Put Up Your Dux
“The Real Story of Bloodsport and the Return of Frank W. Dux”
By Michael Reis
Before my interview it’d been 30 years since Frank Dux had been personally interviewed for any US magazine. So it’s no surprise someone as talented as Dux could be surrounded by countless false allegations. I admit it’s easy to question if the man the film Bloodsport was based on is for real.
After 30 years of the hype, here’s the truth.
Frank was born in 1956 Toronto to holocaust surviving parents. At age 7, they moved to California, but financial hardships ensured a hard upbringing. Lack of finances forced Frank to seek out less traditional martial arts instruction; not something most people expect from a champion fighter.
Frank recalled his training:
“John Leone would let me sit in on classes on ki energy. Then I would go see Bob Osman who was the strongest karate man in the world. Bob taught me the idea and concept that one punch is all you need. I became a knockout king, that’s where I got that from. I learned focus and speed through Bill Wallace.”
Unable to pay, Frank had an unwritten arrangement with Ryusaki:
“I’d use the broom from the restaurant next to Bill’s school to clean up the front of the school and the restaurant. Bill would lift his blinds and let me watch the class. I’d mimic the movements. Bill would guide me through the window. Everyone made fun of me, ‘Look at that stupid kid out there.’ I had to overcome humiliation because I wanted to learn.”
Very early Frank was a proficient fighter, attributing much of it to genetics and years of working manual labor to help his family.
“By the time I was 14, I was knocking out grown men. When I was a kid I was huge.”
Frank soon grew to be 6’2.
Frank shared about his proficiency:
“Because of my lack of finances I didn’t stick to one school or get indoctrinated to one style. I knew about Muay Thai a long time ago. I’d kick parking meters to harden my shins.”
A benefit to Frank’s hardships was it forced him to develop a sense of maturity, in which he lent to his training regimen.
“I was mature. You have to be when you are poor to survive. It makes you grow up quickly. 'How are we going to eat today?’ We’d collect bottles so we could have food. My mom was really sick. They came to the country with nothing. Through that kind of adversity I trained myself. Through the kindness of many people I learned martial arts.”
Frank Dux once went to see a Karate match with Victor Moore against Chuck Norris. Vic won, but due to prejudices and politics, the ruling went to Norris.
“I watched Norris go over to Vic after the fight, give him a piece of paper and walk away. It said, ‘To the guy who beat me’. I asked Vic why he’d do that, and Vic said,‘Because to be the best you have to fight the best. When I was 13, I went up to Vic and asked him if it was true to be the best you have to fight the best. Vic said laughing,‘Give it your best shot.’ I hit him right in his nose. After that one, I did it again. I admit Vic was probably taking it easy on me since I was a kid. He eventually hit me so hard it rang my bell.”
Vic stated with bravado: “I fought and beat them all: Chuck Norris, Joe Lewis, Bill Wallace, even Bruce Lee…Frank Dux was the only person I couldn’t beat, and he was still a kid at the time. He learned from me. I said to everyone he was the one to watch; the one who was going to take it all...the real Kumite.”
Soon Frank was able to find his first hands-on teacher, Jack Seki. Seki studied under Jigoro Kano, the founder of modern day Judo.
“Jack was one of the few guys who put on a program where you could attend classes for a $1.25 a month. It was low enough that if I could collect bottles I could turn them into the local liquor store for a nickel. That was basically finding two bottles a day on my way home from school.”
This pairing led Frank to his next teacher, the Kumite Champion, Senzo Tanaka, and to his introduction into the Kumite; an event known well due to the popular cult movie based on Frank’s experiences, Bloodsport.
I was eager to ask Frank about the mounting speculation stating he’s a fraud.
“There are people who engage in what’s called traded libel. They want everybody in the world thinking they’re the only legitimate martial artists. Theses types of speculations have gone on for centuries-- one master saying they’re the last and only master of a certain style, when it’s just not true at all.”
Attempts to defraud Frank as a legitimate martial artist started in the 1980’s.
One example concerns a reporter, John Johnson. Johnson ran out of an interview with Frank after Frank informed him he knew John’s photographer had posted photos of Frank captioned with falsified statements supposedly quoted from Frank.
Johnson subsequently later wrote in the paper that Frank was a fake.
It's possible Johnson had a personal vendetta against Frank as one of his associates was allegedly having an affair with Frank’s wife during their divorce proceedings, and eventually married her.
