on them, yet, no one wants to come forward to give information or to present their theories on what happened April 23, 1970. I have asked anyone when pertinent information to come forward. No one but Pat Garrison, an individual who was there that day, has come forward and told his version that even the most die hard Green Dragons do not agree with.

The contemporary Green Dragons clearly have no firsthand knowledge of the Dojo/Dragon Wars. It was thirty seven years ago. Yet they speculate who my sources are and I have stated clearly that I had dinner with former members of the GDS that were there that day. No contemporary GDS people would have first hand knowledge of the organization from 1966-1972. I have been seeking older people. The only information I can could get from the present day GDS is how they see the events of April 23, 1970 in hindsight. No one from the Devon Ave school ever responded to my inquiries. People speculating about my informants in the GDS have no idea who they are or how far up it now reaches and they will not know until the film comes out.

I got a letter in the mail today, from someone who has done a limited edition reproduction of The World's Deadliest Fighting Secrets. The letter with the limited edition explains how Count Dante, as a cultural icon, belongs to us all, is part of the collective memory of thousands of early to late middle aged men who lived with the idea and the images of the promise of invincibility. It is a myth come to life, truth or false no longer matters, Count Dante is an urban legend from which we draw memories of youth and the promise of power. No cease and desist letter can compete with this notion.

"Let a thousand T-shirts bloom and a thousand lawsuits
for infringement contend."

Da'n Tri'd Ahn Me,
Master of Fei Aah Yuse zhang

In spite of all of what has transpired, I have continued to gather amazing interviews and I will be uploading some of them over the next few weeks to give you a taste of what's coming. For now check out this interview excerpt with Gregory Jaco.

My rough cut is being recut, I will start shooting reenactments in February, I have several more key interviews to round things out. I continue working with a no-budget budget, but this is the miracle of digital tech, knowledge of the software, and pure will. You can actually become unstoppable. My goal now is......I ain't telling...LOL!! Just know I have one.

Those of you who have a stake in knowing will be the first to know. Mystery is good.






Monday, December 24, 2007

Happy Holidays to all of Y'all!

What a month of religious holidays. Eid, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hannakuh, St. Nicholas Day, Buddha's Enlightenment all converging at the end of the Gregorian calendar year. After all the mess we got the world in, we all seem to come to a pause around the same time.

I am going to take the next few days to look back to how I got my ass into this mess I am in and talk about where the film stands. The gains and shortfalls, the coming tasks and strategy for competition. Things, contrary to rumors from those who do not know, are really good right now. Great things continue to happen. I think, and those, who have seen it, think I have a hell of a film on my hands. It is still rough around the edges, but getting there.

New Interviews I are popping up. It looks like there is some local film footage of Dante around and now I am getting tales of maybe even a copy of 16mm footage of the 1943 Mas Tamura fight. I have become more confused by the police report of the dojo.dragon war. Just what I needed, more mystery. It is great that Jim Konsevic's cousin chose to provide me with a copy of the report.

The press for the film has been heightened by the court case to positive effect maximizes the drama of producing the film. We have date for preliminary motions scheduled for the first of 2008. I will confirm the date when I hear back from my lawyers in the New Year.

For now, I wish you all a happy holiday and best wishes for the New Year.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Holiday Cheer?

Well I am back on the blog. Been recovering from some real bad news this past week. A good friend of mine who was also a documentary film GOD for a lot of us passed away last Saturday. His name was St. Clair Bourne. He died of Pulmonary Trombosis, as a result of surgery to remove a tumour from his brain.

I and a lot of the independent film community is in mourning over his death. He was a great man, a serious filmmaker and did not take no shiznit. He was my film guru, our sensei, who gave a lot of us the skills needed to persevere and continue on this road to the prodcution of significant documentary film works. He was of a singular vision and walked a rough road to accomplish his goals. I started up a blog about him here to help me write myself out of the grief. Julie Dash asked if it was too corny for us to name a star after him. I laughed. I was like hell no it is not unreasonable. So I marked one on Google Sky and did a community share with thr marker. At least his close friends will know where it is, The Bourne Star. If you have Google Earth you can see it when you hit this marker. When it downloads just double clik it and when Google Earth starts up switch it to Sky Mode. I will be trying to write myself out of this grief.

I have just come iinto possession of the police reports related to the death of Jum Konsevic. They have been supplied to me by one of his cousins. I will furnish some facts from that report.
As I have said before, I was personally having a hard time trying to work this angle of talking about Jim Konsevic the man. He was mor than someone who died that day. It would be very unfair of me to spend all this time on Keehan and not at least have some mention of Konsevic before this event, to give him his humanity at least in this impossible story.

So I am grateful his cousin Peter has come forward and provided me with this material. More on this later. I am goign to try to blog every day til the end of the year.

Court Case
Well it is still in motion. We have a court date. I will give more details on that later also.
My attorneys are all ready and able. I am confident in their knowledge, abilities and believe they got the mojo to get me the sayso. :-)

I am still shooting interviews but who knows what will end up on the digital cutting room floor. There will be plenty left over for extras.

I could be done with the film right now but for all the controversy. It has stirred up the silt. at the bottom of the jar and new treasures have been discovered.

It is 8:00 am here and I need to get going. I will be back to write later tonite.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

time out chicago article this week

The court case got covered by Time Out Chicago this week.
Hank Sartin did a great article that clearly illustrates what I am trying to do with the film. It is kind of prestigious to be the lead story in the film section of a weekly entertainment magazine like Time Out.

I first ran into Time Out when I moved to London way back in 1975. I have always enjoyed the format and the depth of activity they covered in any given city.

I was very careful to follow my attorney's instructions and not use any photos that may be in question due to the claim of William Aguiar. I used an autographed copy of a photo given to me by the right Reverend Woodrow Edgell.

You can see the article online here.

The Story so far...


So here we are, end of the year and I am not done with the film. I had had some new developments since the infamous filing of the Federal Court case against me for copyright and trademark infringement. First of all, the trademark infringements and violations, a part of their attempted take-downs of my website and YouTube trailers, have been dropped from the actual suit.

What's going to happen next? It is any body's guess.
I am extremely fortunate and grateful for the efforts and services of Foley and Hoag on my behalf and for the existence, services and existence of the Stanford University Fair Use Project. I sing their praises. Without their efforts, I would truly be up a legal creek. I am also grateful to the Independent Feature Project in Chicago for having a seminar on Fair Use that lead me down a path of research that ended in me finding the Stanford folks.

Where am I with the film. No major financing yet. I can't expect any with this law suit pending it seems. Who wants the hassle. I am at dollars end, need new equipment and am absolutely confident that things are going to end up fine. I am still shooting interviews.

