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Thread: Counte Dante

  1. #1
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    Counte Dante

    I was going to put this on the Busted Teachers thread, but it's just too juicy. It totally needs a fresh thread of its own.

    Dante’s inferno
    A local documentarian finds himself in a fight over First Amendment rights.

    Floyd Webb figured he had enough weirdness to contend with when he started making a documentary about Count Dante, a Chicago martial arts icon of the 1960s. After all, in addition to running a dojo (the Black Dragon Fighting Society) and writing a book called World’s Deadliest Fighting Secrets, Dante worked as a hair stylist, kept a lion as a pet, supposedly had mob ties and is alleged by some to have been part of a covert operation that armed Che Guevara and Raul Castro in Cuba in 1959. He was involved in a rivalry with other Chicago martial artists that got so intense Keehan and his associates allegedly attempted to bomb a rival dojo. Born John Keehan to a Chicago Irish family, Dante fabricated a lineage tying him to Spanish nobility. He may have also been involved in the notorious 1974 Purolator Vault robbery, in which $4.3 million was stolen ($1.2 million of which was never recovered). Plenty of weirdness there.

    Then the cease-and-desist letters started showing up. As part of his effort to unearth more Dante-related stories, Webb had put up a website (thesearchforcountdante.com) with images and some background information. William Aguiar III of the Fall River Black Dragon Fighting Society claimed that the website infringed on copyrights and trademarks that Aguiar controls. Finally, after some back-and-forth, Aguiar filed a lawsuit in federal court on September 7, charging copyright and trademark infringement. The claim regarding the trademarks has since been dropped, but Webb is still waiting for a judge to set a court date on the copyright question.

    As Webb sees it, both his documentary and the website promoting it fall comfortably within the definition of fair use. Fair use is a key concept to anyone working in the arts, and especially to documentary filmmakers. To encourage creativity and to honor First Amendment protections, copyright law allows for the unlicensed use of copyrighted materials in certain circumstances, including educational endeavors, social and political commentary, and parody.

    “I’m not trying to get into the martial arts business,” Webb explained when we spoke to him in his production company’s office in the Fine Arts Building. “I’m not trying to publish a martial arts book. I’m not trying to open a dojo. I’m trying to make a social critique of a character that has impinged on the popular culture.”

    Fortunately, Webb has some big guns on his side. He contacted Stanford University’s Fair Use Project (the brainchild of fair use and public domain activist Lawrence Lessig), and it’s now part of his defense team. The project was established to defend the rights of documentarians and others who are often pestered with “nuisance suits” filed to wear them out. The latest twist has involved websites. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act was meant to clarify the situation, but suits like the one against Webb have actually proliferated.

    Talking to Webb about the case and about Count Dante is rather like taking a trip down the rabbit hole. In the course of a half-hour conversation, he weaves a story that runs all the way from Teddy Roosevelt’s interest in judo to latter-day mob figures. Webb is trying to separate fact from fiction, but with a life based on lies, it’s a tough job. The word alleged comes up a lot in Webb’s conversation; he knows that many of the stories he has heard are apocryphal, and the lawsuit has made him cautious, but the material is juicy enough to make Oliver Stone drool.

    Each story leads down another strange path: “[Mob attorney] Bob Cooley, who wore a wire and helped expose corruption, was one of the last people to see Dante alive, and he claims that Dante was poisoned as a result of his being involved in the Purolator robbery,” Webb says. Suspicious details pile up like autumn leaves. “I’ve got Dante’s FBI record, but it stops after the bombing. They have everything up until 1965. [The Purolator heist] was a $4 million robbery and the FBI found [some of] the money. But they don’t have any records related to Dante at that time.”

    What makes the lawsuit so annoying to Webb is that he doesn’t even believe Aguiar has a legitimate claim to the copyright. According to Webb, “his proof in total is two letters. One is a letter written to a martial arts magazine by Count Dante’s wife saying that he left the governance of the Black Dragon Fighting Society to Bill Aguiar Jr. [Aguiar III’s father]. The second letter is from Christa [Keehan’s wife], addressed ‘To Whom It May Concern,’ which grants [William Aguiar Jr.] the right to use text and images from the book for promotional purposes. There are no dates on the letters, they’re not notorized, there were no lawyers involved.”

    Webb is confident that a judge will throw the suit out, and he’s eager to get the whole thing settled. He’s still chasing down leads on where Dante got that lion, and whether Dante really was in Cuba. And then there are those rumors that Dante faked his death…
    If you haven't seen it, you gotta check out this site: www.thesearchforcountdante.com
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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  2. #2
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    Pretty crazy stuff there Gene.

    If this story interests you check out;

    Blood Brothers: The Criminal Underworld of Asia ~ Bertil Lintner

    Very interesting read.
    For whoso comes amongst many shall one day find that no one man is by so far the mightiest of all.

  3. #3
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    I wonder who will play Dante in a movie....My money is on Benecio DelToro !
    Psalms 144:1
    Praise be my Lord my Rock,
    He trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle !

