07-02-2004, 18:19 #1
Anyone Remember The Dojo Raids...?
I had a teacher originally from New York who used to tell us about the "dojo wars" of the 1970s and early 80s. The challenge matches of guys like Count Dante and a bunch of other guys who seem to be portrayed in "The Last Dragon."
And I even remember a few occassions circa 1981 in Florida where some so called "schools" would challenge others to some kind of duel.
God what a bunch of morons. Kinda funny now though.
07-02-2004, 18:36 #2
I think the Count Dante story would make a great movie. Some coked-out hair dresser martial artist with a psychotic chip on his shoulder. Most of what I've heard about the whole deal came from links from previous posts on the subject. I got to agree with you, insane but somewhat funny.Justin Stidham
07-03-2004, 06:16 #3
Who is "Count Dante"?
07-03-2004, 07:01 #4KINGBGuestOriginally Posted by John Bennett
I have just dug up an old issue of "Fighting Arts International" and will summarise what it has to say about John Keehan ( Count Dante ).
If you are interested in real self-defense maybe the following will also interest you. There much to be said about Dante's system but my feeling is that if you are just looking for total self-protection what Dante has to offer is valuable.
Although Dante trained in various karate, judo, aikido etc systems he chose to reject them in favour of his own system :- Dan-te (dan as in dan grade and te as in Kara-te, therefore 'expert hands')
Count Dante is a familiar name in the short history of the MA in the USA. From about 1965 to his death in 1975 he was regarded as the black sheep of American karate.
He started out as a promising karateka in Robert Trias' "United States Karate Association" and he was an important figure in the early development of karate in America's Midwest. However, after he left (or was expelled from) Trias' organisation it was felt that he had "gone wrong". He set up his own system and as Massad Ayoob has written, " developed an obscene fascination with the most brutal part of the martial arts."
Dante promoted America's first full contact tournament as far back as 1967, sold his booklet " The world's Deadliest Fighting Secrets" with the assistance of a big, over the top advertising campaign in comics and magazines and generally tried to put himself over as "The Crown Prince of Death".
His style was designed specifically for street combat and so this may simply be a reflection of how society itself has grown more violent over the years. Unfortunately, little technical material has been printed on the Dante style, but basically it seems to be a close quarters system (The legs are mainly for transportation, Dante would say) which stress smashing, gouging, and joint breaking techniques. Even more than technique however, Count Dante stressed the importance of attitude. Page 12 of his book (1968) reads: ...
" ...Special note: Proper emphasis on courage, aggressiveness, and actual training hall and street application of effective fighting techniques, is the most serious lacking segment in modern day karate and kung fu schools... most karate schools place little emphasis on courage or "guts fighting" and aggressiveness and usually even frown on it. They also do not permit body contact in their self-defence and sparring practice. This makes for a safe training hall but does little to help develop the body to withstand strike punishment and actually hinders the student when they are forced to use it on the street.
Remember, the only true test of a fighting man is what he can do, and no more. Form practice, sparring, self defence practice and brick breaking are meaningless if the man cannot withstand the burden of the 'real thing'..."
The backbone of the Dante system was his emphasis on mental attitude. In contrast with many Oriental concepts of "mind like placid lake"..."Mind like the moon", of being calm, cleaning the mind of all thought and emotion prior to combat, Dante believed that you should 'psych' yourself up with 100% aggressiveness and viciousness, attacking in a furious and unrestrained manner. In 'Defense Combat' Oct 1976, Bill Aguair was asked to define the Dante system and how it differed from other systems.
"It isn't the techniques of the system, it's the attitude - and that is a 7 to 10 second drive to the wall, completely going in for one thing and one thing only - to get the opponent down and out and everything over as quickly as possible."
Dante then advocated attacking (or counter attacking) at full speed, exploding at the enemy with total ruthlessness and ferocity. Again Aguair has some sage advice.
"A streetfight is something quick, it doesn't last 11 minutes. A fight in the street is one jam. People don't break it up into rounds, you know... If you're gonna swing, you either do that, go all the way or don't do anything at all. I'm not advocating fighting at the drop of a hat, but when you gotta go, you gotta go. I mean it, it doesn't take much for you to throw a kick and try to pull it so you don't hurt somebody bad, and then the guy catches your leg and knocks you down - your head hits the kerbstone and now you've got a widow! The streets are pretty bad!" (Defense Combat - Oct 1976)
In line with Dante's ideas on situational self-defence, he would train people to fight in barstools and members of his school would smoke cigarettes and drink beer because, well, that's what they'd probably be doing if a fight started.
