The Black Dragon Gathering 2018

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It was the 4th Day of the 9th Month Year of the Dog 4716, 12 october 2018. The masters began to arrive and met at a nearby IHOP for breakfast. The venue for this year's event was the Best Western Hotel on I-75 in Richmond KY

Once again, we had come together. In the spirit of good fellowship and brotherhood, governed by mutal respect and admiration. To honor our teachers, to remember what they taught us, to strive to be like the examples they set for us to follow, to preserve the martial arts tradition that binds us together. To meet and train and share what we have learned, no rank, no style, no color, no politics, no show-offs. Just martial artists who love what they do and believe it makes a difference. Governed by a single edict of Grandmaster Lawrence Day, "The First General Order at the Black Dragon Fighting Society is-Check your ego at the door. We are not here to boast or brag or argue. We are here to practice and learn. Thou shalt not speak ill of a fellow Black Belt."

Everyone was checked in by 4 p.m. and on their best behavior, the joking etiquette of the day was "Watch Your Step!"

This year's Grandmaster Registry fetured many new dignitaries among our membership, including Cortez and Doug Day as representatives of Day family legacy, as well as Sensei Jamaal Sturdivant and Master Nathanial Hoge, our Patriarch Council, International Grandmasters and Board of Directors.

It was all "meet and greet" through the day. As old friendships were renewed and new ones made. Everyone had great fun mugging for the cameras.

Throughout the afternoon, evening and next day, Grandmaster David Harris was on duty demonstrating Fa Jing, quietly teaching Qi Gong and providing therapy for those who had long standing injuries or simply aches and pains. Dr. Harris is Grandmaster of four Martial Arts and Qi Gong with 32 years of experience. He held the World Title in Kumite Open Fighting for two years and the World Title for Brick Breaking a stack of eighteen 1200 psi concrete blocks. “I have now turned the knowledge and energy I originally learned to inflict damage or death into healing. I began my study of martial Arts at four years of age. Individuals who find one Grandmaster in a lifetime to study with are fortunate. Being in the right place at the right time, I have had the honor of studying with many Grandmasters in Martial Arts. Three of these grandmasters found me so worthy as to honor me as the inheritor of their martial arts systems.Some of my styles of martial study include Shun Tao, Tai Chi Chuan, Fa Jing Chuan, Baguazhang, Chinese Kenpo, American Kenpo, Jujitsu, Ninjitsu, Dim Hsueh, Aikido, Arnis, Kali, Tae Kwon Do, Goju Ryu, Judo, Shoot Fighting, Kickboxing, Jeet Kune Do and many others. There are the Three Treasures of Kung Fu, from which flow all the legendary healing and longevity techniques of ancient civilizations that enabled man to live long and healthy lives without “modern” medicine. You too, can learn the secret of your own internal power and become the master of your fate, the captain of your soul and a good example for all. These techniques were once widely known, then forbidden. Now it is time to share them with you again. It doesn’t take years of training or pain. Just a few basic steps. Anyone can do them. It’s as simple as that…” Grandmaster David Harris has founded multiple systems of healing, one of which is YES Therapy. In 2004 he was installed as the Supreme Grandmaster of Shun ShenTao for the Western Hemisphere. In 2009 he was inducted in the USMA Hall of Fame in Nashville TN, and is the recipient of the 2012 Wong Fei Hung Award for martial arts excellence.

The evening meeting was called to order by Chairman of the Board Grandmaster Jim McMurtrie, one of the men who blazed the trail and pioneered the way for all the American martial artists who came after. Often fighting with no pads and few rules, training in cast-off or rundown facilities until they were exhausted, they established the martial arts in America and set the standard for both Ultimate Fighting Championships and Mixed Martial Arts long before they were made popular. In 2002 he brought Mixed Martial Arts to Kentucky and became the first MMA promoter and longest running promoter in the State.

He fought in sanctioned Go-No-Sen matches and the underground invitation only matches that were held 10 years later and were called the Kumite. These underground matches had some great fighters like John Keehan and Frank Dux and were brought to light by the movie BloodSport.

