Martial artist, fight choreographer and author Frank Dux was born on April 6, 1956 in Toronto, Canada. When Frank was seven years old his family moved to California where he would later attend Grant High School. Dux states that when he was 16 he was taken to Masuda Japan to train in ninjutsu by Senzo “Tiger” Tanaka, a “world-famous” teacher and the descendant of 40 generations of warriors. Frank Dux claims his story is the center of the movie Bloodsport (1988). Around the time Bloodsport (1988) was made, Frank Dux opened his own martial arts schools operating in Woodland Hills and North Hollywood in Los Angeles, California. It was at these schools that he taught his own martial art style, Dux Ryu Ninjutsu, which he claimed was based on the Koga Ninja root principles of Ko-ryū, “adaptability and consistent change”.
Frank Dux’ claim to fame comes with his story about winning a secret martial arts tournament called the Kumite in the Bahamas in 1975. This event, he says, made him a world champion martial artist. Both the Kumite and Dux’s victory at the Kumite have been disputed, as has the existence of his instructor, Senzo Tanaka.
Frank Dux describes the Kumite as a 60-round single-elimination tournament held in secret every five years. The Dux Kumite story was first covered in the November 1980 issue of Black Belt magazine.
According to Dux, he was the first person to be given permission to speak publicly about the Kumite event, and was the first Westerner to win the tournament, achieving several world records including the most consecutive knock-outs, 56, and the fastest knockout (0.12 seconds). The 1988 film Bloodsport is based on this alleged Kumite victory. In the credits of Bloodsport (1988) Farnk Dux claims these records:
- From 1975 to 1980 Frank W. Dux fought 329 matches.
- He retired undefeated as the World Heavy Weight Full Contact Kumite Champion.
- Mr. Dux still holds four world records:
- Fastest Knockout – 3.2 seconds
- Fastest Punch with a Knockout – .12 seconds
- Fastest Kick with a Knockout – 72 mph
- Most Consecutive Knockouts in a Single Tournament – 56
Frank Dux wrote an article for the September 1980 issue of Black Belt magazine entitled Unlocking Power: Keys To Success and in the October 1980 issue he wrote an article entitled Self-Defense Against Knives. He was described as being “decorated for his blade fighting techniques in actual combat in Southeast Asia” and as holding Black Belts in “Taekwondo and other arts”. He also co-authored an article on knife fighting for Inside Kung Fu magazine in 1987.
DUX’ MOST FAMOUS FIGHT
In 1993, Dux attended the 2nd Annual Draka Martial Arts Trade Show in Los Angeles, where he had a confrontation with kickboxing champion Zane Frazier. Dux had previously hired Frazier to teach classes for him, though Frazier alleges that Dux never paid him. A fight ensued, and Zane Frazier proved victorious. Rorion Gracie and Art Davie witnessed the fight and afterward Art Davie offered Zane Frazier a position in the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Frank Dux states that Frazier sucker punched him with brass knuckles, in contradiction to multiple sources, including MMA referee John McCarthy, who make no mention of this in their accounts of the fight. Dux attempted to sue Frazier afterwards, but was unsuccessful.
Frank Dux’ alleged victory at the Kumite served as the inspiration for the film Bloodsport (1988) starring Jean-Claude Van Damme. Sheldon Lettich wrote the story based on things Dux told him. Dux worked as the fight coordinator for Bloodsport (1988) and also for the films Lionheart (1990) and Only the Strong (1993) and he made the short film Firefight (1983) with Sheldon Lettich. Frank would later claim that Sheldon Lettich stole the screenplay for Bloodsport from Frank Dux and Frank would use photos of himself from Sheldon Lettich’s Firefight (1983) as evidence of his CIA work in his book The Secret Man.
Dux was paid to co-author a manuscript with Jean-Claude Van Damme which they originally called Enter The New Dragon. When Van Damme eventually released his film, The Quest (1996), Dux sued him for breach of contract, saying that Van Damme had verbally promised him 2.5 percent of the The Kumite‘s box office gross as The Kumite became The Quest (1996). Dux lost this case in 1998 with the jury foreman stating jurors found Dux’s testimony “less than credible”, including his assertion that audiotapes of his agreement with Van Damme were destroyed in the 1994 Northridge earthquake. Dux appealed the verdict, but his appeal was dismissed in 1999.
MILITARY AND CIA SERVICE
Frank Dux served in the United States Marine Corps Reserve from 1975 to 1981, and claims he was sent on covert missions to Southeast Asia and awarded the Medal of Honor. He also asserts he was recruited by Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) director William J. Casey to work as a covert agent. His military records, however, show he was never sent overseas and has not received any awards; Dux states the military sabotaged his records to discredit him. He has been accused of falsifying his military service by authors B. G. Burkett, Ralph Keyes and Nigel West, and his claim to have worked for the CIA has been dismissed by Director of Central Intelligence Robert Gates, General Norman Schwarzkopf Jr., major general John K. Singlaub and Soldier of Fortune magazine.
