A legend in his own mind…
The claimed accomplishments of Frank Dux were presented on his old website through a link from the CSU website. I don’t know if the link still works, I will have to search for it. I did print it out several years ago, and am using that to consider some of this “Secret Man’s” claims.
Alleged Accomplishment: 1975-1980 IFAA World Heavyweight Full Contact Kumite Champion”
Comment: Frank Dux actually names an organization that ran these supposed secret fights. IFAA stands for “International Fighting Arts Association”, an organization which, Dux claims in his other writings, has ancient origins. In The Secret Man, Dux claims that:
“After the outbreak of World War II, The Kokuryukai renamed the Parade of Death the Kumite (free sparring), and since 1950, the secret society’s descendants have hosted the quasi-illegal international tournament every five years as a no-holds barred human cockfight. Its patrons, of course, tend to be from the criminal element, and its participants enter only by invitation.” (1996:250, paragraph 2)
No evidence of such an organization with ties to this historic Japanese group exist in the form of a martial arts tournament-promoting group. One would think that with so many men fighting in this “Secret” tournament (see numbers below) in several weight divisions (surely Dux’s Heavyweight division was only one of at least 3 other divisions? Who was lightweight champ?), year after year, word would have gotten out. But nary another account of these fights exists––although several other martial artists (Irving Soto among them) have made claims modeled after Dux’s which they can’t back up either. A shame he didn’t enter the open Kyokushinkai tournaments of that era (1970’s through the 1980’s)
Additionally, Dux claims to:
- Have the “most consecutive knockouts in a single tournament – 56”
Comments: Even if Dux was the only other competitor in his “Kumite” dvision that year, there would have been 57 men total (56 knocked out + Dux) competing in his “Heavyweight Full Contact Division” alone. And he would have had to knock every man out. How did all these guys, their trainers, coaches, girlfriends and assorted hangers-on blend in in the Bahamas without alerting authorities to their presence? How did Dux manage that, when most boxers and kickboxers who face well-trained opponents are usually pretty worn out after a single match? How do these numbers for one year affect his claim to have fought 329 matches as a secret Kumite fighter over the course of his secret undocumented career?
- To be the “First kumite fighter to be undefeated with over 100 matches”
Comments: Even the Gracie’s lose now and then. Of course, their credited losses (and their numerous wins) are documented.
- “First Kumite fighter to exceed 300 matches”
Comments: Who was the first Kumite fighter to exceed 200, and how do people keep track of this stuff at secret events which are held year after year?
- Have a “Final Kumite record – 329 matches”
Comments: Who documented this record, and who were the matches against? Most full-contact fighters don’t go over 50 matches in their lifetimes.
To return to Dux’s allegation that he was undefeated in this IFAA “league” no-one’s ever heard of, was he awarded more than the 1 trophy he shows off in the November 1980 issue of Black Belt? Did he ever receive prize money? If so, it must have been substantial! With all the gambling he alleges went on, I hope he remembered to report his earnings to the IRS…
Unfortunately for martial arts historians, Frank Dux has never provided an iota of evidence that he fought in even a local no-contact tournament. There are no photographs, periodicals clippings, or reliable witness testimonies. Nor do the articles in Black Belt circa 1980 back up Dux’s claims––they merely suggest that the writers and editors of that era weren’t cautious about the materials they accepted for publication, or checking the background of men with unusual stories.
Frank Dux & Fakes in General FAQ Part 1:
by M.C. Busman
Q: Why Dux, still, after all of this time?
A: The “Death Match” phenomenon started in 1980 when Frank Dux apparently fooled Black Belt magazine editor (at the time) John Stewart into buying his claims of having, among other things, had a secret ninja teacher, Been decorated for his actions in Vietnam, and fought and won an oddly constructed “secret” competition which Dux referred to as the “Kumite”.
Since that time, many other questionable martial artists have emulated the claims of Frank Dux. Mr. Dux started a fad! As he is the root of this growing phenomenon, his early claims and actions should be examined so that we can better understand the motivations of the men who make such claims, and examine their impact upon martial arts, public perception, and the like.
Oh yeah, I don’t like people who take advantage of the trust of others by being untruthful with them. Maybe we can stop deceptive actions before they gather too many loyal fans.
Q: Do you hate Frank Dux?
Q: Do you have a life?!!
A: Yes. I have a family, a job, friends and hobbies I enjoy in addition to researching questionable martial artists.
Q: Why do you post these articles? At no charge?
