You are on page 1of 137

Dan Inosanto

70 Years of
Human Greatness



To all my JKD colleagues who took the time to contribute and to
Dan Inosanto, the man to whom we owe it all.

Copyright 2006 by Dwight Woods

There were actually two major things I wanted to do for Dan Inosanto during 2006.
The first was to have the Martial Art Industry Association give him its Lifetime
Achievement Award and the second was to get all his instructor-students to present
him with a unique gift for this milestone.
The idea for the first occurred to me during the 2005 MAIA Super Conference when
Gene LeBell received the award.
The idea for the second came when I read a book called, The e-Code: 33 Internet
Superstars Reveal 43 Ways to Make Money Online Almost Instantly---Using Only
Email. Marketing legends Joe Vitale & Jo Han Mok got thirty-one of their Internet
buddies to email them their best ideas for marketing strategies which they put
together in book form.
That sounded like a perfect way to easily produce a book that could honor Dan
Inosanto on his 70th birthday.
I would just email everyone on the instructor list, they would respond and the
whole project would be over in about two weeks.
Yeah, right! I certainly wasnt prepared for the shock of using the Internet to
conduct a worldwide project.
For instance, I had no idea that if I emailed more than forty addresses at the same
time, AOL would shut down my email account.
After the first time it happened, I switched addresses thinking it was just a glitch.
But the same thing happened so I ended up with two inactive email accounts. Not
good for business.
As the project kept going, I wondered why the response wasnt as quick as Id
expected. Imagine my surprise on discovering that the different email systems
apparently do not communicate easily with each other.
I sent the first email out in February 2006, thinking that everything would be ready
by the end of March, April at the latest.
I found that many of the email addresses, websites and phone numbers available
for Inosanto instructors were at the least outdated if not outright defunct.
As time passed, I kept adding more and more stories until the project really took on
a life of its own. More and more instructors were coming on board and I was
hearing from people Id never met or heard about.
But I began to realise that I wouldnt be able to include everyone either due to
unavailability or unwillingness to contribute.
When desperation kicked in, I started making phone calls and that effort produced
substantially more results.
Its been unreal and a lot of work, but in the end all worth it!
I hope you enjoy

Name: Alan Baker

How did you come to meet and train with Dan Inosanto?
In 1994 a friend and I were running a school in Chattanooga
Tennessee. I wanted to pursue a higher level of growth in the
martial arts so I decided to move to Georgia and enroll in the
Francis Fong Academy. It was an opportunity to train with
Sigung Francis Fong as well as Guro Inosanto. There I continued
to train and peruse the martial arts until Sifu Steve Grantham
opened his school. At that point I started training with Sifu
Steve as well. After receiving a black belt in the Kali and JKD
under Sifu Steve he recommended me to Guro Dan to join the
instructor program. After about another year I received my
instructor certificates from Guro Dan at Mark Mills School where
I was attending a seminar. It was one of the most exciting
moments of my martial arts career. I feel greatly honored to be
apart of such a tremendous organization.

Alan Baker, Georgia

What is the single greatest influence Dan Inosanto has had on you?
Guro Inosanto has been a tremendous role model in the martial arts for me. To have
achieved so much and still be as humble and approachable as he is, its remarkable. His
endless pursuit of knowledge while putting all ego aside is amazing. He has taught me to
continually search and learn in the martial arts.

Please tell your favorite Dan Inosanto story

Name: Alex Chan

How did you come to meet and train with Dan Inosanto?
What is the single greatest Influence Dan Inosanto has had on you?
Guru Dan has been one of the most
influential figures in my life. Much of who
I am today, as an instructor, school owner
and role model to my students, I owe
directly to Guru Dan's teaching and
example. I have never met a more
dedicated martial arts nor a more
knowledgeable man. His dedication to the
Arts is matched only with his dedication to
his students and family.
My first encounter with Guru Dan was at
a New York seminar in 1992. I was a
beginner student and was totally lost and
Alex Chan, New York
blown away by Guru Dan's talent and
presence. Yet I realized something that
seminar that would change my life. Guru Dan wasn't some big, muscle-bound
fighter that taught by fear or intimidation. He was a respectful, soft-spoken
gentleman. Yet he commanded such authority from everyone at the seminar! As I
continued to follow him during seminars I began to realize why all these people
held him in such high regard. For my entire life, I felt limited because I was a
skinny Asian kid who wasn't big or intimidating. Guru Dan, indirectly motivated me
to become the man and the martial artist I am today. His example helped me to
overcome my own insecurity and excel at something that I have always loved to do
but thought that I wasn't strong enough or big enough to do.
For this, I would like to thank Guru Dan from the bottom of my heart and wish him
many more years to come.
Thank you Guru!!

Please tell your favorite Dan Inosanto story

Name: Allen Blois

How did you come to meet, train with and be certified by Dan Inosanto?
I started in the Martial arts in 1979. My older brother (Earl) was taking Karate at a
local school. On Monday September 10, 1979 he purchased Tao of Jeet Kune Do by
Bruce Lee and Bruce Lees Fighting Method by Bruce Lee and M. Uyehara
(hardcover editions). I started reading them and immediately became interested in
learning every thing that was in the books.
At that time in my area there was no one teaching anything like that. So my
brother and I purchased a heavy bag, speed bag, and a double end bag. We set up
a work out area in our parents basement and started training.
With the books I started learning and training. For a live instructor I tried a Kung Fu
school and a Karate school but I was spoiled and found what they were teaching
was so impractical.
I went back to training with my brother, a couple of friends and of course my trusty
books. I trained like this for about 5 years and during this time I told any one that
would listen that some day I would go to California to train with Dan Inosanto.
In the summer of 1993 I saw a poster for a Martial Arts seminar on Jun Fan Gung
Fu and Filipino Martial Arts. I could not believe that Dan Inosanto was coming to
Saint John. I called the number on the poster and talked to Rob Doley. I told him I
would be attending the seminar. I also found out during this phone call that Rob
was a certified instructor, ran a local Martial Arts school, and gave private lessons.
I started training at Robs school (The Doley Academy of Martial Arts) and Rob told
me that Guro Inosanto would be teaching wooden dummy sets for all the
instructors who attended. At that time Rob did not have a wooden dummy. I told
Rob that we could go out to my parents place and make one. We built it and
mounted it at Robs school.
I applied for the instructors program in November 1996 and then again in 1998. I
received my first year apprentice instructor certificate for Jun Fan Gung Fu and
Filipino Martial Arts in March 1999. I now hold associate instructor level 1 in both
I did fulfill my dream of going to California to train with Guro Inosanto. In October
2000 attended the instructors seminar at the Inosanto Academy. It was amazing
for me to be there.

What is the single greatest influence Dan Inosanto has had on you?
The greatest influence Guro Inosanto has had on me would be to never stop
learning and that everyone is important. Other influences are keeping your ego in
check and that you can learn from everyone.

Please tell your favorite Dan Inosanto story

The first time Guro Inosanto called me by name was November 1996. Rob Doley
had booked Guro Inosanto for another seminar in Saint John.
Guro was to arrive at the Saint John airport at around 3pm in the afternoon on
Friday. But he ended up in St Johns Newfoundland.
Rob called me and said that Guro would be getting late on Friday could I come to
the airport to help out? When Guro got off the plane, he saw Rob and me. He
immediately apologized to Rob for being late and then said, Hello, Allen.

Name: Amy Tucci

How did you come to meet and train with Dan Inosanto?
I met Sifu Dan Inosanto for the very first time around
1978 - it was in the Playboy Club in Sussex, New
Jersey, where there was a martial arts demonstration
with some big names. I wasn't really training in martial
arts, but I was there with my then-husband Rick. I met
Sifu Dan, and he was very sweet and nice, and he had
a presence. Who would have known I would be training
with him ten years later. It was actually in 1988 that I
first began my official training under Sifu Dan. We
hosted a seminar with Sifu in Princeton, New Jersey,
and that was the beginning of a long time of training
with the great martial artist Dan Inosanto. During that
time, I was running Princeton Academy of Martial Arts
with Rick, and I was training regularly. I began
traveling all over the US, and even Europe, to see Sifu
Dan. There were the regular seminars, and then there
were the week-long training camps. Then I finally
became certified as an Apprentice. It was something I
really cherished and was very honored to receive,
although when I started my training, certification to
teach was the furthest thing from my mind. From then
on, the training stayed intensive, and I attended just
about every instructor conference in Los Angeles, more
Amy Tucci
seminars, and week-long training camps. I received my
New Jersey
Associate, and then my Full Instructorship in 2001. It
was a really incredible moment for me - I just felt so
honored that Sifu Dan thought enough of me that he
gave me the go-ahead to play a part in keeping alive
the Jun Fan and the Filipino Martial Arts that he had spent his lifetime learning and

What is the single greatest influence Dan Inosanto has had on you?
There are many, many influences Sifu Dan has had on me. His kindness, his
warmth, his sense of humor, his constant desire to learn, his patience, his way of
caring for his students, his amazing skill and precision in the martial arts, all of
these have influenced me and I admire him so much for these qualities. The fact
that he can still train and teach with a very busy schedule, and do it well at age 70
is itself a huge influence for me. Plus, he's my all-time favorite Jiu Jitsu partner! I
know I'm forgetting some more! As for the single greatest influence he has made
on me - it's the understanding of what the martial arts really is about. This quote
by Sifu Dan is one of my favorite by him: "The goal of martial arts is not for the
destruction of an opponent, but to be used as a tool for self-growth and selfperfection. The practice of a martial art should be a practice of love - the love for
the preservation of life, the love for the preservation of your body, the love for the
preservation of your family and friends."

Please tell your two favorite Dan Inosanto stories

My favorite Sifu Dan story - there are lots of them, but one of my favorites is when
I became his teacher, and the roles were reversed. He had a new computer, and it
was a Macintosh, which is my forte, so I became his Mac tutor. I had so much fun
teaching him - he was a dedicated student, and he was so cute and happy when he
got the computer to do what he wanted. We burned CDs, made playlists, did the
whole word processing thing, pictures, files, email. It was all enough to make him
comfortable with the computer, but he was so happy to learn this stuff, I thought it
was great. He really likes his gadgets, so this was one big gadget he went from not
being able to use really at all, to being pretty proficient at. It was really fun for me
to teach him, because I got to switch places, me being the teacher and him being
the student, and he really progressed. We both learned a lot!
Rick and I were driving Sifu and Simo Paula at the Wisconsin camp, which is up in
the north woods - very much out of the way. We were driving up there - it was
nighttime and we had all flown in together to Minneapolis and driven from the
airport to the location of the camp. We were all starving and didn't know what was
around in the way of restaurants. Well, we drove past one lone restaurant, and
since it was late and there was nothing else, we figured we'd better try it. So we
went in an asked them if they were still serving. They said they had like two slices
of frozen pizza left and some meatball soup (!). So, we all sat down and shared the
bounty. It was quite a place, the north woods. Later in the week, Sifu and Simo
wanted to rent a video, so we all went to the bait/tackle/video store - how is that
for one stop shopping?

Name: Anthony Palermo

How did you come to meet, train with and be certified by Dan Inosanto?
I had a friend who had been to one of
Guro Dans seminars in 86. He came
back from the seminar and
demonstrated basic 6-count Sinawali.
I was blown away. I thought, This is
the most devastating form of attack I
had ever witnessed. With some
convincing, time, ice packs, patience
and compassion on my friends part,
he taught me my first Filipino drill and
I was hooked.

Anthony Palermo, California

I went out and bought all the books I

could find this man Inosanto had
written. His writing style was straight forward and to the point, and I was aghast
that instead of telling me all I should know he was asking me questions (me and a
million other folks).
I started practicing from his book but that soon was not enough. I looked around
the Chicago area to find there were very few places I could learn this new art. I
went to my first seminar at Fred Degerbergs in Chicago. The year was 1987.
I thought as I watched him move Wow, that guy is incredible. I hope I can move
as well when I get to be his age.

At that seminar I was fortunate to meet and get to train with one of Guros
students in the area Larry Lindenman. It was quite an experience that lasted about
18 months.
During this time I went to many more seminars and decided if I was ever going to
be certified I would like it to be by Dan Inosanto. Then I was off studying with,
training with and meeting anyone who did any Filipino martial arts.
In 1995 with the help of my cousin Michael and his couch, I went out to the
Inosanto academy and trained for 6 weeks.
In 1997 I was able to spend another month and this time after a very stressful test,
on a beautiful California day on the end of January, he said he would put me on
probation. I was so very happy.

What is the single greatest influence Dan Inosanto has had on you?
I often reflect on where I would be had I not met and been irrevocable influenced
by my teacher Dan Inosanto.
I am not sure I could have become what I am today with out his help and guidance.
He is truly a light in an other wise dark landscape that is Martial arts today.
I am not sure I will ever be able to thank him enough for all that he has given me,
but I will continue to try.
I am not sure he will ever call me his friend but I will always be his even if he has
many friends and little need of me.

Martial Arts for me started as a very practical thing. It was a way for me to exercise
my brain, and my use of language at the same time trying hard not to get my butt
Since I have met this man and began training in Filipino Martial arts that has all
changed for me. I still often have a wicked sense of humor but it has not gotten me
in trouble for many years. I have an inner confidence I cannot explain, but to say it
has helped me often. I have struggled with my own ego and come to a realization
that too much or too little will always be a problem.
All of these things this man Dan Inosanto has helped me with. Every year I
continue to train as much as my body will allow. Every year I try to grow. Every
year I teach I repeat something he told me Aristotle or Plato wrote, Teaching is the
highest form of learning. I try to go into each class and teach as if it were the most
important thing I can do at that moment.
I am just trying to emulate a man I admire so very much. A man who has always
taken the time to answer my question how ever infantile or silly they may seem.
After 20 years of trying and training I have revised my goal to be a brief fraction as
good as he is today and as goals go I feel it is better to shoot for the stars and fall
short, then not try at all.

Please tell your favorite Dan Inosanto story

That following year he got my name wrong every time he called on me to
demonstrate but I did not care. Whatever name he called me I looked around to
make sure it was me he wanted and then with unsteady, sweating hands I did my
best not to embarrass myself or my instructor.
I was so proud to be asked to demo that he could continue to call me any name he
wanted. I always understood that he meets, knows, thousands and thousands of
people, so just that he remembered my face!
This would change the following year and he has never forgotten my name since I
am also very proud of this.

Name: Arndt Mallepree

How did you come to meet, train with and be certified by Dan Inosanto?
I remember my first time seeing Guro Dan Inosanto
live very fresh. It happened on a seminar in Speyer,
Germany in May 1994. My brother Peter did before
visit a seminar under Sifu Paul Vunak and decided to
see Guro Dan in Person after it. He told me, that I
needed to see the art of JKD and of Kali.
At that time, I was already training in different
martial arts systems for 17 years starting with
Judo, Ju-Jutsu, Taekwondo and Muay Thai Boxing.
My active career as a full contact fighter in
Taekwondo was close before its end and I was
already teaching this art.

Arndt Mallepree

But I searched a self-defense methode for my type of

body. Most teachers told me that their art would fit
me, but it never did fit my mind so that I created an opened mind methode with
my brother Peter.
When I saw Guro Dan perform and talking to all the participants, I felt like a little
child again. Seeing someone and listening to his words, I was seeking to find for
such a long time!
After this first seminar, I felt to be on the right way and I wanted to see and hear
more. But I already recognized that there was long way in front of me. The stick
work I never did before was very hard for me but the empty hand portion of JKD
and Panantukan we saw and tried to perform after watching it made me feel better.
Attending more seminars and seeing Guro Dan, leaded me to another Arnisador in
Germany. Guro Alfred Plath helped me through my trouble dealing with the sticks.
My empty hand work became better and so we decided to make a journey towards
Los Angeles to train at the Inosanto Academy. After 4 weeks of 8 hours training, we
took the flight home with the big wish to become a certified Instructor under Guro
In 2003, we were excepted from Guro Dan in his international instructors
association and my wish came true. I got a letter from Simo Paula Inosanto telling
me that I was accepted as an apprentice instructor and that Guro Dan waived the
instructors candidacy in my case. I felt very honoured and started to train even
harder to show Guro Dan, that he made the right decision. Today I feel that I still
have so much to learn and the more I learn the more I want to see and the more I
feel the need to train more.

