Author Topic: Count Dante- John Keehan  (Read 20864 times)


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Re:Count Dante- John Keehan
« Reply #30 on: July 02, 2003, 09:12:48 AM »
   As said in an above post, Derek, "Dance of Death" is the translation of the Okinawan "Naihanchi" kata, the Shotokan version is called "Tekki" meaning "horse stance" or some say "iron horse". Some have adopted the name "Dance of Death" to describe certain techniques. For example, in Nick Cerio's Kenpo "Dance of Death" is a defense against a punch and is a modified version of an original Karazenpo Go Shinjutsu numerical combination.

Getting back to martial arts on the street, let me elaborate more from my perspective. In a real world altercation there are many variables and no controls. In the dojo when you learn the "ideal phase" of a technique, it is with the 'controls' so that the student may assimiliate its principles and concepts and everyone starts on the same page. However, as Ed Parker has pointed out and we've all heard this, a student asking, "What if..................? So, Parker deemed the next phase the "What if phase" and now all the variables are added or as many as we can as I'll explain later. A good exercise for this phase is "pickle in the middle" when a student has an uke in front and one behind. They may come in anyway they wish and sometimes I may signal one to come in in the middle of a technique that the tori is performing on the other uke and so forth. Like I stated, most variables. This still doesn't account for an asphalt parking lot or cement sidewalk, rain, sleet, ice, snow, the wind whipping sand in your face. Curbs, parked cars, a Harley Davidson to trip over or inside, tables, chairs, other people, walls, etc. Restrictive clothing, dress shoes which may not give you the ideal footing. Heavier winter jacket that could hinder movement somewhat, consumption of alcohol if one likes to 'socialize', darkness or dimly lit areas or just the opposite with the sun glaring in your eyes, your currrent physical condition, are you run down, recuperating from an injury, unattentive because you're daydreaming (no one is 100 percent alert at ALL times), distractions, not to mention you, yourself, being hit and I could go on and one. Now, coupling that with an attacker who can come at you with either arm, foot, a double leg takedown or a flying body tackle, you have A LOT OF VARIABLES, hense the reason your particular art
may most likely not come out looking like a  Norris/Seagal movie where all the fight scenes are obviously totally controlled. About the only thing we can expect as far as reaction of our attacker when we connect is: if he's hit to the head, he tends to go back, how far, it depends, all the way to the ground or just a snap back of the head or something in betwwen. #2 if we hit him low, he "sucks in" or goes down to the ground. Other than that, who knows?

The important thing is that you extract "fighting concepts & principles" from your techniques. That is their main purpose outside of providing your body physically with improved reflexes, better movement, balance and coordination. Your goal is to "survive" the attack, to be able to walk away on your own power without serious physical injury or of course death. That's it! What you do does not have to "look good" but has to work and function in a particular environment overcoming certain variables or obstacles. Hollywood, over the years, has given the public a false perspective of the martial arts, I think we can all agree on that. So, Derek, like I said in another post, whether your performance comes out looking like UFC, WWE Monday Night Raw, a combination of both or everything goes exceptional for you and it looks like a scene from "Walker, Texas Ranger", the only thing that matters is YOU SURVIVE!-That is how an "effective" martial art was meant to work. ;) Respectfully submitted, Shihan Joe

« Last Edit: July 02, 2003, 09:16:16 AM by Shihan Joe Shuras »


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Re:Count Dante- John Keehan
« Reply #31 on: July 02, 2003, 01:06:24 PM »
good post joe, also mr. bishop is very helpfull too. makes alot of sense and i read it with open ears and mind. even though it might seem i'm trying to pick it apart, i'm not. i agree with what is said and it adds to broaden my perspective. thanks again guys :D

i thought i would share a story that master bill aguiar III wrote, son of supreme grand master(dante's right hand man). it's just an example of creative training, to help with the unkown circumstances outside the dojo. you can just imagine what else the son and father must have went through from dante's teachings.

