Sunday, November 01, 2009
In spite of the Federal Court case lots of great progress in the work itself and in potential financing has occurred. I am very close to a deal now that the court case has published transcripts (118, 119) with the court opinions to date.
After a bureaucratic delay of almost a year we are back on track with the court and have a schedule worked out by the Judge to get us moving pretty rapidly. Our last court date was a few weeks ago. My attorneys, Anthony Falzone, and Julie Ahrens at Fair Use for Documentary Film Project and David Kluft at Foley Hoag in Boston filed for dismissal and Judge Mark Wolf made a decision on sanctions for Mr William V Aguair III, the plaintiff in the case.
The result? Judge Mark Wolf decided that it was too early for a dismissal and gave us the present schedule. Mr Aguiar has been ordered to pay a sanction of $3000.00 to me for failing to follow court orders. He pleaded hardship against these sanctions but this is how hardball is played and he started the game.
In a lot of ways this has been a big waste of my time and few resources. I have other projects I would like to move onto. My passion for the project is high as it has ever been. Information good nd bad keep pouring in whether I look for it or not. 80% is crap but that 20% of good stuff is really compelling. But I have had the opportunity to really dig deep into the nature of my subject, examine the promises mythic and real of pursuit of martial arts, and thoroughly examine the creation of an urban mythology first hand.
One of the people who has contacted me is David Flores, who studied with Count Dante as a child student. His father David J. Flores took him along to classes with Doug Dwyer and . David is wearing one of Ken Knudson's red satin Gi's from his Midwest Enterprises.
David discovered the my blog and website and contacted me. And provided me with the pictures you see here. I plan on interviewing him about his experiences as a child studying with Dante and his Chicago martial arts experiences
David's mom was a hairdresser who studied with the same instructor as Count dante on the Southwest Side of Chicago. Here is is an image of David J. at the 1967 Jhoon Rhee Washington DC Tournament attended by Bruce Lee and won by Chuck Norris. In 1964 Jhoon Rhee was one of the attendees of the 1st World Karate Tournament, in Chicago. At this same time , John Keehan was shaking up the Karate World by announcing a no-holds-barred, mixed martial arts event that was denounced by the nations top martial artists.
Ben Neverez is pictured at the right here circa 1964 in a picture given to me by David Florez. Navarrez ahd come to the US from Mexico City where he started studying Shotokan. When he came to Chicago in 1961 he began training with John Keehan/Count Dante and earned his Black Belt. Keehan helped him start his first school.
I met Chuck and Dean in Oak Park a few years back. They were looking for their biker karate instructor who taught them out of a garage. They subsequently found out their instructor was never trained by Count Dante, but by Doug Dwyer, I went out to Doug Dwyers house with them this past Saturday to watch them train. He is in amazing condition. He is working with some guys a bit younger than me wearing them out. Watching him hold that heavy bag while they kicked it gave ME pain. Dwyer had pictures of David J. Flores from back in the day.
Doug Dwyer is a well conditioned senior martial artist. Elderly is a term that does not quite apply to him. He continues to learn, Karate is still his passion. He is hoping to take a trip to train in Okinawa next year. He showed me some of the Monkey Dance, the Okinawan equivalent to Dante's Dance of Death. John Keehan added the drama necessary for marketing it to American 15 year olds. ;-)
Sunday, August 16, 2009
I was in Texas in July and drove out to am location for an interview I will discuss in my next blog. I am not too keen on revealing who I am talking to because I do not want people's names uttered by the Bullshido trolls from Fall River and their little imp in Chicago. They have launch an all out war against the film because I am not using their exagerrated claims of information and association with Dante, especially since they had no first hand associations with Keehan.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
George was in the office right above mine in the Fine Arts Building. When I was burning the midnight oil he was often there there playing piano until after 1:00 am. It was my working background music for the last two years.
He shared an office with the woman I suspect of giving Keehan singing lessons. Maria D'Albert is over 80 herself, has had 100s of students over 50 years and cannot say for sure if Dante was her student. He stopped singing in the 1960s.
George died after returning from a concert in Lima, Peru, at the home of his brother. He was 64. RIP George)
The making of The Search for Count Dante continues. I share information when I can but I am careful not to give away too much these days. There has been a propaganda war going on around the legacies and lineages and that is really not a place I want to be in with the film. The film sits apart from that.
Meanwhile check out the new article on the making of the film at KungFucinema.com. Writer Nigel Clarke really put some time in to do it up right.
I did not get a Fellowship I applied a few months back. I sincerely thank them for the nomination and move on. The good thing is I have prospects to pursue and the path forward is steep but not impossible.
I am shooting interviews in the next week and I will retain an air of mystery, revealing all after it happens. Well, not all.
Just a few salient bits.
We will be back in court in Boston in the Aguiar v. Webb et al - Copyright and trademark infringement claims against documentary maker's promotional website and film trailer case.
We have a motion for dismissal pending and Mr Aguiar will learn the judges decision on his being sanctioned. More to be revealed in October.
Sunday, June 21, 2009
This is from their "About:"
As internet video matures, we face a crossroads: will technology and public policy support a more participatory culture—one that encourages and enables free expression and broader cultural engagement? Or will online video become a glorified TV-on-demand service, a central part of a permissions-based culture? Web video holds tremendous potential, but limits on broadband, playback technology, and fair use threaten to undermine the ability of individuals to engage in dialogues in and around this new media ecosystem.
I have seen several postings from the Fall River crew about how they intend to bootleg the film and pirate it, etc etc. I guess they have not figured out that it doesn't scare me. It does not matter because I see very impression of the film as an advance of my vision. My purpose is to remain a working filmmaker because I love it, getting rich would be nice, but not likely. If I break even on my time expended I will be happy. I am confident that will happen.
The amount of time and sacrifice I put into this project contains an agenda of addressing old subjects in new ways, reinventing ways of seeing things we think we know so well. All the insults online, the court case, are in many ways minor in comparison to the impact of the completed film. I did not ask to be sued. I refused to pay $10,000 to look at alleged archival materials site unseen. I have fallen many times, but not off the back of a cabbage truck. :-)
They accuse me of copyright infringement but it is really about a payday for them. They tried to bluff me as they had many others over the years and it did not work and so here I sit a case history for Fair Use.