In 1966 he entered Ed Parkers Karate tournament in San Francisco. These were points matches where he competed for 3 years. In 1969 he retired from amateur boxing and was tired of points Karate. He spent 20 months in Vietnam coming home in late 1970. By this time he started to compete in pro kick boxing where he was undefeated. His long and continuing dedication, contributions and examples to the martial arts cannot be overlooked or underestimated.

He introduced the Military Honors Awards program that we are honored to present as an opening ceremony every year. Douglas Day is the founder of the Military Freedom Fest. Since May 2002 he has organized annual award ceremonies honoring more than 6500 active duty, retired and deceased veterans from all branches of the service with official letters of appreciation from the U.S Senate and the Kentucky Commonwealth, including certification as a Kentucky Colonel for each. He presents these awards each year at our yearly Black Dragon Gatherings.

He is one of the most patriotic men in the country, he has found a niche in serving our troops and their families at home. He comes from a family with thick military roots and has a great respect for those who so proudly serve their country. He has connected with the Ambassadors of the Kentucky Honor Flight and helped with getting veterans signed up to take trips to Washington D.C. to visit all their memorials, especially WWII and Viet Nam veterans. During three of his Military Honors Ceremonies he has presented WWII veterans with the French Legion of Honor Medals, the highest honor that France can bestow to those who helped liberate France. He has worked with the Kentucky Veterans Hall of Fame, formed and trained the Freedom Fest Military Honor Guard that appears at each ceremony to present the colors and honor the flag of our nation. The Kentucky National Guard, knowing the support, loyalty and love that he has shown for our military has inducted him as an honorary member of their unit.

Afterward, everyone retired to the lobby for a meet and greet, to catch up on old times, and remember the lineage of our fraternal order. Grandmasters Don Miskel, Frank Dux and Cortez Day holding court in the Hotel lobby. Cortez Day joined the Air Force and served from 1957 to 1961. He was stationed in Saudi Arabia and assigned to radio and crypto where he had a top secret clearance. He joined the Lexington Police Department where he served from 1965 to 1985. Retired after 20 years as a detective. His memberships and honors include: Master Mason, Fraternal Order of Police, Intertribal Bear Society, Chaplin of Native American Church and Master-at-Arms for the Black Dragon Fighting Society.

In Chicago 1969, the American Black Dragon Fighting Society was founded by John Keehan (AKA Count Juan Rafael Dante) who was co-founder and mid-west director of the United States Karate Association (USKA) until 1962. He trained with both Robert Trias and Senzo Tanaka. Under the auspices of international Black Dragon Society members, Count Dante, who had participated in Kokuryukai style Kumite Death Matches on the forbidden Chinese mainland, returned from Asia to promote the first open to the public, full contact, mixed martial arts tournament. The event was 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 in these bare-knuckle, no-holds-barred, last man standing events. Keehan’s early tournaments attracted a host of martial arts luminaries—like Ed Parker, Jhoon Rhee, and a pre-Enter the Dragon Bruce Lee—as well as new students.

Keehan’s relationship with his overseas contacts and his black students inspired him to not give the martial arts world of that day any respect for the way it divided people because of their skin color, like preventing Victor Moore from competing for a title. When the opportunity presented itself Moore, an original (BDFS) bested the likes of Bruce Lee, Joe Lewis, Bill Wallace, Chuck Norris, Mike Stone and alike. If not for original Black Dragons taking over a ‘whites only’ hotel and outnumbered 20 to 1 and risking going to jail, Vic never would have his chance to fight and become the first Black World Karate Champion. Back then there was a lot of prejudice in the martial arts community. The BDFS changed all that. In fact, it was during the 1968 protests at the Democratic National Convention fighting for such rights that Ashida Kim became acquainted with the organization.

In May 1975 Keehan was scheduled to participate in another Kumite, but, at age 34, he passed away unexpectedly. According to urban legend, with his death the invitation to fight went to another protégé of Senzo Tanaka, the story of which became the screenplay of the 1988 classic film Bloodsport. based on true events in the life of BDFS original member Frank Dux.

Saturday, October 13

The day began with seminars. From 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. we trained with the Masters.