Dante Family and friends
I have been in touch with some of Dante's family. Some who are closer than others. I am sworn to secrecy about who they are and will honor that. There are some childhood materials including possible film footage from the family source. I will be getting together with him soon.

I have been in constant contact with one of Dante's childhood friend's. They were friend's since he saved Dante from a beating when they were in 2nd grade at Saint Mary of Scotland's on the South Side. He has tales to share. My policy, just so you new readers know, is I do not reveal names of informants until after I have interviewed them. In the case of the direct Dante relative, we will see.

Jim Konsevic Family
James Konsevic(in flight in the photo) was killed in the April 23, 1970 dojo fight with the Green Dragon Society on West Fullerton Ave. His senseless and tragic death took it's toll on John Keehan and effected him deeply. This was going to be the hardest thing for me, trying to contact his family to talk about this event and it's repercussions.

Fortunate for me, I was contacted by a cousin of Konsevic's. I will respect his privacy and not mention his name until he says it is ok. He is conducting his own investigations as to what happened that day. Being a family member he may be able to find out more than I did. Jim's death lead created a wave of emotional impact that saw his mother dead within a year and one day of his, and his father death a year later. There are other family matters related to the death that I will not discuss here. I will always respect the privacy of my informants and keep their privacy and confidence to heart.

Spiritual Life
Now this has been a sore point with me. I had heard rumors about Dante being involved in the occult and connected to Anton LaVey(founder of The Church of Satanism and was also born in Chicago) and Aleister Crowley. Nothing made sense until someone mentions the name, Choronzon Club. In my youth I had a lady friend who told me something about this club. I looked into it and finally made a connection 2 weeks ago. I found Count Dante's spiritual teacher. Again, until I speak with him in person and get an interview, no names. What I found out from our phone conversation is that Dante was initiated into several mystical societies. And, yes, it is true it does have to do with some Aleister Crowley connections and the OTO. Anton LaVey, I have no idea about at this point. The triangle with spheres symbol on the Kung-fu flags of both the Black and Green Dragon societies lead the way into deep occult beliefs that intersect this occult world.

This is something I was not looking for. It came to me suddenly after I had given up. I followed an impulse, I did a few searches and came up with a phone number in 10 minutes. I called the number, then got a return call by evening. I asked one question and the caller responded in a very lucid manner about "John Dante" and his activities. I had my man.

Whatever his interests were, we see in the Black Belt Magazine photo above a cross around his neck with the Black Dragon Fighting Society t-shirt beneath it. In that last interview with Mas Ayoob he says he was considering the priesthood. I expect this interview will be very enlightening.

The occult and martial arts have always gone together. So this is not really new information. I now have a consultant, a Christian martial artist who is a bit of a lay expert in these things advising me. I am just seeing where the path leads. And yes he has a biased view of it all. I did say "Christian" martial artist, right.

As I keep saying, making a documentary film is a path of discovery. Editing this thing is going to be a hoot.

Black Dragon Fighting Society News
Last but not least, I got a phone call from Mike Felkoff last night. He was calling to let me know that Stoffel Van Vurren had resigned as president of the Black Dragon Fighting Society International. Van Vurren resigned so that his prior associations would not be a hindrance to the organization. Felkoff has been chosen as the new president.

On a final note...I called John Cole, president of the World Karate Federation in Fall River, MA. He was closely aligned with Bill Aguiar, Jr. I called on a Sunday on a whim because I really need his interview. He is the only other person I have seen from that area who was actively in training with Dante and was promoted by him personally. There is a picture in a newspaper article showing he and Dante with Aguiar. Well it turns out that Cole knew my first sensei, Gregory Jaco. They were in the Green Beret together and were member of the Green Beret Karate demo team. That is good news for me. I may get my interview, if he so chooses to grant it.

So that's it in a blogshell.

Friday, November 30, 2007

The Other Stuff I do...

I awake at 3:30 am and the first thing I do after standing up is hit this keyboard. It has been a grueling three weeks since I got back here from Pittsburgh. Bread and butter work has dominated my existence. I have done some work for the School of the Art Institute of Chicago(SAIC), again with Korean Language and subtitling with Tony Jones, President of the School. Not as difficult as it sounds. It was an enhancement of a piece I did with 3to1 Studios, back in May. There were three additions produced, 2 were shot the week I returned, then some post work and now it is in Korea for the Winter recruitment drive there at 3:35 am Chicago time today. Yes I was up making sure the DVD had a signature from the Hotel delivery this morning.

At the same time I have been doing work for EbonyJet.com on their great new website. I edited and enhanced a great interview with President Bill Clinton about his African projects. It went up yesterday. The interview was conducted in Dar Es Salaam, my favorite East African city.

I lived in Dar for about 6 months back in the mid-70s. This was during my African adventures. I was not looking for my roots, I was looking for meaning, I already knew who I was and the rich historical and cultural legacy I was born of. I got out of the 60s alive, sane and made it to Africa. Not bad, I guess.

The Clinton interview brought up memories of working out on the beach with some of the guys from Nantambu Bomani's Goju Karate group. The names escape me but I do remember one guy, "Pookie." I see their faces but that name, Pookie, how could I forget. They were younger than I was then, just kids. Barely older than my youngest son now. They were members of Umkhonto We Sizwe, MK, "Spear of the Nation." They were part of the military arm of the African National Congress. I always wonder if they all made it.

That was in 1975, during the years of Julius Nyerere. Mwalimu, as he was affectionately known, made Tanzania host and benefactor to many of the Liberation Movement back then. Dar Es Salaam on any day would see the leadership of these movements walking it's street. Some mornings I would see Mwalimu calmly walking along the beach when I would go running if I stayed in town to hear Africa 70. People gave him his space and the Moranguzi(Tanzanian secret service) was seldom in sight at those times.

Part of this MK group was headed for training in other countries. Some stayed to return to South Africa to engage in the guerilla war. These guys had been banned and were on the run for their activities at the ages of 14-18. They were child soldiers by choice, with conscious political commitment. Some of these kids would walk to Tanzania from South Africa back in those days. There was no other way.

Every report on battles and attacks at by the apartheid forces an ANC camps and outposts in Botswana or elsewhere caused me worry about these particular guys.

In the interview, Clinton talks about the image of America in the interview and how that image remains pretty much intact in parts of Africa.

As I spent moments between everything else I am doing, cleaning the audio up for the Clinton interview, I suddenly stumbled over the other film I was researching before I worked on The World of Nat King Cole and then skirted the edge of the Dante Black hole and got sucked in.