I have included a video below that explain what the conference was about. Fair Use is not theft, it is definitely free speech. Copyright abuse is as much a crime as copyright abuse and it is time people become aware of that.
The court transcripts convey Judge Mark Wolf's opinion on my Fair Use better than I dare explain.
It is so strange how I keep getting calls and emails with info that is mostly helpful and some that is dead end. I cannot imagine how someone built up such a legand in 35 years. I guess it is the irrepressible energy of youth.
Contrary to the belief of some, I do not claim to be an expert on anything but investigation. How can you be an expert on an illusive legend, an urban mythology. I am more interested in the world that brought John Keehan/Count Dante into being, the impact of his living experience upon his students, American martial arts and global popular culture.
He does not belong to anyone one of us, any one urban environ. He was a man ahead of his time and a product of it, a man steeped in that time and place. Hence, such an early demise. Or maybe he has actually fooled us all. I don't know yet. I am still looking.
Sunday, May 31, 2009
I want to acknowledge my friend and supported Karl Kraft in England who has been going out of his way to help me find people in the UK who may have bought The World's Deadliest Fighting Secrets. Karl is a graphic designed and games developer. He designed a great little flyer for the film that he has been posting in dojos and fight clubs all over London. He has really been dedicated in doing this and I have have emails in response to the flyers he has been putting out.
Here is a map of where he has been posting the flyer in London.
Today I met with an individual who spent some time with the Green Dragon Society at Black Cobra Hall several years after the Dojo War. He contacted me by sending me a picture of the front of the Hall and a bllod stain on the pavement where Jim Konsevic fell after being stabbed.
We had a good talk today. New names have cropped up. It seems the Green Dragon Society was in a bit of turmoil in the aftermath of the Dojo War. People were resigning and breaking away to form the Brotherhood of the Phoenix and the Black Scorpians. The thing he says he did not like wa the very hostile environment in the Green Dragon Society, it seemed everyone had something to prove. He visited Preying Mantis Hall and the other school on Devon Ave for lectures. He met one instructor who carried a .357 magnum and made sure everyone knew it. He would leave a .357 bullet in the glass donation jar to remind people they had to "tithe" (my word).
He eventually left the Green Dragon to study Tae Kwon Do.
The conversation continues hot and heavy on Bullshido.net about the film. I have been accused of being someone with the screenname Joey Chicago who has commited yet more unnamed offense causing immeasurable hard and defamation to persons who clearly exhibit some mutlple screen name tendencies themselves. The sad part is they thin no one cal tell who they really are becuse they are so good at disguise and stealth in true Ninja fashion online.
The other John Keehan blog continues to scream loudly aboout how accurate and truthful they are while my blog is leass and less about John Keehan. They are the experts.. I smile.
One year later and the pool of mud in my path gets deeper and deeper as I trudge up the path to completion of the film. My I got longer hip boots and a snorkel. If I need oxygen I will get it. I am here for the duration.
Saturday, May 23, 2009
If you are going to research history you may as well attempt to make a serious effort. This timeline is in no way complete. The focus of my timeline is to find John Keehan's influences and teachers and their connection to the overall world of martial arts. So far, in Chicago I have narrowed it down to Johnny Coulon for boxing, Mas Tamura for Judo, and Charles Guzanki was apparently his first karate instructor.
There will be some guff from "those who know but will not tell," but it comes with the territory.
One of my interesting discoveries was footage of Bruce Tegner's mom, June.
Chicagoans, June and John Tegner took their martial arts training to Hollywood and made a name for themselves as teachers and stunt people in films.
Bruce Tegner, whatever you think of his martial arts was a starting point for many young people who were interested in Judo and Karate in the 50s and 60s. John Keehan talked about reading his books when he was first interested in martial arts
Timeline of Martial Arts in America as it relates to John Keehan/Count Dante
Taken from An Illustrated History of Martial Arts In America by Emil Farkas
• Yoshiaki Yamashita, 6th dan, was the first person to teach judo in the U.S. He arrived in 1902 at the invitation of Mr. Graham Hill, director of the Great Northern Railroad.
• Yoshiaki Yamashita teaches Judo to society women and eventually to President Theodore Roosevelt, who become a 3rd Degree black belt. During his time in office there is a Judo dojo in the White House.1904
• U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt starts studying judo with Yoshiaki Yamashita.
• Russo Japanese war. Russian navy defeated at battle of Tsushima by Japanese navy commanded by Togo. Russian army defeated at battle of Mukden and seige of Port Arthur. Peace is brokered by Theodore Roosevelt and agreed by the Treaty of Portsmouth.
• The first Kodokan judo school in the U.S. opens in Seattle.1908
• Kali is introduced to the U.S. by Jack Santos.1910
• First judo dojo, the Shunyokan, opens in Hawaii.
• John Frederic Coulon(Johnny Coulon) - bantamweight boxing champion of the world from 6 March 1910 -1914. Coulon would become John Keehan's boxing teacher in the early 1950s. Coulon becomes one of Jack Johnson's best friends and is a pallbearer at his funeral.1912
• Judo in the Tacoma, Washington, area started by Prof. Iwakiri, who was born in Japan, and who arrived here in 1912
• Judo champion and teacher Masato Tamura born in Fife Washington. Tamura will eventually have John Keehan as a Judo Student in mid 1950s Chicago.
• Jigoro Kano visits Hawaii for the first time.1916
• Heita Okabe, 4th dan; Toshitaka Yamauchi, 4th dan; and Ken Kawabara, 4th dan were teaching judo while studying at the University of Chicago; this would be the earliest organized judo activity in the midwest.1919
• Okinawan Master Gichin Funakoshi was the first expert to introduce karate-do to mainland Japan, in 1916.
• The Chicago Judo Club was founded by Shozo Kuwashima. When Kuwashima moved to the West Coast, the Chicago Judo Club was taken over by John Osako and Ruth Gardner. June and Jon Tegner, the parents of Bruce Tegner were students of Kuwashima.
• American Army officer Allan Corstorphin Smith publishes, The Secrets of Ju-jitsu: A Complete Course in Self Defense.1921
• Okinawan karate master Kentsu Yabu visits Hawaii and Los Angeles and demonstrates karate.
