John Keehan was not actually Irish as his name and nationality would suggest. As a matter of fact his name wasn’t really Keehan. According to John he was actually a member of an exiled Spanish royal family. If we are being honest here there are so many inconsistencies that we aren’t even sure he ever existed.
Keehan, er Count Juan Raphael Dante. I will call the enigmatic “charlatan” by his stage name. Charlatan is in quotes per our “legal team”. Legal team is in quotes because it really means what my own lawyer told me I had to do to emphasize that it’s my opinion and mine alone – that is echoed by almost everyone I know in the martial arts community. Hint, it’s a lot. Let’s just call him Dante and go with it.
We will skip the obligatory birth info except to emphasize what was mentioned in the opening paragraph. He was born in to an Irish family but later changed his name from John Keehan to Count Dante. The claim of being from an exiled Spanish line of nobility is laughable at best. There is no record of said family found anywhere and if a noble family was exiled there would be multiple records and footnotes everywhere. Families getting exiled are historical and significant events, especially nobility. Do I really need to tell you that. For crissake.
Where Dante got his name in to circulation was his ‘dim mak’ technique book ads in comics. I will admit when I was younger I fell for it. I still thought ninjas really existed and I ask you to forget that or at least not hold it against me. He was a member of The Black Dragon Society which was apparently an elite fighting organization. Later on fellow hack frauds like Frank Dux and Ashida Kim would claim to be a member and use it to try and prove their credibility. Coincidentally Dante was already dead – and the family sued them.
Is there a fraud story I write where Dux isn’t mentioned. Maybe I just like sending people on a research trek of their own. Do it. It’s worth it.
Go ahead. Copy this – Dux Fraud – paste it and have fun. Hours and hours of entertainment. Or you could learn how to write a nonprofit grant proposal if you wanted a more productive way to spend your time. Although if you were looking to be productive at this particular moment you probably wouldn’t be reading an article on Count Dante in the first place, but I digress.
Of course the people at Black Belt magazine didn’t help. These are the same people that once had fraud Bart Vale facing off with Renzo Gracie on their cover. These are the people who gave Bart Vale fighter of the year honors despite not having competed in long time and having an 0-2 kickboxing record and a 1-2 MMA record. So naturally Dante was a perfect fit for an issue and he made the cover. Shocking. This helped spread the misinformation of his lineage and credentials and thus he was able to keep pulling the wool over people’s eyes and selling ‘dim mak’ pamphlets/books to fools.
He did hold legitimate karate tournaments that drew some to compete mainly because of his ads that got his name out there enough for that to happen. Bruce Lee actually showed up to one of his events…come on Bruce. Forget I said that. Scratch that fact from the record because we are sure Lee would have liked to.
Dante also claimed he could kill a bull with one punch and drove a live bull around on the back of his truck advertising the event. He chickened out and told a 19 year old student to do it but chickened out again from the prospect of being exposed. Dante used the excuse that the Chicago SPCA was shutting it down. Insane.
His friends and acquaintances described him as eccentric. Why? You may ask? He had a freshly trimmed beard, wore a purple cape, yellow fishnet leotards, and a black gi. He reportedly was a hairdresser for a time and even owned salons and rumors suggested Hugh freaking Heffner actually paid him to style his playmates hair. He owned a string of porn shops that thankfully did not sell karate themed adult films. Or did they?
What he may be most well known for besides the ridiculous comic ads were the so called dojo wars. This man once tried to blow the windows out of a rival dojo while drunk. His method? Dynamite blasting caps and heavy consumption of alcohol. Thankfully he was arrested because we would bet more damage would have been taken by he and his accomplice than the school.
He also went to Muhammad Ali’s house and challenged him to a fight or at least challenged his closed gate. Ali never backed down from his stance of not wanting to commit the first legitimate murder in a boxing ring. Oh yeah, he never even knew it happened despite Dante’s claims that he scared Ali. Count Dante forgot to turn visible again. Yeah we will go with that.
This is where tragedy struck as a result of his inflated self worth.
One night he and his gang rolled up in to another school and had a legitimate battle with bladed weapons. They went in under the pretense of being police officers before attacking them. One person died but the judge was so stunned at the stupidity of all involved that he threw the case out saying they basically deserved what they got. Dante cost his friend his life over some kind of ego trip. Just sad.
In the end Mr. Keehan didn’t die from a combat related injury like his buddy. No, he died in his sleep at age 36 from the effects of a bleeding ulcer.
The legend of Count Dante lives on we guess because there are still people who claim to be from the Black Dragon Fighting Society and we guess they still think he really was the deadliest man alive.