What is the single greatest influence Dan Inosanto has had on you?
From my first time seeing Guro Dan I felt very special touched from his words. He
showed me a path for my life and my martial art!
During my work as a cop, I already experienced a part of the truth in the oracion of
the LaCoste-Inosanto Kali saying:
With my mind and my heart I cherish the knowledge my Instructor has given me,
for it is my life in combat!

Please tell your favorite Dan Inosanto story

Two stories I will never forget. Once I went to a seminar of Guro Dan and in the
need of a new haircut I did shave myself a baldhead. Reaching the seminar I
remember Guro Dan asking my brother Peter were I was. But I was standing right
next to my brother, but Guro didnt recognize me without hair. When I told him,
Guro take a look, its me! we all started laughing.
The second story happened during a seminar in the year 2000. When I spoke to
Guro and told him, that I felt Shooto to be the JKD of the Millenium, while seeing
Erik Paulson perform it. He laughed and told me to tell Sensei Erik what I just
finished to tell him. Today I know better cause I know that I was talking about
Sensei Eriks personal JKD, which he named Combat Submission Wrestling.
There are more things and stories that could be told, but these are the two of my
choice to be told here. The others remain untold but not forgotten, cause they
touched my heart and anybody who had such moments with Guro Dan will know
what I am talking about.
Thank you Guro Dan for your divine guidance in my martial art, which guided me in
my personal life as well.

Name: Arthur Ligopantis

How did you come to meet, train with and be certified by Dan Inosanto?
Guro, I remember our first meeting in 1985. You taught a seminar in Parramatta
Town Hall, Sydney Australia. I was in total awe of your depth of knowledge in the
martial arts.
To be in your presence, for me, was a life long dream. As a young child, I was
drawn to the martial arts through the influence of Bruce Lee. As I learnt more about
the martial arts, I realized that my destiny was with you.
After many years of trying to get into the instructors program, then finally being
accepted, re- affirmed your belief in me.
I want to thank you for giving me an opportunity to be part of an extremely
fortunate group of people who share the same vision, to grow and give back to the
community unselfishly.

What is the single greatest influence Dan Inosanto has had on you?
When I was asked to write my piece for Guro Dan's 70th birthday I felt honored to
be part of a group of individuals that share the same love for a man who has the
same love and passion for his arts, but more importantly a man who gives
unselfishly to whomever wants to learn the way of the martial arts.
How do I begin to say thank you to a human being who teaches the arts as a
vehicle for living life, a man who in essence has given me a reason to continue
developing myself and my students through his teachings?
How does one begin to say thank you to a man who tirelessly travels the world to
share his knowledge, a man who has an uncanny ability to impart knowledge that
has his audience captivated and in awe of his physical abilities?
In your book The Filipino Martial Arts, you make reference to Michael Harts book,
the 100 most influential people in the history of mankind. I can say without a
doubt that Guro, you certainly fit in that category. The amount of lives you have
impacted upon worldwide is without a doubt one of the greatest gifts anyone could
ever give.

Please tell your favorite Dan Inosanto story

Name: Bob Breen

How did you come to meet and train with Dan Inosanto?
What is the single greatest influence Dan Inosanto has had on you?
Please tell your favorite Dan Inosanto story
Happy Birthday Dan
Dan you are loved by people, of all races,
the world over. Why? You embody the
attributes that we all seek in our search
for fulfilment and contentment. Whilst
human in every way you have inspired
my friends, students and I to strive a
little harder, to share more, to be more
disciplined and to keep a humble nature
whilst excelling. The impact of you on
my life and the lives of millions of others
has been huge. One of our t-shirts for
one of your seminars said warriorBob Breen, United Kingdom
scholar-guru. You embody all of these.
Through the window of martial arts you
have shown us the strengths and beauty
of other cultures and peoples, surely a great thing in the polarized times in which we live.
You are a sharer. Youve introduced me and countless others to other masters and methods.
Any fame I may have achieved is to a large extent the result of your help and assistance. In
fact, the world of martial arts would have been radically different without the unique and
lovely man you are.
Those of us close to you who have been able to share your training experience have seen
the discipline and focus you have. Where possible we have copied this and passed it on to
our students. None of us, though younger, have been able to stay the course on the
physical level, never mind the mental engagement that you seem to have when studying.
Above all though, training with and alongside you has been fun.
Ive trained and been a loyal student now for some 27 years. My initial relationship with you
didnt start too well as Im sure you didnt understand my accent and the speed at which I
spoke. However, over time our communication improved immensely. Whereas initially I
regarded you as a hugely influential and amazingly inspirational teacher, our relationship
has evolved over time from teacher to mentor to friend. First, you became my mentor.
Putting me in touch with other masters and recommending a particular route of study or
just helping me along the path when I seemed to stumble. Over time, you have become a
close friend, albeit a very special friend. It is this friendship which is now most important to
me. Though incredibly fond of Martial Arts, my relationship with you transcends this.
On your seventieth birthday I wish you well, God bless and all the happiness that you so
richly deserve.
Much love
Bob Breen

Name: Bob Carver

How did you come to meet and train with Dan Inosanto?
You may remember that we first met in person in February
of 1985, when I brought you up to Ottawa for a seminar. A
couple of telephone conversations to make sure details were
ok had preceded our meeting in person, and the result was
one of the great moments of my life. Thanks.
But I have a confession to make. It wasnt the first time we
met. I started training in 1973, and like many others at the
time had read the articles of the day being published in
Karate Illustrated, Black Belt, and Inside Kung Fu.
One evening in 1975, after some thought, I decided to give
you a call. A simple call to LA information was all it took,
and voila, I had Dan Inosanto's phone number.
Yep, I was one of those guys of which you probably had
way too many, call and interrupt your evening. I got you at
home, and you were very kind and patient, at the end of
our conversation I said; thanks, my name is Bob Carver, I
hope to get to your Academy some day. It took ten more
years, but the wait was worth every minute.

Bob Carver, Canada

What is the single greatest influence Dan Inosanto has had on you?
To say that you have been a big influence on my life would be a bit of an
understatement. Getting to work with you over the years has always been fun and
has only solidified my opinion that you are amongst the finest martial artists to
have ever lived, bar none.
Meeting you enabled me to break into training the Special Forces community
through the application of the techniques and concepts that you share.
As I get older, I continue to be amazed at your tireless efforts to spread the art(s),
and hold true to your ideals with a level of integrity that is unsurpassed. Bruce Lee
came up with the concept, but Guro you sure have run with the ball.

Please tell your favorite Dan Inosanto story

The ONLY time I have ever witnessed Dan Inosanto look anything but in total
control was at the 1985 Smoky Mountain Camp.
If you remember, we had an R and R afternoon, where we went rafting on the
Nantahala River. I was in the raft ahead of you, and we got through the last bumpy
trough of the run without mishap.
We pulled our raft around to watch the next couple of rafts come through the same
spot. You were seated at the rear of the next raft and took the first dip quite well.
But the second bump proved to be your undoing. You were lifted into the air 5 or 6
feet out the backend of the raft and unceremoniously dumped into the river.
The look on your face as you popped to the surface was not quite panicky, but
certainly distressed. At that point, I said to myself, Well I guess he is human after

Name: Bob Heinemann

How did you come to meet, train with and be certified by Dan Inosanto?
Ive only been training for 5 years and will have
completed my first year as an apprentice instructor this
coming May (2006), but like so many of us Guro Inosanto
has had a profound effect on my life.
There arent many people who I can say that about.
When I first saw Guro teach a seminar I was blown away
and totally unaware as to what I was seeing. What really
inspired me most about Guro was his genuine humility.
While visiting the Inosanto Academy for a few weeks back
in 2002 I remember being so impressed with the level of
respect, admiration, and love that surrounded this humble
and talented man. One could gather from the environment
the greatness of this person.

Bob Heinemann

That was the moment I knew this was what I wanted to be associated with. To be
an instructor under Guro Inosanto is something I hold in the highest regards and is
what Im most proud of.

What is the single greatest influence Dan Inosanto has had on you?
As I continue to progress in the arts and as a student and an instructor I become
more impressed with Guros dedication as a teacher and student. I see the impact
he has had on the lives of my instructors, Guro Andy Wilson and Rick Faye, and
now Im lucky enough to be a part of that lineage.
My fondness and admiration for Guro Inosanto continues to grow with time and I
feel it is an honor and obligation to promote and pass on, with the highest level of
integrity that I can, what Guro Dan has passed on to all of us.

Please tell your favorite Dan Inosanto story

Heres one of my favorite Guro Dan stories. At Thai camp, summer of 2004, as we
were closing up camp my girlfriend and I happened to be in the same vicinity as
Guro and a casual conversation began.
This was a unique moment in that most of the time Guro is surrounded by so many
people wanting a picture, or a question answered, or just to be in his presence.
I forget how we got on the subject, but Guro said I could write a book about all of
the things that Ajarn Chai has done over the last 30 years and he began to take us
through all of these hilarious stories that involved Chai.
Then Ajarn Chai joined us and filled us in on some of these events. It was truly a
special moment for me because it was so relaxed and such a small group and Guro
and Chai were having fun just being old friends talking old times.

Name: Bruce Jolly

How did you come to meet and train with Dan Inosanto?
I first met Guru Dan in Charlotte while I was
training under Sifu Larry Hartsell and Guru Dick
Harrell. He had been in NC giving a lecture.
At that time there were only three JKD schools
in the world.
We were all very excited, it was a small group
and we were honored to be meeting him. He
came in and was as he remains today humble
and wanting to show the arts. We all were able
to approach him and interact.
It was a moment that changed my life. That
was about 1981 or 82.

What is the single greatest influence Dan

Inosanto has had on you?

Bruce Jolly, Georgia

The single greatest influence Guru has had on me is his ability to remain a student
and the way he is able to constantly grow.
I must add that the way he is able to handle people and his friendliness is also an
attribute I greatly admire.

Please tell your favorite Dan Inosanto story

Once in Colorado Guru was giving a seminar. I was able to attend and demo with
him. It was a particularly cold morning. It had been snowing and it was early with a
wooden gym floor, no mat. We started into some warm up but it was very cold in
the gym so not a lot of warming up took place.
At that time we were doing a lot of Silat. When Guru called me up I had figured we
would do some positioning and work into the harder throws.
I remember being up in the air as he was saying, "Bruce, I just want you to feel
When I hit the floor my back landed straight and it was very hard and cold. As I lay
there I was sure several minutes had gone by which in reality were only seconds.
I wasn't sure if I could get up but he had thrown me with just enough force to let
me "feel it" without hurting me.
As I approach my 50th birthday Guru, I always treasure in my heart and mind the
things you have taught me both on and off the floor. I appreciate you letting me be
a part of your organization and your life.
Happy Birthday!

Name: Bud Thompson

How did you come to meet, train with and be certified by Dan Inosanto?
It seems like it was only yesterday that I had the
privilege of meeting you and Bruce Lee. It was
early 1965, over 41 years ago. I still to this day
remember that moment and I will never forget it.
I had been taking care of Dan's students, opening
up, closing collecting membership fees, etc. and
one day Dan decided I should be a certified
instructor after teaching for him for several years.
That day was on November 9, 1982 little more
than a year after the passing of the Grand
Mastership from Grand Master Floro Villabrille to
Tuhon Ben Largusa in Kuai, Hawaii, August 1981
which I attended as part of the Los Angeles
Demonstration Team.
Dan has always called me a straight shooter, a
person that shoots from the hip. If you do not
want to hear the truth, DON'T ASK ME.
Black is black and white is white; there is no grey
According to Dan Inosanto, I am the oldest
instructor still teaching Kali/Jun Fan Gung Fu as
was taught to me in the beginning.
In Dan's own words he refers me to as, "THE OLD
appreciate the last part of that quote.

Bud Thompson

What is the single greatest influence Dan

Inosanto has had on you?
You have been one of the most influential persons in my life. The things I have
learned from you are priceless: compassion, humility, respect for other martial arts
and the knowledge I have today.
Dan, we have been down many paths the last four decades and I am looking
forward to traveling down many more. Its not the destination we seek but the

Please tell your favorite Dan Inosanto story

One day Dan asked me to teach his classes for a month as he was going to be
doing seminars in Europe. That month turned into fifteen years............

Name: Burton Richardson

How did you come to meet, train with and be certified by Dan Inosanto?
I first started training in the
martial arts in 1979 when I
was 17 years old. My first
girlfriend was training at a
place called the Filipino Kali
Academy. She taught me a
little with the sticks, and for
my 18th birthday she gave
me the Tao of Jeet Kune Do,
along with the Bruce Lees
Fighting Methods books.
Later that year, in 1980, I
took my first trip to the
Academy, which happened to
be a mile and a half from my

Burton Richardson, Hawaii

The brick warehouse off

Normandie Avenue seemed normal enough from the outside, but when I walked in I
discovered a whole new world. Sifu Dan Inosanto was playing the drums with a
few others doing back-up. Guys were jumping rope, hitting the heavy bags, and
shadow boxing on the concrete floor. The kicking shields came out and I really
enjoyed watching that. The boxing gloves came out and a student got a bloody
nose right in front of me. I thought that was amazing. But even that didnt
prepare me for what I was about to witness.
Sifu Inosanto yelled out a command and the students all grabbed weapons. There
were sticks and training swords and training knives. The drums started and the
students began what I now know to be Numerado. After a time, Sifu Inosanto
called the round to a halt. He stepped in front of the class to demonstrate with the
weapons. Now, I dont remember what weapons he used or what he did, but one
thing was evident: I was hooked. Absolutely and completely hooked.
I started at the Kali Academy a few months later when a new class opened at the
beginning of summer. I went to U.S.C. after the summer, but practiced on my
own. I kept training during the summers until I was finished with college. After a
long, arduous university experience that left me physically ill and nearly broken
psychologically, I made one of the greatest decisions of my life.
Instead of continuing on to graduate school, I found a place to live where I didnt
have to pay rent. I lived in a tiny camper trailer in the parking lot of a dog and cat
hospital in one of the worst sections of downtown Los Angeles. I watched the
animals at night, and lived there rent-free. That meant that I could train. I worked
as a courier a few days a week and started at the Marina Del Rey school on
Saturdays, then soon started in Sifus IMB academy daytime class. I then added
the Marina Del Rey evening classes twice a week, then added Sifus IMB evening
classes. If Sifu was teaching a class in the L.A. area, I was there.
One day, at the IMB daytime class, I was getting ready to start, as were the other
students. Sifu came in through the side door, put his bags down, then called me
over. He had been using me to demonstrate with for quite some time, but he had

never called me over before a class. I approached with some trepidation. He was
on one knee, going through his bag when he looked up at me. He asked, Are you
going to keep on training? I said yes. Good he replied. I want to make you
an Apprentice Instructor. I remember my shock to this day, and I remember my
exact response. Who? Me? With that Sifu stood up, clicked his sticks together
and started class. I was an Apprentice Instructor. I think Simo Paula had a lot to
do with that appointment, as she was always helping me in any way she could.
A few years later Sifu had an article in a major martial arts magazine to clear up
some controversy. In that magazine he listed all of his Associate and Full
instructors, as there had been some disputes about who was legitimate and who
wasnt. Simo Paula handed me the magazine and told me to look at the article. I
did, and scanned all of the names. I finished scanning the article and the list, and
gave it back to Simo. She had a strange look on her face. She said something like,
You didnt see it? See what? She leafed through, then noticed that there had
been a misprint. There was a continuation of the instructor list on another page.
She found the page and showed it to me. There was my name. That is how I
found out that I had become an Associate Instructor with Sifu Inosanto.
Five years later I accompanied Sifu and Simo on a seminar for Bob Breen in
London. Simo Paula made the introductions for the large crowd. She thanked Bob
Breen, introduced Sifu Inosanto, then pointed to me and said something like Here
to help is Burt Richardson. He is a Full Instructor under Sifu Inosanto. That was
news to me. The seminar started, I went up to assist Sifu as Simo walked past me.
I looked at her, my eyes saying, Did I hear that right? She just smiled and sailed
on past.