A: I’ve always felt the least we can do to thank the people who provide free forums and access to beneficial information is to share thoroughly researched stuff in return. My policy is to write articles & post ’em on free-access sites w/ references whenever possible so people may do their own research and come to their own conclusions. It’s the least I can do to repay the people who are nice enough to host places like Bullshido. I consider everything I’ve written & posted to be public domain, so feel free to copy & paste. Please include my email at the beginning or end of the article/post if you do copy & paste so people can direct further inquiries & complaints directly to me.
Q: Why do some martial artists claim to have fought in death matches, anyway?
A: My opinion is that people who make claims like this are either 1. mentally disturbed, and/or 2. wish for richer lives than they actually lead.
There is a trend among some to want something for nothing. This is why there are probably more 10th dan than white belts (o.k., that’s an exaggeration. But someday…). In telling people that one has accomplished many dangerous, risky deeds, the teller appears brave and experienced, whether s/he had such experiences or not. Most listeners are conditioned to believe what they hear from someone who looks honest to them. Usually, all he has to do is be a generally nice guy, charismatic and convincing, and not be too outlandish based on the listeners field of experience.
Unfortunately, most people’s field of experience concerning real martial arts is developed from observing fictitious kung fu and martial arts films such as “Enter the Dragon”, “The Octagon”, and a multitude of others. People believe because they want to. It makes them feel nice. Feeling doubtful is a yucky feeling that inspires guilt and conflicting emotions in many.
Q: O.K., but I’m still not sure I just want to take your word for it. What are some sources on Frank Dux I can read myself?
A: Try These:
Dux, Frank & Dr. Mark D. Selner. “Unlocking Power: Keys to Success“, in Black Belt, September 1980 Volume 18 #9, 46-50:58.
Dux, Frank. “Self Defense Against Knives“, in Black Belt, October 1980 V.18 #10, 30-34.
Stewart, John. “Kunite: A Learning Experience“, in Black Belt, November 1980 v. 18 #11, 28-34, 91.
Various, Letters to the Editor in Black Belt, Yearbook 1980, Vol. 19 #1: 94.
Klein, Michele. “Frank Dux: The Man Behind the Legend”, in Inside Kung Fu Presents: The Complete Guide to Ninja Training, May 1987: 48-53.
Dux, Frank & Gordon F. Richiusa. “The Guide to Ninjutsu Knife Fighting”, in Inside Kung Fu Presents: The Complete Guide to Ninja Training, July 1987: 76-79.
Johnson, John. “Ninja:Hero or Master Fake: Others Kick Holes in Fabled Past of Woodland Hills Martial Arts Teacher” in Los Angeles Times[/u] Valley Edition, May 1, 1988, Metro, Part 2, Page 4.
Bailey, Larry. “Stolen Valor: Profiles of a Phoney Hunter” in Soldier of Fortune, November 1998: 58-61, 73.
“Full Mental Jacket” in Soldier of Fortune, August 1996.
Interviews and Articles Online:
“Frank Dux v. Jean Claude Van Damme” (1998) Court T.V. Archives, see:
Interview on the G. Gordon Liddy Show, March 27 1997.
Warren Cowan & Associates, “A Conversation With Frank Dux, Author of The Secret Man” in Martial Arts Magazine (ND).
Interview on the Kelly Worden Show on KLEY. May 01, 2004.
Horn, James. “Meet Frank Dux“. at: http://martialarts.jameshom.com/library/weekly/aa073001a.htm
Burkett, B.G. (1998). Stolen Valor. Verity Press: Dallas, TX.
Dux, Frank. (1996). The Secret Man. Regan Books: New Yory, NY.
No other “secret” fighters from an organization called the IFAA have come forward to give their stories, despite the numbers of competitors Dux suggests, which imply that there should be a substantial number of these men out there. Dux is alone, a Secret Man of His Own Imagination. Perhaps that’s because the real endeavors of true men like Andy Hug (Kyokushinkai, Full Contact & NHB), Rorion Gracie (Brazilian Jiujitsu, NHB), Hirokazu Kanazawa (JKA) cast such a shadow on the shallow dreams of the wannabe’s of yesteryear.
Oh, yes. Dux also alleges that he was: “1975-1980 IFAA Free style Weapons/Forms Champion”
Outstanding, that a man can fight such brutal matches, never losing, could still have the grace and strength of a Flying Horse in something as artistic as Kata. I take it the Weapons/Forms competitions were as secret as the kumite? I wonder how the betting went. Why doesn’t he have 3 big trophies like the one he kneels next to in his 1980 Black Belt article? It’s a wonder he never entered into a U.S. tournament in forms at least. He could have cleaned up “pansies” like Jean Frenette, John Cheung, and Cynthia Rothrock.
No Joke, folks (except for the “pansies” comment). The kudos go to the people who fought the battle and won their acclaim honestly, not the pretenders who wish they’d been there.
by M.C. Busman