• Boxer Johnny Coulon marries Marie Maloney (1892-1984) and together they open Coulon's Gymnasium on the South Side of Chicago on East 63rd Street near the University of Chicago. Coulon is a best friend of World Boxing Champion Jack Johnsons and is a pall bearer at his funeral.
• Henry Okazaki, Hawaiian martial arts instructor, publishes The Science of Self-Defense for Girls and Women.
• Bruce Tegner born in Chicago, Illinois in 1929 to June Tegner, 3rd dan under Shozo Kuwashima of the Chicago Judo Club
• Ark-Yuey Wong begins teaching kung-fu to Los Angeles-based Wong Wen-Sun Chinese Benevolent Association.
• Henry Okazaki establishes Danzan ryu ju-jutsu on Oahu, Hawaii.1932
• Hawaiian Judo Yudanshakai (Black Belt Association) is founded.
• Shuji Mikami opens the first kendo school outside of Japan in Honolulu, Hawaii.
• The first karate club to allow Caucasian membership is formed in the basement of Honolulu's First Methodist Church. Its instructors are Mutsu Zuiho and Kamesuke Higaonna.
• Taoro Mon begins teaching kendo in Los Angeles.
• Jesse Owens wins the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. Judo Master Jigaro Kano shares the dais with him when he recieves the gold medal.
• Harry Auspitz incorporates the first judo club in the Chicago, the JiuJitsu Institute. The JuJitsu lnstitute became the first Kodokan Judo Club in Chicago,1939
• John Timothy Keehan (Count Dante) born in Chicago February 4th.
• The first intercollegiate judo competition takes place in Northern California between San Jose State and U.C. Berkeley.
• During May of this year, Masato Tamura, 4th dan, came to Chicago from Fife, Washington,to teach at the Jiu Jitsu Institute.When World War II started in Dec. 1941, there were twenty-six dojo in southern California, with 422 black belts and about 2,000 students. The black belts were distributed in the following manner: 6th dan-2; 5th dan-5; 4th dan-6; 3rd dan-42; 2nd dan-101; 1st dan-264; and 2 honorary black belts. During World War II, judo continued to flourish in relocation camps such as Manzanar, Heart Mountain, Post Gila River, and Rule Lake. Although all other judo clubs ceased operations during the war years, Seinan Dojo kept its doors open. Jack Sirgel, then a 2nd dan, the head instructor, visited the Manzanar Relocation Camp with his students to improve their judo techniques, even when the war was at its peak. (The History of American Judo)
• Dec 7 1941, Pearl Harbor Attacked by Japan
• James Mitose starts to teach ju-jitsu in Honolulu.
• February 19, 1942, soon after the beginning of World War II, Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066. The evacuation order commenced the round-up of 120,000 Americans of Japanese heritage to one of 10 internment camps—officially called "relocation centers"—in California, Idaho, Utah, Arizona, Wyoming, Colorado, and Arkansas.
• August 1 Release of the Behind the Rising Sun, a wartime propoganda film starring Robert Ryan as a boxer who soundly defeats a Japanese judo master in pre-wartime Japan.
• In Chicago, 140 lb Mas Tamura chokes out 210 lb wrestler Karl Pojello in 1 minute and twenty second in a demonstration match for the US Military. This match was arranged by sportswriter for the Chicago Daily Times named Gene Kessler after the release of Behind the Rising Sun, "to find out about the comparative merits of our wrestling when matched against the Japs' jujitsu." First offically record mixed martial arts match??
• William K.S. Chow begins teaching martial arts classes at the Nuuahu YMCA in Honolulu.1945
• The final battles of the European Theatre of World War II as well as the German surrender took place in late April and early May 1945.
• August 6, the U.S. dropped the atomic bomb on the city of Hiroshima, Japan. 80,000 or so died within hours.
• August 9, the United States dropped another bomb - on Nagasaki. Finally Emperor Hirohito initiated an end to war.
• September 2, aboard the battleship Missouri, in Tokyo Bay, representatives of Japan met with the Allies to sign the surrender.
Immediately following Japan's loss during World War II, all martial arts were banned for five years by the American occupation. This martial arts ban was due to the belief that martial arts before the war helped support and foster the nationalistic spirit that directly supported the growth of Japanese militarism.
No one was allowed to practice or teach any martial art. During the American occupation, however, Japanese martial artists were working towards the day when they could practice and teach again. In order to implore occupation authorities to lift the ban, efforts were made to stress the positive aspects of martial arts, and to treat them as sports rather than martial skills.
• Robert Trias establishes the first karate dojo in the continental United States, in Phoenix, Arizona.
• Hank Okamura is relocated close to the Lawson YMCA in Chicago and joins the "Y." Okamura, when wrestling at the YMCA, meets Kenji Okimoto; and the two men, who discovered they were both judoka, began to practice together. From this start, judo remained at Lawson YMCA for the next twenty years.
• Kajukenbo, the first eclectic martial art in the U.S., is created by five Hawaiian martial artists: Walter Choo, Joseph Holke, Frank Ordonez, Adriano Emperado and Clarence Chang.
• The Chicago Judo Black Belt Association is formed and a charter is received directly from the Kodokan. (As a recognized judo organization the yudanshakai could promote up to 3rd-degree black belt.)
• Henry Stone of California introduces weight divisions to U.S. judo competition.1949
• The United States Karate Association is founded by Robert Trias. It is the first karate organization in the U.S.
• The Amateur Athletic Union recognizes judo as an official sport.
• Karate Master Mas Oyama tours the U.S. and introduces karate to the American masses for the first time.
• The U.S. Judo Black Belt Federation is formed.
• Koichi Tohei introduces aikido to Hawaii.
• The first Collegiate Judo Tournament is held in Berkeley, California.
• The first national AAU Judo Championship is held in San Jose, California
• Mel Bruno, under the sponsorship of Strategic Air Command, organizes a tour by 10 leading Japanese martial arts experts, who demonstrate their skills at Air Force bases across the country. The arts include judo, karate and aikido.
• Ed Parker begins teaching kenpo karate in Provo, Utah.
• The San Diego Judo Club introduces aikido to the continental United States.
• Ed Kaloudis introduces Koeikan karate on the U.S. East Coast.
• William Dometrich introduces chito-ryu karate to the U.S. in Covington, Kentucky.
• Bobby Lowe founds the first overseas branch of kyoku shinkai karate in Honolulu.