What is the single greatest influence Dan Inosanto has had on you?
The biggest single influence Sifu Inosanto has had on my life? That is so hard to
choose, as the majority of good things that I have done and have are due to Sifu
If I have to choose one, I think I will relate back to the first time I met Sifu at the
Kali Academy in 1980. When I saw the students move those weapons for the first
time a distinct thought came to me. As enamored as I was, I thought, I will never
be able to do that. I was a very successful athlete and student at that time. I
had a lot of confidence in many areas, but something told me that I would never be
able to do the things that those students did in Numerado.
That nagging voice of self-doubt that we all hear came up and spoke loudly, and I
did not contest it. I relegated myself to being less-than. Because Sifu Inosanto
is so generous and patient with his teaching, I was able to slowly learn how to use
those weapons.
Through his guidance, I went from learning what an angle one was to being able
to flow with various weapons combinations. I am sure that he was frustrated many
times, but he never showed it. Eventually, I was able to perform at a level that I
didnt think I would ever be able to reach.
Sifu Inosanto never gave up on me, and proved to me that I could do it. This
meant that I could learn to do just about anything. I try to pass that lesson on to
my students all around the world, giving them the gift of self-confidence.
Sifu Inosanto didnt just make me a better martial artist; he turned me into a more
productive human being.

Please tell your favorite Dan Inosanto story

I am often asked the same question: What is Dan Inosanto like? This is what I
tell them.
Sifu Inosanto is the most generous person I have ever met. He is generous with
his time, with his knowledge, and with his advice. But he takes the concept of
generosity even farther than that.
Years and years ago, an old friend of Sifu Inosanto moved to Los Angeles from
North Carolina. That friend was Sifu Larry Hartsell. Moving to a new town wasnt
easy, and Sifu Hartsell wasnt a well-known martial artist. Sifu Inosanto wanted to
help his friend. Besides letting Sifu Hartsell teach at the academy, Sifu Inosanto
did something that shows his true character.
Just about every year at that time, Sifu Inosanto went to Australia for a seminar
tour. I believe it lasted a full month because Sifu had to travel from school to
school to cover expenses as well as the seminar fee. Traveling around for a month
may sound like a great deal, but it is not easy.
Sifu Inosanto wanted to help Sifu Hartsell become better known, so he arranged
with the tour promoters to have Sifu Hartsell come along and also conduct
seminars. Sifu Hartsell would get a great deal of exposure while making some
much-needed money from the seminars. He gladly accepted the offer, and the long
tour went off very well.
I doubt that Sifu Hartsell knows the details of that trip. How did Sifu Inosanto get
the promoters to agree to pay for Sifu Hartsell? The truth is that Sifu Inosanto told
the promoters to take his entire seminar fee and use it to pay for Sifu Hartsells
airfare, lodging, and earnings. Sifu Inosanto left home for a month, traveled from
town to town teaching day in and day out, without earning a penny. All so that he
could help out his friend.
That is what Sifu Dan Inosanto is like.

Name: Calbert Strawn

How did you come to meet, train with and be certified by Dan Inosanto?
My first experience with Guro Inosanto came when I
was around 13 years old when I began training at
Sifu Francis Fongs school right outside of Atlanta.
Having just read Jeet Kune Do: Art and Philosophy of
Bruce Lee, I was tremendously excited to attend my
first Southeastern Martial Arts Training Conference
where I would get to meet and learn from the man
whom I already had a great amount of respect for,
Guro Inosanto. Going to this seminar made me feel
both excited and nervous. As it turns out, it was one
of the best experiences of my life. Despite the fact
that I had my stick in the air constantly throughout
the seminar because I was a beginner, Guro
Inosanto did not hesitate to make his way over to
me and my partner every single time in order to
further explain what he was teaching. After the
seminar I shook Guros hand and asked him to sign
my copy of his book. At that point I was so excited
that I could not really say anything. That seminar
was the start of my training in Jun Fan Gung Fu and
the Filipino Martial Arts. Though it took me a while
because of other training, I continued to train both
arts until I became a certified instructor under Guro
Inosanto in 2005.

Calbert Strawn

What is the single greatest influence Dan Inosanto has had on you?
There are literally tons of things that Ive learned from Guro Inosanto, but I believe
the single greatest influence he has had on me has been passing on his love for the
Filipino Martial Arts. The art of Kali is one of my favorite systems to study, train,
teach, etc. I give all of the credit in the world to Guro Dan for sparking this interest
within me and then maintaining my interest over the years with his wealth of
knowledge and generosity of instruction. I probably would not have embarked
upon the art of Kali if not for him, so I thank him for providing me with the tools to
not only begin to understand this combat art, but also to see it as a science of
movement, a physical culture, and as a way to build character and relationships.

Please tell your favorite Dan Inosanto story

I have not been an instructor under Guro Inosanto for nearly as long as most have,
so my personal stories of him have yet to be formed. I can say, however, that my
first trip to the Inosanto Academy was very memorable for me. Training in Guro
Dans FMA class, doing carenza right in front of him, and discussing technical
information with him afterwards was enough to keep me smiling for months. I look
forward to many more years of training under Guro Dan and experiencing first hand
what the most generous instructor that I know of has to share. Thanks for
everything Guro Dan (past, present, and future), and have a very happy birthday!

Name: Csar Fernndez De Las Peas, Spain

How did you come to meet and train with Dan Inosanto?
I met Guro Dan in September 1999, when he came to Valencia, Spain for a
seminar. That weekend was the first time that I saw the person who will change my
life and my martial art thinking. I remember when I could talk with him during the
seminar; it was a magic moment to me. I was 20 years old.
At that moment, I knew that I would like to learn with Guro Dan for the rest of my
life. I decided that I will travel to the Inosanto Academy every year to stay with
Guro Dan on his academy.
Since 2000, each year I travel to the IAMA to stay from 15 to 30 days with Guro
Dan. This moment is one of the most marvellous experiences of my life; each year
is different and better than the previous one.

What is the single greatest influence Dan Inosanto has had on you?
Today I am 26 years old, and I always consider to Guro Dan my father and
grand-father in my life.
During my martial art life, I always thought in a person as Guro Dan, not only as
martial artist, as person also. Guro Dan is the inspiration to each person who met
him, especially to me.
You can see on his eyes, the humility, the honesty and the resolution of a great
person. Each moment with Guro Dan is a magic moment; you always learn form
the life with him.
It is the person that you will like to have with you on each moment. It is a friend
for all your life.

Please tell your favorite Dan Inosanto story

It is so difficult to decide which history of Guro Dan is my favourite. His experience
is amazing, and when he starts with any history, it is a marvellous experience to
I love when we talk about the Spanish influence in Filipino Martial Arts, probably
because I am Spanish.
I would like to thanks to Guro Dan for all the moments that I can stay with him. I
always bring his thinking in my heart. Thank you very much Guro Dan for your life.

Name: Chad Silvis

How did you come to meet and train with Dan Inosanto?
I can remember when I was a white belt all the people talking about how great
Guro Inosanto is, and how smoothly he moved, and how much knowledge he
contained. This was very overwhelming. How could I even comprehend one
millionth of the material he presented at this level. Because of this, I waited
several months before attending my first Inosanto seminar.
The first Guro Inosanto seminar I attended was in Wichita Falls, Texas back in
2001. The seminar was held in a junior high school gym. I had been training with
Guro Harley Elmore for about a year at this time and felt a little more comfortable
about attending this seminar. I felt I had a good grasp of techniques in all the
systems that were being taught. Boy was I wrong.
When Guro Inosanto arrived he led us through several warm-ups. Pretty easy so
far. Was I in for a shock! We then moved to some Kali, and I started going
downhill from there. I always though Kali to be one of my strong points, but Guro
made me feel about the size of a speck of dust. The material he taught, at this
time seems so simple, but back then was just awe inspiring. Most of the time I
could not follow the drill because I was just amazed at how Guro moved, and how
"slick" he made everything seem.
By the end of the first day I could barely remember my name, but got a real
glimpse at how great a martial artist Guro Dan really was. If I came away with
nothing else I did retain a better appreciation of the man that influenced so many
others to achieve more from martial arts then they could alone. Because of Guro
Dan I want to be as good as I can as a martial artist and as a human being.
I am a full instructor now at Warriors Way and I hear students that attend Guro's
seminars comment about how well he moves for his age, or how easily he moves
someone for his size. Looking back at my first seminar those thoughts never
crossed my mind. I just saw a great man, and I can only hope that one day I will
be at least a faction for the man he is. The only way I feel I can truly repay him is
to continue to teach the arts that he has given us, and strive to better everyone
around me, and encourage everyone to "see for themselves" "The Man".

Thank you Guro for opening my eyes and accepting me into your family as an
Guro Chad Silvis
Warriors Way
Wichita Falls, Tx

What is the single greatest influence Dan Inosanto has had on you?
Please tell your favorite Dan Inosanto story

Name: Charles Chi

How did you come to meet, train with and be certified by Dan Inosanto?
I was first introduced to Guro Dan and his amazing
teaching methods in 1979 by my cousin who
brought me to his school.
At that time the school was located a few blocks
south of Century Blvd. in Los Angeles and the
school was called the Kali academy. I must admit I
had no clue what that was.
Once inside I was introduced to a whole new world
of martial arts training. Everyone had heard of
Bruce Lee and everybody tried to imitate him, but
none of us really knew there was someone around
Like Guro Dan who could actually teach his style.

Charles Chi,
New York

I had never seen anything like what he was teaching at that time. His methods
were totally different from all the traditional groups of that time.
I was only able to study at the school for a few short weeks as I had already
decided to go to the Philippines to complete my college education. Because of my
exposure to Filipino martial arts with Guro Dan I embraced the training once I
arrived in the Philippines. To my amazement there were no formal Kali-EscrimaArnis schools and most of the instructor all met at Luneta Park early in the
mornings and in the evening for training.
After I returned to the States, I was determined to find Guro and continue my
training with him. After training with so many instructors over the years (some of
them very famous) I recognized Guro Dan to have a unique personality and
methodology of teaching that made him an exceptional educator. I trained with
Guro through seminars from 1984 until 2001 when I finally became an instructor in
his organization.

What is the single greatest influence Dan Inosanto has had on you?
The greatest impact Guro has had on my life comes from his caring and sharing
personality and open mindedness when it comes to learning and teaching. I am so
thankful to him for introducing me to my Indonesian Silat instructor Pa Herman
Suwanda who passed away back in March of 2000 and I thank Guro for allowing me
to join his family and organization of instructors in 2001 after Pa Hermans death.

Please tell your favorite Dan Inosanto story

My favorite Guro Dan Anecdote would have to be the story that he tells of Bruce
Lees challenge in the traditional Chinese community with regards to teaching nonChinese students. Guro usually gets pretty choked up when telling it and I know
that it is something that carries a lot of personal meaning for him.
It is important to me because I am of mixed racial heritage (mestizo) and I have
been denied acceptance by some instructors because of it. Guro recalls how Bruce
stood up the prejudice that existed and told others that a good student was a
credit to his teacher regardless of his race.
Nowadays that seems like a story from an age gone by but for those of us who
grew up in the 1960s it has tremendous relevance.

Name: Chris Kent

How did you come to meet, train with and be certified by Dan Inosanto?
Okay here is the stuff. It is very difficult to simply write
about Dan, because he means so much on so many levels.
But here goes.
I was seventeen and a half years old and had been training
in martial arts since I was about thirteen, but had never
really found what I was looking for. Then I read two
magazine articles about JKD, one written by Bruce Lee, and
the other written by Dan Inosanto ("JKD is fast, powerful
and deceptive"). Something about what the articles said
seemed to strike a chord with me and I decided I wanted to
Chris Kent
learn Jeet Kune Do. I knew the Bruce Lee was in Hong
Kong, but found out Dan was living and teaching in Carson,
California, which was about twenty miles from where I lived
in Santa Monica. I managed to get hold of Dan's telephone number and called him.
After about two months of persistently calling, he invited me to come down to his
house to talk to him on one of the nights he had his JKD class. At that time he was
teaching in a gym constructed in his backyard and there were only about a dozen
people training. I drove down and we talked for about two hours or so while the
class was going on. And at the end of he said, "So, do want to start training?" And
of course I said "Yeah, man." I still remember that day as one of the most magical
and important days of my life. And several years later I was told that my name had
actually been sixteenth on a list of people who wanted to train with Dan. Call it fate,
destiny or whatever, I was one of the luckiest people on the planet. So I started
training about June 3rd, 1973. In 1982 I was awarded my Full Instructor
certification in both Jun Fan/ JKD and Filipino Kali.

What is the single greatest influence Dan Inosanto has had on you?
As I said, that's very difficult because he has influenced me on so many different
levels. So I would have to say there are two. First, he guided me to develop my
own passion for martial art training and the study of the human body. Second, I
can honestly say that through my relationship with Dan, I was able to become
closer to my father. There are so many others but I would say that those are the
greatest influences.

Please tell your favorite Dan Inosanto story

Again there are so many. But probably one of my favorites is when I spent the
night on the living room at Dan's house after a big barbecue with all of the JKD
seniors and their wives and girlfriends. And the following morning Dan said, "Let's
go..." and he took me on a drive all around Palos Verdes to the spots where he and
Bruce had shot all of those early photographs training on the cliffs overlooking the
ocean. It was just a really cool thing to do. Another would have to be having Dan
and all of the JKD seniors as well as Ben Largusa at my twenty-first birthday

Name: Christian Malgeri

How did you come to meet, train with and be certified by Dan Inosanto?
Introduction: Meeting the Legend
My introduction into the world of martial arts as taught by Dan Inosanto came at a
pivotal point in my life when I was considering giving up martial arts altogether. I
had attained a Black Belt in both Tang Soo Do and American Kenpo and considered
myself fairly accomplished. As much as I loved martial arts, I was feeling stagnant,
without a sense of purpose or growth in my own training.
On a whim I asked for, and received, Dan Inosantos Filipino Martial Arts video
instructional series as a Christmas present. I knew that Inosanto was a student of
Bruce Lee, but it was the Filipino Kali and Eskrima that rekindled my desire to train.
I attempted to train the material presented on the videos, but quickly realized that
I would need an instructor trained in these arts to guide me. A phone call to the
Inosanto Academy led me to the closest instructor in my area, Sifu David Hatch of
Attributive Martial Arts in Canton, Michigan. Little did I know at the time that Sifu
Dave would become my mentor and most ardent supporter in my martial arts
My first meeting with Sifu Dave and his wife Lynda reaffirmed that my decision was
indeed the correct one. I was exposed to a variety of techniques and training
methods that I have now come to embrace. Through Sifu Dave I learned of Savate,
Muay Thai, Wing Chun, JKD, Kali, Silat and grappling.
Several months later I had the great pleasure of attending a Guro Dan seminar in
Waterloo, Indiana hosted by Sifu Keith Wetoskey. To see the same material live
and in person was awe-inspiring. I watched closely and trained diligently after that,
hoping one day to following in my Sifus footsteps and become certified in the
Filipino and Jun Fan Martial Arts.
My training under Sifu Dave continued and after two more years of seminars I was
awarded my Apprentice Instructor certifications under Guro Dan with Sifu Daves
I remember this as one of the most paradoxical days in my career thus far. While I
was elated to be recognized for my efforts, never had two little pieces of paper felt
so heavy in my hands. Now I had to perform well and be a credit to my teachers all
the time!
I am honored to be part of the Inosanto International Martial Arts Instructors
Association. It is truly a privilege to train with Guro Dan and share in the legacy of
martial arts that he has created. To be in the ranks of such men as Sifu David
Hatch, Sifu Rick Faye, Sifu Dwight Woods, Sifu Francis Fong, Sensei Erik Paulson,
Professor Salem Assli and others adds a dimension to my life that I would not have
dreamt possible.

What is the single greatest Influence Dan Inosanto has had on you?
Three Attributes
I have always felt that lessons with Guro Dan transcend simple combative
technique or training method and delve deeply into the heart of what it means to be
a good human being. The martial arts as taught by Guro serve as a catalyst to
teach us about ourselves and enrich our lives with depth and character.