It is a film I will revisit, It was called "From a Distance" and then was changed to reflect the Pink Floyd song, "Us and Them: The American Image Abroad." I was out of the country when 911 happened and I started the film 5 days after with interviews with people I knew in London and Paris. I was interested in how the image of America had evolved since the Spanish American War, what some call the rise of American Imperialism. No one wanted to know when I got back to the US in November 2001. So, by January 2002, I was back in East Africa teaching a class of broadcast journalists about digital cinema processes in Zanzibar for the Zanzibar International Film Festival. I then came back to Chicago and caught the vapors of the Dotcom bust. Dante was no where on my radar. Not a speck of interest. Amazing how one's life can suddenly be dominated by a project.

Nat King Cole lead me back to a childhood experience and like Cole, Dante is Chicago history. I like Chicago history. The history of a city is a tale of it's interactions and development, the meeting of peoples, cultures and ideologies. I know this city better than any city and I know cities. I investigate them, I walk them, leap in and swim in them.

It is a long way from MK to Dante, but still, Dante discoveries continue to make themselves known to me.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Faced with proof corrections have been made...

Not that it really matters, but corrections were made and the time errors have been removed.
I thank them for succumbing to the urge to let the truth be known.

Back to Dante Today....The problems of bending History to ones will.



Ok, first things first. A letter from the Green Dragon Society to William Aguiar has been presented claiming to have originated in the 1960s. But this is clearly a confusing statement to make. It is evident that the postage stamp on the letter is 1972 and the first class stamp is an 8 cent value.

First class Postage was not 8 cents until 1972. In 1966 postage was 5 cents, and in 1968 it was 6 cents. This is easily verified.

A key problem of research is resisting the urge to bend the results to your will, to make if fullfill your own needs. The truth is compelling enough without perpetuating falsehoods along the way. The truth will always surface, one way or another.

Just to be clear, I will now make it known, I have more information about Fall River than I expected to get. I have the information I need to give Fall River the treatment it needs without use of the BDFS archive. There is enough press information and people who have come forward who are giving me the information I need about this brief period in Dante's career and his associations there, especially his first meeting with Luigi DiFonzo. My sources are confidential and will remain so until the film is completed.

Fall River was never being left out of the film. I was not going to succumb to blackmail for the use of their materials, plain and simple.

The film gets better everyday.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Having a Nice day...a day without Dante(?)

Some things you cannot make up. Life has a tendency to be more compelling than fiction at times. Add the fact that many people like to hitch themselves to rising, falling and dead stars, that real life is a province best left than dealt with, that most people will endure anything to achieve their 15 minutes of fame promised by Andy Warhol.

Some of our lives are so empty, we need a character like Count Dante to make ourselves feel alive. Me? When I hang out with my granddaughter Isis and DJ Spooky in the cafe at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) in Chicago is what makes me really feel alive. This is not a judgment. This is what I am thinking.

Paul has a great exhibition going on in Chicago. From November 14 through January 17, the fluXspace exhibition in the Betty Rymer Gallery will be the site of his "Link City Chicago", a collage installation projection in four sections: City of the Past, City of the Future, Third World City, and Industrialized City. Link City Chicago examines the idea of the urban landscape as a legible text, and looks at the global city from the viewpoint of how form and function are evolving in the radically accelerated information economy. Link City Chicago is a collaboration between SAIC and the Chicago History Museum.

THAT is some hip shiznit! I missed his concert at the Chicago History Museum, where he mixed the digital archive. Isis and I were at the Children's Museum later than we figured and came back to the office so she could watch Felix The Cat on joostTV. We had fun! Paul's next big project is in Antartica. Talk about exciting!

Count Dante for me is nostalgia, he was a a human being with special flaws in his character, not unlike most human beings. His were a but extra special I must admit. This too shall pass. It takes a better imagination than mine to make all this stuff up. I like to think I know where I am going with this....when I think I don't, I separate myself from it get a mental reboot and go back and hit it again.

I still seem to have to talk about the project even when I am escaping from it, people always want to know what I am doing, or they ask me about the Fair Use case. Who knows what will happen. It is all unpredictable far as I can tell.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

In Pittsburgh: International Black Belt Hall of Fame

I have arrived in Pittsburgh for the 20th Annual International Black Belt Hall of fame at the invitation of Dr. Lawrence Day.

This East Coast organized event is an invitation only black tie affair with over 700 people attending the ceremony from all over the US, from Ireland, England, Iceland and Australia. Last night there were seminars and workshops for everyone attending.

The crowd is primarily martial artists of sizes shapes and ethnicities and a few family members and friends observing. Members of the audience are participating in Kendo workshops and learning Fan forms from a young woman who is a Black Dragon from West Virginia and Dim Mak from the Black Dragons. Dr John Ward, of Dublin, Ireland, did a fascinating Kenpo seminar with over a hundred people participating in a what was really too small a space. Other workshops include Glima from Iceland, Chi-Gung, Arnis, and Tae-Pyung.

The flight from Chicago to Pittsburgh was the easiest flight, 52 minutes up and down with no delays. I stopped and checked email, made phone calls had a little coffee and headed to the hotel shuttle. As I approached there I saw a bunch of people with luggage and canes. As they pass me, I spy this really cool hat that said Black Dragon Fighting Society. The guy in the hat called me by name, it was on. He was a student of Dr Lawrence Day's. Dr Day had arrived with students of his from Florida, Tennessee and Texas. There is a lot of them and, I am happy to say, they are all really great people.

I suddenly find myself among non-hostile people related to the project who are not my lawyers. It felt like a sea-change of atmosphere occured. Black Dragons I could have a laugh with.


I met Dr Day outside. and he was just as cantnkerous and hilarious as he is on the phone. One of the first things he said after our greetings and introductions was he was hungry, then started talking about Bob Evan's Restaurant and biscuits and gravy with fried potatoes. Pretty soon the crew went from 7 people to about 14. Other Black Dragon associated people were arriving.

When we all got to the hotel, Mike Felkoff was waiting on us. Among all of these martial artists his diminutive size is quite apparent and he was holding court and talking smack, per usual.

The Black Dragon group has a strong presence here. This is the first time Day and Felkoff have seen each other since Thursday night, April 23, 1970, the day of the Dojo War. Day was outside when the fight took place, he observed the death of Konsevic when the door burst open and people poured out and the police were on the way.

Felkoff's hotel room became the informal meeting place for Black Dragon Fighting Society. Felkoff was holding informal seminars on the internal skills. Masters Ricky Taylor and Guy Whimper, Kenpo practioners from the Warriors for Christ Fighting Dragon Academy in Knightsbridge, NC were impressed at what they were seeing from Felkoff and have now become members of the International Black Dragons.
The Banquet and Awards ceremony are this evening and it is late now so I better finish this up and get going. Time is passing quickly.