THE SECRET MAN
Dux detailed his alleged work for the CIA in the book The Secret Man: An American Warrior’s Uncensored Story in 1996. In the book, Dux states Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) director William J. Casey arranged to meet him in a urinal, and recruited him to work on covert missions, including destroying a fuel depot in Nicaragua and a chemical weapons plant in Iraq.
Lieutenant Commander Larry Simmons wrote one of the forwards for The Secret Man and said that after reading a few pages of the book he knew he had “been deceived into lending credibility to a fraudulent endeavor”. Lieutenant Commander Simmons had the same literary agent as Frank Dux and was asked by his agent to write a “generic” forward for the book. Simmons also posed with Frank Dux for a photograph which Dux featured in the book. The caption of the photo says Dux is “talking shop” with the SEAL Team leader. Simmons denied “talking shop” with him, adding that Dux was “not an American warrior. He is a con man.”
In a review titled Full Mental Jacket, Alexander McColl from Soldier of Fortune magazine described the book as a “literary laxative”. In his opinion the book contained many plot holes, and he provided ten examples in his review, such as Dux’s “preposterous” claim that Casey ensured that no one else in the CIA would know of his existence, yet contradicts himself by describing receiving documents and support from other personnel on numerous occasions.
McColl also criticized some of the photographs in the book, most of which came from Dux himself. One of these photos shows Dux in a military uniform with what appears to be an M16 or AR15 rifle, with the caption saying it was taken in 1983 in a trench. According to McColl, the rifle is actually an Italian-made .22 Long Rifle look-alike, which is a low-powered firearm designed for hunting vary small prey. McColl sarcastically questioned why the CIA would provide Dux with a “squirrel rifle”. Dux refused to give any additional details about his CIA missions to McColl, on the grounds that he and his family would face retribution if he did. McColl describes this “lame evasion” as ironic, noting that Dux wrote an entire book purporting to expose CIA secrets yet will not give the dates and locations of some events that would help verify his stories. Frank-Dux-vs-Soldier-Fortune for libel following their criticism of The Secret Man, and the court ruled in the magazine’s favor.
The following year, Dux lost a libel lawsuit against Soldier of Fortune magazine over their claims he had falsified his military and CIA service.
In 1986 Harper Collins sent Frank Dux on a book tour to promote The Secret Man. During this tour Frank took photos with individuals which he often uses for other purposes.
UNITED STATES NAVY SEAL CFC SPECWAR MANUAL K – 431 – 0097
Frank Dux has made the statements below on his websites regarding his contributions to a “United States Navy Seal CFC SPECWAR Manual K – 431 – 0097”.
“In the SpecWar community Frank Dux is acknowledged as one of the great innovators of modern strategy and tactics, a source contributor in establishing how paramilitary and covert operations are planned and conducted by elite law enforcement and special warfare military units, world-wide, today. ”
” . . . the Source contributor in the compilation and creation of the United States Navy Seal CFC SPECWAR Manual K – 431 – 0097; in use by Black Operations and Special Forces Personnel, world wide.”
The 1996 Handbook For Naval Special Warfare Combat Course (NSW CFC) Basic K-431-0097 actually said “We would like to acknowledge the following for contributions to the Naval Special Warfare Combat Courses:
As you can see there are numerous names listed in this group, however, Frank makes exaggerated claims. He often uses a particular declaration to prove his case. However, according to this same inside source who actually worked with Frank Dux during the training session, Frank taught a very, very limited number of techniques using edged and impact weapons (sticks and knives), and his contributions may or may not have been used after the session. He is not “one of the great innovators of modern strategy and tactics, a source contributor in establishing how paramilitary and covert operations are planned and conducted by elite law enforcement and special warfare military units, world-wide, today”.
According to CQD’s website, Duane Dieter, whose background is in martial arts, developed the Close Quarter Defense’s hand-to-hand combat training in the early 1980s that was adopted by Naval Special Warfare in 1989. Since then, officials with the Secret Service, Drug Enforcement Agency and other government organizations have used Dieter’s training.
Military Service and Medal of Honor
Contrary to his claims, Dux’s military records obtained through the Freedom of information Act show that he never served overseas, that he has not been given the Medal of Honor for heroism or for any other reason, and that he never received any military awards. In fact, according to his records, in January 1978 he was referred for psychiatric evaluation after he expressed “flighty and disconnected ideas”. Dux states that the military sabotaged his service record to discredit him. There is a photo of Dux in military uniform showing service ribbons, however the ribbons are displayed in an incorrect order, and the Medal of Honor he is wearing in the photo is the version that would be given to members of the United States Army, rather than Marines in the Corp. Dux was questioned about the photograph in 1988 by John Johnson for the Los Angeles Times article, and Dux said he was not able to get the military to explain why he was awarded a medal from the wrong service, though in later years he changed his story to say the uniform was just a Halloween costume.
