Biography

Counte Dante

John Keehan AKA Count Dante

& Origins of Black Dragon Fighting Society Name

Inspired by the fact Samurai warriors in order to attain a sense of balance between hard and soft lifestyles often practiced flower arranging or calligraphy, John Keehan did likewise. He artistically expressed himself as a hair stylist. He worked on some of the hair designs for Playboy models of the time that gave rise to his flamboyant personification and helped launch him to the forefront of martial art history.

John Keehan AKA Count Dante was born in Beverly, Illinois, on February 2, 1939, and died May 25th, 1975. His unexpected death at age 34 is the cause of much deliberation. It is attributed to a perforated stomach allegedly caused by either a bleeding ulcer, toxic poisoning or “Dim Mak” poison hand technique that resulted in his untimely death. A strong indicator foul play may be the case is the fact his body is allegedly exhumed and autopsied numerous times and he is buried in an unmarked grave.

In his youth Keehan boxed at Johnny Coulon's 63rd Street gym. After graduating from high school he joined the USMC reserves and later the US army, where he learned and taught hand-to-hand combat and jujitsu techniques. He joined the merchant marines and traveled to China where he trained under various martial arts masters. All this occurred during the infancy of Western interest in Asian martial arts, in the 1950s. Once there, his association with former Kokuryukai, Black Dragon Society members in Chicago enabled him to compete in no-holds-barred full contact Kumite (Bloodsport film style matches).

Most notable of the early masters he trained with was Sensei, Robert Trias and Kokuryukai Black Dragon Society member and its former full contact Kumite Champion, Sanzo Tanaka (homage paid him in the martial art classic films, 1988 Bloodsport and Jet Li’s Fearless).

John Keehan was the co-founder and mid-west director of the United States Karate Association (USKA) until 1962. He resigned from the organization in 1964 due to civil rights issues with the USKA patronizing “whites only” facilities in conducting its tournaments as well as refusal to promote minorities other than Asians to rank of Black Belt. To this end, Keehan broke ranks and formed the first USA racially integrated martial art association - The World Karate Federation (NOTE: In 1990 a new World Karate Federation unassociated with Keehan's was formed). 

In Chicago, John Keehan co-promoted the first open to the public full-contact Kumite Bloodsport style mixed martial arts tournament held at the University of Chicago, on July 28, 1963. Many other such tournaments were hosted by him during the 1960s, pairing practitioners of different styles against one another. 

Joining Keehan was a group of promoters and together they formed the International Fighting Arts Association in cooperation with former members of the Black Dragon Society, who sponsored the event since 1905, in Manchuria, China. Black Belt magazine, November 1980, John Stewart, Kumite: A Learning Experience, points out “while not a publicity seeking organization the IFAA is far from being a secret organization, as romanticized.

During the nationwide racial strife of the 1960s, John Keehan was one of the first and few American martial art instructors to openly teach non-Asian minorities. In defiance of the racial prejudice dominating the scene thus preventing minorities from having the ability to access Asian martial arts forming an exclusive martial art clique, Keehan joined forces with like minded instructors and some of his senior students and together they established the Black Dragon Fighting Society, whose membership is open to all.

To spoof the pomp and elitism prevalent on the part of martial art community with their oppressing minorities other than Asian, in 1967, Keehan legally changed his name to Count Juan Raphael Danté. DONE AS A JOKE… mocking the invented pasts and historical lineages of many of his so called peers who then made everyone refer to them as Grandmasters.

John Keehan by his physical appearance is of obvious Irish dissent who began sarcastically explaining (in an Irish baroque at times) the name change occurred because his parents fled Spain during the Spanish Civil War, changed their names, and obscured their noble heritage in order to effectively hide in America. All the while knowing the surname Dante is in fact of Italian origin. Keehan having taken the name (Count) Dantès from the protagonist of Dumas' 1844 The Count of Monte Cristo, as Keehan saw his role as avenging the wrongs being committed against him and minorities at the height of the civil rights movement.

He further mocked traditional martial arts lock out of minorities by promoting his alter ego Count Dante via comic book ads as the Deadliest Man Alive. One had only to mail order for his instructional booklet World's Deadliest Fighting Secrets (in which he outlined the "Dance of Death") and they also received a free Black Dragon Fighting Society membership card because all are welcome to study and feel they had a right to belong. These comic book ads account for much of Count Dante's lasting notoriety in pop culture. They read:

Yes, this is the DEADLIEST and most TERRIFYING fighting art known to man—and WITHOUT EQUAL. Its MAIMING, MUTILATING, DISFIGURING, PARALYZING and CRIPPLING techniques are known by only a few people in the world. An expert at DIM MAK could easily kill many Judo, Karate, Kung Fu, Aikido, and Gung Fu experts at one time with only finger-tip pressure using his murderous POISON HAND WEAPONS. Instructing you step by step thru each move in this manual is none other than COUNT DANTE—“THE DEADLIEST MAN WHO EVER LIVED” (THE CROWN PRINCE OF DEATH).