  4. #4
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    I posted that link a couple of years ago...

    I've met Floyd Web through a kungfu brother of mine. Floyd is planing to film the "dojo war" between Dant and the "green dragons" in which a death resulted during a sword fight (no Joke)at our school www.leekungfu.com

    I can't wait for the movie here is a trailer

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C-Bqb5pT5N0
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  5. #5
    When he is done with that, I have every thing he needs to make a documentary on Chung Moo Quan, including a well researched 300+ page book that could be used for a script and all the resource contacts he could ever need to do it right.

  6. #6
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    Hung Sing Martial Arts Association
    Self Protection, Self Confidence, Physical Fitness
    www.HungSingChoyLayFut.com

    Martial Arts Training and fitness Blog
    http://hungsingmartialarts.blogspot.com/

  7. #7
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    Where did this "Jive" crap come from? Don't make me get bruce lee roy on yo assee......

  8. #8
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    Shaolindynasty

    I posted that link a couple of years ago...
    Did you? It seemed familiar to me but I couldn't find it on a search. It was only a cursory search. I'd be eager to merge this with your original thread if you can find it, just for archival sake.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  9. #9
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    Didn't Ashida Kim have the "World's Deadliest Kata" called COUNT DANTE?

    this guy is great. Count Dante is great. there is a school about 25 miles away that claims to be associated with him. its total garbage.
    Quote Originally Posted by Psycho Mantis View Post
    Genes too busy rocking the gang and scarfing down bags of cheetos while beating it to nacho ninjettes and laughing at the ridiculous posts on the kfforum. In a horse stance of course.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by sanjuro_ronin View Post
    I wonder who will play Dante in a movie....My money is on Benecio DelToro !
    sorry it took me so long to notice this
    Last edited by lkfmdc; 07-21-2010 at 10:04 PM.
    Chan Tai San Book at https://www.createspace.com/4891253

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    well, like LKFMDC - he's a genuine Kung Fu Hero™
    Quote Originally Posted by Taixuquan99 View Post
    As much as I get annoyed when it gets derailed by the array of strange angry people that hover around him like moths, his good posts are some of my favorites.
    Quote Originally Posted by Kellen Bassette View Post
    I think he goes into a cave to meditate and recharge his chi...and bite the heads off of bats, of course....

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by lkfmdc View Post
    sorry it took me so long to notice this
    Now that's what I'm talking about !
    Psalms 144:1
    Praise be my Lord my Rock,
    He trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle !

  12. #12
    I remember reading some articles with photos about Dante in some martial arts magazines back in the mid-1970's (probably Black Belt) - before he was killed. He allegedly died as a result of a "dojo war" that he himself stated. My overall impression of the guy was that that besides being an absolute lunatic - he was also a prototypical liar and fabricator of self serving and preposturous stories about himself.

    Take a lot of what you read in the first post of this thread with a Giant grain of salt.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Ultimatewingchun View Post
    I remember reading some articles with photos about Dante in some martial arts magazines back in the mid-1970's (probably Black Belt) - before he was killed. He allegedly died as a result of a "dojo war" that he himself stated. My overall impression of the guy was that that besides being an absolute lunatic - he was also a prototypical liar and fabricator of self serving and preposturous stories about himself.

    Take a lot of what you read in the first post of this thread with a Giant grain of salt.
    Actually, his student is the guy who got killed in the "dojo war"... they went into a kung fu school and found out they apparently had some weapons in there (silly karate people!)

    Dante died of some form of cancer, I am tempted to say lung but I don't honestly remember... at the time of his death he was working as a hair dresser
    Chan Tai San Book at https://www.createspace.com/4891253

    Quote Originally Posted by taai gihk yahn View Post
    well, like LKFMDC - he's a genuine Kung Fu Hero™
    Quote Originally Posted by Taixuquan99 View Post
    As much as I get annoyed when it gets derailed by the array of strange angry people that hover around him like moths, his good posts are some of my favorites.
    Quote Originally Posted by Kellen Bassette View Post
    I think he goes into a cave to meditate and recharge his chi...and bite the heads off of bats, of course....

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Ultimatewingchun View Post
    I remember reading some articles with photos about Dante in some martial arts magazines back in the mid-1970's (probably Black Belt) - before he was killed. He allegedly died as a result of a "dojo war" that he himself stated. My overall impression of the guy was that that besides being an absolute lunatic - he was also a prototypical liar and fabricator of self serving and preposturous stories about himself.

    Take a lot of what you read in the first post of this thread with a Giant grain of salt.
    He would have been a great asset to our forum.
    I quit after getting my first black belt because the school I was a part of was in the process of lowering their standards A painfully honest KC Elbows

    The crap that many schools do is not the crap I was taught or train in or teach.

    Dam nit... it made sense when it was running through my head.

    DM


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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by rogue View Post
    He would have been a great asset to our forum.
    I think we have enough ASSets
    Psalms 144:1
    Praise be my Lord my Rock,
    He trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle !

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