Chicago’s Infamous Dojo Wars, Part 1: The Rise of John Keehan, Karate Sensei

Curious City

May 25, 2023

In the 1960s, Chicago was becoming known as a center for Karate teaching and international tournaments, and the main person behind this movement was John Keehan. He was a revered black belt instructor who was also often an instigator in Chicago’s “Dojo Wars,” a series of brawls and incidents between competing martial arts schools. In part one, we follow Keehan’s rise as a sensei, and his efforts to bring more violence to the art, both on and off the mats.

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