-I think that your Combat Attitude is only as strong as the power of your mind. That other post and this one should be somewhat together.
I have a story of how I had my combat att. and mental strength was built by Grand Master Aguiar (my dad).
when I was about 15yrs.old G.M.Aguiar 's focus for me was all Combat Attitude AND mental strength /will.
HE had about 8 of his black belts and a few really rough members of our society come to the B.D.F.S. Head quarters,(this happened pretty often to me ONLY being that I would be the next in charge so I was Trained exactly Like Dant'e trained him)
He told me to stand in the middle of the dojo He then shut out all the lights, being that there were no windows in the dojo part of the school it was pitch black and night time any way. He then told me from some where in the dojo to try to make it out the door Alive before his guys tore me apart . Being I was the Masters son and they knew the purpose
of this they were not giving ME any breaks.
The 1ST time this happened I was not lucky the second time I broke a few of my attackers bones and gave one of them a concoction from part of the D.O.D.
BEFORE THE 3RD. TIME CAME AROUND, I had been in a street fight with about 8 local gang members all bigger than myself while I was waiting for a bus. I knocked out 4 of them in the 1st 4 sec. of the fight, 2 of them TOOK THE SAME ROUND KICK TO THE HEAD AT THE SAME TIME then ran, and then there was 2 and I chewed them up too a few teeth, and a swift kick to the balls is what it took for them to back off.
That night when I went to the dojo and told G.M. Aguiar what happened he gave me a nod then called his black belts up for that night for more (lights out training)
When I asked him Why didn't I do A Good Job his reply was but son you didn't kill any one.


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Re:Count Dante- John Keehan
« Reply #32 on: July 02, 2003, 01:39:36 PM »
   Thanks Derek, but remember, many stories in the martial arts should be taken with a grain of salt. The one you mentioned above I have seen many versions of over the years on Saturday mornings "Kung Fu Theatre" and I'm sure that is what inspired the above screen play. This is in no disrespect to you but just to give you "a head's up" when you hear or read things in the martial arts. ;) Be cynical, there are too many story tellers in the arts and eventually, with enough experience, you will be able to spot them at will.  Respectfully, Shihan Joe

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Re: Count Dante- John Keehan
« Reply #33 on: May 05, 2006, 02:06:21 PM »

The 60s and 70s were really interesting (and confusing) times!

I always thought Dante came from karate terms, DAN and TE.
(where kajukenbo is rare)

Offline perdido88

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Re: Count Dante- John Keehan
« Reply #34 on: August 08, 2006, 06:53:09 PM »
Yes, John Keehan..  the late Count Juan Raphael Dante.  That was the full name of his character.  Around 1995, twenty years after his passing, there was an article about him in a Karate magazine.  There were assertions that Dante was a violent and dangerous man.  He was rumored to have been busted by a policeman while trying to place dynamite at a rival dojo.  Count Dante also used to burst into some dojos and start fights.  (Obviously, this is according to the article).

    One of the most interesting things (as if it wasn't enough) was that he claimed to have known all the styles: jujitsu, kung fu and karate.... but never mentioned his instructors (maybe he did in his book, but i've never been able to read it).  Count Dante practically didn't say anything about his training, so it was rumored that he had never practiced much of what he preached.  The impression was that Count Dante could've been a student of lower rank, who left a school, practiced on his own and made up much of what he knew.  This is of course enforced by his claims of European ancestry and nobility.  It wasn't until I read this post that I first read about his instructor.

  Count Dante was a marketing genius.  However, his criminal past caught up with him.  He died of bleeding ulcers in 1975.. some say that he never recovered emotionally from the stabbing death of his friend, as a result of a dojo fight started by Count Dante.

  He was an interesting figure of the martial arts.  But I don't think of him as a role model.  The story of Count Dante could teach about how martial arts can be taken into the wrong path.

            Correct me if I'm wrong in some of the info provided.