This working alone stuff is coming to an end as of 2008. I definitely need a cameraperson working with me. I am not being as effective as I could be with someone wlse helping me. Film id collaborative art form and I desperately need that at this point.

Little did I know that all of this back and forth on the internet has given me a bit of notoriety. People seemed to know who I am in this martial arts context. People are talking directly to me by name when I have the camera, on. I was a bit disarmed by that. I will solve that problem by January, 2008.

I am having a great time and I got my own official Black Dragon Fighting Society Hat and T-Shirt. It is good to be able to realx and have a good time for serious.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

New discoveries...

Writer Dan Kelly recently send me some of his research from last year's Chicago Reader article. In this research was Chicago Yellow Pages copies from 1968-1972. You see above, two listings, one for the Green Dragon Society, 1968 and the other for Count Dante's Imperial Academy of Fighting Arts. I need to find out who this "Prof. Lee" is on the Green Dragon advert.

Once again, we see the Green Dragon image and I am taken back to that email from the Green Dragon informant telling me the "Dojo/Dragon War" really came about as a result of the dispute over Dante copying their logo. As I keep saying, there are no good guys in this tale. Included in this incredible tale are matters of misadventure and bad judgement in many cases.

One of the other items in the Yellow pages entries was listing under "Beauty Salons" for the House of Dante, right there between the "House of Costa" and the "House of Relaxation."

This guy was busy, 3 dojos and a hair salon. It says something about his acumen as a businessman. His father, John H. Keehan, was a founder and owner of Ashland State Bank, which opened in 1954. So money was not that big an issue for him, it would seem. The image of Dante at left is typical of the publicity photos issued by hairdressers.

I used to work in the publishing department of a hair design company and still have a few friends who are in that business. It would be great to find some people who worked with Dante in the hairdressing business. That would be kind of interesting to include in the film.

The beat goes on...Still at it, and it is still bound to get a whole lot more interesting.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Spirit of Martial Arts???

I am just riding the wave of controversy that keeps getting attracted to the making of this film. It sucks that I am being sued, it sucks that Fall River Black Dragon Fighting Society (BDFS) was not able to find away to ask to go into mediation and decided to make this a high profile federal court case. But...I knew what I was getting into when I started this project and will ride it out to completion. I took on the odds of being involved with the characters of Dante's past. Mind you, all of them are NOT like this.

The most unfortunate thing is all the insults and bad feelings that are being generated due to pure ego and obstinance. Fall River BDFS has chosen to engage in an online smear campaign, try the case in the court of Bullshido, as it were. Along the way they have said untruths about some of the veteran Black Dragons. They really need to apologize to the old timers for those unfounded statements. But will they???

Discipline in martial arts is everything. But not all adhere to it. Courtesy is everything in martial arts, but not all belive in it. Respect is everything in martial arts and when you don't show respect to people, you won't get it.

Some people are not wise enough to understand the power of respect. Some people do not acquire the real spirit of martial arts, all they get is the violence in spirit and behavior.

When John Keehan's Chinese teacher dropped him it was because he found John to not be of good character, and he had commercialized what he had learned. Fall River adheres to the dark side of John Keehan's legacy with a lack of the intelligence it takes to walk that road, so they stumble along and merely create chaos in their wake.

The things they have said about Master's Felkoff and Day are not acceptable. Their disrespect of Mr Van Vuuren when he came to them is horrendous. In their emails they show he approached them with courtesy and respect. They then rebuffed and disrespected him with their claims of rank and entitlement. They accuse of everyone of making money off the legacy of Dante because it is their obsession with getting paid, the easy way.

Why am I getting involved in this part? I was taught to respect my elders. That is part of my upbringing. I can yell scream and disagree all I want with them but I must always respect them. There are places I dare not go, that is part of my dna. It is not fear, it is belief in a moral action to honor those who have come before us, especially while they are alive.

As a former martial artist I was taught respect and humility was everything.

We had a hard task master in my first sensei, Gregory Jaco. We were not paying for our lessons. Jaco believed martial arts were essential to the development of a strong character and essential to our survival as human beings in the hostile environment we inhabited. We paid for our lessons in sweat and sometimes blood(literally). Jaco was only one year older than me. But he carried himself like he was 60 and then became 15 more times than not. He was a character.

He taught us early to not talk bad about other styles, that it was the individual who proved the effectiveness of any style. He was old school in big way. He was big, burly and gentle as a lamb, when he wanted to be. He walked with a warriors heart, he had nothing to prove. This is humility.

How easy is it to have peace? Easy, admit to the people you insulted you were wrong, clean up the damage you did in public. What is it they say about Pride going before a fall? Those words should be heeded. I

Take it back to the Tao:
Those who wish to change the world
According with their desire
cannot succeed.

The world is shaped by the Way;
It cannot be shaped by the self.
Trying to change it, you damage it;
Trying to possess it, you lose it.

Tao te Ching

Monday, October 22, 2007

On the Lighter Side...Today's Irony and Getting Ready for Pittsburgh Black Belt Hall of Fame.


In the middle of all this I suddenly get a piece of mail has made me an honorary member of the Black Dragon Fighting Society(BDFS). Nooooo, this was initiated by Mike Felkoff, no remorse on the part of the Fall River claimant. I got an official certificate signed by Dr Lawrence Day and Stoffel Van Vuuren. Dr. Day is a direct student of John Keehan/Count Dante.

Now this is going to rankle some feathers, but what can I say. It is a great distraction from all the motions and counter-motions. How much more crazier can this all get. Damn, I should not even ask. Double irony, Van Vuuren considered an associate of Ashida Kim, presently has no dealings with him whatsoever. I know nothing about Ninjas so I have nothing to say about it. Accusations are being flung about about money changing hands and it just goes to show how the focus is always about what someone else is or is not getting. All I am getting is a headache and have to continue to struggle to get this film completed.

I guess I am in the middle of a guantlet being thrown down while all I am trying to do is make a great film. Now, along the way, I have been made an honorary member of the the BDFS by elder members of the original BDFS who want to send a message that they support the making of this film. It is that simple. After weeks of people trying to impose a lot of stress on me it is good to get a good laugh. Does it effect my ability to be objective about my subject. Please do not ask me this today. I will get deeper into this subject after I get done laughing at the irony of the day.

Since the 1980’s the Eastern U.S.A. International Martial Arts Association, Inc. has been sponsoring the U.S.A. International Black Belt Hall of Fame. I will be there when it convenes this year to see Mike Felkoff's reunion with Lawrence Day who last saw one another the day of the Black Dragon/Green Dragon incident in April, 1970. The event will take place in Pittsburg, PA Nov 9-11. Felkoff will be inducted into the International Black Belt Hall of Fame.