Head of Family Dr. Don Miskel: "I was blessed to have two of my senior most sempai with me this weekend. Usually we use that term to refer to someone senior to our selves but it can also be used for a senior student. The sempai in that latter role aids the sensei by teaching the kohai or lower ranked students, managing the day to day operations of the dojo and protects the sensei. I was proud of Master Spohn and Master Jay. Both head their own systems and organization but they humble themselves to align themselves, train with and help the efforts of this old man. Both presented themselves well as they shared their skill and knowledge."

Jamaal Amen-Ra: "Ouss thank you GM love you much I’m blessed to have an amazing individual like yourself in my life has been nothing but powerful information you have bestowed in me and I am most gracious so far for all you have done thank you so much Donald Miskel." Sensei Jay is a 3rd Degree Black Belt in Shorei Goju-Te.

Geoffrey Sphohn: "There are no words. I've always felt it was an honor to train under you. I am proud to call you my teach, mentor, and friend. When I count the blessings that God has brought to my life you are amongst the first listed." Shidoshi Spohn has been involved with martial arts since the age of 4.  As a child, he was taught the fundamentals of karate by his instructors at a YMCA.  In his early teens, Sensei Spohn earned his first belts in Karate.  It was at this time he knew that was going to dedicate his life to the martial arts. Since that time, Shidoshi Spohn has proven to be a fierce practitioner, studying many different styles and achieving the rank of black belt in several.  He believes in a principled approach to martial arts, that includes the development of personal character as well as physical strength. His primary teaching goals are to cultivate a relationship between his students and Jesus Christ, while instilling respect, confidence, effective self defense, and discipline. Dr. Miskel in Action

Sensei Hank Williams presented a well received seminar using Hapkido Combatives.

Hapkido is an eclectic martial art with foundations in Korea. It employs a system of joint locks, grappling and throwing techniques for self-defense. As well as a variety of kicks, punches and striking methods. The syllabus includes many traditional weapons, knife, sword, garrote, nunchaka, cane, hanbo and bo staff. Hapkido utilizes long and close range fighting techniques that rely on circular motion, redirecting the opponent's momentum, balance and leverage to defeat their opponents.

Grandmaster Williams has dedicated his life to martial arts. He holds rank in over 20 different arts and is the recognized Founder of Hard Hand Hapkido, as well as the Founder of Chon-Tu TaeKwonDo/Karate. He is also a master instructor with a host of weaponry. In his lifetime, he has trained many student from brand new beginner, all the way to respective masters and grandmasters, as well as a small handful of recognized founders. He enjoys nothing more than passing his knowledge to others and watching them grow in the arts.

Professor David Fury demonstrated knife and pressure point techniques. Throughout history, the art of fighting has evolved as environments and enemies changed. The great masters learned how to manipulate their surroundings in order to defeat their enemies. The wisest devised their own fighting styles, enriched with their own unique philosophy and perspective. These styles distinguished the grand master from the rest and were developed into fighting systems that were passed down from generation to generation. The disciples of these ancient styles could either continue the legacy or improve upon it, becoming masters themselves.

Grandmaster David Furie is one of these masters. As a tenth degree Dan, acquiring the highest degree black belt possible, he has been trained in the ancient traditions of fighting. Combined with a long and prestigious career in the Special Forces, Dr. David Furie has used his training and expertise to devise his own unique fighting style and philosophy. By incorporating the knowledge of the self, the environment, and the enemy, Grandmaster Fury can teach you how to be your own master.

Grandmaster Furie is the official representative of the East Coast Region. Prof. Fury in Action!