The associate, Richard Bender, later became stricken with cancer and on his death-bed he personally admitted to Frank that he paid $5000 to John Johnson and got another $5000 on behalf of a prominent publishing company, Steven K. Hayes, Shoto Tanemura and Masaaki Hatsumi to pay John Johnson to do a hatchet job on him in the interview. This went on as they continued their slanderous campaign against Frank.
Frank claims that certain parties involved even went as far as to vandalize and destroy some of his trophies, however, they were apprehended and convicted for the crime.
Frank visited the editor of the paper to clear his name in connection to the erroneous claims, taking with him footage and witnesses to his credentials. The editor refused to see the proof.
“The editor pulled me aside and said,‘I believe you. I know you’re telling the truth, but I can’t do anything about it. It’s out of my hands.’ he said to me.”
Investigation by outside, independent sources to martial arts have discovered that certain internet sites have profited financially by claiming to hold true documentation about Dux. However, this documentation has never been verified or proven.
They discovered these same internet sources profited large amounts of money by agreeing to keep factual documentation regarding Dux off of various sites.
In 2008, the Artesia Daily featured an article stating the contributing editor to Frank’s page on the popular site Wikipedia, disallowed and / or removed information and links that would lead readers to proof of Frank’s achievements. Instead, information and links pointed readers to fabricated stories and unsubstantiated allegations.
I asked Frank about the ninjutsu part of Dux Ryu. “I took the name ninjitsu because it implemented all the things I put into my system: stealth, survival, espionage techniques, distraction, all of that.”
The 80’s proved difficult for ninjutsu students. In the US, there was only one westerner recognized as being a Ninja, Stephan Hayes. “I had a big run-in with Black Belt magazine. They were going to say I was one of the first American ninjas, like in the movie, before Stephan Hayes. Hayes wasn’t even around when I was doing what I was doing.”
Gordon Richiusa, a writer with Black Belt was told he couldn’t publish a story about Frank because of a contract they had with Hayes stating they wouldn’t publish anything about Ninjas except for him.
However, in the 80’s, Black Belt did approach Frank for three monthly articles regarding bare knuckled fights. Black Belt editor, John Stewart wrote the article, Kumite: A Learning Experience. This article proves even Black Belt regarded Frank as a legitimate Kumite fighter.
“…BLACK BELT has a policy of strict verification of all facts pertaining to any article. Although there is no convenient way to verify each and every detail connected with this story, the editors have verified enough of the basic facts to feel confident in publishing it.” – Stewart, Nov. 1980.
More third party accreditation for Dux can be found in many other publications regarding his involvement with criminal justice centers and task forces. I found statements from various departments declaring his help to their organization’s in the areas of training and more.
As well, Dux is also named as one of the source contributors to the U.S. Naval Special Warfare Combat Fighting Course Hand Book.
To elaborate on Frank’s military intelligence career, Lt. Commander Alexander Martian-USN Retired, detailed Frank’s work as an intelligence operative in Honduras in court documents under penalty of perjury.
Even with the substantial documentation, people continue to believe what’s said by those who don’t know Frank at all. “I knew Frank back when he was just a crazy young guy that liked to fight all the time.” Dr. Lawrence Day. While in Nashville: “Frank had to rip a phone book in half and do a 1-inch punch through a slab of concrete, and he did it all. Frank knows the Burning Palm technique. He’s 1 of 5 people who truly know it.”
Sky Benson (Seattle Ninjitsu / FASST™ Club) witnessed what he claims to be about 90% of the reported achievements of Dux. “He’s still setting world records. He just did another one in May. Frank did a human tug-o-war for 10 seconds standing on one foot while 100 men pulled on the other end.”
Kevin Cain, another formal student of Frank’s, teaches primarily Dux Ryu material out of his Virginia school. “Dux Ryu is open and alive for real situations; constantly changing, it fits you. I’ve trained with a lot of great masters, but none have changed my life like Dux. I’ve witnessed his skills and seen his footage. Frank’s the real deal. You just know when you’re around a master. When Frank walks in, you just know.”
With the considerable number of no holds-barred fights Frank’s been in, I asked his opinion on MMA and cage fighting today.
“It’s not martial arts. It’s an illusion of what real fighting is about. It’s a good training point, but it’s a sport now; not actually testing the skills you developed, which is what the Kumite was really for...to test your skills, see what worked and what didn’t. The Kumite was truly no-holds-barred. Anything was legal-except throat shots, joint strikes, gouging and tearing, and biting. However, I’ve seen men die there on the platform.”
Want to know more?
Checkout the information and documentation offered on www.frankwdux.com.
To find out the truth for yourself, I advise you to meet the REAL master, Frank W. Dux.