What does this mean, this ascension of a new "international" Black Dragon Fighting Society headed by Felkoff, Dr Lawrence Day and Professor Stoffel Van Vuuren? These old heads have come together to revive the Black Dragon Fighting Society and have an impressive list of international affiliate instructors. It means I want to film this event and this reunion.

I have heard rumblings of Keehan's association with a real Japanese Black Dragon who settled in the Indiana area and was teaching judo. I am being told that this choice of a name was not an arbitrary choice. I will be exploring this more. I have given some interesting background on the Black Dragon Society in my earlier blogs. I am not making any assumptions, all I can do is explore possibilities and intent.

When Mr. Aguiar III heard about my "honorary" certificate he called Dr. Day to read him the riot act. All these vitriolics will come to naught. Time moves on, situations and conditions change. A sense of humour is what we all need about now.

I thank the elders for their show of support. This is some adventure I am on, fromNat Cole to an empty grave, to Federal Court, to honorary membership in the Black Dragon Fighting Society. It looks gooooooood on me! :-)

New Discoveries afoot...

Some very odd things have happened this past few weeks besides the lawsuit. Regarding the lawsuit, there have been motions and counter-motions and allies of the opposition are still arguing the case on Bullshido. Everyone is asking me what is going to happen. Hmmmmmm...we will see. :-)

I am grateful to my legal team at the Stanford University Fair Use Project for Documentary Film and Foley Hoag for all the hard work they have put into representing me. At Stanford they are: Anthony Falzone, Julie Ahrens and Brandy Karl.

It is very important that I acknowledge Lawrence Lessig, the founder and director of the Center for Internet and Society and the C. Wendell and Edith M. Carlsmith Professor of Law at Stanford Law School. He was named one of Scientific American's Top 50 Visionaries for arguing "against interpretations of copyright that could stifle innovation and discourse online.”

At Foley Hoag in Boston I would like to thank Mike Boudett, David Kluf, and Walead Esmail. They have all done a great job!

Meanwhile, my work goes on. As part of my investigation of John Keehan's "San Francisco Period," I have spoken with a real Grandmaster, one whose credentials will never be in question, Ralph Castro. We spoke about his coming to Chicago in 1963 with Ed Parker for the First World Karate Tournament that was organized by John Keehan on behalf of the Robert Trias and the United States Karate Association. One of the joys of working on this film is being able to talk to singular personalities like Great Grandmaster Castro.

His first martial arts training was as a boxer at the behest of his father Boss Castro, in Honolulu. Mr Castro began his training under Grandmaster William S Chow in Hawaii in 1955 when he was 21 years old. Chow is considered by many to be the founder of the modern day kenpo system. I spoke with the 75 year old after one of his classes by phone last week. I was trying to get a line on his knowledge of John Keehan back in those days. He meet him but did not know much about him except that he organized the 1963 tournament.

Mr Castro was not a student's of Ed Parker's but he did attend the Chicago Tournament with him as a contemporary and fellow instructor back then. He speaks of it as one of his most exciting trips to the city.

This is the substance the film needs. This is an opportunity to explore other origins and migrations that gave us martials arts in America.

Now, back to writing, interviews, reenactments and animation. The beat goes on....and there is an end in sight.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Stanford Law School’s Fair Use Project and Foley Hoag Defend....my rights to fair use

We are anxious to get tis over and done with:

Stanford Law School’s Fair Use Project and Foley Hoag Defend Documentary Filmmaker’s Fair Use and Free Speech Rights; Seek Damages for Wrongful Takedowns


STANFORD, Calif., October 11, 2007—The Fair Use Project of the Center for Internet & Society at Stanford Law School and its co-counsel Foley Hoag LLP filed an answer and counterclaim in Massachusetts federal court Tuesday on behalf of filmmaker Floyd Webb, who is being sued over material he is using on the Internet to promote a documentary about Count Dante, an enigmatic, Chicago martial arts legend from the 1960s who founded the Black Dragon Fighting Society. The society’s current “Grand Master,” William Aguiar III, alleges that Webb’s promotional website and film trailer infringe copyrights and trademarks that Aguiar now controls. But Webb believes he has the right to use the disputed material under the “fair use” doctrine and seeks damages against Aguiar for misrepresentation of copyright under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

Chicago-based filmmaker Floyd Webb is making “The Search for Count Dante,” a documentary chronicling the real-life odyssey of martial arts master John Keehan who introduced a self-styled version of martial arts to America in the 1960s and 1970s. Keehan changed his name to Count Juan Raphael Dante, described himself in popular comic books as holding the “world’s deadliest fighting secrets,” adopted the moniker “Crown Prince of Death,” and founded an organization he called the Black Dragon Fighting Society.

Count Dante played a role in launching the first "world Karate tournament" in Chicago in 1963 and was reputed to have trained Black and Latino students at a time when rival dojos would not. His students dominated the competitive karate scene in the 1960s. Dante was a pioneering advocate of no-holds-barred mixed martial arts (MMA) in the 1960s, and he was rumored to have once challenged Muhammad Ali to a boxing match.

Dante was also reputed to be a hairdresser for Playboy models, a classically trained singer, and made claims to have been a U.S. Army Ranger who helped arm Fidel Castro in a 1959 mission called “Operation Water Buffalo.” In addition, Dante is alleged to have been the mastermind behind the Purolator Vault robbery—one of the most notorious heists in Chicago history—as well as the instigator of the infamous "dojo wars" that resulted in the death of his colleague and friend.

Webb’s documentary seeks to separate fact from fiction, and he created a trailer and website to raise awareness about the film, and to track the progress of his research into Count Dante’s life. Webb posted the trailer to his website, www.thesearchforcountdante.com, and to YouTube (www.youtube.com). Aguiar, the son of a Dante protégé, sent takedown notices and cease-and-desist letters claiming that Webb’s trailer and website infringe copyrights and trademarks that Aguiar owns—specifically images and logos of Count Dante and Black Dragon Fighting Society.

In September, Aguiar filed a lawsuit against Webb in United States District Court, District of Massachusetts, alleging copyright and trademark infringement. Webb denies Aguiar’s claims, and in his counterclaims Webb seeks injunctive relief and damages for misrepresentation of copyright under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Webb also seeks declaratory judgment that his use of certain images and logos in the trailer and on his website does not constitute infringement of any copyrights or trademarks that Aguiar is authorized to assert against him.

“It’s unclear that Aguiar owns any of these rights in the first place,” explained Anthony Falzone, the executive director of the Fair Use Project at Stanford Law School. “What is clear is that Floyd Webb has every right to use the material at issue under the Fair Use Doctrine. His First Amendment rights are at stake here.”