Without question, the lesson I carry with me every day is simple: the three most
important attributes of a martial artist are love, compassion, and humility.
In an era when attitude and ego are ever present in martial arts, such a lesson is
priceless. Indeed, this lesson, like all great lessons, can be applied in a myriad of
ways. I have chosen only a few that stand out to me now for sake of brevity:
Love: We train martial arts to protect those we love, to defend our country
and ourselves. We study the arts because we love the cultures that created
them and the teachers that pass the arts to us.
Compassion: We use martial arts with compassion. Our discipline makes us
compassionate to our friends and family. We are compassionate to our
enemies and only us enough force to defend ourselves. Perhaps most
importantly we learn to be compassionate with ourselves, not to be too hard
on our bodies, too restricted with our minds or too brash in spirit.
Humility: In training we see our strengths and weaknesses laid out before
us. We accept our gifts and use them to the best of our ability. We
acknowledge that these gifts and this knowledge came from the Creator and
no matter how good we ever become, there is always someone better at

Please tell your favorite Dan Inosanto story

He called me Scott
I suppose that all new students on the seminar circuit want to be recognized by
Guro Dan. After all, he is the standard by which martial arts are judged and a
simple, Thats pretty good can make your weekend. (Its a bit different from my
first Ajarn Chai experience, Your form looks like shit, sir.)
I attended all of my initial seminars with my mentor, Sifu David Hatch, and my
training partner at the time, Scott. For several seminars Scott and traveled around
to Chicago, Waterloo, Cincinnati and the like to learn all we could. At the time I
thought we were just a face in the crowd.
A few months later Scott fell out of training and I continued on. Working on the JKD
Kickboxing 1-2 Series with Sifu Dave I heard Good job, Scott. I looked over to see
Guro walking past. This would continue for the better part of the year. But I was
recognized, albeit as Scott.
But whats in a name? It mattered not at all that he got it wrong, only that my
efforts were acknowledged. Fortunately with Sifu Daves kind assistance we got it
all worked out.

A Remarkable Life Continues

Dear Guro Dan,
From everyone here at my school in Clawson, Michigan I wish you all the happiness
and joy that life can bring. Yours is a life inspiring others to greatness through your
actions and words. It has been a privilege to know you these past 15 years and to
be able to work with you for many more years to come.
For all that you have done, Maraming Salamat Po!
Happy Birthday, and many happy returns.
Christian Malgeri, Victor Gojcevic, Mike Sheppard, Joe Aleman, Zeyiad Elias, Lee

Name: Christopher Clarke

How did you come to meet, train with Dan Inosanto?
I began my martial arts training in 1983 while
still in high school. I, as many newer students
do, would browse the martial arts magazines
to learn more about the various styles. I saw
an article about Sifu Inosanto and about the
same time I came across ads for his books as
well. It wasnt long much longer until I had an
opportunity to fly from Alaska to Washington
to attend a seminar with Sifu Inosanto in June
of 1984. I remember him entering the school
gymnasium where the seminar was being held
with all of his training gear in tow. At that
point in time, almost no one used equipment
in training and Sifu had to bring duffel bags
Christopher Clarke,
full of focus mitts for attendees to use in
I remember the host wanted Sifu to teach
Tayada to the group. Since maybe all of four people in the room had seen the
exercise previously, it was certainly a challenge to say the least. After about three
minutes I remember him saying, (and it still makes me laugh), with as much
kindness as possible while still getting his point across, why dont we start from

What is the single greatest influence Dan Inosanto has had on you?
I cannot attempt to even count the amount of times where I have been impressed,
inspired and literally awed by his physical talents and mastery of the arts; his
knowledge and ability to convey the philosophy, geography and history of the
cultures in which the arts flourished; his genuine kindness and concern for friends
and students; his sense of loyalty, duty and honor for his teachers; and most of all
his commitment to making the world a better place for all who come into contact
with him.
I often look back on my life and wonder about the path I chose, and I can honestly
say with total conviction, the opportunity to train under Sifu Inosanto is a privilege
and honor, and one I would pursue again and again.

Please tell your favorite Dan Inosanto story

It is very difficult to think of a favorite story about Sifu Inosanto because choosing
only one is such a daunting task. It could be his impression of Sijo, or maybe the
story of Sifu punching thru a heavy-bag, not once, but twice, when demonstrating
for an interviewer, or the time I was walking him and Simo to their hotel room, only
to walk in on another couple who were doing a bit of celebrating themselves.

Name: Chuck Giangreco, Kara Brown

How did you come to meet, train with and be certified by Dan Inosanto?
Kara and I came from different martial arts paths.
We first went to a Guro Dan seminar in Queens,
NY in 1999. Coming from traditional martial arts
backgrounds we were astounded by Guro. His
movements seemed almost magical. After the
first seminar Kara and I were hooked. We
traveled the US following Guro to his seminars.
We met wonderful people particularly at the
Gibson Academy in Tulsa, Ok.
We found a much-needed mentor and guide in
Guro Harley Elmore in TX. Through Guro Elmores
training and guidance we were recommended and
accepted into the Inosanto Instructor Program.

Kara Brown, Chuck Giangreco

New York

What is the single greatest influence Dan

Inosanto has had on you?
Manong Dan never fails to motivate us to constantly improve our skill, to seek out
new ways of expression, stay humble and strive to be a true warrior with wisdom.

Please tell your favorite Dan Inosanto story

In February 2004 Guro Inosanto was doing a seminar at Guro Harley Elmores in
Texas. He was there the weekend of Super Bowl Sunday and Guro Harley hosted a
small party after the seminar. It was a nice experience to sit with Guro and see him
as a regular person who spoke highly of his family, lighting up when he mentioned
his daughter Danielle. We always knew Guro was a superb individual and it was a
nice experience to get to know him on a more personal basis. He does encompass
being a great martial artist, family man and friend.
"Guro Dan has always set the example of what a martial artist should be for Kara
and me. Since our first exposure to Manong Dan in 1999, weve learned so much
about life and the martial arts. Manong Dan never fails to motivate us to constantly
improve our skill, to seek out new ways of expression, stay humble and strive to be
a true warrior with wisdom. It is an honor to both train with you and represent you
and your arts."
Your Students,
Chuck Giangreco & Kara Brown

Name: Clay Johnson

How did you come to meet, train with and be certified by Dan Inosanto?
I met Guro Dan at my first
seminar in Charlotte NC on
April 1, 1989. That weekend
changed my life. Guro Dan &
Simo Paula were very helpful
during the seminar especially
sense I'm disabled and train
and teach out of a wheelchair.
If I had a question or a
problem doing a technique.
Guro or Simo would get a chair
and do the technique sitting
down and break the technique
down for me. That made want
to train with Guro more after
that seminar. As a result, I
started training with Sifu Rob
Kelly in Charlotte NC once a
Clay Johnson, Virginia
month for 6 years. I was still
going to seminars when I could
it was hard though there no
seminars in VA at that time where I live. I asked Simo Paula & Sifu Rob if they
thought a guy in a wheelchair could become an instructor under Guro Dan they said
yes but it would probably take longer then everybody else. So in 1990 I sent my
request to be considered for instructorship under Guro Dan and then in August of
1995 I became the first physically disabled person to be certified under Guro Dan in
both the Filipino Martial Arts and Jun Fan Gung Fu.

What is the single greatest influence Dan Inosanto has had on you?
He makes you believe in yourself and that what I try to give my own students.

Please tell your favorite Dan Inosanto story

Well I known Guro Dan for 17 years now and the memory that sticks out the most
is a seminar I was at in PA. I think it was in 1999. I had no one to work with, as my
regular training partner wasn't able make this seminar. So Guro worked with me
one on one during the seminar. That meant a lot to me!

Name: Dan Anderson

How did you come to meet, train with and be certified by Dan Inosanto?
I met Guro Inosanto in Tulsa, Oklahoma in the early 90's through my late
instructor Sifu Terry Gibson. After Sifu Gibson passed away I knew that
Guro was the only person I wanted to be certified under. He was a mentor
to my mentor, and to the rest of the world, he was and still is a mentor
to martial arts. I began following him to every town and city I could
get to. Watching his movement and listening to him speak and
understanding his route of martial arts, it was soon after being in his
presence that I realized why exactly it was I had to be certified under
Guro Dan Inosanto. It had nothing to do with his lineage, with his
experience with Bruce Lee, or even the large crowds that gathered at his

What is the single greatest influence Dan Inosanto has had on you?
To me Guro embodies the true martial artist, a humble and
talented man with no limits. He bridges the gap between the old
generations of closed off shaolin temples to the mixed martial arts
culture of today. Guro certified me at one if his seminars in Indiana.
I wanted to show Guro my dedication and loyalty. There was much adversity
and little support behind my goals. After Sifu Gibson passed away I felt
that I had no personal belief, and was unsure of which direction to head
in. It was like being on a set of paved roads with no road-signs to
direct me towards my ultimate goal. It was through Simo Cathy Gibson's
support and the belief of Guro Inosanto that I am where I am today, both
in my martial arts and in my life. I believe that Guro was a guiding
light for me through my darkest days, and the biggest influence he had
upon me was the ability to guide me towards the self-belief that I was
lacking. Guro would tell me that he believed that I had great potential
and natural instincts like Bruce Lee and himself.

Please tell your favorite Dan Inosanto story

Guru Dan once told me a story about Bruce Lee, We were all sparring at his house
when the sink broke and Bruce had to fix it he said. While fixing it Bruce neglected
to turn off the faucet, so the water kept running all over him. Guru said to me,
Hears a man so gifted in Martial Arts, but he forgot to turn off the sink.
The story struck me as one of simplicity, about attempting to stay humble with my
perceptions towards Bruce Lee. Yes Bruce Lee was an amazing martial artist and an
amazing person, but he was just a man. Guro used this story to impart in me the
idea that we are all just human, and it is our belief in ourselves that empower us to
accomplish our goals. And through Guro's guidance I realized that to be a
successful martial artist and human being, I not only had to believe in myself, but it
allowed me to realize that the most crucial role I would play as a teacher to my
students was that of a guiding light towards their own discovery of self-belief and

Name: Daniel Sullivan

How did you come to meet and train with Dan Inosanto?
I first met Guru Dan through his daughter Diana, a
classmate of mine in college. I had heard of him prior
from some high school buddies in Palos Verdes who
had Mr. I as they called him as a Physical Education
teacher during elementary school. It came out
in conversation with Diana one day that I was going to
enroll in a
Taekwondo class the same day. At this time, she
mentioned that her father taught Jeet Kune Do and
Kali. Little did I know at the time that the teachings of
Dianas father would forever change my life.
Diana allowed me to borrow a few of the books that
Guru Dan had written. I was fascinated by the whole
JKD Kali thing and enrolled at the IMB Academy shortly
thereafter and began training with Richard Bustillo. A
few months later Guru Dan and Paula Inosanto gave
me the opportunity to train at the Inosanto Academy
as well. They unselfishly shared their knowledge with
me and fostered my growth in
the martial arts.
At the Inosanto Academy, I met people like Chris Kent,
Burt Richardson, Cass Magda and Ted Lucaylucay who
inspired me to strive for instructor level under Guru
Dan. Eventually, after many years of hard work, I did
attain instructor status in Jeet Kune Do and Kali. I
kept up the training with Guru Dan all the way to Full
Instructor level and obtained a lot of other
certifications as well. I opened my own school in Long Beach in 1994. I moved to
Orange County in 1995 then renamed the school Orange County Kickboxing &
Martial Arts. Guru Dan comes to OC Kickboxing 3 times per year for seminars and I
still train with him when possible.

What is the single greatest influence Dan Inosanto has had on you?
The single greatest influence Guru Dan has had on me is my decision to go full time
into the martial arts. My career and the direction of my everyday life were in many
ways inspired by him. I could never thank Guru Dan enough for all hes done for

Please tell your favorite Dan Inosanto story

Ive heard so many captivating stories from Guru Dan over the years that its
impossible to narrow it down to one favorite story. I love his tales about the history
of the Filipino Martial Arts. I wish he would write a book about it.

Name: Dave & Lynda Hatch

How did you come to meet, train with and be certified by Dan Inosanto?
We have always been fans of Sigung Bruce Lee.
After we achieved our black belts in American
Karate, we knew there had to be something else
out there besides kicking, punching and a few
In March of 1985, a man named Dan Timlin was
hosting a seminar with Guro Dan Inosanto. At
the time, we figured that Guro Dan would be the
closest we will ever get to the art of Jeet Kune
Do. Plus we needed more experiences in
handling knives. We know absolutely nothing
about Filipino Martial Arts. Upon attending this
seminar, we were amazed at how much
knowledge and experience Guro had acquired in
his lifetime. It was more than just the flashy
JKD. We were mostly amazed at the vastness of
the Filipino Martial Arts.

Dave Hatch, Michigan

By 1990, Dave requested to be part of the Inosantos

Instructor Program. It was of great excitement to be
part of the large area of martial arts that most people
have not heard about. In 1992, Dave was accepted as
an apprentice instructor. It was unexpected surprise as
it was announced at the end of a seminar in Indiana.
Lynda also applied for instructorship and then she was
pleasantly surprised when she received her apprentice
instructors certificate in August of 1996 at the Inosanto
Academy. Daves biggest surprise came when he was
awarded Full Instructor in March of 2004 at the Inosanto

What is the single greatest influence Dan Inosanto

has had on you?
The single greatest influence from Guro is his ability to
Linda Hatch, Michigan
take the many martial arts and tie in the cultural aspects
for each art. Most people major in the combat and learn very little about its
cultural background. This has helped us in attaining a deeper understanding of
what we are learning in the martial arts.

Please tell your favorite Dan Inosanto story

Probably the most favorite story is one that took us by surprise. It was not the
usual character of Guro Dan. During a seminar, Guro was explaining that some of
us do not have certain attributes/talents that other do. He went on to say that you
can sing an Elvis Presley song, but you would not be, or sound like, Elvis. Well,
during this explanation, Guro gyrated his hips and tilted his head like we have
never seen before (and maybe never again). Wow! Guro could really shake those

Name: Diana Rathborne

How did you come to meet, train with Dan Inosanto?
I came to meet Guro Inosanto in 1992 at the
Wisconsin Camp in Janesville, Wisconsin.
I had been training in the martial arts for about 4
months at Rick Faye's Minnesota Kali Group in
Minneapolis, MN. When Rick asked if I was going
to go to the summer camp, I said, "No, what is it?"
He said something about the camp and Guro Dan
Diana Rathborne
of which I have absolutely no memory. I had no
idea who Guro Dan was, what he taught, or what
JKD was but summer camp (with the crazy people
I had met at the school) sounded like fun, so I said, "Sure, I'll go!"
Thank God for Vanessa Larson who was nice enough to suffer through having a
beginner as a partner for a 5-day camp with Guro Inosanto.
I remember Rick Faye asking me after the first section of the first day what I
thought of Guro Dan. About 15 minutes into the second class I actually watched
Guro Dan move and thought, Holy smokes, look at that guy go!
So far, I've been to every Wisconsin Camp since and have tried to hit every
possible camp I could.

What is the single greatest influence Dan Inosanto has had on you?
The single greatest influence Guro Dan has had on me would have to be his
combination of enthusiasm, optimism and persistence.
Guro goes to Master Chai's Oregon Thai Boxing camp every year: a huge 'no
whining' check for me. He goes, trains, is always kind, humble, encouraging and
doesn't complain.
During the year when I don't want to train, am whining about one thing or another
or feel like I don't need to train.... either Rick Faye offers a gentle reminder that
Guro Dan goes to Thai camp every year or I think of it myself.
Guro is an inspiration to me to maintain and improve my art to better myself and
others at every opportunity. Obviously, I fall short of this goal more often than not,
but Guro's example is always a great inspiration.

Please tell your favorite Dan Inosanto story

My favorite Guro Dan story ... I don't think I can come up with just one.
Every time I think of Guro, I have to smile because he is such a nice man and I am
grateful to have him as my instructor.

Name: Doris Biasatti

How did you come to meet and train with Dan Inosanto?
I began training with Master Pat Burleson at the age of 30 on June 9, 1990. I was
one of those typical uneducated people who only knew of the normal arts such as
Karate, Judo, Tae Kwon Do or Ju-Jitsu.
One of the other students also trained as a Kenpo practitioner and would stay for a
special class every Thursday night. Someone else from her Kenpo school would
come over and they would spend time teaching us various drills such as Hubud.
This caught the interest of many of us. Many of these concepts had never even
entered our minds. It never occurred to me that there was so much more. Little
did I know that on September 6, 1991, my eyes would be forever opened much
wider than I thought possible.
It wasnt long before they were telling us about this instructor that was coming to
their school by the name of Dan Inosanto. I had never heard of this man but they
insisted he was someone we must see and train with. I bit the bullet, paid the
money, signed up and went to see this legendary man in Irving, Texas. He wasnt
what I had pictured. He wasnt a large man like my many American Karate
instructors but rather small in stature with a soft, easygoing demeanor. He was
extremely approachable and didnt seem to mind that some of us knew nothing.
Guru Dan Inosanto is a true teacher. I think Ive learned more about the Spanish
and Philippine War from him than any of my teachers in school.
I would attend a total of six Inosanto seminars through this Kenpo school, each
time more amazing than the other. They were something I enjoyed and looked
forward to every year. In October 1993 I started training WuWei and attained my
Black Sash in December 1997. This training gave me a better understanding of
Gurus information.
After that school stopped hosting the seminar, I just happened to call out to the
Inosanto Academy on July 24th, Gurus birthday. Simo Paula happened to answer
the phone and we had a nice conversation.
As we talked, it was decided that if we could find a place to conduct the seminar
Guru would once again return to the Dallas/Fort Worth area. On August 15, 1998,
Jim Buchanan and I hosted our first Dan Inosanto seminar. He has been back with
us every year since.

