Black Notes

This is the most feared and deadly fighting art known to humankind, and is unequalled in its capacity for MAIMING, MUTILATING, DISFIGURING, PARALYZING and CRIPPLING. Very few people on the planet know about its deadly POISON HAND WEAPONS. 

Teaching you the moves in this manual is Count Dante–the deadliest man who ever lived and the Crown Prince of Death.

–Learn the martial art secrets of Count Dante, renowned for his expertise in the art of self-defense. Discover the techniques that have been kept hidden for so long and learn how to defend yourself in any situation.

In 1968, Count Dante, the pseudonym of martial arts instructor John Keehan from the South Side of Chicago, advertised a pamphlet known as “World’s Deadliest Fighting Secrets” in comic books.

The ad copy featured in chop-suey lettering boasted of “DIM MAK, ‘The Death Touch’ in this exclusive book!”.

The techniques detailed in the pamphlet, such as eye gouging, fish hooks, strikes to vital organs and the “dance of death”, could potentially be fatal.

However, they were not the real dim mak, which is a Cantonese expression that translates to “press artery” but has come to signify a strike which uses non-lethal force yet has deadly outcomes.

Still, it was the comic book ads of Count Dante that were among the first to transfer the concept of dim mak from Chinese wuxia stories, which portray martial artists in ancient China, to the consciousness of mainstream Americans.

Sadly, much of its complex past was forgotten in the transition. What was left in its stead was the promise of a simpler and more attainable combat technique that could paralyze or even kill an opponent: a superpower for the average person.

The ads experienced a period of successfulness around the same time martial arts became very popular in the US. Judo had been taught in the United States since 1902, and President

Theodore Roosevelt even attained a black belt in the sport by 1904. However, it was not until the 1970s that the number of academies, dojos, and training facilities really began to increase.

During this time, the American Collegiate Taekwondo Association was founded, Hai Karate became the go-to aftershave, and the TV show Kung Fu featuring David Carradine premiered on ABC. After Bruce Lee’s passing in 1973, it was speculated that dim mak was the real reason for his death and not an adverse reaction to the drug Equagesic.

George Dillman, an ex-boxer from Pennsylvania’s coal region, began delving into the mysteries of dim mak and the death touch in the early 1970s. Ever since then, he has developed and taught a style of pressure-point combat known as kyusho-jitsu.

I had to meet George after I watched a YouTube video titled “Kyusho-jitsu knockout”. It was in a chain hotel’s conference facility, on short-pile carpeting surrounded by towers of stackable chairs and tables that resembled an omelet bar.

Approximately a dozen people wearing gi garments had gathered around George and a considerable volunteer.

George butted his skull against the other man’s and his hand slowly curled back like he was getting ready to throw a Frisbee.

He softly tapped the volunteer’s neck at an angle that looked slightly off center and the man fell like his bones were Jenga blocks that had been knocked down, like gravity had suddenly increased, like he was deceased.

There were shrieks. A nurse, who was evidently present, asked if the man was breathing while George commanded everyone to help him up, cross his legs, and leave the area, all the while smacking him on the back and rubbing him vigorously.

The volunteer arrived, and the slaps ceased while the rubbing evolved from frantic to comforting and gentle. The nurse determined that a pulse had returned.

George, who had initially declared “If he wants to wrestle, I put my head against his head, which shorts him out,” concluded the demonstration with a joke that made no clear sense regarding the volunteer’s pulse.

At a Cracker Barrel in Hamburg, Pennsylvania, George and I met up over coffee, orange juice, and a country breakfast to discuss kyusho jitsu.

He is now sixty-seven years old and his body is that of a fighter, yet his face holds the love of a grandfather. His wife, Suzie, a youthful, petite blond with a melodic voice and a never-ending inquisitiveness for George’s stories, was also with us.

She rarely diverted her gaze away from his well-conditioned forearms and stumpy fingers–except when George declared, “I’ve killed five or six people with pressure-point combat.”

Then both of us glanced at his heavy-set eyes, while he adjusted the brim of his baseball cap and buttoned the collar of his undone short-sleeve shirt. “I was able to revive them all,” he added, “although each of them was dead for a period of time.”

The death touch and its counterpart that only temporarily paralyses have been seen multiple times in movies and television.

For instance, Jade Fox in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Frank Dux in Bloodsport, Master Oogway from Kung Fu Panda and Xena from Warrior Princess have all been known to use this technique.

Even Bart Simpson tried his hand at this, although the threat was merely taken from a video game title. However, the most well-known master of pressure-point combat is most likely Mr. Spock from Star Trek.