“The infringement claims are not valid,” said Brandy Karl, Residential Fellow at the Center for Internet and Society. “We intend to make sure that Floyd Webb and other documentary filmmakers are not silenced by such threats and baseless takedown notices.”

In February of this year, the Fair Use Project (FUP) launched a collaborative insurance program to provide critical support for documentary filmmakers who rely on the “fair use” of copyrighted material in their films.

“The case against William V. Aguiar III is perfect example of why documentary filmmakers need to have legal help in their corner—so they can stand up for their ‘fair use’ rights because their films depend on the inclusion of copyrighted material they seek to comment on, discuss, and contextualize,” said Lawrence Lessig, founder and director of the Center for Internet and Society and the C. Wendell and Edith M. Carlsmith Professor of Law at Stanford Law School.

In addition to lawyers from the Fair Use Project, three lawyers from the Boston office of Foley Hoag LLP are serving pro bono as local counsel to Webb in this matter—Michael Boudett, David Kluft, and Walead Esmail. Foley Hoag has an extensive practice in intellectual property litigation and a demonstrated commitment to pro bono activity in support of artists and first amendment rights.


About the Fair Use Project

The Stanford Center for Internet and Society's "Fair Use Project" ("the FUP") was founded in 2006. Its purpose is to provide legal support to a range of projects designed to clarify, and extend, the boundaries of "fair use" in order to enhance creative freedom. The FUP represents filmmakers, musicians, artists, writers, scholars, and other content creators in a range of disputes that raise important questions concerning fair use and the limits of intellectual property rights. In doing so, it relies on a network of talented lawyers within the Center for Internet and Society, as well as attorneys in law firms and public interest organizations that are dedicated to advancing the mission of the FUP. The FUP provides an expanding array of assistance to content creators. It has advised prominent creators and distributors of documentary films concerning fair use, defamation, trademark infringement, and other issues relating to the appropriate bounds of free expression. While is impossible to eliminate completely the risk of a dispute, this analysis helps reduce and identify liability and litigation risks before the fact, so that informed decisions can be made.


About the Center for Internet and Society

The Center for Internet and Society is a public interest technology law and policy program at Stanford Law School and a part of the Law, Science and Technology Program at the law school.


About Lawrence Lessig

Lawrence Lessig is the founder and director of the Center for Internet and Society and the C. Wendell and Edith M. Carlsmith Professor of Law at Stanford Law School. Professor Lessig represented website operator Eric Eldred in the U.S. Supreme Court case Eldred v. Ashcroft, a challenge to the 1998 Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act. He was named one of Scientific American's Top 50 Visionaries for arguing "against interpretations of copyright that could stifle innovation and discourse online.”


About Anthony Falzone

Anthony Falzone is the executive director of Stanford Law School’s Fair Use Project. He is an intellectual property litigator with more than eight years of experience and has represented technology and media clients in a wide array of intellectual property disputes including copyright, trademark, rights of publicity, and patent matters. Prior to joining Stanford Law School, he was a partner in the San Francisco office of Bingham McCutchen LLP.

About Brandy Karl

Brandy Karl joined Stanford Law School in 2007 as a residential fellow at the Center for Internet & Society, where her work includes public interest litigation and other projects related to technology and intellectual property regulation. Karl's research interests focus on developments in copyright law and the application of the fair use doctrine. Her publications include topics ranging from the politics of the Supreme Court to trademark dilution. Prior to joining the Center, Karl practiced copyright and trademark law in Boston as principal of her own firm. She is a 2001 graduate of MIT and a 2004 graduate cum laude of Boston University School of Law, where she was a Paul J. Liacos Distinguished Scholar and an articles editor for the Journal of Science and Technology Law.

About Stanford Law School

Stanford Law School is one of the nation’s leading institutions for legal scholarship and education. Its alumni are among the most influential decision makers in law, politics, business, and high technology. Faculty members argue before the Supreme Court, testify before Congress, and write books and articles for academic audiences, as well as the popular press. Along with offering traditional law school classes, the school has embraced new subjects and new ways of teaching. The school’s home page is located at www.law.stanford.edu.

About Foley Hoag LLP

Foley Hoag LLP is a leading law firm in international law, litigation, and arbitration of disputes among sovereign states and between sovereign states and foreign investors. Foley Hoag also represents foreign governments in litigation before the federal and state courts of the United States. The firm’s 250 lawyers are located in Washington, DC, and Boston. For more information visit www.foleyhoag.com.



EDITORIAL CONTACTS

Stanford Law School:
Judith Romero
Associate Director of Media Relations
650.723.2232
judith.romero@stanford.edu
www.law.stanford.edu/news

Foley Hoag LLP:
Meghan Magner
Public Relations Manager
617.832.7112


COMMENT

Stanford Law School:
Anthony Falzone
Executive Director, Fair Use Project
650.736.9050
anthony.falzone@stanford.edu

Thursday, October 04, 2007

There once was a lion...

On a lighter note, I have discovered the fate of John Keehan/Count Dante's pet lion.

When last seen, the lion had taken a bite out of the mayor of Quincy, IL at a Lion's Club convention. John and a buddy had taken the lion there. The owner of a Buick dealership bought the lion from John under circumstances I have not yet determined. The Buick dealer was living at home at the time. He arrived, tied the lions leash to the kitchen door and went to bed. Next morning, his mother woke up and discovered a lion in her kitchen, to her dismay.

The Buick dealer would get a kick out of driving the lion around in a Buick Opal station wagon. The lion was sold again to another Buick dealer in St. Louis, then the Lion was sent to a zoo in Texas.

I will update this entry as pictures and more information comes available.

I am sure glad I can have at least a little fun with this film..... :-)

Show all

Saturday, September 29, 2007

The Saga Continues, and he called me a "coon!"

I did two more interviews this week for the film. The Green Dragon mystery will remain a mystery but it's history and genesis will be clearly outlined in the film. I have learned who to rely on for some semblance of accurate information. I have people to cross check data with now. I am better off now then I was when I started this project. I have met some great people all across the country. And, as you have witnessed, I have met some people whose conduct speaks volumes.

I am greatful to those who have opened their doors and archives to me and those who continue to do so. It was the late Ken Knudson who opened those initial doors for me. Ken had a few vital numbers I needed, and he was my first interview. Ken's generosity led me to other former students of Dante and I was able to reconnect to a world I left long long ago.

Wherever I have gone, Chicago, Las Vegas, San Francisco, New York, Kankakee, all have been welcoming. Even Fall River was welcoming, but with a wicked agenda.

I have been going through Keehan's FBI Record for any clues and significants things I need to follow up on. Some interesting tidbits have arisen that I missed.

The lawsuit saga continues, and it is in good hands with my representation.