• The first after-school judo program is started by George Wilson at Kent Washington's Kentridge High School.
• The first karate tournament in the U.S. is held by Robert Trias in Phoenix, Arizona.
• Shotokan karate is introduced to the U.S. by Tsutomu Oshima, who begins teaching in Los Angeles.
• John Keehan studies Boxing with Johnny Coulon at the South Side Gym
• Tsutomu Ohshima, one of Master Funakoshi's last direct pupils (1948-1953), came to the United States and was the first person to teach shotokan karate to the US public.
• The first commercial karate dojo is opened in Honolulu by Carlton Shimomi. The style is shorin-ryu.1957
• Jerome Mackey introduces franchise martial arts to the U.S. when he opens a chain of judo clubs in New York City.
• Thoon Rhee introduces taekwondo to the U.S. when he begins teaching in San Marcos, Texas.
• Ed Parker moves to Pasadena and opens his first West Coast dojo.
• Matsubayashi shorin-ryu karate instructor Louis Kowloski of St. Louis opens the first karate school in the Midwest.1958
• Cecil Patterson a wado-ryu karate instructor becomes one of the first to teach karate in the South. He begins teaching in Tennessee.
• Gordon Doversola introduces Okinawa-te to the U.S. He begins teaching in Los Angeles.
• George Mattson introduces uechi-ryu karate to the U.S. He begins teaching in Massachusetts and opens the first karate school in the New England States.
• Mas Tsuroka introduces chito-ryu karate to Canada. He begins teaching in Toronto.
• Tsutomu Oshima sponsors the first Nisei Week Karate Championships in Los Angeles. It is the first traditional karate tournament in the U.S.
• Peter Urban introduces Japanese goju-ryu karate to the U.S. He begins teaching in Union City, New Jersey.
• Hiroshi Onto introduces Renbukai karate to the U.S. in New York City.
• Alan Lee introduces Shaolin kung-fu on the East Coast, in New York City.
• Bruce Lee comes to Seattle and begins teaching wing chun in a covered parking lot of a Blue Cross clinic.
• Hidetaka Nishiyama's and Richard C. Brown's book, Karate. The Art of Empty Hand Fighting, is published in the U.S. It becomes an all time classic.
• Anthony Mirakian introduces Okinawan goju-ryu karate in the U.S. He begins teaching in Watertown, Massachusetts.1961
• Yoshiaki Ajari begins to teach wado-ryu karate in Hayward, California.
• Dr. Maung Gyi introduces bando in the U.S. and begins teaching in Washington, D.C.
• S. Henry Cho opens the first taekwondo school in New York City.
• Isshin-ryu karate instructor, Steve Armstrong, begins to teach in Tacoma, Washington.
• Black Belt Magazine unveils its first issue. Its founders are Mito and Jim Uyehara.
• Rusty Glichman, a female judoka, defeats a male opponent in an AAU sanctioned judo competition and the AAU bans women from participating in judo competition. It took 10 years for the ban to be lifted.
• Gosen Yamaguchi (son of Gogen "The Cat" Yamaguchi) introduces goju kai karate in California, while attending college in San Francisco.
• Richard Kim introduces shorin-ryu karate to the U.S. when he begins to teach at the Chinese YMCA in San Francisco.
• Teruyuki Okazaki one of the JKA's top instructors, opens a dojo in Philadelphia where he begins teaching shotokan karate.
• Hidetaka Nishiyama, one of Japan's leading shotokan karate instructors moves to Los Angeles and founds the All American Karate Federation.
• John Pachivas begins teaching karate in Florida.
• Hidetaka Nishiyama promotes the first large traditional karate tournament in the U.S., The All America Karate Federation Championships, in Los Angeles.
• American television viewers see karate for the first time when Bruce Tegner demonstrates the art in an episode of the TV series, The Detectives.
• John Keehan begins to teach in Chicago. He runs afoulof the martial arts community by openly welcoming students of all races, following the example of his boxing teacher, Johnny Coulon and his first Karate Instructor, Robert Gruzanski.
• John Leong introduces hung gar and tai chi chuan to Seattle, and includes many non-Chinese among his students.1963
• Chang Man-Che'eng publishes the first English language text of tai chi, Tai Chi Ch 'uan: A Simplified Method of Calisthenics for Health and Self-Defense.
• Mas Oyama's Kyohushinkai Organization sponsors the first open tournament in the U.S., the Northwest American Karate Championships held in New York City.
• Gary Alexander defeats John Keehan in Mas Oyama's First North American Karate Championships held at Madison Square Garden. Officials state that Keehan was disqualified.
• Al Weiss and Johnny Kuhl from New York produce Combat Karate, the first American magazine dealing exclusively with karate.
• Allen Steen opens the first karate school in Dallas.
• The first national collegiate judo championship is conducted at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs.
• The National Collegiate Judo Association is founded.
• Gene LeBell defeats boxer Milo Savage in the first Boxer vs. Martial Artist contest - Salt Laske City, Utah. 1963
• Robert Trias and John Keehan produce the first national karate tournament in the U.S. It was held in Chicago.
• Chuck Norris opens his first dojo in Torrance, California, where he teaches Tang soo do.
• Uechi-ryu karate instructor George Mattson is the first American to author a book on traditional karate style, The Way of Karate.
• Burmese bando expert Maung Gyi introduces bando to the U.S. and founds the American Bando Association. 1964
• J. Pat Burleson wins the First National Karate Championship
• Angel Cabales of Stockton, California opens the first school that teaches the Filipino martial arts to non-Filipinos.
• Tsutomu Oshima begins teaching the first accredited college karate course in the U.S. at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California.
• Sea Oh Choi introduces hapkido to the U.S. when he begins teaching in Los Angeles.
• Jhoon Rhee promotes the first National Karate Championships in Washington, D.C.
• Ed Parker promotes the first Long Beach International Karate Championships.
• Bruce Lee makes his first major public appearance when he demonstrates at the Long Beach International Karate Championships in California.
• Mike Stone wins International Karate Grand Championship 1965
• Shito-ryu karate is introduced to the U.S. by Fumio Demura, who begins teaching in Santa Ana, California.
• Pauline Short opens the first karate school for women located in Portland, Oregon.