What is the single greatest influence Dan Inosanto has had on you?
Guru has given me more than I can imagine. Most importantly are more new
friends than I can count. Through his guidance, I was able to train with Terry
Gibson and Herman Suwanda which are times that will never be forgotten or placed
by anyone else.
I owe Guru a great deal of thanks, for the honor of being accepted in his apprentice
instructor program and most importantly one of the greatest friendships I have
ever had the privilege of having.
He once said, To all seekers of the way. Knowledge comes from your instructor.
Wisdom comes from within. I thank him greatly for his knowledge so that I could
not only find but recognize my wisdom. As Ive told him before, I only wish I could
remember 10% of what he has forgotten. Im still working on that.

Please tell your favorite Dan Inosanto story

Every year it has been an incredible new experience. Ive even seen Guru turn a
cartwheel! It was a sight to see as he feet came down on the chest of an
unsuspecting instructor who happened to travel with him on that day.
Ive been lucky. I now call Guru and Simo my friends. Each year when Guru and
his partner are taken to the airport, it feels like a long lost family member leaving.
Ive seen Simo put the largest of men in their place and carry Danielle, inside and
out. Ive seen Guru answer Bruce Lee questions again and again with a smile on
his face. Ive seen his eyes water when he laughed incredibly hard and also when
he has referenced his father.
The many stories over the dinner table have been priceless. I know he enjoys
Mexican and Italian food. I do too, so I take advantage of this when hes in town.
He even put up with one of my not so good meals and still cleaned his plate. He
said his mom always told him to clean his plate. That day, I would have
understood if he left some on the plate.

Name: Dwight Woods

How did you come to meet, train under and be certified by Dan Inosanto?
Like everyone else, I was a
huge Bruce Lee fan during the
1970s. I started my martial
art training by practising
techniques my friends and I
would see in the Hong Kong
kung fu films of that era.
When I first saw Bruce Lee,
everything changed. I started
buying books and magazines
so that I could continue to
practise whatever Jeet Kune
Dwight Woods, Florida
Do material I could find. I
even became the national
authority on Bruce Lee on the island of Barbados, where I grew up.
For over 9 years, the backyard at my house was the meeting place for martial
artists from the different styles practised on the island.
This gave me the opportunity to try out what I was learning from books like Bruce
Lees Fighting Method (the single volume hardcover edition)
In 1980, circumstances conspired to let me spend a couple months in Seattle where
I was able to train a few times with Mike Lees group. I also made my first visit to
Bruce Lees gravesite to pay my respects. In subsequent years, I continued to
travel to Seattle every July 20th.
In 1983, I decided to seek out the living source of JKD which, from everything Id
read, meant I would have to meet Dan Inosanto. And so, I signed up for the
California Martial arts Academy seminar to train 1 week with Dan Inosanto and 1
week with Francis Fong.
Thus began my life on the JKD seminar circuit. In 1985 at Dan Timlins in Lansing,
Michigan, Sifu Dan allowed me to join the instructorship program.

What is the single greatest influence Dan Inosanto has had on you?
In spite of being a living legend, Sifu Inosanto continues to be a genuinely humble
human being. To me, he is also a master of detachedness (but not detachment),
which I believe is what has allowed him to thrive over all these years.

Please tell your favorite Dan Inosanto story

Its the Friday evening of a weekend seminar. Sifu Dans just come off the airplane.
Now were downstairs in the baggage claim area. The place is jam-packed with
passengers and luggage.
Little 14-year old kid walks up and yells out, Dan Inosanto. Usu! He bows and
walks off.
Sifu Dan has the look on his face like, What the heck was that? I say, Well, Sifu,
thats what happens when youre famous!

Name: Eric Charles

How did you come to meet and train with Dan Inosanto?
Id just like to take this chance to thank you because youve been and continue to
be a role model for what I want to be as a martial artist and a person. From the
first time I trained with you in the Waterloo Elementary School gym, you were open
and encouraging and I appreciated that. Youve been the same ever since and
youve opened up a lot of new possibilities in the martial arts for me. Before that
seminar, my training had lost focus and I wasnt sure what I wanted out of the
martial arts. You helped reinvigorate my interest in the arts and Im thankful
because Ive gotten so much out of training. Id have to agree with you when you
say, a good instructor can be worth more than you can possibly pay.

What is the single greatest Influence Dan Inosanto has had on you?
Personally, I think Ive learned as much about how to learn, how to train, and the
history of the arts as the physical techniques and thats been valuable to me. I
know you think we get bored when you lecture on the history, but my training
partners and I have found it pretty interesting. Interesting enough that I started
researching Filipino Martial Arts history on my own and reading some of the books
youve recommended. So please keep lecturing and just forgive me if I space out
from time to time.

Please tell your favorite Dan Inosanto story

We were asked to mention a memorable experience with you and its kind of
difficult to pick one representative event out, but for me it would have to be when
you had Rob Lee and me demonstrate a Krabi-Krabong sword set we had just
learned in front of the seminar, with live blades. It was a little nerve-racking, but
fun to see the sparks fly and neither one of us got cut so we cant have done it too
badly. This is just one of those times that youve pushed me to try something
different and its those kind of experiences that will make me a life-long student.
Youve been a good teacher and for that I cant thank you enough.

Name: Eric Church

How did you come to meet, train with and be certified by Dan Inosanto?
I first met Sifu Inosanto at a four-day camp in St.
Louis, MO, 8 to 11 July 1999. I'd been training in
Sifu Inosanto's curriculum for about three years
by then, but I never would have imagined what
was in store for me. My brain reached maximum
capacity by the middle of the second day ...and
the rest was a blur of sticks, knives, fists, and
feet. Having trained in the martial arts for over
ten years by then, Sifu Inosanto was the most
incredible teacher that I'd ever seen, as well as
one of the best people I'd ever met. I received
my Apprentice Instructor certificate September
2003, and it never ceases to amaze me how little
I know and how much there is to learn.

Eric Church, Maryland

What is the single greatest influence Dan Inosanto has had on you?
I think the greatest influence that Sifu Inosanto has on everyone who trains under
him is a principle that he lives by ...never lose the "white belt" ability to learn. We
should all strive to improve on our existing skills, and at the same time, venture out
into other arenas that are outside of our comfort zones. By doing so, we'll always
grow as martial artists, teachers, and people.

Please tell your favorite Dan Inosanto story

I don't know about a story, but my favorite part of every seminar or camp is
listening to Sifu Inosanto talk about Southeast Asian history and culture. Sifu
Inosanto's knowledge of history and martial arts background give him a unique
insight. These aspects of Sifu Inosanto's teaching are just as important, if not more
important than the physical skills that he imparts on us.

Name: Eric Gergen

How did you come to meet, train with and be certified by Dan Inosanto?
I met Guro Dan Inosanto in April of 2000. I
was attending my first seminar with Guro
Harley Elmore when he took me to Gibsons
Martial Arts in Tulsa, OK. I was completely
blown away by the knowledge and skill of
this master of martial arts. I was honored
to be in the same room with Guro Dan and
could not wait for another seminar. I then
started training with Guro Harley Elmore
and in November 2003 I was promoted to
instructor. In February 2004, I was given
the honor of being promoted to apprentice
instructor in Filipino Martial Arts and Lee
Gun Fan Gung Fu from Guro Dan Inosanto.
I opened Warriors Way Nebraska in 2005
Eric Gergen, Texas
(an affiliate school of Warriors Way
International) and started to train students
in the concepts passed on to me by Guro Dan and Guro Harley. I am honored to be
a part of the Inosanto Academy of Martial Arts and I wish Guro Dan a very happy

What is the single greatest Influence Dan Inosanto has had on you?
The single greatest influence that Guro Dan has had on me is that no matter how
many years you train in the martial arts, you are always a student thriving for more
knowledge. Guro Dan has influenced me to always stay humble and to never stop
searching for more knowledge and wisdom in the Martial Arts.

Please tell your favorite Dan Inosanto story

My favorite Guro Dan story has to be when I was attending one of his seminars
with Guro Harley. There were a group of students who had never trained in the
Filipino Martial Arts before and were having trouble trying to do Punyo Sumbrada. I
was walking them through it and all of a sudden there was Guro Dan. He said,
Here Eric, lets run through this drill for them and show them some options We
started doing Punyo Sumbrada. While Guro Dan was talking to the group of
students I kept thinkingI am actually standing here doing a Filipino Martial Arts
drill with Guro Dan!!!!!!! Afterwards, I went over to Guro Harley and told him that I
could not believe what just happened. Guro Harley that he saw me and he was so
glad that I didnt hit Guro Dan on the hand I will never forget that day!

Name: Eric Jensen

How did you come to meet and train with Dan Inosanto?
About twenty years ago, at the age of 14, I went
into Gibson's Martial Arts Academy, noticed they
were an affiliate of Inosanto Academy, and said
"this is where I want to be".
And have had the pleasure of training under Guro
Inosanto since.

What is the single greatest influence Dan

Inosanto has had on you?

Eric Jensen (& Jassy),


Throughout my life, as I strive to be a better

person, I keep Guro Inosanto in mind. He is
humble, kind, sharing, a great teacher and just a "STUD". I can only hope that I
will be thought of as half the man he is. He is an overall great influence.

Please tell your favorite Dan Inosanto story

Of the many great Guro Inosanto memories and stories, my favorite now has to be
the April 2006 Tulsa Seminar. I had taken over ownership of the Former Gibson's
MA (with my girlfriend Jassy) in March & Guro Inosanto came one month later. I
thought this was a great blessing and a great way to christen my new/old school.
We will always love you, Guro.

Name: Erik Paulson

How did you come to meet and train with Dan Inosanto?
I met Guro at the Dan Timlin Mid-Michigan
I had heard of him and read all of Bruce
Lees books, knew of his school in LA and
always wanted to train with him.
In 1996, I moved to Palm Desert,
California for three reasons: one, school;
two, movies; three, martial arts. I knew
that I wanted to train with Guro Inosanto
at the Inosanto Academy as my ultimate
Erik Paulson, California
I first started JKD in 1992 under Rick Faye
in Minneapolis. Then met Tim Tackett in
1996 and trained in his garage with his
Wednesday Nite Group in Redlands, Calif.
I started commuting to LA in 1997-98 for seminars and training and became an
official member of the Inosanto Academy in 1998-99 when I moved to Manhattan
I was enrolled in his Phase I-II, Muay Thai and Kali-Silat class. After about six
months, I was surprised that he knew my name when he called me out on the floor
to demo.

What is the single greatest influence Dan Inosanto has had on you?
My single best experience with Guro Dan is every chance I get to travel with him. I
am blessed to be in his presence and spend time with him as my friend, talking and
sharing funny, peculiar moments of our lives. We catch up on the recent and
reminisce of the past.
Guro is my teacher, father and friend. He is the true inspiration for everyone and
deserves not only love but also admiration, gratitude and the utmost respect from
all who he touches.

Please tell your favorite Dan Inosanto story

Guro was the funniest when one time we were in Virginia for Pat Tray and we were
demonstrating Sumbrada drills and I was mesmerized by his movement and skill of
talking while demoing.
When we were doing the gunting with double stick vs. the 1-5 angles and he
suddenly had me do the Redondo 3 vs. the angle 1 &n 2 and my stick got stuck
under my armpit and he said, Redondo 3 and I rolled out a mix of double shit and
pulled out to an open six Hail Mary!
I said, Hows that? and he just dropped both sticks and started to laugh along
with the entire seminar.
He laughed so hard he started to cry and I said, What? and he just shook his
head and continued to cry. Out of pity, of course.
This lasted about fifteen minutes and thats when I realised that my Kali sucked and
MMA was my only future along with everyone else!!!
And here I am now, specializing in MMA and Submission Grappling.
End of Story!

Name: Eugene Amante

How did you come to meet and train with Dan Inosanto?
Looking back, I realize that I was just a kid
when I met Guro Dan. I didn't know an angle 5
from a hole in the ground and a pak sao
sounded like the sticky buns I get from
Chinatown. I laugh about it now but I felt so
utterly uncoordinated and humiliated at the
same time because for the life of me I couldn't
get why I couldn't get this thing called a six
count. I just couldn't put my finger on it let
alone pronounce abecedario correctly, which is
completely ironic.
The thing is I come from the Midwest. Chicago
to be exact, and the funny thing about Chicago
Eugene Amante, Illinois
is that we have the second largest Filipino
population outside of California. However, I
was born and raised in the States so I'm what you call a coconut, brown on the
outside but white on the inside.
My cousins were the first to mention Guro Dan to me. I was pretty athletic,
seventeen and just graduated high school. Id played sports, was on the varsity
football team and had taken my fair share of Karate classes.
Whenever playful slap fights with my cousins turned into mock sparring sessions, I
always received what I now know to be a jeet tek.
I finally asked them where they learned all these cool moves. They told me in
hushed tones with great reverence, "Guro Dan". It was the way it was said that
intrigued me. First, it sounded like a secret. Second, the respect with which they
mentioned his name was reserved in a Filipino family for elder grandfathers. They
"You should go find him, he teaches Filipino Martial Arts". Wait a minute, you mean
to tell me we Filipinos have an actual martial art? "No way."
And then the rattan came out. Bruised knuckles and all, I made it my mission in life
to find this teacher. After poring through magazines, the yellow pages, other
martial arts schools (there was no Internet 17 years), I finally found a flyer for a
seminar featuring Guro at a Hilton hotel on Chicagos north side.
So there I was with the silliest grin on my face just happy to start my martial arts
journey learning from the one instructor who has been the greatest influence on my
life. And so it went for years following him around from State to State, to California
and back to Illinois.
One day he even recognized me. At the time, I was training with Sifu Ron Balicki
and Guro asked him who was the kid. I didn't even have a real name for a while; I
was just "the kid".
Guro at the time was newly married and his wife Simo Paula was from Chicago so I
guess fate was on my side.
So one day at a seminar, Guro Dan looked across the crowd of participants and
with a head nod/ chin point that is common to only Filipinos he called my instructor
Sifu Ron up, and said Oh, bring Gene with you.
So there I was in shock in front of the Man. He knew my name. Ill never forget
that day. I still smile and giggle like a little schoolgirl just thinking about it.
Salamat Po and happy Birthday Guro Dan,
Eugene Amante

Name: Ewen Campbell

How did you come to meet and train with Dan Inosanto?
What is the single greatest Influence Dan Inosanto has had on you?
Please tell your favorite Dan Inosanto story

Guro Dan Inosanto

It is not the critic who counts, not the one who points out how the strong man
stumbled or how the doer of deeds might have done them better.
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred
with sweat and dust and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short
again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and
spends himself in a worthy cause; who if he wins, knows the triumph of high
achievement; and who, if he fails at least fails while daring greatly.
Guro, you have been an inspiration in my life from the first time we met and this
small poem sums up better how I feel than any words I could write myself.
Thank you,
Your student always
Ewen Campbell

Name: Floyd Jackson

How did you come to meet, train with and be certified by Dan Inosanto?
In 1983, I was training under Erwin
Villazon who was a student under
Sifu/Guro Dan at that time. My
instructor Erwin told me that I needed
to see Dan Inosanto if I ever wanted to
understand what it takes to be a good
martial artist as well as understand the
difference between the different arts
and develop an appreciation for each
So I have decided to pay Sifu/Guro Dan
a visit in Charlotte, North Carolina in
August of 1983. At that time, I was
Floyd Jackson, California
only 17 years of age. When I saw
Sifu/Guro Dan at my first seminar with
Larry Hartsell, I was completely in awe of him. I had already received my black
belt in Shotokan Karate. So basically, everything I learned before I met Sifu/Guro
Dan was out of the window.
Therefore, meeting Sifu/Guro Dan Inosanto was definitely a pivot point in my life
and from that day on, I absorbed everything I could from Sifu/Guro Dan. He was
what you could call my eye-opener. He led me to the light and helped me realize
that the martial arts have so much more to offer than just the tip of the iceberg.
I could honestly say that other than Jesus Christ, Sifu/Guro Dan Inosanto
completely changed the course of my life and made me a better person. I am
forever grateful for his contributions of knowlege and wisdom as well as influence
my life as a martial artist.
My greatest joy came one day at the Great Smoky Mountains Camp in 1986;
Sifu/Guro Dan pulled me over and asked me if I would be interested in becoming
an instructor under his program. I had only have trained with him for three years
and he was ready to make me an apprentice instructor. I was extremely surprised
that he would hand-pick me because as an individual, I was deaf and I had to do
visualize everything he did and watch him rather than listening to him speak. I
could not always get everything he said, but I was able to grasp every move he
made as he demonstrated to the audience countless time at seminars.
I knew I was different from everybody else, but I did not let that stop me
whatsoever, and I was able to do any technique at his request when he calls me up
and ask me to demonstrate. Sifu/Guro Dan thought I had the ability to teach
others and decided to appoint me as an instructor under his guidance.
Currently I am proud to say I hold 4th year Senior Associate Instructor certificate
under Sifu/Guro Dan Inosanto.