It is said that Leonard Nimoy, who portrayed Spock in the 1966 original series, invented the Vulcan Nerve Pinch while reading Richard Matheson’s script.

The character was initially supposed to “lunge from behind a generator and kayoe the double,” but Nimoy thought that was too brutish for a Vulcan.

He proposed to the director of the episode that the nerve pinch would be more fitting of the logical and rational race of the Vulcans.

It would incapacitate an opponent without causing a battle, and thus a touch on a pressure point became associated with the species that values nonviolence and shuns emotion.

When I posed the question to George regarding the origin of the Nerve Pinch’s backstory, he cut in with an unexpected response: “It’s underneath the trapezius nerves that lead to a person being knocked out. It’s a move I have in my video tape 8, but I’ll let you continue.”

I tried again and inquired whether he felt the Nimoy’s justification could be telling in terms of the peculiar place of pressure-point combat in popular culture.

His response was: “I don’t know where he got the idea from. It could have been from an acupuncturist he either talked to or was acquainted with, who might have whispered to him where to touch.”

For twelve years, between 1961 and 1972, George served in the US Army. He began his martial arts journey while based at Fort Knox, Kentucky, and by the mid-1960s had achieved a black belt and was competing.

After completing Officer Candidate School and joining the Military Police, Lieutenant George Dillman was in Washington, DC, where he was present at the Pentagon when it was attacked by hippies, and was also at the Lincoln Memorial for Martin Luther King’s historic “I Have a Dream” speech.

He was even on guard for 30 weeks in a tunnel beneath the White House to stop protesters from entering. It was at the 1968 International Sports Show that George got his big chance with dim mak and kyusho-jitsu.

At the Sports Show that year, the organizers had difficulty finding someone who could take on Victor the Great, a 350-pound black bear, in the ring for more than five minutes. George assured me that he thought he could manage it.

He fought the bear for twenty minutes, with the bout eventually being declared a draw.

This event was then immortalized in a Ripley ‘s Believe It or Not cartoon and on the front page of the Washington Star. After this, George’s superiors began to give him permission to travel and participate in karate tournaments for the Army.

In 1969, George achieved the status of National Forms Champion and kept this title until 1972 when he retired from service.

He then opened his first karate school not far from his hometown in Reading, Pennsylvania, conveniently located near Deer Lake, the town where Muhammad Ali had established a training facility.

As a result of their friendship, the school had a large influx of students and in 1972 George had the opportunity to learn from an Okinawan martial arts teacher named Hohan Soken.

According to George, the great-grandson of Sokon Bushi Matsumura, Soken, provided him a lesson in traditional martial arts forms and their correlation to chi energy.

At the end of the lesson, Soken gave George a sheet of notes and a diagram of the human body with the locations of pressure points.

He also described these points as “black notes,” which have been determined from thousands of years of acupuncture research. The diagram showed where the twelve meridians of the body could be accessed.

George speaks with his hands, making gestures and motions with them.

I observed his hands closely since he kept hitting me, telling me he could make my arm go numb or force me to my knees with just a touch. Being a powerful sixty-year-old, his strikes were felt.

But what truly surprised me was the impact of his gentler touches. When he applied pressure to my neck, it made my head spin.

With the tip of his finger on the back of my hand, I was knocked to my knees. After he poked me behind the ear and my vision blurred, I stopped writing down my notes. At that point, it became very clear that what George was doing was effective.

From the Cracker Barrel, I followed George and Suzie’s white Dodge convertible along a route that took us through a strip-mall parking lot, a worn main street, and the rolling green hills of central Pennsylvania to a training camp owned by Muhammad Ali.

George runs seminars there, rents it as a bed-and-breakfast, and is trying to put it up for sale. We spoke for a lengthy period of time and he showed me plenty of photos of him with Ali, Howard Cosell, and Andy Warhol, who painted a dinner plate for The Champ.

Dillman has this in his attic. He shared the history of the place, his own experiences with celebrities, his induction into the Berks County Sports Hall of Fame, and his dearly departed cougar, Rougar Dougar, who he still reminisces about on a daily basis.

For around a decade, George studied the chart provided by Soken and tested different theories with his top students.

In 1983, he encountered another Okinawan karate master, Seiyu Oyata, who was teaching a martial arts seminar in Missouri.

George explained that Oyata gave him the pieces he needed to solve the puzzle that Soken had left him, as all of the details were in the forms and connected through the nerves. He was so passionate in his explanation that it was difficult for me to take notes.