• Television covers sport karate for the first time when they televise karate matches from Thoon Rhee's second National Karate Championships.
• Judo Gene LeBell accepts a public challenge to fight boxer Milo Savage in Salt Lake City. Competing as a "judo/karate" fighter, LeBell defeated Savage - choking him unconscious in the 4th round.
• In 1963, John Keehan organizes, Robert Trias, the "First World Karate Tournament" in Chicago at the University of Chicago Gymnasium. Al Gene Carulia is the champion of this event.
• On July 22, John Keehan and a companion are apprehended by Chicago Police as they try to light the fuse on dynamite caps to blow out the windows of Gene Wyka's Judo School.
• Jim and Al Tracey begin to franchise karate schools all over the U.S., which was the first large-scale karate franchise operation in the U.S.1967
• Bruce Lee begins his role as Kato on the TV series The Green Hornet.
• The USA Goju organization is founded by karate sensei Peter Urban of New York.
Joe Lewis and Bob Wall open Sherman Oaks Karate Dojo, first upscale martial arts school 1967
• Ninjas are introduced to the American public whenbthe James Bond movie You Only Live Twice is released nationwide.
• In New York, Aaron Banks promotes the first karate team competition.
• Shorinji kempo is introduced to the U.S. by Hirokazu Yamamori.
• Bruce Lee names his system jeet kune do.
• Top ten ratings for karate competitors begin by Black Belt Magazine.
• John Keehan conducts the first bare knuckle fill contact event in the U.S. in Chicago.
• Chuck Norris and Bob Wall create the first martial arts billing company, Martial Arts Acceptance. 1968
• Al Weiss begins publishing Official Karate Magazine, out of offices in Manhattan.
• Mito Uyehara publisher of Black Belt Magazine begins Black Belt Hall of Fame.
• The first professional karate tournament in the U.S. is promoted by Jim Harrison in Kansas City, Kansas.
• The PKA founded by Chuck Norris, Bob Wall and Mike Stone.
First Full Contact tournament held in Chicago at the Coliseum.
• Mito Uyehara begins publishing Karate Illustrated Magazine.1970
• The American The Kwon Do Association is founded in Little Rock, Arkansas by Haeng Ung Lee.
• The U.S. Judo Association is formed. 1970
• Chuck Norris, Joe Lewis, Mike Stone, Bob Wall and Skipper Mullins win the first World Professional Karate team title.
• Joe Corley and Chris McLoughlin begin promoting the Battle of Atlanta Karate Championships.
• Jim Konsevic killed in a "dojo war" when he accompanies Count Dante on a visit to the Black Dragon Fighting Hall of the Green Dragon Society. Represented by Bob Cooley, who will go on to be Chicago Outfit lawyer, the case is thrown out of court. No one is ever convicted of Jim Konsevics murder.
• The first martial arts T.V. series in America, Kung Fu, begins to air on ABC.
• Billy Jack is the first American movie to feature the Korean art of hapkido, which is instrumental in beginfling the martial arts boom that followed.
• Jhoon Rhee develops Safe-T-Equipment which revolutionizes American karate tournaments.
• AAU recognizes karate as an official sport.
• The American Collegiate Taekwondo Association is formed.
• Inside Kung-Fu Magazine is founded by Curtis Wong in Los Angeles.
• Enter the Dragon is released and makes Bruce Lee a superstar.
• Mike Anderson's Top Ten Nationals in St. Louis begins semi-contact karate competition. Howard Jackson wins.
• Wu Shu Troupe from China tours the U.S. for the first time.
• Amateur Athletic Union recognizes taekwondo as an official sport.
• General Choi Hong Hi moves to Toronto and the International Taeckwondo Federation is now headquartered there.
• Second World Professional Karate Championship is held in Los Angeles. Promoted by Mike Anderson, the event begins an era of full contact karate.
• Harold Long founds the International Goshinryu Karate Association, headquartered in Knoxville, Tennessee.
• An estimated 50 million views watch Jeff Smith and Karriem Allah compete in I 1 round full contact karate event. The fight was a preliminary bout to the Muhammed Ali!Joe Frazier fight "Thrilla in Manila" with Bob Wall doing commentary.
• Hidetaka Nishiyama conducts the first international Amateur Karate Federation World Championships in Los Angeles.1976
• John Keehan/Count Dante dies of "bleeding ulcers" a week before he is to return to the Grand Jury to answer questions about the 1974 $4 million Purolator Vault Robbery.
• June 25, 1976, boxer Muhammad Ali and professional wrestler Antonio Inoki worked a 15-round draw at the Budokan in Tokyo. The match aired live on closed-circuit TV and drew 32,000 spectators to Shea Stadium in New York. Gene LeBell was the refree. The Shea Stadium card also featured boxer Chuck Wepner versus wrestler Andre the Giant, a match that reportedly inspired scenes in Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky films.
• Teruyuki Okazaki, based in Philadelphia, founds the International Shotokan Karate Federation.1979
• The North American Tae Kwon Do Union is founded.
• Graciella Casillas becomes the world's first female full contact world companion.
• ESPN signs a deal with the Professional Karate Association for the right to broadcast full contact karate tournaments.
• Curtis Wong begins a new magazine, Kick Illustrated.
• Stephen Hayes introduces togakure-ryu ninjutsu to the U.S. and the ninja craze in America begins.
• Chung Ding Sheng, grandmasters of shuai chiao tours America.
• The martial arts video revolution begins when Joe Jennings founds Panther Video.1987
• Mike Swain becomes the first American judoka to win a gold medal at the World Judo Championships.
• Dana Hee and Arlene Limas become the first Americans to win Olympic taekwondo gold medals.
• Billy Blanks' tae bo becomes the newest exercise fad in America.
• Cardio kickboxing begins to become a popular form of aerobic exercise especially among women. 1993
• Ultimate Fighting Championships is founded.
An Illustrated History Of Martial Arts In America - 1900 to Present
• No holds barred fighting begins to gain popularity across the country.
• Due to the UFC, grappling begins to become widely practiced, especially Brazilian ju-jutsu.
• Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story is released in theatres.
• Walker Texas Ranger begins on CBS starring Chuck Norris.
• NAPMA is founded by John Graden.
• Martial arts related websites are beginning to have a presence on the Internet.
