Claude Harley Reagan

From The Martial Arts Encyclopedia

The Reagans are notorious in Lubbock as storytellers. Local residents consider them among the best liars Lubbock has ever produced, which in itself is no small feat.

(Quote taken from Harley Reagan’s authorized biography)

Harley Reagan

Claude Harley “Swiftdeer” Reagan who also goes by the names “ThunderStrikes,” “Swifthorse,” Harley Tarantini, and his Indian name Unhua Oskenonton Anikawi is a martial arts teacher, Native American new age guru, and sex therapist who teaches a self created “Native American” style of martial arts called Chulukua-Ryu in Scottsdale Arizona. Reagan also teaches self-defense classes, wilderness survival, firearms training, rape prevention, and sexual assault counseling.

His parent organization the Deer Tribe Metis Medicine Society claims to have branches in The United States, Australia, Canada, Austria, England, Germany, Italy, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland. Acording to Swiftdeer, his organization has around seventy-five schools all across the globe and an estimated 5,000 followers. Reagan also claims a lengthy list of accomplishments and accolades. He states that he is a Vietnam War veteran, a Cherokee Indian, a former police officer, a world Jiu-Jitsu Champion (1967 to 1970), an alternate on the 1964 United States Olympic Judo Team (fourth place), a wizard, new age healer, rape survivor, shape shifter, and sorcerer.

With this many accomplishments, his time does not come cheap. His sexual education seminars, which he calls “Quodoushka Workshops” cost 1,200 dollars, and his five-day self-defense seminar cost 525 dollars, as do his firearms training seminars.

However little of what Reagan claims stands up to scrutiny.

Reagan’s Military Record

Harley Reagan claims that in May 1958 the United States Air Force Academy accepted him as a cadet. In June of the same year, he reported to the Air Force Academy but by May 1959, he left after problems with excessive masturbation. On 1 June 1959, he joined the United States Marine Corps. The Marines send him to Boot Camp in San Diego after which he did four tours in Vietnam starting in 1960. His first combat was in Taiwan against communist guerrillas. Now if you were reading carefully you noticed that Reagan claims that his first taste of action was not in Vietnam but in Taiwan. Reagan’s authorized biographer writes that in 1960 Reagan first saw combat while battling communist forces over control of a Taiwanese village. During the battle, Reagan uncovered this grisly scene, “Someone had taken a pregnant Taiwanese woman, thirteen of fourteen years of age, and stripped her nude. They had stuck a sharpened stake in the ground and then shoved that stake up through her vaginal passage, all the way up through her bowels, and out the top of her head. The front of her was sliced open from chest to crotch, the child taken out and rammed down on the point of the stake at the top of her head. The cord was still connected.” In response to this atrocity, Reagan charged out of the tent and promptly machined gunned four “gook” prisoners and assaulted a Taiwanese officer that tried to stop him. While not killing prisoners, Reagan found time to take a communist held strong point and earn a Bronze Star.

However, there was no communist insurgency in Taiwan in the early 1960s. Therefore, Reagan could not have been involved anything that approaches the level of carnage portrayed in his biography. Usually you need a war to have a war story…

In 1964, Reagan claims that he returned to Vietnam for his third tour of duty. So at least we have the right country now. However, Reagan is as poor with places as he is with dates. A quick check of history will tells us that President Johnson first deployed the Marines to Vietnam in 1965 and nowhere does Reagan claim to have been an “advisor” to the South Vietnamese army nor do any of his war stories infer that he was anything but a Marine serving in an infantry unit.

The Battle of Bloody Heart/Operation Raincoat (spring 1967)

In the spring of 1967 during Reagan’s fourth tour of duty in Vietnam, he claims that he earned a Silver Star and at least one Purple Heart in an engagement he calls The Battle of Bloody Heart. Reagan states that a U.S. force of 270 solders was given the mission of attacking a communist held village that controlled a strategically important bridge. The task force was comprised of Marines, Navy Seals, and Army Special Forces. Also involved was a company of South Vietnamese Regulars and a small group of Laotian Natives troops. However, a battalion and a half of North Vietnamese Regulars ambushed the American/allied forces. In the ensuing battle, the fighting was so fierce that only seventeen American solders survived. In addition, the NVA whipped out an entire Navy Seal team sent down the river to secure the bridge. Of the survivors, three Congressional Medals of Honor were awarded, one Legion of Merit, five Silver Stars, and every other survivor received the Bronze Star. The North Vietnamese wounded Harley Reagan three times and he received the Silver Star for his actions that day.

One would assume that such a bloody battle, a battle in which a handful of tough marines survived a hopeless situation, a battle in which three solders earned the CMA, would be recorded in the pages of history. But you would be wrong. I could turn up no record of “The Battle of Bloody Heart.” After an extensive search, I did find one reference to an Operation Raincoat. However, this operation did not occur during the Vietnam War. In fact, Operation Raincoat was a battle in World War II. It occurred in Italy in late 1942 early 1943.

Therefore, it appears that the major battles in which Reagan received his awards are nothing more than the product of Reagan’s overactive imagination.

Final Action in Vietnam

Despite being wounded three times in the spring of 1967, Reagan was back in action by 14 June 1967. According to Reagan’s biographer, while on a mission to strike a target in Laos (Lang Vei) communist forces struck the helicopter Reagan was riding in with a surface to air missile. The Helicopter exploded in a violent fireball. Luckily, the explosion threw Reagan clear. He fell 300 feet to the jungle floor, landed on his feet, and then collapsed.

Harley Reagan's claimed fall, to scale.

