The LIFE and DEATH of THE DEADLIEST MAN ALIVE
“He could have been anything he wanted. He
chose to be amartial artist.”
Count Juan Raphael Dante was an immediate descendant of the European nobility
and a holder of Black Belt 8th Dan. He is a legend of the Karate world, even today. Count
Dante and his students amassed over one thousand trophies and awards in international
competition. On September 1 1967, on the basis of his undefeated record in tournament and
professional competition, the Directive Committee of the World Federation of Fighting Arts
declared him to be the World’s Deadliest Fighting Master. This was based additionally on
his having defeated the World’s Foremost Fighting Masters of the Fistic and Grappling Arts
in “No Holds Barred” Matches.
The Count was an expert in Judo, Jui-jitsu, Gung Fu, Tai Chi Chuan, Shaolin Boxing, Kempo,
Karate, Yawara, Boxing and Wrestling, as well as holding a Black Belt in Aikido and a
Master's certificate in Kibo. He availed himself of the opportunity to train and practice
with the masters of every field in addition to participating in and surviving several
Oriental Death Matches. It was one of his students, Frank Dux, who made these Kumite matches
famous in the movie Bloodsport.
Count Dante was a strikingly handsome man who looked more like a movie star than a Karate
Master. He frequently appeared on such National Radio and Television programs as "To Tell
the Truth", Midwest Sport Spectacular, and the CBS Sports Special. He also appeared in the
August 1964 Issue of Black Belt Magazine who referred to him as "one of the top instructors
in the world today." He demonstrated his skills at the 1965 World's Fair and at the United
He could have been anything he wanted, but he chose to be a Martial Artist. He retired
undefeated from Professional Competition in 1968 when he became Grandmaster of the Black
Dragon Fighting Society in the United States and Canada. And he published in that year the
“World's Deadliest Fighting Secrets" which sold over one million copies and was the
Training Manual for members who wished to learn one of the few acceptable self-defense
forms that qualified them as Masters of the Martial Arts.
"But the pivotal thing in Dante's life -the act that would make his name anathema to
established karateka, and which would prevent him from becoming an accepted master of the
arts in his lifetime-was the "dojo war" that cost Jim Concevic his life."
Keehan offered a mea culpa in an Official Karate article. “I blame myself to a great extent
for being responsible for us going over to the Black Cobra Hall in the first place and have
gone through living hell because of it,” he wrote. “My days of fighting at the drop of a
hat have come to an end and challenges I will accept no more unless first attacked.”
Count Dante died on May 25, 1975. He was buried in an unmarked grave in Saint Joseph’s
cemetery in River Grove. BDFS Grandmaster Lawrence Day has said that only two people
attended Keehan’s funeral, his long-time friend Doug Dwyer and an unknown man Dante had
beat up the day before he died. The stranger reportedly said that if he had known how sick
Dante was, he might have stood a chance against him.
This unauthorized, unofficial, limited printing biography of John Timothy Keehan aka Count
Juan Raphael Dante, the deadliest man alive, is intended solely as a memoir for those who
may have known or learned from him.
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World's Deadliest Fighting Master
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