• Martial Arts Professional Magazine is launched by NAPMA.1998
• K-1 comes to the U.S.
• World Black Belt is founded by 53 amazing martial arts legends including Gene LeBell, Pat Burleson, Jim Harrison, Cung Le and General Choi Hong Hi.
• The Martial Arts Industry Association (MAIA) is formed.
• Little Ninjas Program begins; promoted by NAPMA it launches the boom in the pre-school karate program.
• World Black Belt founders Lou Casamassa, David Krapes, Soloman Kaihewalu, Deanna Bivins and Bob Wall create AID, Aviation in Defense, and contract with Amercan Airlines to teach cabin crew self defense.
• Chuck Platten becomes Canadian Director of World Black Belt.
• "Curse of the Dragon", a documentary about Bruce Lee, produced by Fred Weintraub.
• World Black Belt creates the ultimate anti-aging, antidisease beverage: KO Fitness Recovery Drink.
• Mixed Martial Arts becomes the new craze, with television embracing it, and the public getting behind it.
• History Channel's Human Weapon exposes millions of viewers to the real martial arts from around the world.Ok this is enough for the night. I will get back to this later in the week. I have a ton of other work to get started now.
Saturday, May 16, 2009
I spoke to Billy several times in the course of my research before he moved to Atlanta. I was shocked once again. I was looking forward to interviewing him as he was a a student of on of John Keehan's students. He had some insights I wanted from his as an author/participant in martial arts. I am saddened by the fact that he will ot see the completiton of the film because I enjoy the kind of feedback I would get from such a knowledgeable person. I never met Billy, I did not know him except over the telephone. We spoke several times and he was always eager to answer my questions and to know how I was doing.
There were some great stories about him as a teacher from his students here in Chicago and some who had come all the way from California.It was a joy to see the sadness and celebration of his life by his friends, family and students. we should all be so lucky to have such memorials with some wondeful people who surround Billy Hinton and in his life. Their personal reflections illustrated the caring he shoed for them and the discipline he instilled in them. He made them more powerful. The women students offered tales of not being coddled and how they were able to discover that there was nothing that they could not do. He is remembered well.
The Text from his memorial follows:
William (Billy) Hinton was the first male child born from the union of Johnnie and Patti Hinton on January 28, 1950. He was preceded in death by both his hard working parents, his loving sister Gwendolyn Jenkins and his youngest brother Darren. On Monday, April 20, 2009, Billy surrendered to the will of God and completed his life's journey in the embrace of his dedicated life companion, Louise in the comfort of their Atlanta home.
Billy accepted Christ into his life at an early age at Fellowship MB Church. He was a very bright young man. His friends use to get upset because Billy could miss classes for a week - show up on test days and get an "A". Upon graduating from Parker High School, he voluntarily enlisted in the US Navy (1968-1971). He served aboard the US S Fort Mandan where he was advanced to 3rd class electrician (1969). He volunteered for submarine duty (1970) to serve aboard submarine USS Barbel. Service records complemented independent completion of submarine qualification at an accelerated pace, personal efforts leading to repair and deploy USS Barbel, technical knowledge, and congeniality and commitment to fellow servicemen's morale. Suffice to say that he was honorably discharged.
During Billy's stint in the US military, he received training in the marital arts. From 1967 to his demise, martial arts were his life. He was an athlete as well as an instructor. He practiced martial arts for forty-plus years, attaining the rank of Shichidan (7th degree Black Belt). As an Athlete: for over three decades, Billy fought successfully as a lightheavy-weight (75-80 Kilo) competitor. Billy competed as a regionally and nationally from 1972 until 1980. Primarily through the USKA (United States Karate Association) organization. After this period Billy competed regionally, nationally, and internationally with the AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) and the USAKF (United States of America Karate Federation). He earned placement on four US National Karate Teams during the 1980s (1983, 1984, 1988, and 1989). As an Instructor: Sensei (teacher) Hinton taught formal martial arts classes in Chicago, at multiple community centers as well as the University of Chicago (1989-1996) and later at Stanford University (1997-2006). Prior to the later months of his illness, Billy taught at the Decatur Recreation Center in Atlanta. He was proud of the fact that he had students who resided throughout the US - no - throughout the world. As a Referee: he aspired to be a fair and competent referee in the States of Illinois, California and Georgia. As an Author: Billy authored four books: No Secrets (1984), A Dragon's Heart (1989), Men of Steel Discipline: The Official Oral History of Black Pioneers in the Martial Arts (1994) and The Universal Mind (2004). As a Producer: Billy co-produced "A Dragon's Heart (1989) on Chicago Cable Television.
Billy had a passion for music. In 1973, he formed a singing group called Biege and later founded a record label "Loretta Records". He has several albums to his credit. "Dawn of Biege, Billy Hinton Posting 9, Extending, Waiting for Zorro, and the California Years to name a few. He has composed over one hundred songs which included Sinister, No Time for Fooling Around, Lady Love, You Ain't Never Seen A Roach, What You Thought (Dissatisfaction & Reflection), Somebody's Love, and Dog It Out. Billy really appreciated music and he would spend countless hours and an obscene amount of money enjoying it.
Billy took deep pleasure in traveling and finding new and beautiful wonders of nature. He would be in awe at the splendor found while driving down Highway 1 and the lake. And oh, how he loved to make lemon meringue pies. Even in pain, he took pleasure in preparing several pies for his family during a visit. It was his way of saying "I love you and I appreciate the visit".
Billy was a scholar. He obtained his BA in Sociology from Northeastern University, MA. in East Asian Language and Civilization from University of Chicago, and a M.A. in Urban Economics form University of Chicago. He was a certified journeyman plumber. He could have been a licensed mechanic because he could rebuild a car engine. He was also a jack leg carpenter. Whatever Billy attempted - he did it well. He was definitely a gifted person, who strived to do everything with procession and excellence and encouraged others to do the same. Yet, he remained humble -just a regular guy with very modest taste and demeanor.
He will truly be missed by his loving companion, Louise; biological and surrogate children, William, Lynetta, Sylva, Keisha, Ronisha, and Aisha; siblings, Lois (Bennie), Doris (Danny). Johnny, Robert (Eunice), Curtis, Beverly, Geno, Johnathan, Rosetta, and Abraham; and a host of nieces, nephews, uncles, aunts and cousins.
