Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Woodrow Edgell: World Karate Federation

Does the background of this picture look familiar? I am in a bit of a hurry this morning as I have to get moving to return some equipment so I will be brief.

Last night I met with Woodrow Edgell in St. Charles, IL at the Internal Defense Systems dojo run by Joseph Dodaro. It was a great preliminary interview. Master Dodaro has a beautiful dojo with an incredible studio for producing his instructional DVDs. They are are extremely class act. I left there with contributions for the film, good images, a great interview, and a welcome open door for when I want to come back. They have been very gracious and generous with information and I appreciate it immensely.

Master Edgell had some wonderful photos which I will share here. He knew John for along time, from the mid-1960s, he went with John when he left Trias's USKA to start the World Karate Federation(opps how much is it gonna cost me for using that name). He remembers John for the good he did and makes no apologies in his falling into the dark side. Master Edgell is also a baptist preacher. That is where he was the night of the dojo war.

A warrant was issued for his arrest. It seems he had developed the youthful habit of defending the honor of the World Karate Federation back then, by visiting offending dojos and either extracting an apology or bruises. So the police assumed he was there because everywhere they went it was Edgell's name that was mentioned first. The police had actually tried to pin the death of Konsevic on Keehan personally as in trying to say he actually stabbed him with the spear.

I got some more insight into who John learned his poison hand techniques from and his estrangement from the Chinese teacher due to his adopting his Count Dante persona. Poison hand is usually only taught to people of good character. John's character was constantly in question. Master Edgell like to focus on the good things he did because he feels Karate would not have advanced without the ideas of John Keehan and he sees John as a pioneers of what exists in martial arts today.

Master Edgell's history is consistent with a lot of the people I talk to about martial arts. They start in boxing, were exposed to martial arts at the local YMCA or youth center. They then advance to the Jiu Jisu Institute headed by Mas Tamura or elsewhere and all jump in when karate arrives on the scene. Master Edgell has the advantage of studying Shaolin Jiu-jitsu as well as Shaolin Kempo. This put him a bit ahead of the curve. He was the kind of martial artists that John Keehan was looking for.

Joe Dodaro works with the principles of Dante in his instruction of law enforcement. He demonstrated to me some of his ideas. I will upload some tings to YouTube in future. Dodaro was a student of Edgell and James Lee, the Shaolin teacher who taught John Keehan.

Here are some images of the young Jimmy Jones and Robert Brown I had not seen before.


The most intriquing image in his collection was this image of Dante standing in front of the Imperial Studios of Self Defense. It is the leather jacket and plaid workout bag that caught my eye. This guy was forever the stylish one. Lots more to report, but I have to do it later. Things are moving ahead nicely.

1 comment:

bob wright said...

The photo of Keehan outside his dojo. Writing behind him appears to read "imported Oriental black belts" (or similar).
Bit of a contradiction for a guy that hates Orientals, unless I'm reading too much into it.
Still, some great photos from the past.