After the fall, Reagan was in a comatose state for 21 days. He was first treated in Vietnam but was moved to Bethesda Naval Hospital on 10 July 1967. On 21 July, he awoke from his coma but remained at the hospital until his release on March of 1968. On 21 December 1969 Reagan was given an honorable discharge from the Marines. His final rank was Sergeant.

To help clear up matters I contacted Dr Richard Allen. Dr Allen has handled complaints for the Cherokee Nation about Harley “Swiftdeer” Reagan for more than a decade. He stated that the Marine Military Awards Branch had no record of ever awarding a Harley Reagan any commendations. I then contacted Mr. Jarrett an archivist at the National Personal Records Center (Military and Personal Records) about Harley Reagan’s military service. He informed me that they had no military record pertaining to a Harley Reagan. Upon further request, Mr. Jarrett ran a search with the Federal Bureau of Investigations. The FBI turned up no record that Harley Reagan ever served in the military; to say nothing of active military service in Vietnam, multiple medals, or lengthy hospitals stays at Bethesda Naval Hospital.

Martial Arts Claims

Harley Reagan makes many claims about his martial arts background. His claims include, but are not limited to…

  • He has studied martial arts since he was a boy
  • Asked to join the Air Force Judo Team
  • Taught hand-to-hand combat for the Marines
  • An alternate member of the United States Olympic Judo Team in 1964
  • World Jiu-Jitsu Champion 1967 - 1970
  • Holds a black belt in 14 different martial art styles
  • And is the creator of Chulukua-Ryu, a Native American martial arts system that looks surprisingly like Kodokan Judo


I began by checking Reagan’s judo claims. According to Reagan, he represented the United States in the 1964 Olympic Games as an alternate on the Judo team. Supposedly, he competed and placed fourth. However, a quick check of proves that Harley Reagan was not on the 1964 US Judo Team.

Keep in mind that according to his war stories, he spent 1964 in Vietnam.

Regan also claims that he received his Judo promotions, 2nd, 3rd and 4th degree Black Belts, directly through the United States Judo Association and the United States Judo Federation.

I wrote to both organizations to check the validity of these claims. The USJF stated that Harley Reagan has not received any promotions through their organization. The USJA told me that they do have a record of Harley Reagan who achieved the rank of Shodan in October of 1970. However, they have no record of him achieving a 2nd, 3rd, or 4th, degree Black Belt in their organization.

Therefore, the information provided by the USJA and the USJF conflict with the claims made by Reagan.

Military Hand-to-Hand Combat Teacher

According to Reagan, between fighting communists in Taiwan, and falling out of helicopters, he found time to teach hand-to-hand combat for the United States Marine Corps. However, since the FBI and the National Personal Records Center have no record of a Harley Reagan then it is highly doubtful that he taught hand-to-hand combat for the armed forces

Jiu-Jitsu Champion 1967 – 1970

Oh, what a tangled web we weave…

At this point, his own lies begin to trip him up. Reagan’s website states that he was a World Jiu Jitsu Champion from 1967 to 1970, but Reagan’s authorized biography states that Reagan spent 14 June 1967 to 21 July 1967 in a comatose state after falling 300 feet from an exploding helicopter. Moreover, according to his own biography, Reagan was released from Bethesda Naval Hospital in March of 1968. Therefore, Reagan’s stories begin to contradict each other. Either he was in the hospital recovering from wounds received in Vietnam or competing in Jiu Jitsu, he could not be doing both.

Education…or lack thereof

To help bolster his authority to teach his new age Native American sexuality seminars Harley Reagan claims that he is in fact Dr. Reagan. Supposedly, sometime in the early 1970s Reagan received a PhD in psychology from The Pacific Cultural Institute for Advanced Studies in Hollywood. However according to the California Department of Postsecondary Education no such organization exists, or has ever existed.

Harley Reagan in the News

In November of 1988, the magazine Karate/Kung Fu Illustrated fell for Reagan’s lies and published an article about his Native American martial art.

Reagan was also the subject of an article entitled Sacred Organism, which appeared in the pages of the Phoenix New Times.

The Just Plain Weird

Harley Reagan makes many strange claims on his website and in his biography. In order to share with you the wild world that “Swiftdeer” Reagan inhabits I will include a few of his more outrageous claims.

Harley Reagan claims to be a wizard, and a shape shifter. While not shape shifting, Reagan found time to conduct Black Ops for the NSA and the CIA. He has claimed to be a former law enforcement officer and the reincarnation of Billy the Kid. In addition, Reagan has stated that Native Americans are really the decedents of aliens from the planet Oiricanwiyah.

Finally, that he is a member of an organization called the Twisted Hairs. Supposedly, this group meets every four years since 1254 B.C. Did I mention that they meet in the fifth dimension?

And last but not least...

According to the Cherokee Nation, Harley “Swiftdeer” Reagan is not even a Native American. He is not on the roles and is not in any way a member of the Cherokee Nation. This helps explain why Reagan shows a shocking lack of knowledge about Cherokee history and tradition. The fact that Harley Reagan is in no way a Native American destroys his authority to teach his made up Native American Martial Arts or run his new age cult. Cherokee Chief Wilma Mankiller even considered suing Reagan for slandering the Cherokee Nation with his comments about Cherokee Fire Women.

Harley Reagan is a fraud on multiple levels. He is not a Cherokee, he has falsified much of his martial arts experience, his military record, and his educational background. Reagan uses this fabricated background to charges people over five hundred dollars to attend his martial arts seminars, and up to 1,200 dollars for his sexual workshops.