This is from Rumi, from me, for William Billy Hinton:
At every instant and from every side, resounds the call of Love:
We are going to sky, who wants to come with us?
We have gone to heaven, we have been the friends of the angels,
And now we will go back there, for there is our country.
We are higher than heaven, more noble than the angels:
Why not go beyond them? Our goal is the Supreme Majesty.
What has the fine pearl to do with the world of dust?
Why have you come down here? Take your baggage back. What is this place?
Luck is with us, to us is the sacrifice!...
Like the birds of the sea, men come from the ocean--the ocean of the soul.
Like the birds of the sea, men come from the ocean--the ocean of the soul.
How could this bird, born from that sea, make his dwelling here?
No, we are the pearls from the bosom of the sea, it is there that we dwell:
Otherwise how could the wave succeed to the wave that comes from the soul?
The wave named 'Am I not your Lord' has come, it has broken the vessel of the body;
And when the vessel is broken, the vision comes back, and the union with Him.
Saturday, May 02, 2009
The following video is a preview of interviews about the Dojo War I did with the late Ken Knudson and alive and well Mike Felkoff. Knudson was a student of Jim Konsevic's and Jimmy Jones. He knew Keehan but was never a student of his.
An information war of sorts has started around my making of the film by people who were not there and really are operating on second hand information. I have people telling me things who offer no proof, refusing to say it on video, and then telling me I really don't want the truth. The TRUTH. Whose truth? Everyone is coming to me with their version. I have interviewed a lot of people so far. I am not sharing my list because people have actually reached out to names and tried to condemn the project. It has a Rashomon like fell for sure.
39 years after the Dojo War and 34 years after the death of John Keehan the mythologies, rumours and fantasies are still alive. I just keep my sense of humour and keep moving forward.
The Green Dragon Society interview I did introduced a whole new set of information that in no way made sense. We all agree that it was bad judgement on everyone's part. This event eventually caused a split in the Green Dragon Society I have been told. I will still try to get someone high up in the Green Dragon society to talk.
That is my responsibilty, to get both sides to talk about it. There is one student of Jim Konsevic's who was there. He does not want to talk on video and I will try him one more time. He did say they had no idea they were going to a fight.
The Count Dante story really revolves around three key events, the attempted blasting cap breaking of Gene Wykas' dojo windows, the Dojo War and the Purolator robbery.
John Keehan's story before these events is where the meat is for me.
There are those who want to focus on the Count Dante persona as gangster, pimp spawn of the devil and that is not the film I want to make. These things are in the film but what lead John Keehan down the road to Count Dante? The best explanation so far come from his spiritual teacher. I will not go into that now, but I do talk about it in the blog last year.
There is even a blog out there to counter anything I say in this blog. But what is interesting is it offers no new information I did not already have. 2 people in Fall River, MA insist the story lies there, and then took me to Federal Court because I did not agree that it did and would not pay them $10,000 for artifacts that may or may not exist. We find a lot of megalomania on the internet these days.
I have been told that one of the two people making the posts on the Internet at Bullshido wants to destroy me because I will not present the truth. Their truth has a $10,000 pirce tag.
The Internet threats brought a notice from the court. There was some talk about hitman. It is all in the transcripts.
The Court case is active and transcripts from the past proceedings can be seen here.
We have moved for a dismissal, the attempt by the other party at Settlement was ridiculous.
Inspite of all the Court said they still act more in arrogance then with common sense. Another hearing wull be coming up soon.
Good things are happening with the film all around. I am happy I started this project. I am confident I will complete it this year, I am confident it will be recieved well by the general film audience who love documentary film. The martial arts community will be dubious but curious, and a few people, no matter what you do, will never be happy.
One of the Fall River characters has said some less than positive things online on Bullshido.net about my instructor and longtime friend, Gregory Jaco. Very Interesting because John Cole one of the Fall River masters who was directly trained by Dante served in the military with Jaco. I doubt Mr. Cole supports this activity or those statements. I don't have to say anything about Jaco. Just watch the video below of how his unified, cross-cultural, multi-religious community celebrated him. Look at the life of his children. One of them, Wasalu Jaco is also known as Lupe Fiasco is nominated for 4 Grammy Awards!!!
Saturday, April 11, 2009
In 1923, after the success of his film Nanook of the North, director Robert Flaherty was hired by Paramount Pictures to go to Samoa to capture the traditional life of Pacific islanders on film. His film, Moana (1926) is considered the first docufiction in the history of cinema.
The word "documentary" was first applied to this film in a review of this movie written by "The Moviegoer", a pen name for social critic John Grierson, considered by many the father of British and Canadian documentary film.
Grierson further argued in his 1930s essay, First Principles of Documentary that Robert Flaherty's film had "documentary value".
Grierson's principles of documentary posited that cinema's potential for observing life could possibly be a new art form; that, "the 'original' actor and 'original' scene are better guides than their fiction counterparts to interpreting the modern world; and that materials 'thus taken from the raw' can be more real than the acted article." Grierson's consider documentary the "creative treatment of actuality"
80 years later, popular culture has given us generations that, seemingly and often, cannot distinguish between the "raw" and the "acted." There is a serious conundrum created here. In working on this film the past few years I have come to realize how individuals apply their own unique, "creative treatment of reality." So, my daunting task is to do what? Just roll the camera?
This is a great source of humor for me as I am continually questioning the meaning of this film, The Search for Count Dante. Hell it must be serious if I had to go all the way back to Nanook and Flaherty. I loved this film when I was 8. I watched it on WTTW in Chicago, more than once. I never saw Moana. But I identify with Grierson and Flaherty. At this early stage of cinema there wa a conscious attempt to define this new art form and give it some significant direction and meaning beyond the staged dramas of emerging Hollywood cinema. The question raised and critiques presented still carry considerable weight today.
I am focused on a central character of chimeral qualities, there is much fantasy and delusion here. The problem I face is that so much of the fantasy and delusion regarding his life remains intact. My task is to get to the story of the real man and examine the impact of that man, his life through other who knew and were influenced and effected by his existance.
This really should not be this heavy. Then I remind myself, every documentary is a journey of discovery. Those discoveries influence the outcome. I am presenting my discoveries to my audience to allow them to weigh my findings and make up their own minds. All i can do is present my observations. In saying that, I understand whatever point of view I do have will manifest itself in some unconscious way. 34 years after the death of Count Dante there are still secrets being kept, there are still those who remember him and knew him, and there are those who continue to be influenced and effected by his persona.