Bullshido.net has become a place where the Fall River Crew are trying the case in public.
It has become a Bullshido soap opera of sorts and no one can tell who the players are without scorecards. I even have two forums dedicated to their gathering information about me and Ashida Kim(whom I have never met) and a whole forum dedicated to the William Aguiar lawsuit.

I have been called a "coon" online by this John Creeden guy, definitely an anachronism of an insult for a guy in Massachusetts showing extremely low self esteem and totally being out of touch with the prevailing changes in popular culture. But then, he redeemed himself of that criticism by continuing to not only use the word "coon," but by venturing to the graveyard of the NAACP and digging up the work they tryin' to bury, "nigger."

One of the other posters on Bullshido replied to his "coon" slur with a very funny, "The 1930s called, they want their insult back!"

You would think a person could get banned for such language. But, hey it is good to know who the bigots are. They should expose themselves more often. Hooray for free speech and all that.

Now, I tried to warn them that burying the word was not going to work. It is a vampire that lives off the lifeblood of racism. When you eliminate racism, the word will cease to exist or have meaning. From the looks of it racism is not going anywhere soon. Hence the word "nigger" will remain and people like Creeden will continue to resurrect such terms at will. For those of you in your 20's see a reference to the word "coon" here.

I am old enough to have passed through that faze where I even took that kind of language seriously. I know who I am and long as you ain't stepping to me I will just laugh in the face of such attempts to undermine my self-worth. I know who I am.

He has even called me a used car salesman, wow, just like John Keehan was.

One thing learned a long time ago in public meetings, never challenge a man with a microphone. And let's add to that, or a video camera.

This is about filmmaking. It's construction, the parts, ingredients that make for compelling subject material. What materials are needed? How do I access and support those materials? It is a process of discovery and does have the potential of adventure, for better or worse. It is a struggle and a hassle, especially if you are an independent.

Just because Michael Moore made millions on his documentary films by being an annoying, yet, compelling commentator on the politics of contemporary popular culture does not mean just anybody can do the same. Money can be made for sure, but how much, that is a crap shoot.

I did not start this film thinking I was going to make millions. I was hoping the film could pay for itself and help me start another film. Along the way I found far more to the story than I imagined. Now I am on a different track and will not be derailed by the interests of others.

The project continues. It is only getting better.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

The Promise of Power



This morning I was out about 5:00 am, headed for the gym, trying to fat bust.

On the way back I spotted this empty newspaper machine. It was totally empty but for an old muscle advertisement lodged in the display window. I was already thinking about my cutting of the film, my structure of lack of structure. I stopped and looked at this isolated bit of vintage black and white and imagine how this idea sprang into John Keehan's head. The promise of power, seductive, mythic, a search for a magic potion, a talisman. A key to transformation, an appeal to the raging hormones of adolescent boys.

These advertisements remain a curiosity for me. I remember the advertisments in black publications when I was a child, especially black oriented romance magazines.The ads there promised transformation also. Lighter skin, straighter hair to make your life better, to help you feel more confident to win in the game of love. A pathway to acceptance by the dominant culture.

Media dictated and continues to dictate these standards in ways I still question in my full-blown media literacy. The medium is the message? I need you guys to help me on this. What do you think? Like I said, making a documentary is a journey of discovery.

I never ordered Dante's book because I did not believe he was the world's deadliest man. I had seen Gregory Jaco catch an arrow. I had seen unnamed martial artists in public park matches in fights that lasted 12 seconds or less. I had seen a lesbian neighbor of ours, I just knew her as Ms Jess, fight off 2 guys with a straight razor in front of a bar and left blood all over the street and got none on her suit.

I knew deadly.

I did not need a comic book to sell me deadly. It was a cool advertisement. I had my first experience with learning martial arts from Mas Oyama's book, This is Karate. It was a beautiful oversized hardback edition I got at the Public Library at Fort Benning, GA when my dad was an instructor at the Ranger School. I remember the smell, the beautiful black and white photography. It had a gold embossed zen brush stroke in the cloth cover. It was a beautiful book. And it was chock fill of information, easier to follow pictures. Lots of strobe photography movements. Oyama's book was the one to learn from it you had to do use a book.

I think the first edition was like 1965 or sometime around then. It is definitely a classic.
After seeing a book like that, I had no faith in mail order $3 deals by mail. But Dante's advert looked cool as hell and hell yeah I wanted one of the membership cards. But I held to discipline and did not got for the oki doke. I was surrounded by too many powerful guys then. And they were powerful because of working kata, attending Shiai, long workouts and street fighting.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

The Green Dragon Dilemma

I have encountered a great dilemma in telling the story of the dojo war. I have many versions from one side, Keehan's side, and spotty information from the Green Dragon side.

The activities of John Keehan, where and who he learned from remain mysterious to some, fictional to others and a few I have talked to just may have the truth. In showing information in unedited form, I attract new information that helps me connect certain dots and throw other less than accurate information out. No one person has the whole truth in this story. It is like jazz composer Charles Mingus one said to his friend Fats Navarro, that truth is like a ruler everyone makes for himself, some are longer, some are shorter. And we also know that sometimes truth changes in the telling and is transformed over the times.

Keehan's Chinese practice seems to begin, in San Francisco, with James Lee. This may be verifiable, I am still working on so I can make an accurate conclusion. James Lee wrote booklets on Iron Palm and Poison Hand back in the late 1950s.

Masters Edgell and Felkoff offer further evidence of Keehan learning techniques in Chicago. This will be clarified in the film. The claims that he learned or published Green Dragon techniques bears serious questioning.

It is already established he was with Ed Parker for awhile. No one teacher can claim Keehan, he started as a boxer, then went to judo and it gets murky from there. I have several claiming to have introduced him to Karate, As a very young man he was on the move and had money from his rich doctor father, so it is not improbable that he went where he wanted, when he wanted.

I never thought I was going to solve the mystery of what started it all. I keep confronting new myteries to unravel. Maybe the dojo/dragon war was just Keehan feeling his star fading and seeing a new generation rising. Maybe it was the missionary zeal of a new generation who saw Keehan as old news. The only truths I have found are one dead , one maimed, a career shattered and life drastically changed.

This is such a compelling tale, a challenging tale, it gets overwhelming sometimes. But no worry. I have it well in hand, I like to think. There are still interviews to do, animation to create, I should finish shooting my recreations in the next few weeks.

Making a documentary is a journey of discovery. This journey is like a rough ride down some serious rapids. The good news is the kayak is not sinking, far from it.

Some interesting changes are afoot. New information continues to arrive even as I am trying to finish up. Unfortunately, it just gets more interesting.