What is the single greatest influence Dan Inosanto has had on you?
I would say the SINGLE greatest influence Sifu/Guro Dan had on me that he
accepted me as who I am and Sifu/Guro Dan was recognize the uniqueness of an
individual, the importance of addressing the whole person, not just the disability of
the person but someone with an integrated balance of intellectual, social,

emotional, physical and spiritual well-being. I am proud to say I am the only Deaf
Senior Associate Instructor in his program.

Please tell your favorite Dan Inosanto story

The best memories I have of Dan was at a Miami seminar with Dwight Woods in
1999 when I was in the best shape I could be as well as up to date with all of my
training and I was able to do all the seminar drills with ease.
Sifu/Guro Dan must have called me up at least 5 to 7 times at that seminar and
asked me to demonstrate several sets of drills and I was able to do it with no
After the seminar, I was walking with Sifu/Guro Dan outside and he started signing
my name in sign language. I was shocked that he would take the time to learn to
do this. I had the most ultimate respect for Dan that he actually took the time to
learn the sign language to spell my name as well as believe that a deaf individual
had the ability to teach and demonstrate regardless of my handicap. Guro Dan
treated me like I was one of his own students. From that seminar, I never again
felt nervous any time Guro Dan calls me up to demonstrate a set of drills.

SIFU/GURO DAN INOSANTO: It is hard to believe you are turning 70 years of age
this year and to this day, I am still amazed how much you have done over the past
30 years and continue to do so. You are forever an inspiration to your teachers,
peers and students from all over the world. Most importantly, you have no idea
how much you have molded my life to who I am today. Because of your
knowledge, wisdom and teaching from the past 23 years, I have become a better
person because of it. It is difficult to express how much I learned from you over the
years; however, I am proud that I had the opportunity to train with one of the
greatest martial artist that ever walk on the face of this earth.
Sifu/Guro Dan, I want to wish you many more years of success and I look forward
in training and continuing to learn under you in years to come. May your life be
enriched with strength, knowledge, and wisdom as you continue to devote your
teachings to students all over the world. God bless you and your family 'til the end
of time.
Forever your student,
Floyd A. Jackson

Name: Frank Cucci

How did you come to meet, train with and be certified by Dan Inosanto?
I met Guro Dan for the first time when I went to LA to train at his school in Marina
Del Rey in 1987. At the time, he was teaching out of a small warehouse with a
sliding garage door.
I remember meeting him for the first time and it was surreal; like seeing a famous
movie star you had admired all your life. He was sitting in his van finishing a
hamburger that would hold him over for the next five hours of teaching.
I remember thinking to myself what a humble surrounding for such a famous man.
As Ive come to learn, Guro Dan wouldnt have it any other way.
I continued my training thru seminars and visits to the school. Years passed, and I
finally built up my courage and asked to be considered for the instructorship
program. I was extremely nervous, as I wasnt really sure how the selection
processes worked.
After asking for consideration, Guro Dan put me at ease when he responded with
an enthusiastic Surehey Paula, Frank wants to become an instructor!
And it was a simple and uncomplicated as that. Since that day, the importance of
this responsibility has helped shape the course of my life.

What is the single greatest influence Dan Inosanto has had on you?
The greatest influence Guro Dan has had on me is the effect that his talent, passion
and humility have had in my life. I aspire to be a better person because of him. In
talking with others, I often compare him to a priest. Some may think this is an
unusual comparison, but I can assure you the similarities are not very far off:
Like a priest, Guro Dan is a person who is truly passionate about his beliefs; like a
priest, he is a selfless teacher and role model to his followers; like a priest, he is
kind and humble in nature, and most notably; like a priest, he is forgiving to all.

Please tell your favorite Dan Inosanto story

Name: Gerald Steeley

How did you come to meet, train with and be certified by Dan Inosanto?
I grew up in Alabama, and as we all know, Alabama was not a Mecca for the martial
arts. It was only by going across the big pond in 1971-72,
while serving in the U.S. Army in Korea, that I had my first
opportunity to take a martial arts class. Following my tour of
duty in Korea, I returned to Alabama to continue my training
in the Korean arts. At that time, the Korean arts were about
the only style of karate being taught. In the early 80s,
however, I was able to find an aikido class at the local YMCA.
My Korean instructor told me that the only reason he allowed
me to take aikido and continue to study under him was
because he didnt consider aikido to be a threat.

Gerald Steeley,
Then, I stepped out of my comfort zone and took my first
seminar with Guro Dan in 1983 in Aspen, Colorado. Bob
Duggan was having a one-week Executive Protection
workshop, and Guro Dan was there for one day. Needless to say, I was hooked
after my first class with Guro Dan. The following year, I traveled to St. Louis for a
one-week, Californian Martial Arts Academy camp with Guro. I left St. Louis feeling
somewhat frustrated at the sheer volume of material that Guro could cover in such
a short period of time. My prior training, compared to Guros teachings, was like
comparing high school to college. The bar was set much higher. But Guro would
tell us that frustration is sometimes good, because it motivates you to try harder.
My next phase of training with Guro was during the Great Smoky Mountain Camp in
North Carolina from 1985-90. In 1987 at the Camp, I received my beginning
diploma from Master Chai and three years later, in 1990, I became an apprentice
instructor in the Filipino Martial Arts under Guro Dan.

What is the single greatest influence Dan Inosanto has had on you?
Its hard to explain why a person would travel from North Carolina to California and
other places in between for the past 23 years just to be able to study the martial
arts under one man. All I can say is that it is a testament to Guros leadership, his
knowledge of the martial arts, and his ability to extract the best from his students.

Please tell your favorite Dan Inosanto story

How about I tell some of my favourite Inosanto quotes?
99, Apr 17 The sign of a good kali
man is one-upmanship carry 3
daggers, throw the first. Always keep
a weapon if hes fighting empty
99, Apr 17 Socrates said that the
highest form of learning is teaching.
You have to analysis.
99, Apr 17 Anything will work when
you are show casing the art, but in

reality, you have to find out what

works for you.
99, Apr 17 Ground fighting is a
game of chess. The good fighters are
always thinking 4-5 moves ahead. An
average fight is 2 moves fake a
choke and go to an arm bar.
99, Apr 17 Adjust the martial arts
to your lifestyle. Maybe you cant
train 5 times a week. When you do

that, you make the martial arts a part

of your life.

your eye faster visual speed than

straight on.

99, Apr 18 Reflex has to be trained

first, before technique (knife).

02, Aug 14 The mind is the first to

go (Leo Gaje, Grand Tuhon of Pekiti
Tirsia Kali) is looking for signs of
giving up.

99, Apr 18 To be a fighter, you only

need to know a few techniques. To be
a teacher, you have to know it all,
because what works for you, may not
work for somebody else.
99, Aug 16 Disarms are not to be
tried when your opponent is fresh. As
the battle progresses and the
opponent tires and slows down, then
is the time to disarm.
02, Aug 11 In the traditional arts,
the brown belts are the best fighters.
As you get older, you have to take
time for your own training be a little
02, Aug 11 Give a diamond to a 5
year old, he will trade it for a marble;
he doesnt understand its value.
Trapping is not obsolete catch the
leg when the opponent does a
roundhouse kick. There is a difference
in knowledge and understanding.
02, Aug 11 You cant control
warfare theres too many variables.
You have to be multi-dimensional.
02, Aug 11 Never underestimate
your opponent. Always think of him
as being as good as or better than
02, Aug 12 Hard core training is not
for everybody not every body can be
Special Forces.
02, Aug 12 Drills are essential.
Dont take drills out of JKD!
02, Aug 12 Longevity is what you
want in a martial artist.
02, Aug 14 LaCoste said to look at
your opponent out of the corner of

02, Aug 15 (Wooden Dummy sets)

You can throw this away, but you
need the basics to go back to. An
architect has to see what other
architects have done before he can
create. Train with different instructors
to extract a different essence from
02, Aug 15 Magellan thought he
had superior weapons and could
defeat the Filipinos, and went with
only 50 against 2,000.
03, Jul 10 You have to adjust your
technique according to who is in front
of you.
03, Jul 10 Adaptability and hit the
closest target.
03, Jul 11 Learn the first six basic
principles of Long Range before you
learn blocking the military doesnt
have time.
03, Jul 11 What you want in a
martial artist is longevity
competition, training, and coach.
03, Jul 11 In warfare, never disarm
when your opponent is fresh.
03, Jul 12 Prefer students to be
cross trained.
03, Jul 12 Most people are gun shy.
Have to gradually hit them with more
force and intensity.
03, Jul 12 LaCoste said that you
either land by skill or luck. Always
train in 3s.

03, Jul 12 Learn the basics, then

create. You are kali.

oneself, but not the opponent and vice

versa. You have to know both.

03, Jul 12 In Indonesia, it is best

not to grapple. Its said to be a knife
culture. If you go down, get up fast.
The Romans and Greeks used
wrestling for conditioning, not warfare.
Always train in the environment that
you will operate in.

03, Oct 17 It depends on who is in

front of you. You have to change
tactics be adaptable.

03, Jul 12 Socrates said that when

you teach others, you teach yourself.
Its good to work with beginners.
03, Jul 12 Play to learn, then put
the game together.
03, Jul 12 Kali is taught on 3 levels:
military, law enforcement and
03, Jul 12 You need the
accumulation in the beginning to know
what you can do.
03, Jul 12 Once you are running on
the field, your coach cant help you.
You have to make that judgment.
03, Jul 13 Not going to wrestle. If
you take him down, be sure he
doesnt have a knife.
03, Oct 16 (Jun Fan focus mitt drills)
This is maintenance, like baseball or
football. You have to do the basics
everyday, especially as you get older.
You want longevity in a martial artist.
03, Oct 16 D.E.P.E. (Demonstrate,
Explain, Practice, Evaluate)
03, Oct 16 90% physical fitness
and 10% technique. Without
conditioning, everything else goes out
the window timing, technique, etc.
03, Oct 17 As in The Art of War, all
combat is based on deception. Some
people are intelligent about knowing

03, Oct 17 The way the Thai boxers

hold their hands wide, off-sets the pak
sao da. Because of this, use the split
03, Oct 17 You do a side kick lead
to the body today, and you will get it
grabbed and dumped to the ground.
Obsolete. In childhood, it worked.
04, Apr 17 Modify the dagger for
law enforcement and civilians by using
the butt of the dagger instead of the
04, Apr 17 A martial artist needs
heart, timing and structure.
04, Apr 17 Enrage the opponent
and he will open up for the beat.
Spit on him is what Villabrille did.
04, Apr 18 Martial artists have to
do another discipline (yoga, Pilates,
etc.) to counter balance the tension
from a martial arts workout. By the
age of 40, you should do body work
once a week take a stick and rub
along your leg. Warm up to avoid
04, Apr 18 To understand JKD, you
have to see all possibilities. There are
3 types of cross and we need all 3.
04, Apr 18 Today, if you do a
roundhouse kick to the leg, he will
shoot in and take you down. You
cannot trade kicks as in the past.
04, Apr 18 Educate the eye by
catching the jab using the 3 way
punching drills of Panantukan is so

Name: Greg Nelson

How did you come to meet and train with Dan Inosanto?
I first met Guru Dan in 1984 when he came and
did a seminar in the great Midwest. Prior to that
I had only seen him in his first books, In fact,
before I started officially training Kali with Sifu
Rick Faye, I thought you pronounced Kali - Kay
Lie. I was quickly corrected and glad I new the
proper pronunciation before I met Guru Dan.
When I first met Guru Dan I was totally psyched,
"I am being taught directly under the man
personally chosen by Bruce Lee to carry on the
art of Jeet Kune Do."
After that first seminar, I went to every seminar
in the Midwest and every camp I could, including
the Great Smokey Mt Camp 4 times, the
Wisconsin Camp 4 times and the Michigan
Camp. I have continued to train in seminars and
the October Instructor Conference.

What is the single greatest influence Dan

Inosanto has had on you?

Greg Nelson, Minnesota

The number one thing I have taken from Guru

Dan is his humility. He is one of the most
known martial arts instructors in the world, the greatest exponent of Filipino Martial
Arts, Jun Fan/Jeet Kune Do and yet is as humble as the dust. In addition, Guru
Dan is the ultimate student, constantly learning new things, doing privates to learn
from others, etc...He is able to maintain the heart of a kindergartener when it
comes to learning new techniques and training methods.

Please tell your favorite Dan Inosanto story

My most memorable incident with Guru Dan was in Minnesota. Guru Dan, Rick
Faye, a host of other students and I were eating at Thai restaurant below the MN
Kali Group.
As with anytime Guru Dan is out around students he is continually bombarded with
questions, well this lunch was no different.
As we are eating one of Sifu Rick Faye's more obnoxious students approached Guru
Dan, kneels down next to his chair and says, "Danny, (that's right, he said Danny)
what do you think of ninjas and Ninjutsu?"
Guru Dan sat back and pondered the question, and after thinking about his answer
looked straight at the guy and said, "Well, they are really sneaky."
All of us could not help but crack up. It also showed that Guru Dan tried to find
something positive to say about another art, rather than take the opportunity to
bring up the weaknesses. Yet another quality Guru Dan lives.

Name: Harley Elmore

How did you come to meet and train with Dan Inosanto?
As a young man, I would read Guro
Dans articles in the martial arts
magazines and wonder what it would
be like to meet him, to train with him.
I bought all his books and studied
them so much that even now, over
twenty years later, I still have the
pictures etched in my memory.
I met Guro through my close friend
Terry Gibson. He had told me that he
thought Guro was the most humble
and amazing man he had ever met.
Those two qualities dont normally go
together. Over the years, I have found
that to be just the case. Guro is the
most loving, caring, humble, honest
person I have met in the martial arts.
The great part is that he makes me
feel like I can be too! He makes me
want to be a better martial artist and
inspires me to be a better man.

Harley Elmore, Texas

Simply put Guro Dan has forever

changed the martial arts world, introducing Masters and styles that would have
otherwise passed into obscurity. But more importantly, he changed a whole
generation of people in doing so. Made them better, helped them become who they
wanted to be, do what they wanted to do.

What is the single greatest influence Dan Inosanto has had on you?
As for me, when I grow up, I want to be just like Guro Dan.