Grandmaster Irving Soto demonstrated his art. Grandmaster Soto has been training for 55 years in jujitsu, aiki-jujitsu and atemi. He is a U.S. Dept. of Justice, Federal Correction tactical defense instructor. He holds a 10th Degree Black Belt and Red Belt; he is President and Founder of the New GGMAHF International Martial Arts Hall of Fame; 8-time World Kumite Champion; 4-time World Kickboxing Champion; 4-time Grappling Champion; 3-time World Jujitsu Champion; 5-time Bare Knuckle Champion, Full Contact; and a 13 time inductee into the Martial Arts Hall of Fame. He has received awards from Col. John T. Wright, US Army Deputy Installation Commander, APG for teaching military personnel, civilians and police officers at Aberdeen Proving Ground. He is the winner of 3000 trophies, holds four World Championship Belts, and is the author of five books. He is also the holder of 39 high-ranking black belts and 8 masteries in the martial arts science. At the World Professional Martial Arts Organization with Great Grandmaster Aaron Banks, founder of WPMAO, 2005 Hall of Fame held at Madison Square Garden inducted Grandmaster Irving Soto as "World Renowned Instructor and Demonstrator and World Champion." Grandmaster Soto is currently a police officer for the U.S. government, Dept. of Defense with Homeland Security.

There were several knife and gun defenses among the seminars this year, in keeping with the current likelihood of school shooter or drive-bys. Master Emanual Rodriquez who led Omaha Nebraska in creating its first Guardian Angels street patrol team and led the team for 3 years, under the authority of the Guardian Angels Organization, He trained street patrol teams to properly report and detain street criminals working closely with the Omaha police department. Emanuel then pursued bible school and received his Assemblies of God credentials as a Pastor; he started a street ministry taking the word of God to the hardcore streets in the worst parts of the city for several years and then helped found the Inside Outreach Prison Ministries to preach indoors to prison inmates. Emanuel has a heart for the street and the under privileged, Divine Academy of Martial Arts then taking it’s residence in the Calvary Assembly Church in Council Bluffs Ia. So that Emanuel can use it as a ministry to those less fortunate and unable to pay for this kind of serious traditional training, he has continued to teach for last few years to present as a donation only ministry, which those donations received go to feed families in need through the church food pantry. Emanuel is doing a great work for the Arts and community, and is grateful to all that have been a blessing in his life so that he may be a blessing to others. Emanuel Rodriguez Seminar!

A special thanks this year to Sensei Wes Ruiz, who not only ferried masters from the airport to the site, but chose a wonderful location, easy to find nestled among a variety of fine resturants. Sensei is always attentive to the seminars on the mat, always ready to help explain the techniques, but is also a willing Uke to help in the demonstrations and practice. The event was a great success due in large part to his organizational and logistic skills.

Sensei Jay performed and explained some of the techniques of Shorei Goju-Te he is learning from Dr. Miskel. This is an Okinawan style and one of the first brought to the United States by Grandmaster Robert Trias and was taught to the students of Count Dante as well.

Grandmaster Kim offered a refresher course on Kata Dante, explaining how the Dance of the Deadly Hands utilizes almost all of the major fist formations found in other martial arts; how it teaches all of the major vital and fatal points of both sides of the body and how to strike them in the most efficient manner; how there are many hidden lessons of anatomy, balance and leverage concealed within the brutal and terrifying techniques; how it is a complete martial art system unto itself and one of the few acceptable practice forms that qualify an applicant for admission into our closed and forbidden, most ancient and honorable brotherhood. Kata Dante!

Master Tim Broussard was next up with his adaptive Kata Dante series.

Kata Dante is, without doubt, the most savage and terrifying self-defense form known to man. It is composed of twenty-seven of the deadliest Poison Hand techniques ever devised, each one of which is guaranteed to kill, cripple or maim any attacker. Kata Dante is not for the squeamish, nor the weak at heart. It is literally, the power of life and death in your hands.

Hanshi Broussard is a Godan, Black Belt 5th Degree in Komuso Ryu Ninjitsu with a Ph.D. in Martial Science. He has written four books on the esoteric and philosophical aspects of martial arts. Ninja Magick introduces the student to the Five Elemental Animal symbols used to contemplate and explore the hidden nature of combative techniques. His insight and explanation offered here is a doorway to the mystic realm of Magick, where all things are possible.

Revelations of the Black Lotus delves more deeply into the philosophy of the Shadow Warriors to explore the means and methods of self-actualization by which the Invisible Assassins of feudal Japan became legend. “It is not by technique that the world is changed, it is by Will alone. Here are the tools with which to forge that Will and claim the Secret Sword as your own emblem of power and strength. The true Path cannot be found, it must be forged."