One thing the Green Dragon letter did for me was bring to mind the Von Boskirk's. I used to shop there starting when I was 12. I bought my gi's and belts and my first pair of nunchakus from them. I got books, magazines and manuals from them also. I knew Mr. and Mrs. Von Boskirk. I would be late sometime and they would be closing but Mrs. Von Boskirk, annoyed as she might be, always let me into their little crowded shop on South Halsted Street near 63rd St. They were always very kind to me.


I never knew how Mr Von Boskirk died. When I heard years later that Mr Von Boskirk had died stopping a fight in front of the store I was very sad. I had asked Mrs. Von Boskirk where her husband was once and she just said he had died. She keep the store open for years after that.

Friday, September 21, 2007

What's New is old...info keeps coming

More info has made it's way to me regarding the Dragon/Dojo Wars. Info is constantly filtering through, some of it credible and believable and some not. I am going to show excerpts of a letter I recieved below. I have changed the names to protect the informant who now lives in a far eastern location, a former resident of Chicago.

----- Original Message ----
From: Floyd Webb
To: Chingzhang
Sent: Wednesday, September 19, 2007 9:48:45 PM
Subject: Re: Hello I would like to speak with you if possible

Chingzhang,

Thanks for getting back in touch.

I did not realize how sensitive this issue has remained. Please answer the following questions as you do not want to be interviewed in the film.

1. Could you tell me some of your background first of all.

"I COULD TELL YOU....BUT THEN".....(you know how the rest of the saying goes.....IT'S CLASSIFIED!!)

2. Were you a member of the Green Dragon Society (GDS)?

Never an initiated member....I trained with an instructor on a private basis.

3. I am looking to understand how John Keehan managed to enter the Chinese martial arts in Chicago. Who were the Chinese groups and how long had they been established here.

Keehan never entered the Chinese martial arts community in Chicago. It was a "closed door" sector at the time. 1964 was when the first Chinese masters began to publicly teach non-Chinese, Chinese martial arts. There were those who received instruction in watered down versions of these systems....but, they were never initiated into the true version of the Chinese arts. They were taught what could best be described as "Chinese Karate".

The first Chinese to openly teach Gung Fu in the USA was the late Bruce Lee. he got into a lot of trouble for that. The Tongs were furious with him for revealing the secret knowledge of the chinese fighting arts. It eventually cost him his life. Ark Y Wong, Venerable Grand Master of the Fiva Family system (Ng Gar Kuen) was the first to officially teach (with permission) the American public true gung fu....but he gave it out in small portions.

John Keehan studied American Kempo (then known as Chinese Kempo) under Ed Parker for an uncertain time. The late, John McSweeney (10th Degree black belt, White Tiger Kempo) student of Ed Parker, was the first to document Keehan's presence in Ed Parker's school.

Keehan may have studied with Bruce Lee and James Lee in Oakland California, in the early 1960's. This is a very real possibility. During that time period, there were only two places that you could purchase the books of James Lee and Bruce Lee: the Green Dragon Society...and, Van Boskirk's sports store. Mrs. Van Boskirk, was a close personal friend of John Keehans. She admired him immensely and supplied his WKF, the later the BDFS, with all of their supplies, manuals, books etc.

Now: this next item is not speculation...it is fact. John Keehan had been trying for quite some time to infiltrate the Green Dragon Society. He offered to pay for the classes for anyone who would be accepted in to the GDS, so that he could learn the fighting art of the GDS. He tried several times with young black recruits. But they never made it in side the GDS, or past their screening process....which was extremely thorough and violent, if they discovered that you were a "mole".

Keehan succeeded in getting a white guy to infiltrate the GDS. His name was either Garret, or Garrison. This "mole" became an instructor within the GDS. I know this from several of my personal con "tacts" within the Black Dragon Society. I will not reveal their names, so as not to compromise their positions. They never knew of my connections with the GDS.

What John Keehan, portrayed as being Black Dragon arts, were actually GDS basic techniques. The Black Dragon emphasis on grunting, snorting, intimidating tactics, are just the superficial methods of developing, what is called, the "animal spirit" that is taught in the GDS.

Keehans BDFS techniques were all just basics extracted from the GDS syllabus of basic techniques.

What really started the feud between the GDS and the BDFS....was that Keehan used the dragon symbol/logo of the GDS, used the exact same art logo, and just had it painted black. The GDS went ballistic. The war was on!!!

4. Can you give me a hint as to why there is so much apprehension about what I might find.
One thing I have been told is that the person who was accused of killing Konsevic was probably not the person that actually did it.

SIMPLE...."STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS".....in a case such as the dragon wars...if the real info came out....people could be charged, prosecuted, and maybe even go to jail. It's a hot issue.....my advice....LEAVE IT ALONE!!!

4a. What is the version you heard as to what happened when Keehan went to Black Cobra Hall?

THAT IS CLASSIFIED...."I COULD TELL YOU......."

5. Is there anyone who would talk to me on film about this event and the circumstances surrounding it.

NO TRUE MEMBER OF THE GDS WILL OPENLY SPEAK ON THIS MATTER.....FOR THE ABOVE REASONS.....ALSO....THE PERSON(S) INVOLVED WANT TO LEAD QUIET, LOW KEY LIVES...THEY DO NOT WANT TO "STIR THE POT"....."LET SLEEPING DOGS LIE".....again...my advice.....LEAVE IT ALONE!!!!

I hope this does not take up too much of your time. I appreciate you taking the time out to answer my questions.

I debated for a long time whether I should contact you. Decided to give you a "heads up". Remember, or maybe you are not aware of this....both the GDS and the BDFS....have connections with the "underworld"...and the "intelligence community"........"they"....are also very concerned about how deep your project may go and where it may lead.

Chingzhang
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This gives me a bit to think about. It links to other information I have heard. I have never heard of the "logo conflict." This is truly new information. We are gonna have fun with this one!!!!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Shooting and recording narratives....

I am busy this week with the recreations for the film and writing and recording narrative. Not much more to report than that. If you are curious about the coming lawsuit in Fall River, you will have to wait. They will get the attention they so badly crave in a courtroom at some point.

The pressure is on to get completed by end of the year. I found an informant far afield in a remote location. He may have some surprising information. And I do mean SURPRISING.
No hints.

I am deep in concentration about the film. Letting those who are capable deal with the attempts at troubles. I will let the Tao speak for a minute:

" Those who know don't talk.
Those who talk don't know.

Close your mouth,
block off your senses,
blunt your sharpness,
untie your knots,
soften your glare,
settle your dust.
This is the primal identity.

Be like the Tao.
It can't be approached or withdrawn from,
benefited or harmed,
honored or brought into disgrace.
It gives itself up continually.
That is why it endures."