In his Colby Award winning book, Stolen Valor, B. G. Burkett says that Frank Dux fabricated his military history and awards, and that he had never served in Vietnam, noting that the war had ended before Dux even enlisted in the military. Dux responded to the allegations by saying he never claimed to have served in Vietnam, he only participated in covert missions in Southeast Asia. In 1980 he was described in Black Belt magazine as having “a distinguished military record during the Vietnam conflict”, and an interview with him in a 1987 issue of Inside Kung Fu describes him as a Vietnam Veteran. Authors Ralph Keyes and Nigel West have also disputed Dux’s military service, as has Soldier of Fortune magazine. In 2012 Sheldon Lettich, co-writer of Bloodsport, said that Dux originally showed him a Medal of Honor he claimed to have won, though years later, after people began questioning if Dux had won the medal, Dux then tried to convince him he had never made such a claim.
John Stewart, the author of the 1980 Black Belt article that first described Dux’s alleged Kumite victory, expressed regret for writing the article in 1988, describing himself as “naive” for believing Dux and saying after the story was published he received information that “raised questions about Dux’s military career”. In 1988 Jim Coleman, then editor of Black Belt magazine, said that Dux’s story was “based on false premises”, adding they could find no evidence of such a competition; he made a similar statement again in 1996.
Kenneth Wilson from the Ministry of Sports in The Bahamas disputed the existence of the Kumite, saying it was impossible a martial arts tournament of that scale could have been kept a secret. According to John Johnson from the Los Angeles Times, an invoice for the organization that allegedly staged the Kumite listed Dux as its only point of contact, and the base of the trophy he claims to have won was bought by him at a local trophy store. However, during the hearing for the case Frank Dux Vs Soldier Of Fortune Inc Larry Bailey Et Al, John Johnson presented a photocopy of the receipt which he said proved that Dux had purchased his Kumite trophy, though the judge refused to allow it as evidence, noting several discrepancies such as the date on the receipt being after Dux was photographed with his trophy. To provide more evidence, Frank Dux told Johnson to speak to a man named Richard Robinson, whom Frank said he had met at the Kumite. Robinson initially confirmed Dux’s story, saying he was invited to the Kumite as he was an undefeated wrestler at Lower Merion High School. Johnson later uncovered that Robinson had not attended that school, and had actually gone to school with Dux. Confronted with this information, Robinson responded “All right. I don’t know what to say … Frank was a buddy of mine when I was in L.A.”
Sheldon Lettich said he got the idea for Bloodsport after listening to Dux’s “tall tales” regarding the Kumite. Dux introduced him to a man named Richard Bender who claimed to have been at the Kumite and verified the story, though a few years later Bender confessed to Lettich that he had been lying and that Dux had instructed him on what to say. Lettich described Dux as a “delusional day-dreamer”. Citing his Kumite claims, MMA website Fightland includes Dux among their list of martial arts frauds. Both John Johnson and Fightland believe Dux faked his story to help promote his martial arts schools.
Eric Lichtenfield in his book, Action Speaks Louder: Violence, Spectacle, and the American Action Movie, says that when Frank’s exploits are questioned, “Dux counters charges of fakery by actually exploiting his lack of substantiating evidence, and spinning it into a still greater mythology.” For example, Dux says the reason he no longer has the ceremonial sword he was awarded at the Kumite is because he sold it in a failed attempt to buy freedom for a boat of orphans who he later rescued from Philippine pirates. Another interesting story he tells is how he stopped a plot to assassinate Steven Seagal.
TOO MANY DISCREPANCIES?
Frank Dux explains the discrepancies in his martial arts history by stating they are fabrications created by his rivals. One such rival is ninjutsu master Stephen K. Hayes, who Dux says refused to advertise in Black Belt magazine unless he was the only “ninja” promoted by the magazine. Black Belt capitulated and from that time forward all other ninjutsu practitioners were excluded from the magazine. This meant Dux would no longer be featured in Black Belt articles, not because of his fabrications, but because of the magazine’s greed.
On January 14, 2014 a video was “discovered” and uploaded to the SamuraiLifeTV channel on YouTube that was titled “Frank Dux Bloodsport Kumite Highlight Video – Legit”. Frank Dux promoted the video as proof of his participation in the Kumite, but in reality the video was of Phillipe Cadoret fighting in Taiwan in 1986. Cadoret’s son, Sébastien Cadoret, responded to a post on Facebook regarding Dux’s claim and threatened to go after Dux for identity theft. Many people saw Frank’s actions as another example of how far Frank Dux was willing to go to prove his claims.
While many sources dismiss the claims of Frank Dux entirely, some believe there may be some kind of truth to his stories. Dariel Figueroa from UPROXX gave his opinion in his article Lies, Litigation, And Jean-Claude Van Damme saying that there were several holes in both Dux’s claims, and those of his critics, “leading to a mess of false evidence, lies, and somewhere in the middle, the truth”. Hugh Landman from Ranker has stated that while Dux “lies about, or at least greatly exaggerates, many aspects of his career” that does not necessarily mean his story is entirely false, speculating he may have won a Kumite that was significantly different from the one that appears in Bloodsport (1988).