By: Albert Cameron – Have I ever told you guys how much I love the movie “Bloodsport”? I have seen that movie countless times; I can quote it without thinking and when I need to do something that requires a lot of chutzpah, I’ll listen to the Bloodsport soundtrack. Lacking any real reason to do so, other than “because I can,” I watched Bloodsport again. As a kid, I believed that a man could do such things with martial arts without question; even today, as I submerge myself in the world of superman punches, flying knees, and spinning back fist knockouts, I’m not completely a sceptic. In the sake of realism, and reconciling the movie with the man who actually exists, I’m counting down 5 claims made by Hanshi Frank Dux that might be a little exaggerated.
DISCLAIMER: This article is not intended to discredit or defame Hanshi Frank Dux in any way; it is an opinion of one man that does not represent the opinions of the entire organization. I am not calling Mr. Dux a liar, nor am I saying that he is intentionally falsifying any reports about his life. I will not call his military experience into question; the man served our country, and for that, he has earned our utmost respect.
No. 5: He’s the Godfather of MMA – That’s a pretty bold claim, but I see what he made the claim, and that’s why this claim is only fifth on the list. According to accounts, the actual Kumite was a tournament that was held in the Bahamas. It was initially a concept used by the Black Dragon Society to crown the strongest amongst their ranks; that tournament had evolved into an invitational that Hanshi Frank Dux had been the champion of between 1975 and 1980. According to reports from Hanshi Dux, fighters of every creed and style came to compete in the Kumite, and competition was so intense that the tournament got the nickname “Bloodsport.” Dux’s competition in the Kumite certainly has all of the aspects of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA); one style trying to triumph over the other, no strikes were deemed illegal. So, why would that claim be exaggerated?
Because modern MMA, especially in North America (and parts of Japan), evolved from Brazilian Vale Tudo and not the works of Hanshi Dux. With UFC 198 coming up soon, we can trace the Ultimate Fighting Championship lineage back to UFC 1, where Royce Gracie represented Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. Before UFC 1, Rorion Gracie brought “The Gracie Challenge” from the family compound in Brazil. Before Gracie’s emigration to the US, the Gracie brothers & cousins were competing in the Gracie challenge and Vale Tudo events in Brazil. Now, if you take into account that Rorion Gracie emigrated in the 1970’s, we’ve already outdated Hanshi Dux Kumite activity. If anything, it would be more accurate to say that Dux was more the Godfather of Xtreme Martial Arts (XMA) or SHOOTO, but not the MMA that you and I love.
No. 4: He learned a lot of Martial Arts by watching classes through the window – I am not ruling out the fact that Frank Dux might be a genetic freak of nature with a memory like a whole herd of elephants. I am also not disputing that Frank Dux did receive proxy instruction to a degree. Most importantly, I am not calling his martial arts pedigree into being suspect. Clearly, any man that can contribute to the self defense systems of the United States military knows what he is doing to an expert degree. What I am saying is that the story of Frank Dux learning martial arts through a window might have been romanticized just a little bit. My reasoning is simple: any Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu teacher will tell you that they get guys who come off the street, thinking they have something of a wealth of knowledge because they are pretty dedicated to following the UFC. They’ve never stepped foot on a mat, they haven’t been formally decorated with any sort of achievement, but they were glued to the TV when Frank Mir broke Tim Sylvia’s arm with an arm bar and when the Korean Zombie pulled the Twister out of nowhere. Now, if you ask those coaches, how much actual Jiu-Jitsu expertise those students bring to a class, the answer is usually “little to none.” If being able to absorb knowledge through visual observance was doable to an expert degree, I would literally be able to move like Jean Claude Van Damme.
Again, I’m not trying to discredit Frank Dux, the account makes for a really dramatic aspect of his life’s tale. Perhaps Frank does possess the genetic ability to mimic and master such things.
No. 3: Hollywood was out to get him – You all know the cliché of the Hollywood Agent, right? I’m thinking of Judd Nelson from Airheads; slick backed hair, talks real slick, but you kind of feel like you need to take a shower afterwards? That stereotype exists because it is founded in some degree of truth; we think of Hollywood types like that because a lot of them are. Frank Dux pitched his idea of Bloodsport to a friend without realizing it. His friend wanted to make a martial arts movie and Frank was willing to help. Bloodsport was the doorway to some pretty substantial martial arts movies for Frank Dux; work included pictures like Lionheart, Only the Strong, and Highlander.