Please tell your favorite Dan Inosanto story

Name: Heather MonDee

How did you come to meet and train with Dan Inosanto?
In 1992 while already training in a traditional
martial arts system (and pleasantly happy), I was
informed of a martial artist who could leap tall
buildings in a single bound. Not really-- but the
impression given by the ones speaking of him and
demonstrating various systems eventually lead me
to an entirely new academy in a new state because
of what I was exposed to. That academy? Gibsons
Martial Arts in Tulsa Oklahoma under the late Terry
Gibson. It was there in April 1993 that I first met
Guro and began my training under him and under
many of his instructors who would be my friends.
At that first seminar, I was so excited I felt like a kid
Heather MonDee, Colorado
with Mickey Mouse in Disney Worldsomeone
snapped a Polaroid and that picture says it all!
Long-term consistent hard work, desire and passion
under Guros Inosanto/Gibson and others are what brought my path to instructorship and
eventual instructorship in his organization. This instructorship was under recommendation
of Guros Terry and Cathy, upon receiving my Black Instructor Level I with them.
When you appreciate the deep gift given through so many people but rooted back to the
contribution of one man, there is great respect and loyalty, the type I witnessed the first
seminar and meeting him to now being a strong part of what I witnessed so many years

What is the single greatest influence Dan Inosanto has had on you?
Yesterday was a testing in our academy; fourteen of my students were testing. I asked and
reminded them again regarding sending my instructor birthday wishes. I told them I was
asked to submit a birthday wish as well, but told them only one thing of the four that I was
asked to submit: the single greatest influence he has had in my life.
I told them openly what my answer would be. It is them my students. Watching them
stand there ready to work hard, achieve their goals and be better than what they were
when they walked in the door, inspires me.
The single greatest influence that Guro has had on my life is something, I dont even know
he knows I cherish from him but I believe he will now. I have students progressing through
a well-rounded curriculum from level one to level six (to 10) currently and can feel the goal
of Black Belt Excellence approaching. That anyone would stay with me this long, moves me
but the product and service speaks for itself and its rooted from the one who gave it
directly and indirectly through his many instructors I schooled under.

Please tell your favorite Dan Inosanto story

I have taken much of my space on the above part of submission but my favorite Inosanto
story is: Sifu Francis Fong, Guro Dan Inosanto and Steven Segal in a car that broke down
where Steven Segal wants to show Guro his new move and winds up showing it also to
Sifu Fong with not the same outcome!
I would be willing to bet that Dan Inosanto is the most photographed individual next to
Princess Diana... just not as highly exposed.
The math might speak for itself since 1965 to present, the travels some years 50 weekends
out of the year, various camps, entertainment connections, l.e./military and general public.
He is probably the most humbly recognized legend individual to the general public we will

Name: In Chun Kim

How did you come to meet, train with and be certified by Dan Inosanto?
Back in 1992, I started training with Pat Finley in Columbia,
MD. I heard about him from a friend of mine when I
inquired about Filipino Martial Arts. Up until then I had
trained in a variety of other arts (Tae Kwon Do, Hap Ki Do,
Yudo/Judo, and Kumdo/Kendo) and wanted to explore other
styles. With Pat Finley I started by basics with Muay Thai,
Bando, Silat, and FMA.
The first time I met Guro Dan and Simo Paula occurred in
February 1994 at a seminar in Columbia, MD.
Of course, I had read his books and talked about him with
Pat Finley many times. It was such an honor to meet him
finally. He was even more amazing as a person and martial
artist than I had ever imagined. Lucky for me that same
In Chun Kim,
year I was also able to meet and train with Ajarn Chai.
Moving Around
Flash forward many years... in 1998, I met Pat Tray during
an Ajarn Chai seminar, two years later in 2000, I started to
train with him and teach at his school. Up until then I didn't actively seek an
apprenticeship under Guro because I felt that he would let me know when I was
Sifu Pat persuaded me to pursue this goal and with his help I was able to receive
my apprenticeship in 2002.

What is the single greatest influence Dan Inosanto has had on you?
The single greatest influence Guro has had on me can be summarized by one word
"humility". Guro is by far the greatest martial artist I have ever known or will
probably ever meet. He is humble and gracious, always generous, and ever
passionate about the martial arts and its history. Notwithstanding all his
experience and knowledge, Guro still does not come across as someone that is
arrogant or full of himself. I have learned from him that in order to learn and
advance in any art (or life for that matter) at any level, a person must maintain
humility and modesty in his/her skills and actions. Through all the trials and
tribulations Guro has experienced he still is able to maintain his humility and
modesty although he is one of, if not THE, preeminent martial artists of our
lifetime. I attempt to emulate his attitude and composure in my journey through
the martial arts and life. I am not afraid to delve into new arts (started Capoeira
this year) with the attitude and mindset of a beginner because when the cup is
empty, one can learn.

Please tell your favorite Dan Inosanto story

Wow, it's hard for me to come up with one story because every time I see Guro, I
am awed and inspired - not because of idol worship, but because he is an example
of the good things that I want to achieve in my life. One particular instance does
stand out in my mind and that is during the first time I went to Ajarn Chai's Muay
Thai Northwest Training Camp in Oregon in 1996. I knew that Guro would be there
but couldn't believe my eyes when I saw him sweating and training as hard as
everyone else in the dirt and heat. That's when I knew that I would do everything I
could to continue to see and train with Guro. He taught me much just by being
there training with the rest of us... as one of us.

Name: James Stacy

How did you come to meet, train with and be certified by Dan Inosanto?
Well the first time I met Guro was
when I he came to Tulsa to do a
seminar. I had been training with
Terry Gibson so I thought that I knew
what to expect, Boy was I wrong.
Guro came in with Paula and
their baby girl in tow. Guro then
greeted everyone and he and Paula
proceeded to blow me away. They
were so fluid and showed so much
that by the end of the day I felt like I
had seen more in the one day than
could be contained in any complete
system of Martial Arts. And that was just the first day.

Stacy, California

One time when I was traveling I had to change planes in Chicago and walking
though the airport I saw Guro and Paula walking the other way. I started to say hi
and talk about how great it was to see them. Where were they going? How long
would they be there? And Guro smiled and answered my questions and was very
nice. I don't even know if he had any chance of knowing who I was but he made
me feel as if I was the friend I wanted to be.
I moved to LA and started to train at the Inosanto Academy and on the first day of
Thai boxing Guro had Ron Balicki get into the ring and hold the Thai pads for
everyone. Well when it got to be my turn I really laid into the pads (Ron's a great
holder) and Guro said "wow, that was a hard kick!" I responded with "Yea, I'm one
of Terry's students!" I still think that was one of the coolest things in my life.
When Terry Gibson was really sick Guro and Paula helped me to set up a seminar
and a kickathon to raise money to help him out. I think we raised over $2000 for
him. When he passed away we were all very upset.
I moved from Tulsa to LA to train with Guro and then I moved to San Diego to open
my school. If I had not had those years training at his academy I feel like my
school and my martial arts would not really be worth what I always wanted them to
be. Through Guro I had the pleasure to meet and train with a lot of high level
martial artiest, Eric Paulson, Ajarn Chai, Herman Suwanda, Marc Denny, Col
Nattapong, Sifu Fong, John Jack Machado and to many to name. The point is he
allowed me to see a lot of different approaches to the martial arts and most
instructors won't show you anyone that is out of their system. I think they are
afraid to let any one see other instructors because they don't want to lose their
students, but Guro keeps to Sijo's Philosophy of looking to see what is out there
and to always be the student. I thank you for that because that has allowed me to
try and always be the student.
Happy Birthday From Academy of World Martial Arts, James D. Stacy

What is the single greatest influence Dan Inosanto has had on you?
Please tell your favorite Dan Inosanto story

NAME: Jamie Simpson

How did you come to meet, train with and be certified by Dan Inosanto?
I first met Guro Dan and Simo Paula
Inosanto in 1993 at a seminar in New
The material they covered along with the
stories and history they shared was
I brought a copy of Jeet Kune Do, The
Art and Philosophy authored by Guro
which he graciously autographed, and
later had a picture taken with him at the
end of the seminar.
Inspired, I continued training and in
2001 was fortunate enough to receive an

What is the single greatest influence

Dan Inosanto has had on you?

Jamie Simpson, Pennsylvania

We all know of the incredible skill, wealth of knowledge and outstanding teaching
ability that Guro Dan possesses, but one of the things I admire most is his sincerity
and genuine humility.
He continues to be a major influence, not only as a martial artist and instructor but
also as a person.

Please tell your favorite Dan Inosanto story

Today when I say goodbye after a seminar, I watch as students ask Guro for an
autograph or to get a picture taken and I think how much that meant to me.
I am very grateful for the opportunity to train with such a dedicated and gifted
instructor and appreciate all that Guro Dan and Simo Paula Inosanto have done for
students and instructors around the world.

Name: Jane Chan

How did you come to meet and train with Dan Inosanto?
What is the single greatest influence Dan Inosanto has had on you?
Please tell your favorite Dan Inosanto story


love, Jane Chan

Name: Jeff Imada

How did you come to meet, train with and be certified by Dan Inosanto?
In maybe 1973 or 74, I was reading a magazine
article about Jeet Kune Do. I was intrigued enough
by what I was reading to make an effort to find
Sifu Dan and go visit his school.
So a buddy of mine made a phone call and thats
how we got to first see him.
This was right around the time that the Kali
Academy had first opened up in Torrance.
Fortunately for me, I had trained in other martial
arts systems because at that time, they just
wanted to accept people with previous martial arts
So I trained for a few years, was on the demo
team and then Sifu Dan started traveling to do
seminars. I was perhaps one of the first students
Jeff Imada
to go with him in 1976 or thereabouts. I
remember we went to Chile, England, different
States like New Mexico and Colorado.
The seminar traveling continued until I got too
busy with stuntwork to keep doing it. I didnt want
to mess him up by not being available.
Even before my time as his seminar assistant, Sifu
Jeff Imada
Dan had mentioned to me about becoming an
I was very honored that he thought so highly of
my ability, but I really felt like I wasnt ready and
that there were other people he should ask. He would tell me that I was ready and
we kept going back and forth about it for six, maybe eight months.
I received my Instructors diplomas in, I believe, 1978.

What is the single greatest influence Dan Inosanto has had on you?
I always give him the credit for my success in the movie industry because he
taught me how to apply important JKD principles in my work.
The ability to fit in, adapt and flow with any situation, whether in life or work or
martial art. To be able to incorporate that into daily life has been invaluable to me.

Please tell your favorite Dan Inosanto story

Its really hard to come up with a favorite, but I remember him telling me around
1977, that I was going to have to start doing some of the demos because he was
worried that he was slowing down and wasnt really up to speed.
All I can say is its a good thing he wasnt up to speed thirty years ago, because to
me he looks faster than ever.

Name: Jim Buchanan

How did you come to meet and train with Dan Inosanto?
I first met Guru Inosanto in the late 1980s at a seminar in Dallas, Texas. I was
mesmerized by what I saw. I left the first day of the seminar and people asked
what I had learned. I couldnt remember a single technique but I knew I was going
back for more.
In the following years I began to understand. I was in the presence of a Master
Teacher. Teaching higher level thinking skills are concepts that few people are
aware of but Guru Inosanto has become skilled in this way of teaching.
The late, great Bruce Lee is smiling at his best student, the teacher, knowing that
teaching is the highest form of learning.
There is an old saying that Birds of a Feather Flock Together and I sure hope that
is true. It is a great honor for me to be one of his students.

What is the single greatest influence Dan Inosanto has had on you?
I have been fortunate to have trained under some of the best teachers in the world,
Guru Dan Inosanto, Grand Tuhon Leo Gaje, Maginoo Tim Waid, J. Pat Burleson and
Guru Harley Elmore just to name a few.
All have taught me many lessons but Guru Dan is the rejuvenator. I look forward
to his visits every year for not only knowledge but also the inspiration to be better
than I thought I could ever be. I no longer worry about being better than someone
else but try to be better than I was yesterday.

Please tell your favorite Dan Inosanto story

Name: Joe Craig

How did you come to meet, train with and be certified by Dan Inosanto?
I met Guro Inosanto in St. Louis in March of
1990 where he was presenting a seminar for
Guro Jim Smothers. I had been training with Mr.
Smothers for a while when he invited me to the
seminar. I often reflect on how this invitation
has directly influenced every day of my life since
that time.
I was fortunate to attend a school that featured
Sifu Inosantos work as a regular part of its
curriculum. Black Belt Self Defense hosted Sifu
Inosanto three times a year. He came for
weekend seminars in the spring and fall as well
as a weeklong camp each summer. We traveled
throughout the Midwest, training with him at
every opportunity. We were fortunate during this
time to meet, train with and be influenced by
the late Terry Gibson. Mr. Gibson was an
instrumental figure in our pursuit of training
opportunities with Sifu Inosanto. He offered us
not only the chance to train with Guro at his
Joe Craig, Missouri
school in Tulsa but he also encouraged us to
seek out as many direct training hours as
possible. I received my formal certification through Sifu Inosanto in 1995 after
being recommended for the program by Guro Jim Smothers.

What is the single greatest influence Dan Inosanto has had on you?
Guro Inosanto has handled the preservation and propagation of a legacy he was all
too suddenly left with. To walk in the shadow of a larger than life icon is no easy
feat. To emerge from that shadow and to teach countless others with passion,
clarity and the desire to respect the past while moving toward the future proves
that Dan Inosanto is a man of integrity, courage and great resolve. We can all learn
from the example of the friendship that existed between these two men. Sifu
Inosanto has shown me that to be a true friend you must first be true to your
beliefs and be willing to be open and respectful to the beliefs of others.
I am also certain that just as he did for me, Guro Inosanto has brought illumination
to the lives of the thousands of people that he has touched over the years. It is
important to me that he know that the years of sacrifice and hardship for both
himself and his family have not been in vain You have and will continue to make
a difference in this world and for that alone I know that your father and mother are
smiling down upon you with great pride.

Please tell your favorite Dan Inosanto story

In the summer of 1996 we were going to dinner after the seminar at a Thai
restaurant located in a quirky somewhat trendy part of St. Louis known as
the Loop. In an earlier incarnation the Loop was not known as a place where you
would want to just stroll around for no apparent reason. A lot has been done

to clean up the place and renovate the area. After we had supper we decided to
walk around a bit and do a little window-shopping. We returned to the car only to
find that the car would not start. We called for a tow truck and proceeded to wait.
The tow truck shows up only to find that the car cannot be jump-started. The
driver tells us that he is also going to be unable to tow the car, as it was a type of
vehicle that required the use of a roll back instead of a traditional tow truck. We
were unable to reach our respective spouses by phone so the decision was made to
call my brother. My brother Sam agreed to come out and pick us up but it was
going to take awhile as he lived pretty far away from where we were stuck. We
decided to resume walking around the Loop to kill some time, as we did so we
encountered a young man near the entrance to a retro music store called Vintage
Vinyl. The young man walked by our group looking at us in a rather odd way, as he
passed he paused and turned to look back at us. After discussing it later the group
all agreed that it seemed as if the young man was up to no good and that he may
have thought about robbing us, as we all appeared to be tourists just wandering
around. In fact the young man did start walking back towards us but as he did
so he started talking really fast about Bruce Lee, he was speaking in a very excited
manner when he asked Sifu Inosanto about getting his butt kicked by Bruce Lee in
the Game of death. Guro was very cordial to the man as he spoke briefly with him
about the making of the film and the scenes that he shot with Sigung Lee. This guy
seemed enthralled with his brush with celebrity (he was apparently a huge Bruce
Lee fan) and I am certain that he is probably still retelling the story of meeting Dan
Inosanto to this very day.

Name: Joe Purcell

How did you come to meet and train with Dan Inosanto?
May 15th, 2006
Sifu Dan Inosanto,
Since meeting you in Dallas almost 23 years
ago, I am continually amazed each time I see
you. Your knowledge, skill, and humility
constantly progress to higher levels.
Whenever I talk to someone about training, I
cant help but wonder if they have any idea of
the tremendous impact you have had on the
world of martial arts, as it exists today.
Whether its Jun Fan/JKD, Filipino, Thai,
Joe Purcell, Texas
Indonesian, Shoot Wrestling, BJJ, mixed
martial arts, cross training, etc. I cant think
of any other individual who has made so many significant contributions, and
achieved as much as you have. I doubt that there is a single isolated dojo in the
most desolate region that has not been positively impacted by the teaching of Dan
At times, I struggle with balancing my personal training with family, job, teaching
and other responsibilities. It seems that everything interferes with training time.
Then I remember that Sifu Dan has a family. Sifu Dan taught history and coached.
Sifu Dan teaches many, many students. You have been on the road almost every
week since you were 45 years old, and travel around the globe carrying on the
legacy of Bruce Lee. Somehow (I am still not sure how) you still manage to
progress in your own personal training. About this time, I realize my daily
challenges are infinitesimal compared to the responsibilities you bear. The bottom
line is that in addition to being a great teacher and martial artist, you are also an
immense inspiration to all of us. You should write a book on how you have
managed, balanced, and adapted to achieve so much.
In closing I want to thank say you for all your contributions, sharing your
experiences, and for the outstanding teaching and training you have given us over
the years. I wish you the best on your 70th birthday and every other day. I wish
you ongoing success and hope you will continue to teach us for many years to
Best Regards,
Joe Purcell

What is the single greatest influence Dan Inosanto has had on you?
Please tell your favorite Dan Inosanto story

Name: John Bruce Daniels

How did you come to meet, train with and be certified by Dan Inosanto?
I met Sifu Dan when I was certified
under Guru Ted Lucaylucay and Sifu
Trigg. They told me to come and train
with their teacher Sifu Dan. When I
went to one of his seminars, that is
where I knew I had met the best
there was and knew thats who I
wanted to train under. So I started in
the apprenticeship Program in 1986,
and thats where I have been ever
since (Thank God).