According to legend the death touch/ Tibetan Iron Palm strike was allegedly administered to Keehan over his tendency to associate with well known western organized crime figures, bringing dishonor to his clan.  Nonetheless, with his death a young protégé Frank Dux competed in Keehan’s place in the coveted and legendary Kokuryukai, Black Dragon Society Kumite events. The event which forms the basis of the 1988 classic film based on true events in the life of Frank Dux, Bloodsport.

ORIGINS OF BLACK DRAGON FIGHTING SOCIETY NAME:

Contrary to poorly researched and supervised internet reference sites, like Wikipedia, The Black Dragon Fighting Society founded by Count Dante does have a historical connection to the Kokuryukai,  Japanese Black Dragon Society, a fascist organization whose members taught and invited Keehan to participate in their closed door events as well as helped finance his US full contact events. The Kokuryukai, Japanese Black Dragon Society having renamed itself in the 1960’s The Black Dragon Club.

The Kokuryukai, Japanese Black Dragon Society murdered its way across the globe and established its 1st presence in Chicago and Los Angeles in the 1930’s. They viewed racial inequality and strife as a vulnerability they could exploit to benefit their intelligence and criminal organization loyal to imperial Japan. Thus, they began exploiting civil rights movement by secretly teaching Judo/Jujitsu to minorities after hours, explaining they were janitors. Like they did in Russia and Manchuria, they also formed Judo clubs on military installations until the Kokuryukai plans were discovered and several members, jailed.

Notwithstanding, Kokuryukai agents were instrumental just as they were in the Japanese victory over Russia with the surprise attack at Port Arthur in pulling off the surprise attack on American Fleet, anchored in Pearl Harbor Dec. 7th, 1941. The devastating surprise attack combined with the arrest scandal led to the internment of all Japanese residing in the USA. This included all American citizens of Japanese dissent.

The Black Dragon Fighting Society original members owe their name to the fact while Black Dragon name became synonymous with elitist ideals of fascism and imperialistic goals of Japan, they reject and fight against any form of elitism that includes racial discrimination and thus they took the name - Black Dragon Fighting Society. Commemorating they learned their fighting skills and are themselves the offspring of Black Dragons but nonetheless, oppose their elitist fascist ideals.

WARNNING-SEPERATING SUBSTANTIVE FACT FROM FICTION:

  • A common Wikipedia and internet myth is The Black Dragon Fighting Society that Keehan founded came under the directorship of a personally chosen protégé and successor, William V. Aguiar. Aguiar died in January, 2005. The fact is, Aguiar received minimal training and merely co-hosted seminars and tournaments along with Keehan in the name of the The Black Dragon Fighting Society, in the 1970’s.

  • The Black Dragon Fighting Society is a fraternal organization composed of like minded individuals whose membership and alliances cannot be willed nor its IP/name, as it belongs to all the originators and their legacy.

  • The Black Dragon Fighting Society is NOT led by Bill Aguiar III or associated with him in any way, given he was not born when it was created, he has never been ranked or recognized as a member of The Black Dragon Fighting Society even by his own father, now deceased.

  • Bill Aquiar III is merely the co-founder of his own online blog where he has been exposed on the internet as making false and misleading representations as well as engaged in misconduct unbecoming anyone who is an actual member of the Black Dragon Fighting Society.

  • It is erroneously stated in Wikipedia Aguiar III and his Fall River Mass hosts the Official Black Dragon Fighting Society website, as well. THE WEBSITE EXISTS UNDER THE DIRECTION OF THE ORIGINAL BLACK DRAGON FIGHTING SOCIETY MEMBERS, AS STATED ON THE HOMEPAGE.

DOCUMENTARY FILM MAKER FLOYD WEBB AS DO ALL THE ORIGINAL BDFS MEMBERS, WARRANT, FOLLOWING JOHN KEEHAN’S UNTIMELY DEATH PROMOTIONAL AND HISTORICAL MATERIALS WENT MISSING THAT SEEMINGLY REAPPEAR AND HAVE COME TO BE IN THE POSSESSION OF OTHERS ATTEMPTING TO USE IT AS SOME KIND OF PROOF AS TO THEIR LEGITIMACY.

THEREFORE, TO ASSIST THE PUBLIC AND GUARD THEM AGAINST FALLING VICTIMS TO FRAUD WE MAKE AVAILABLE FOR VIEWING THE OFFICIAL MEMBERS LIST, AS POSTED.