juan-carlos shannon

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Re: Count Dante- John Keehan
« Reply #35 on: July 10, 2007, 05:40:50 AM »
I think that this topic is very interesting. There's seems to be a lot of things still in the air about the whole John Keehan "Black Dragon" scene. I had always wondered what all the hub bub in the Chicago area was about when people would talk about the dojo wars that took place there. I was fortunate enough to spend some time inthechi recently and as a result of this was able to learn quite a bit about this particular time in history. This particular thread was actually kind of helpful to my study as there were a few facts that I really hadn't realized. One, I did not know that John Keehan was Spanish and related his "royal ancestry" to be a part of his career. I always had thought that people named John from the south side of Chicago were Irish. But I guess not. Martial artists in the way of the Chicago scene I always had related to the idea of the rowdy and tempermental Irish that were so evident in that part of town. Two, I did not know that Keehan had been involved in death matches over seas. Up until this point in my focus I had only heard of him as a "rabblerowser" and or "tough guy" that was the everyday run of the mill neighborhood bully. I guess that isn't the case ay. When I first heard about the advertised deadliest man alive techniques that came out of the dojo wars I figured that those were only ideas that were taught, yet never executed. I think that this part of the Keehan fiasco is interesting to a point where as it makes his ideologies more tangible to the student of the story. I really wonder how many of these fights the hairdresser really took a part in. Anyway. I also noticed that in the above it is said that he died of a brain tumor. I have found sources online and also in local newspapers in Chicago that say that not only could the coroners sp? office not define the cause of his death, but if they could it would reliably be a stomach ulcer caused by his alcholism and addiction to pain pills. I think? I really wonder what happened to him in this respect. I think it is also noteworthy to mention in the scope of the death of this character as well as his slew of confidants and their deaths that there is a lot of mystery surrounding their causes as well as their realities. It is also said in this thread that Keehan had to wear a mask to run from the real Black Dragon Martial Arts Society, spy team, or espionage experts, whatever those individuals may have been at that time, but I think this fact retracts itself historically after looking over the story as a whole. First, I would like to enter the information that not only was John Keehan himself found to be a self proclaimed blackbelt and enforcer of a deadly martial artist style, but as such was recognized by many others in the martial arts world who were also experts in this discipline during his time. This long list of accolades which are true and real in their nature include a committee of real voters within the discipline who recognized Keehan as a true sensei, the first "white man" of the sort. Why would anyone recognized by another group of individuals who are founders or originators of style go after a man after they revere him as such a master of their own teachings. The mask wearing on the run persona just doesn't fit the description of someone who used to hang out with Bruce Lee. I think this fact defeats the idea that Keehan was a less than liked individual within this "sociosphere" so to speak. Another fact that sticks out like a sore thumb in this whole coincidental thing is that Keehan died right around the time of the robbery plan he had for one of the world's largest banks. Seems a little fishy to have all of that going on, have a head dude dissappear and also within a reasonable time frame have another one of the world's greats pass away as in the life of Bruce Lee. And then son Brandon Lee died on a movie set. What a shocker!

If you follow and stuck around, what remains there,is two of the world's greatest martial artists who taugt strikes of death and also had a working relationship...dead without any explanation. So far as anyone could tell, Bruce Lee died of natural causes himself. Some suspect foul play. Yet others say he got a dose of his own medicine as in the the deadly palm strike. May he rest in peace. However, I think that it is more than necessary to mention the fact that no one can define his cause of death outside of natural causes, as well as in Keehanscase where no one medical expert could define his death outside of natural causes such as his stomach ulcers from his drinking and pain killer addiction. It leaves a student baffled! There are other mysterious deaths aside from these two which also happened in a reasonable timeframe in our history which also give one reason to question the reality of our knowledge. Brandon Lee, son of Bruce Lee, died while filming a movie by an accidental bullet. Along with him also is another in the life of John Keehan, who was a close personal friend of his during the botched robberies in Chicago, who recently in 2002 or so died of a pain pill overdose. I question the theory of stomach ulcers in Keehan's case in relation to this idea. So at the end of the day we have one self proclaimed deadliest man alive hair dresser recorded as the first "white sensei" on the run from those gave him title as such dead due to the natural cause of a stomach ulcer brought on by drinking and pain killer addiction, the group chasing Keehan being the original Black Dragon group who were the people of the original teachings of the Black Dragon style which incurs the thought they "generally" were the ones who could present a man with such an accolade as a true sensei, another Master of a martial arts...the infamous Bruce Lee...dead within a similar time frame whose cause of death remains unknown but hypothesized as being caused by a move that would only belong to himself, as in the deadly palm strike...Bruce Lee's lineage Brandon Lee dead by way of accidentally loaded live round in a dummy bullet on a movie set, and an Italian mobster in connection to the whole asian martial artists scene of the south side of Chicago war recently dying in the year 2002 or thereabouts as a result of pain killers which are really the ultimate cause of the Keehan death in the first place within their plans for a giant banlk heist which probably caused all the stress. And to top it off, a whole world of students to the disciplines, styles, teachings, ethics, spiritual guidance, loyalty, obedience, and really love of the martial arts to talk about it. What a mess! Patewy!

Whatever the answer is, I hope that I gave some of you enthusiasts and real knowledge seekers out there something to think about in the scheme of things. This is obviously a subject and or timeline in the history of martial arts that will be studied forever and as such deserves a certain amount of respect. I hope one day that someone gets to the bottom of this entirety and can once and for all put some heavyweight behind the theory's that remain afloat in this investigatory faculty. And again whatever the case may be I know I'm on the edge of my seat for these ones! Until we meet again much peace and love! And good luck in your search for the truth! ;)
Sean Patrick Goldsmith

Offline NYKaju

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Re: Count Dante- John Keehan
« Reply #36 on: July 10, 2007, 07:43:08 AM »
Wow.....Mr. Goldsmith...

Makes it easier on the eyes please.
Sensei/Coach James Mayors
Ronin Martial Arts
Kajukenbo under Dan Tyrrell
BJJ under Matt Serra
Judo under Mark Staniszewski
"You don't rise to the level of your expectations, you fall to the level of your training"