Author, rock 'n roll musician, Incredibly Strange Wrestler, Bob Calhoun, and Count Dante parodist came to Chicago a while back to promote his book, Blood, Beer and Cornmeal. While he was here we went to all the relevant Chicago Count Dante Sites.
This picture is of Bob at the former site of the Green Dragon Black Dragon Hall of Kung Fu at 3561 W Fullerton. This is the site of the April 23, 1970 "dojo war" where the real Count Dante went to engage in a fight that resulted in the death of his best friend Jim Konsevic.
Bob is just one of the people who was fascinated as a child by the compelling advertisement released by his childhood curiosity and namesake Count Juan Raphael Dante. This advertisement, touting Keehan/Dante as "the deadliest man alive" circulated in comic books and men's magazines for over 10 years, had a significant effect on the martial arts community and, surprisingly, on global popular culture. It is the advertisement alone, not the book, but the ad itself that fired the imaginations of 7 to 18 years olds.
I have met ministers who bought Dante's book, executives at Irish potatoe chip companies, science-fiction writers like Robert Rankin who see Dante as essential Americana. Explaining the world into which this ad exploded is to examine myself and my place in that world at that time.
The core idea of the film I am making is about empowerment, how we seek it through others, how a man like Dante/Keehan rises to the occassion, for better AND worse, to create an enduring legend complete with errant FBI files, hushed warnings about investigations into his life, the occasional veiled threat, and an invitation to Federal Court in Boston for for alledged copyright infringement.
He was born John Timothy Keehan on the South Side of Chicago in 1939. After an illustrious but controversial career as a martial arts instructor, businessman, and hairdresser he went on to alllegedly mastermind the 1974 Purolator Vault Robbery.
In the years that I have researched, developed and shot this film I have come to understand, just a little, how the "dojo war, the April 23, 1970 event that resulted in the death of Jim Konsevic came about. My intenton has always been to NOT make this story central to the documentary. It was old, and unresolvable as far as I could see.
I always felt that the story was really about the martial arts world itself. It is not so much about how, why, minute details of rivalries or who said what to whom. It is really about bad judgement. Time to just cut to the chase. It is about the thing I lecture my 18 year old about and even myself. taking the time to stop and think, to not panic. Bad judgement and panic can get people killed.
No matter what I do it keeps pushing itself to the front. Then I get another email warning and questions about "my sources," accusations against sources and suggestions that I "find another project."
I am making a documentary, some of these things I find and experience will go into the final product, some will be deemed not so important and possibly end up in the book and given some detailed context. We will see.
Oh yeah, the book! I am working with Mr Calhoun to do backstory on the making of the film. Another underground cult kind of thing that he is so good at.
Looks like I have been rambling a bit. I promise to do better in the future.
Monday, January 26, 2009
Happy New Year, Y'all! I am back. The Search for Count Dante goes on as does life. We got a new president. I worked the campaign a few days, nothing serious. I am happy he won, now down to business.
My research and shooting continues. Since October I have made more discoveries about Dante's past. I have found someone who actually remembers John Keehan from Coulon's Gym in Chicago back in the 1950s. The picture at left was sent to me by the subject of my first investigation of a Coulon student, one Enrique Encinosa, a Cuban-American boxer under in the early 60s. Encinosa was also connected to the Free Cuba Movement and was friends with Luis Posada. It was a long shot, but John has contact with quite a few Cubans and I was wondering if it was from the boxing.
I tooks a chance based on connections to Cuba I heard that John's dad had. It gets kind of convoluted. I will get deeper into this later.
The picture shows Coulon's friend, Jack Johnson trying to lift the 115 lb Coulon off the ground. This was a trick Coulon used to do at carnivals. This kind of information excites me, it is Chicago history, martial arts history. To find this kind of connection is amazing,
Jim Johnston remembered Keehan and even knew what high school he went to. He told me on the phone that Keehan was trained personally by Coulon. I am hoping to get an interview with Mr Johnston. I will write more as I continue our conversations.
I have been working for a company called Digital Funtown lately for former UFC champion Andrei Arlovski's Team Pitbull. I edited the Arlovski 360 Series. Here is one embedded in the blogpage:
HD-Arlovski 360: The Boiling Point - Episode 5 from 4dft on Vimeo.
You can see the whole Arlovski 360 series on YouTube.
We are now in the midst of organizing the recreation of the Dojo War. I had a meeting with a MMA fighter who wants to be in this scene, the 6'9 Wes Sims while he was in town meeting with
fight promoter Mike Davis. We will see what we work out.
I have a strategy for shooting the recreation. you will hear more about that later.
The Court Case
Nothing is happening yet. We are still waiting on the judge to make a determination as to how the case will move forward. We will see what happens here. I continue to move forward on the film.
Black Dragon Society
I have been making some discoveries about the real Black Dragon Society including thier support of Ethopia during their war with Italy.
In October, the making of The Search for Count Dante was featured as a 3 min short at the British Telegraph.co.uk website as part of the Cinelan Documentaries featured on their site. Telegraph TV has teamed up with international short film specialist CINELAN to present a selection of high quality three-minute video documentaries. That day, my film was featured right next to the première of Russian Prime Minister Vladamir Putin's Instructional Judo DVD.
It was very coincidental because I had been trying to get an interview with Putin for the film. Putin is the only other president in the world to have been a black belt in judo, the other being President Theodore Roosevelt, who was one of the first American Judo Black Belts in history.
I may have managed to snag an interview with Putin. Why? Well the guy has a pet tiger cub and I feel a need to examine his interest in the martial arts, to explore more of it's mythic appeal as I look for parallels with Dante. I have been in touch with his UK based PR firm and it is looking good. I will know in the next 2 months. I have crews standing by in Europe and the UK.
I stopped blogging for awhile to clear my head, put some time into helping elect a new POTUS and to just break all contact with those forces out there who create confusion and crave attention. No names need be mentioned. I am still in the mix, the film moves along slowly but it is moving.
This world of Dante is some crazy stuff. I will slowly get back into writing the blog and sharing some observations and other discoveries you might find interesting.