There came a point when Dux’s relationship with Jean Claude Van Damme had soured, and they went to court. Frank Dux’s argument that he had been owed money and royalties by Van Damme had been dismissed by the court and Dux wasn’t able to get work in Hollywood or movies after that. In fact, that friend that Dux had inspired Bloodsport to (Sheldon Lettich), even went on the defensive that Frank Dux’s behavior was erratic and that he had become impossible to work with. Dux rebutted with the claim that Lettich was riding the Van Damme gravy train and that he was a part of the conspiracy.
I need to make two things clear: 1. I don’t believe that there was an anti-Frank Dux smear campaign, and 2. I don’t believe that Frank Dux is a raving maniac. What it may have come down to was that Van Damme had been sued and was trying to protect further interests and prospects by keeping Frank Dux out of his realm of influence. It is also likely that Van Damme did it the Hollywood way, which includes lawyers and agents. Frank Dux is a military veteran and a martial artist, so unless he watched a contract lawyer through a window, I don’t think Frank Dux knew how to compete against Van Damme and his entourage Hollywood style.
No. 2: His father was kidnapped, and had to take the law into his own hands when the police refused to do anything – Doesn’t that sound like a Hollywood movie starring an action star like …I don’t know, Jean Claude Van Damme? Dux believes this was all part of a smear campaign that was launched by Anti-Duxers, especially the founders of Bullshido.net. It’s such a conspiracy, that Frank Dux can’t even correct his own Wikipedia page. That’s some heavy stuff.
Again, I’m not in business today to disprove anything that Frank Dux has said, I’m trying to reconcile it with basic human understanding. I’m not saying his father wasn’t in mortal danger; I’m also not going with the story that the police did nothing because of a Bullshido.net story. The best way that I can wrap my head around it is that maybe the cop didn’t take notes because Dux wasn’t offering any different information than had already been obtained in the preliminary report. You know what else is a probable story? The Los Angeles Police Department can’t be mobilized into action like a special ops soldier like Frank Dux was. Perhaps Frank Dux wanted some real shock and awe on the perpetrators and when the LAPD had to abide by things like due process and a little concept called the law, Dux put on his war paint and asses were destined to get kicked.
The police, all police, take an oath to protect and serve. I believe enough in the justice system to know that this is true, just like due process of the law. I believe that if I find myself in court and that I am innocent, I will be found innocent. I can’t fathom the LAPD turning their backs on Frank Dux and Papa Dux because of an online article or a smear campaign put into motion by a fellow ninja. At the same time, crazier things have happened, and that might be the story. I’m not in business today to make Frank Dux look like an asshole.
No. 1: He holds the record of 56 knock outs in one single elimination tournament – Damnit Frank, I had plausible deniability for everything until this one! The claim is that Frank Dux holds the record for most consecutive knockouts in one single elimination tournament: fifty-six. Fifty-Six people doesn’t sound like much, but let’s do the math on it real quick.
Open up an excel spreadsheet. In cell A1, put the number one, which will represent the tournament champion. In Cell A2, multiply cell A1 by 2, which will give you the number of people in the finals. In Cell A3, multiple cell A2 by 2, which will give you the semifinalists, and so on. This has to be done for fifty six (fifty seven cells, because the tournament victory doesn’t count as a round of competition) rounds to account for the number of knock out victories Frank would have needed for the record and assuming that all of his matches ended by knock out. Check out the graphic below (cells 9 through 50 were hidden for presentation purposes).
That’s right. In order for someone to win fifty six times in a single elimination tournament, the tournament would have had to begun with 72 quadrillion (plus) fighters. I’m not saying that Frank Dux is not capable of kicking 72 quadrillion asses, but there is a little problem of: the entire population of planet earth was only 7.125 billion in 2013.
Now, what is entirely possible is that Dux did compete in a single elimination tournament, but likely to a much lesser degree. I’ve been to tournaments and I’ve seen quite a few exhibition and challenge matches happen in them. Is it possible that Dux knocked out eight guys in tournament action and then forty-eight other guys stepped up to get stomped? That sounds a lot more likely than 72 quadrillion people showing up for the Kumite and having it remain secret.
Thank you for joining us for the Friday 5ive this week! Happy Mother’s Day to all of the Mamas out there, make sure you keep your eyes peeled for the Prizefight Podcast this weekend.
Until next time: “…this one’s for you, Shidoshi.”