Unlike many people who practise the MA and develop new theories as regards self defence, Dante's system was founded on real events, many of Dante's people were violent criminals, mobsters and streetgang members who meet and use violence in their everyday life. According to Ayoob in his book "The Truth About Self-Protection" :
"The Count's disciples, who tended to come froma hard core criminal word, used it (a previously described technique) frequently. They left some people blind out there but were never injured themselves... Under such circumstances self-defense techniques tend to become refined very quickly - necessity being the mother of invention - there being no room for error. There are no recorded instances of Dante's people complaining that something didn't work, so we must assume that they were well satisfied that what he taught worked.
Learn from the outlaws: Dante's system was designed for the sort of person you'll face, someone who'll hurt you without the slightest compunction."
Dante died in 1975, shortly before he died he made the following statement to Massad Ayoob in 'Black Belt' march 1976.
"They resented Bruce Lee when he was alive. The martial arts people made him a legend after he died because they weren't afraid of him anymore."
And he spoke too of the legendary Samurai Musashi,
"Look up his history. Musashi is the hero of Japan, yet he murdered innocent men, women and children for money. He was a 'stone killer' (assassin) They despised him when he was alive and canonised him when he was dead. Mark my words, that's what they'll do to me"
Last edited by KINGB; 07-03-2004 at 07:04.
07-03-2004, 07:03 #5KINGBGuest
07-03-2004, 11:18 #6The NephilimGuestOriginally Posted by Chris McLean
07-03-2004, 11:39 #7
Originally Posted by Chris McLean
The above weblink was from a message forum so consider the source.
From ALL credible accounts I have been privy to Count Dante was very much like Sho'Nuff from "The Last Dragon." His main claim to notoriety were his so called "death matches" which tried to be like the early UFC.
His contributions to the development of martial arts in this country were negligible and greatly offset by his detractions from it. He was a primary character in one of the more embarrassing chapters of US martial arts history.
Thankfully, given the passage of time, we can look at him like the joke he was. As a result your assessment is pretty dead on.
07-03-2004, 14:50 #8
Count Dante is a black eye for the history of American MA’s.
His type still exists today. They just have tone them selves down and found a much more profitable scam called the McDojo’s.
The MA are a prime environment to attract such con men. Buy yourself a Hanshi belt and promote yourself or have a friend promote you and then you promote them. Then you have your black belts run the school and you/Hanshi only show up for appearance only. Promote your Black belts based on recruiting volume of new students. Open another school and you have the start of a McDojo empire.
The con is based on the times that you live in. Counte Dante con was based on the Blood & Guts era of the MA back then. The McDojo’s con is based on the public need for discipline and survival skills – and their willingness to pay the dollars but not pay the emotional or physical price of being a true martial artist.
07-03-2004, 18:53 #9KINGBGuest
He looks like a master to me!!
07-03-2004, 21:01 #10
Dojang WarsOriginally Posted by SteyrAUGSincerely,
Rudy W. Timmerman
07-03-2004, 21:08 #11
Originally Posted by Rudy W. Timmerman
I rarely find humor in people's death.
07-03-2004, 21:18 #12
Not intending to make it seem like you did, and I apologize if my post appeared that way. I had hoped to convey that these wars were serious business back then, and people (at least one that I know of) did get killed with Dante's antics.Sincerely,
Rudy W. Timmerman
07-22-2004, 10:04 #13
Originally Posted by John Bennett
07-22-2004, 10:07 #14
Originally Posted by SteyrAUG
07-23-2004, 15:03 #15
Boston in the 70's
Not certain (only been in town since the 90's) but didn't George Mattson sensei have a bunch of folks show-up at his place in the 70's looking for trouble?
JigmeJigme Chobang Daniels
07-23-2004, 18:38 #16
Originally Posted by kenkyusha
One of Mattson's students teaches Uechi-Ryu in some of the Sports Clubs and Fitness Centers around Boston, I should ask him. It would be an interesting piece of history.
John 'Jack' Stay
07-23-2004, 20:08 #17
Originally Posted by Jack Stay
It should be noted that these things didn't occur in the more reputable schools with any great frequency.
07-23-2004, 20:38 #18
I heard a story like this, where some dude, a head of his own school, walks into another school, walk up to the owner/teacher at his desk and shouts "I challenge you for your students!"
So the guy who's school it is just knocked him out with the phone! HA!
I'm 99% sure this is true... teh running joke became that this guy pioneered the phone kata.Bill De Franza
07-24-2004, 02:18 #19
Originally Posted by De_Franza
Seriously though, how funny would it be if someone pulled this stunt on a McDojo chain?
"What do you mean challenge for OUR students...We have contracts. If they leave we'll sue."
Can you imagine the horror of these black belt motivational speakers when it dawns on them that they are expected to actually fight.
07-24-2004, 07:44 #20
Originally Posted by Rudy W. Timmerman
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Rudy - I had vaguely heard of the "dojo wars" but thought they were an urban legend. What was the criminal fall out from that?
I find it hard to fathom all out brawls like that without some kind of intervention from the authorities.Unleashing my inner bodyguard!