Master of the Ghost Fist is an instructional text in esoteric Ninjitsu, and a personal biography and a chronicle of the intense journey of one who has found the Way. It includes the principles for application of Dim Mak, the Poison Hand techniques that enable a Master to kill, cripple or maim with fingertip pressure.

In Way of the Black Wind, he moves from the sorcerer-assassin archetype, as per Ninja Magick, and using seeming occult lore to conceal martial teachings, as per Revelations of the Black Lotus, toward the archetype of a mystic with both martial and magickal options. In this way, the mystic self- realization art of the Ninja is fulfilled.

The martial arts have deeply spiritual roots. Many of them were born in Buddhist and Taoist temples. There is a reason why spirituality was traditionally woven throughout the arts. It offers a balance that must be maintained to keep well trained combatants from becoming psychopaths, murderers and bullies. The samurai had Bushido to balance out their ability to hurt and kill. The warriors of the Silla dynasty in Korea had the Hwarang philosophy. A balance needed to be kept to maintain the humanity of those trained warriors. Balance is all important in the life of every human being; but, it is especially important in the life of the warrior. The martial arts are a wonderful vehicle for self-discovery and physical improvement. It teaches discipline and it will, hopefully, enable a student to defend himself should the need arise. Master Broussard in Action!

These are by no means all of the training sessions presented. Neither do they include the private conferences and secret meetings where teachers and student created the teaching together and each benefited from the private tuition. They do, however represent the variety of methods offered to the sincere student. Such teaching and learning and sharing continued for the whole weekend. This is why so many grandmasters assemble in one place each year. To provide an opportunity to see and meet and train with the best of the best, men who have proven themselves in the ring, on the battlefield and over many long years of practice and study. It fitting that we come together, to share what we have learned in the 36th Chamber of Shaolin, the Dojo of the world. In this way we fulfill our oath to preserve, practice and promote the martial arts, so that all may benefit from the lessons of good health and longevity.

When the day's training concluded the members began to filter back to their rooms to get ready for the evening Awards Dinner. In checking the local news, many of them found that the road in front of our hotel had been pretty well blocked off in anticipation of President Trump driving from the airport to Eastern Kentucky University for a speech. It was early evening, there was a slight chill in the air. Nonetheless, a small contingent of Black Dragon Fighting Society members, wearing the colors of our martial arts brotherhood, stationed themselves along the roadway and saluted the commander-in-chief as he passed. He waved back.

The Awards Dinner

Dinner was at 8 p.m. everyone dressed for the occassion.

Then the Awards Ceremony. Kaiso Frank Dux inducted several new members into our fraternal order. Emanuel E. Rodriquez and Caleb Hollis were awarded both membership and rank as Shodan-Black Belts 1st Degreee in the Black Lotus Martial Arts Association.

Sky Benson was awarded an honorary 9th Dan Grading in Hard Hand Hapkido by Grandmaster Hank Williams. And, Grandmaster David Furie was presented with the Award of Merit and a ceremonial Ninja-To sword for his contributions and service to our fellowship.

The evening ended with our annual memorial to Grandmaster Lawrence Day and entertainment by musician and comedian Larry Cory, a good time was had by all.

Sunday Morning

Sunday morning was Open Mat and Fellowship. Many people took advantage of the opportunity to get pictures with their fellow Black Dragons.

Action shots and group photos were the order of the day.

For lunch we adjourned to the famous Lexington Mi Mexico Restaurant.

As the crew dissembled there were many pictures taken, addresses and e-mails given out, handshakes and hugs warmly exchanged. It had been another wonderful gathering, sharing techniques, learning and growing, making new friends and reminiscing with old ones. No one wanted it to end. Mostly it was so friends could get together and talk about the "old days" and how far we have come. It was to let people know that the Black Dragon Fighting Society has moved on, to a new level and a new direction. Real history is being written right now, we can learn from the past, let it go, and move on to a better future. Little groups gathered in the corners to practice "one more thing." But, soon it was time to go, to bid farewell, till the next time.

May you find your Way as pleasant.



Ashida Kim
American Representative
DOJO-Academy of Martial Arts

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