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Meet Frank Dux
Part 1: The Legendary Kumite Champion of Bloodsport
Click for large photo of Frank Dux
Frank Dux leading a movement drill at the 2001 San Jose Gasshuku. (click for larger photo)
 More of this Feature
• Part 1: Meet Frank Dux
• Part 2: Controversy
• Part 3: Van Damme Lawsuit
• Part 4: Dux Ryu

Frank Dux strides through the group of students, correcting their pivots and sidesteps in the movement drill he's teaching. Most know of Dux (pronounced "dukes") through the film Bloodsport, which gave action star Jean Claude Van Damme his first big break. Few know of the controversy surrounding Dux and his history--or lack of one, as his critics claim.

Bloodsport follows a young Frank Dux, a soldier on leave from the US military to fight in the Kumite-- a secret, underground tournament of the best fighters in the world. Through skill, perseverance, and sheer luck, Dux is triumphant at the end. Although tainted by the usual martial arts movie formula--hero trains hard, meets buddy, buddy gets beat up by villain, hero defeats villain and gets the girl--the byline of the movie catches your attention: "Based on a true story." Could something like the Kumite really take place?

Dux described the Kumite to me as a big "house party." Basically, said Dux, the tournament was held on a private island in the Bahamas to avoid any legal repercussions. As this was 1975, when the martial arts were still new to most folks and therefore mysterious and potentially "evil," this seems like a wise move. Fighters would take each other on at a wealthy promoter's estate. Dux explained how he became champion only after defeating the chosen fighter of ten different promoters, including having to travel to Asia for underground fights.

The controversy surrounding Dux begins with the tale of the Kumite itself. In May 1988, shortly after the release of Bloodsport, Los Angeles Times writer John Johnson blasted Dux and his story, claiming that Dux made it all up.

Next page > Frank Dux: "What Really Happened" > Page 1, 2, 3, 4

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