He went home, looked at the diagram and acupuncture charts, as well as the forms, and asked his former student, Ralph Bushbacher, who was at the University of Virginia Medical School, for textbooks about the nervous system. By the end of 1983 or 1984, he had a good idea of how everything worked.

George contends that any place where a nerve terminates, crosses another one, or divides is a pressure point.

All these points are connected and a sequence of touches can yield different physical consequences. Generally, the more touches in a sequence, the greater the potential for damage. Utilizing “all of the elements” in a strike can be fatal.

By the mid-1980s, George was sharing his theories at martial arts seminars throughout the nation. Along with his wife at the time, Kim, they drove from place to place in five different motor homes, delivering the teachings of Soken and Oyata.

George states many people were converted. He maintains to have instructed hundreds of thousands of individuals in the fundamentals of pressure-point combat face-to-face, in addition to reaching numerous more through his six books and forty-nine videos, which included police officers, security personnel, professional fighters, and some B-movie celebrities.

He told me that any individual who consistently studies his basic tapes must be able to prevent even the strongest attacker with a couple of touches, and understand how to take a life by employing the same techniques. “I have to a certain degree, modified my art to eliminate the deadly components, however it is all there if you really search for it,” he says.

Despite the doubt, many in the martial arts community are wary of George’s methods, believing that discipline should not be disregarded.

Some think his techniques are ineffective, maintaining that physical force is necessary for any knockout or lethal strike. On various online platforms, questions are asked about his credentials, especially concerning his relationship with Hohan Soken.

To many, he is seen as a fraud, a con artist, and one who exaggerates, or even lies. Even those who come to accept his teachings often view him as a performer who seeks attention before being an expert in the martial arts.

In his letter, Jim Coleman, executive editor of Black Belt magazine, revealed that he had been skeptical of George until he came to the office and demonstrated pressure-point combat. Coleman’s assistant, photographer, publisher, and even the sixty-year-old receptionist were all “victims” of the strikes. Finally, Coleman himself was also knocked out to make a believer of him.

I posed a query to George as to why he believes most individuals must experience pressure points to grasp what he is doing, and he stared at me like I had requested a bout. His eyes, which were usually so round they seemed prepared to drop from his eye sockets, compressed to egg shapes. “That is the complete thing. It’s not the way of living in America,” he said. “It is not familiar to people. It is genuine magic.”

George isn’t much of a fan of martial arts films–he prefers “the classics”–but he has some experience with the actors, consulted on a few productions, and even acted in a few. He said that viewers are looking for a bit of drama, rather than quick pressure point knockouts. “They want to see kicking and fighting, but my style is just ‘bip’ and you’re done,” he said.

It is true that there is minimal excitement in George’s fighting style. We may speculate if they will make it out alive, pressure points may be used as part of a story and deadly touches may be used in a fight as a form of punctuation; however, it can be disheartening when a person is disabled with a single stroke, particularly when we anticipate a vigorous physical struggle.

A photo of 70 black notes is shown in the picture. The image, taken by Graham Beck, displays a number of the notes placed side-by-side.

At the end of my visit with George, I felt comfortable enough to suggest we watch the death-touch scene from Kill Bill Volume 2. Uma Thurman’s character, the Bride, and Bill talk across a dinner table about their past before starting a sword fight.

The clatter of wooden furniture and their battle grunts is interrupted by the sound of well-forged steel. Eventually, the Bride’s sword falls to the floor and Bill moves to kill her. In response, the Bride sheathes his blade and delivers the Five Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique with five touches to the heart–three taps with two fingers, a claw-handed strike with five fingers followed by a twist, and a fifth hit with four fingers stacked on the thumb–which causes a trickle of blood from Bill’s lip.

The clamor of battle is replaced by a lengthy stillness. We understand what is to come, so the emotions that are experienced during the fight modify from the excitement of fighting to the serenity of death. The assurance of mortality is rather unsatisfying. Spock’s wins that are certain do not have the same level of excitement that a good-old rugged brawl does. They are too rational, too foreseeable, and surprisingly for someone who was just entirely persuaded of the power of pressure spot combat, too unbelievable.

George was filled with immense excitement that was evident on his skin in the form of goose bumps. After he shouted out “What a great move!” and punched me in the heart, he showed me his goose bumps.

It is possible to eliminate plagiarism by altering the structure of a text without altering its context or the underlying meaning. This can be accomplished by rearranging the words and phrases, as well as maintaining the same markdown formatting.

Culture.org

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