“The last time I was in Chicago was in 1968. We came to change the world, and we did. That was the first time I ever heard of the Black Dragon Fighting Society and the only time I ever met Count Dante. I was at university, a time when a lot of young men become politically active. And, there was this blonde girl who had a whole group of my Shotokan Karate class fired up to go and ‘protect the protesters’ at the Democratic Convention being held there that year. So, we all loaded up in a van and took off on our noble mission. It was a long drive, I slept most of the way. Once we neared the city we were met by the coordinators of the protest and escorted into town. We traveled down State Street, then over to Chinatown.
We hooked up with a street gang known as the Blackstone Rangers and were taken to a basement Dojo where we were billeted for the duration. They didn’t have too much regard for us, since we were from Alabama, the heart of Dixie and segregation. Wasn’t nearly as much fun as we expected, but that was where Count Dante came and trained us one night. He gave all of us a copy of his World’s Deadliest Fighting Secrets manual and a membership ID Card inducting us into the Black Dragon Fighting Society.
Based on the prevailing Japanese martial arts etiquette of the time, things were very formal and we didn’t get to spend a lot of time with the instructors. But, I was impressed with what I considered forever after as the “real martial arts,” having only been exposed to the sport forms up till then.” Ashida Kim
This time was much different. As adults and martial artists, we met in fellowship and brotherhood. From all over the country we came, a gathering of martial arts skill and ability, Masters and Grandmasters all of the most ancient and honorable Black Dragon Fighting Society, come to share their knowledge and good will, to see old friends again, to talk and eat and laugh and train in the martial arts.
The Black Belts Assembled
There were several groups and a some individuals who threatened to come and disrupt our Homecoming to the Windy City where Count Dante had founded the American chapter of the BDFS. We told them online, by phone and in person to “come big or don’t come at all!” We aren’t called a “fighting society” for nothing. We looked all over for them, but none showed up, proving conclusively that they are all just loud mouth cowards, bully wannabees and internet trolls.
Grandmaster Lassiter and Pat Crowley
Larry Mcfadden and Dr. Miskel
The event was hosted by Grandmaster Darrell Lassiter and presided over by Head of Family Rev. Dr. Don Miskel, one of Count Dante’s original students from back in the day. There was a general meeting of the members Friday afternoon and an awards banquet that evening where twenty-five of the attendees were inducted into the Black Dragon Fighting Society Sport Karate Hall of Fame.
Grandmasters Kirschbaum and Irving Soto
Hall of Fame Sensei Ashida Kim
Saturday seminars featuring Original Taekwondo Grandmaster Len Kirschbaum certifying referees for the next day’s Kumite and future BDFS Sport Karate Inc. matches; Sensei Ashida Kim teaching Count Dante’s Dance of the Deadly Hands from 1968, one of the few acceptable self-defense forms that qualify an applicant for BDFS membership.
Grandmasters Jim Grubb and Jim Washington Grandmaster David Harris with Dim Mak Class
Grandmaster Irving Soto and Masters Jim Grubb and Jim Washington providing instruction in grappling and ground fighting techniques; Dr. David Harris sharing his great knowledge of Dim Mak and healing methods with the assembled junior and senior belts.
Grandmasters Sky Benson and Frank Dux    Grandmaster Jay Blanton
Sky Benson and Hanshi Frank Dux, on whose life the classic martial arts film Bloodsport was based, teaching the Dux Ryu Fighting System; as well as Grandmasters Jay Blanton and Larry McFadden presenting the BDFS Anti-Bullying program.
Kumite Action on the Mat
Sunday was the tournament. It began with synchronized kata, then individual forms and weapons. In the afternoon came the Kumite, which as explained by Hanshi Dux, “is not for the spectators nor even the judges, but for the fighters themselves; there is no experience like stepping on the mat and facing a determined opponent, to see who is, on this day alone, the better fighter; because even a champion can be beat, and courage is not just about facing your fear, but also about persevering and never giving up.”
Grandmaster Rodriguez and Champions   Green Belt William Bruce 1st Place Senior Men's Kata
So, once again, the Black Dragons had come to Chicago, to change the world, and we have. By the example we set for others, by the fellowship and honor we hold so dear other martial artists and civilians can come to know that what will happen in one’s life is already written, but we must choose to be there, to participate, to grow and learn and dedicate ourselves to making the world a better place, so that all may benefit by our lives and harm come to no one.
United in Fellowship and Brotherhood