What is the single greatest

influence Dan Inosanto has had
on you?

John Bruce Daniels, Oregon

The greatest influence he had on me

was he told me to be the best that I could be. My father used to say, if you want to
become something that you dream of being, train with the best so you can be the
best you can be. And don't try to be anyone but yourself.

Please tell your favorite Dan Inosanto story

My favorite Inosanto Story was that he is filming a movie in Hong Kong, and some
people came to his hotel room to challenge him. When I asked what happened, he
said " I am still here and I know that all the training I did worked and paid off, and
it will work for you too if you train hard" and it has for me too.
And I want to thank him for letting me be apart of the Inosanto Legend.
With great respect, Guru John Daniels. Honorable Student

Name: John F. Chip Kelley

How did you come to meet and train with Dan Inosanto?
I had the pleasure of meeting Sifu
Inosanto in Los Angles in 1987. I
traveled there with Sifu Dwight
Woods to attend a Seminar at the
IMB Academy.
The experience was overwhelming to
say the least. Since I had trained with
Sifu Dwight for such a short time I
was very nervous about the idea of
meeting a legend. I was so very
impressed with the soft spoken, polite
and even shy gentleman that I met.

Chip Kelley

I came to find out that his passion, knowledge, ability and wiliness to share were
even greater than what was described to me. I was also introduced to Mrs.
Inosanto who at that time was Paula Pedersen.
I was fortunate over the next couple of years to be able to travel to a number of
seminars around the country and soak in as much as possible.

What is the single greatest influence Dan Inosanto has had on you?
Sometimes the hidden message you get from someone far out weighs the actual
lesson being taught.
Sifu Inosanto has such a way of using every day life as a way to explain his martial
arts message. So often a comparison of football or baseball explains his meaning
but it also goes a lot deeper and gives us lessons in life too.
JKD is different for each of us and he has shown me that it is true in life as well.
Each of us has a different path and we must follow it to the best of our abilities.
It is amazing to me how Sifu Inosanto can remember names, faces and details
about so many people. He never fails to ask about people in your life and how
things are going. He is always genuinely interested.
Whenever I get the opportunity to attend an Inosanto Seminar I feel really blessed.
In addition to the terrific skills he passes on, you can always pick-up insights on
World History from a very special point of view.

Please tell your favorite Dan Inosanto story

I remember the early years when Sifu Inosanto came to Miami for our first seminar.
Sifu Inosanto was slated to do a seminar the year before but an ear infection and
Doctors orders kept him from traveling. We were fortunate enough to have Guru
Paul De Thouars and Sifu Burton Richardson come down in his place.
When Sifu Dan did arrive in Miami we were operating on a non-existing budget. We
were new at hosting seminars and I remember having Sifu Dan and Simo Paula
over to my house to shower and for dinner.
It was really neat to have two of the worlds greatest martial artists as guests in my
own home.
What made it even so special was the fact that they were so gracious and
accommodating, and typical of Sifu Dan he used this event as an opportunity to
train us.
Isnt that just like Sifu Dan?

Name: John Spezzano

How did you come to meet and train with Dan Inosanto?
I think it was 1992 and I was working on
a film in Utah with an actor named Scott
Glenn. We'd gotten to be friends and
were talking martial arts.
At the time I was training in Aikido at the
school Steven Seagal had started. Scott
had done the movie "The Challenge" in
Japan years earlier and Seagal had done
some of the choreography for it.
Scott told me about this art called Kali,
said he'd trained in Serrada in Chicago
John Spezzano, California
while working on "Backdraft" there. He
showed me a little of it and really intrigued me.
When I got back to LA, I made it a point to find the Inosanto Academy, which at
the time was quite hard to find. Nestled away in an industrial park in Marina del
Rey, the Academy was a total of about 800 sq. ft., including bathroom and office!
I came by to watch a Muay Thai class, and after that there was a Krabi Krabong
class. I was excited to watch that as well, but Simo Paula politely said, "Good
night" and closed the door on me! HA,HA! Needless to say, not being able to
watch an advanced class REALLY made me want to get into that school and start

What is the single greatest influence Dan Inosanto has had on you?
Guro Dan's single most important influence on me has been just on my approach to
life. Premier martial artist? He is that, no doubt. Incredible teacher? He is also
that. But I think the thing most people miss when they train with him is his
attitude. In addition to all of his accomplishments, Guro Dan is the consummate
student. His desire to learn has never eroded, and if you're open to it, it is
That is by far his greatest influence on me, the fact that in martial arts, you never
"arrive." Martial art training is a constant journey which has a beginning, but no
end. While that might be daunting to some, the more you think about it, it is truly
freeing as well.

Please tell your favorite Dan Inosanto story

(I don't know if this story will be too political Dwight, if so, let me know and I'll
come up with another one.) Being a former Seagal Aikido guy, I think my favorite
Guro Dan story is the one where he and Sifu Francis Fong met Seagal at some
Aikido camp in the mid-80s. Seagal made the mistake of telling Guro and Sifu that
he had developed some new drill that he was calling sticking hands....and that he
wanted to show Guro a wristlock from Aikido. Guro, being the kindest man on the
planet, told Seagal what a great thing he had done. But then Seagal made the
mistake of grabbing Sifu Francis's hand to show him the wristlock too. SMACK!!!
At which point Guro Dan immediately turned the other direction without a word and
started walking away!

The Quintessential Martial Artist

By John Spezzano

Guro Dan sets a great example to follow for many

Aside from being extremely knowledgeable about
martial arts, he is kind, giving, and patient in his
sharing of those arts.
Those of us who have been with him a long time
know what a great teacher he is, and those of
you who are new will see that soon enough. Hes
full of lessons on how to train, how to get fit, how
to counter this or that, etc, etc.
But the main thing Guro Dan has offered me is
his work ethic. Guro Dan is quite arguably the
premier martial artist of the last century, yet he
still trains every day and looks at material and
techniques as though he is still a white belt.
The man is CONSTANTLY learning.
I think this is the most common thing about Guro
that many of his students miss. They get to a certain level and stop training,
feeling that theyve gotten as far as they need to go. But in Guros own words,
You never arrive.
This, to me, is the key to mastery. Most people will probably never master their
art(s) anyway, but stopping your training is the easiest way to lose your edge.
So I thank you Guro.
Thanks for setting such a remarkable example by your own actions.
Thanks for showing us that the road never ends, unless you park yourself on the
You are a constant inspiration of quality in a world that rewards the mediocre.
Happy Birthday!

Name: Jon D. Meyer

How did you come to meet, train with and be certified by Dan Inosanto?
I started training in martial arts
when I was seventeen years old
under Sifu Charles Reed in
Cincinnati. It was February of 1993.
This was also my first encounter
with JKD. I went to the Reed
academy everyday it was open and
I always heard of Guro Inosanto
from Sifu Reed who is an instructor
under Guro. This made me very
excited to have the chance to meet
him one day. About a year later in
1994 Guro had a seminar at the
Reed Academy for the first time. I
was amazed and overwhelmed with
information. I could not believe how
knowledgeable he was in martial
arts. I loved listening to the stories
and history of martial arts. I was
astonished at how fast he was and
Jon Meyer,
the way he moved. It was a true
inspiration for me. I became
certified by Guro in 1999. This was
such an honor for me to be apart of his instructor organization.


What is the single greatest influence Dan Inosanto has had on you?
Guro Inosanto has influenced me in many ways. One that sticks out the most is his
influence on my attitude towards life and others. I would feel his kind and humble
way has made me a better person today

Please tell your favorite Dan Inosanto story

A funny story I can think of is one day at the instructors conference Guro showed
up in his SUV with dried soap squirted down the passengers side from where Mrs.
Inosanto (I believe this is who he said was washing the SUV) was trying to wash it.
He was in a rush to get to the academy he had to leave before she could finish. We
all know how busy his schedule is!!!

Name: Jon Rister

How did you come to meet and train with Dan Inosanto?
I was in Atlanta at the southeast conference in
2000 Sifu Dan was discussing strategy and tactics.
He used the Civil War as an example and how we
(the North) used more modern rifles and tactics to
win the war. Then he came to realize mid sentence
that he was addressing a group of people in the
south he smiled and said, Oh gee, we are in the
No one said anything but the silence was

What is the single greatest influence Dan

Inosanto has had on you?

Jon Rister
Texas (& Finland)

In 1998, at Terry Gibsons old school, Sifu Dan

was closing the seminar and started to talk about
Suddenly a tear broke on his face. Our eyes met and the sense of his grief touched
me very deeply. I had to turn around to keep from losing it. I wiped my face,
turned back around, he smiled and said he missed Terry Gibson.
I really knew at that moment the depth of the man.
Truly a warrior, truly a poet, a spirit that God sent among us.
Of that I have no doubt.

Please tell your favorite Dan Inosanto story

Name: Kenny Barry

How did you come to meet and train with Dan Inosanto?
From age seven I knew I was
suppose to meet him and train
under him. I met him when I was
17. Few moments stand out more
in my life than the time when I met
Guro Dan Inosanto.
We were in Miami, Florida at a
seminar hosted by Sifu Dwight
Woods. Sifu Luis Martinez and I had
taken the seminar along with my
younger brother Kevin.
The moment he saw me, he said,
"Youre half-Filipino."
He said his son was also halfFilipino. He remembered my name
after the first time he trained me.

Kenny Barry, Florida

What is the single greatest

influence Dan Inosanto has had on you?
Since then has stuck by my side through college a bad car accident and major
surgeries - and getting married as well.
The martial arts side is only a small portion of what this man has to offer. He has a
caring and loving heart that is made of gold. He is a professional in every sense of
the word.
Outside of my mother and father, he has been the single biggest influence in my
life. I cant thank him enough for all that he has done for me!

Please tell your favorite Dan Inosanto story

To describe the single most memorable time with Guro Dan would be impossible.
Because THE BEST MOMENT with Guro Dan has been EVERY moment.
He is a true martial artist and leader by example. He has been a pioneer for the
martial arts community worldwide. He has a presence that is so pure and full of
positive energy that it can be felt by all around him.
The energy that Guro Dan transcends is like walking into a church or a place of
nature where you feel strong presence.
Very difficult to describe in words however anyone that has been around him knows
exactly what I am trying to explain.

Name: Kevin J. Fernandez

How did you come to meet, train with and be certified by Dan Inosanto?
In early 1990 I had started training under Sifu Dwight Woods in JKD/Kali. Through
Sifu Dwight I was exposed to Guro
Daniel Inosanto. The first time I met
him was at the UMAA seminar in
Miami, Florida in October 1990.
I continued my training under Sifu
Dwight always looking forward to
Guro Dan's visit to Miami. At times
Guro Dan visited Tampa, FL, and I,
as well as others from Miami, made
the trip to attend the seminars.

Kevin Fernandez

It was during Guro's 1997 (or 1998)

visit to Miami that on Sifu Dwights
recommendation Mario Papachristou, Chip Kelley and I were awarded Apprentice
Instructorships. It was a very emotional event.

What is the single greatest influence Dan Inosanto has had on you?
Several years afterwards, I was involved in an accident which prevented me from
training for three years. During this time Guro continued to visit Miami for the
annual seminar. Even though I could not train I made it a point to pass by and pay
In the past year I have restarted my training and have been able to attend several
seminars. Each time I walk up to Guro Dan his words are "Fernandez, how are you
feeling? How's your neck? Your back? Your hand?" It is amazing how he
remembers. I am one of hundreds several thousand, probably, that train under his
guidance, and he remembers not only my name but my injuries as well.
Personally, I believe Guro Dan is humble, caring, and genuine. Therefore, it is hard
to just pick one influence. Like a father offering guidance to his children, he
displays patience and knowledge.

Please tell you favorite Dan Inosanto story

I believe it was during that first seminar that Guro Dan was asked about the oneinch punch and the straight blast (Jik Chun Choi).
Guro Dan did a small demonstration that to this date is embedded in my memory.
Someone was holding two thick telephone books and Guro demonstrated the oneinch punch, which caused the holder to take several steps back upon being hit.
However, it was the straight blast that really impressed me. I didn't see all the hits,
because it was a blur (what speed!), but I heard it. In my mind I replayed it and
counted the hits, five in the span of, maybe, two seconds. WOW!!!
I could probably go on and on with stories and so forth, as I am sure a lot of us

Name: Kevin Seaman

How did you come to meet, train with and be certified by Dan Inosanto?
I remember sitting in my bedroom in 1974, reading a
magazine about Dan Inosantos unique approach to
educating his students in the martial arts and thinking, I
would give almost anything to train with Dan Inosanto at
the Torrance Academy. Two years later, I had an
amazing opportunity to meet you Sifu and watch your
classes in 1976.
Nearly ten years later in 1984, I finally obtained my
primary goal and started training with you. Soon after, a
turning point in my personal development happened at
the Four Seasons Campground in Murphy, Pa. It was at
that point on my martial arts path that I believed I had
found a place with a martial arts family that few ever had
the opportunity to experience.
Sifu, you were so generous, friendly and genuinely open.
This made me feel as though I was welcome, when I
asked about being your student and you said you thought
I would make a very good student.

Kevin Seaman,
New York

Later, the following year in Ottawa, Canada at a seminar

hosted by Bob Carver, I talked with you about becoming a part of your instructor
program. I remember asking you, Sifu, do you think a person could become an
instructor under you if they worked hard, but didnt live in Los Angeles?

Your reply was, Yes I then asked, Sifu, if a person worked really hard, do you
think it would be possible for them to become a Full Instructor under you, even if
the lived somewhere other than Los Angeles? You smiled with a twinkle in your
eye and looked me straight in the eyes and said, Yes, Kevin. If a person was very
committed, I believe they could make it to Full Instructor, even if they lived in New
York. I felt a lump in my throat, and said, Then that is my goal, Sifu!

What is the single greatest influence Dan Inosanto has had on you?

Please tell your favorite Dan Inosanto story

Name: LaVonne Martin

How did you come to meet, train with and be certified by Dan Inosanto?
What it all boils down to is I met
Guro Inosanto because I got kicked
out of the school I was training in!
Growing up in a small Mid-western
town I didnt have a lot of choices
for martial arts. I had no clue about
any type of differences in them.
Realizing I needed exercise and
wanting to learn something at the
same time, I went down to the local
rec center, started Tae Kwon do
and the journey began.
After a couple years, I felt there
must be something else.

Lavonne Martin

I found a school that was mostly

men, more street oriented, that
didnt like people from Tae Kwon
Do and certainly didnt like women
from Tae Kwon Do. So I joined. Learned to take a few hits, be thrown on concrete
and started to see many different areas.
But this school was not meant to be my home for long. A disagreement about
values with my instructor led to me being asked to leave. At that time I felt it was
the worst thing that could have happened to me.
Then I saw an ad in Black Belt Magazine for a weeklong seminar the summer of
1983 in St. Louis, Mo. I had no idea of what any of those arts were and didnt
know anyone there but off I went.
This weeklong seminar led me to an instructor who would open doors in many ways
and where I have stayed for the last 22 years.
From that camp, I met Guro Inosanto, Dwight Woods, Sifu Francis Fong and Master
Chai. Four men that have been in my life longer than my two husbands put
together and Im so very grateful.
So you might say that getting kicked out of a school for speaking my mind is the
best thing that couldve happened to me. Im sure Guro Inosanto wont be shocked
to know that I got into trouble for opening my mouth.
I received my instructorship in the Filipino Martial Arts under Guro in August of
1988. I was so proud. Then a few years later instructorship in Jun Fan / JKD.
Receiving my Full Instructorship with Guro Inosanto is something this Turtle wasnt
sure was possible, I just knew I had to stay on the path no matter what.

What is the single greatest influence Dan Inosanto has had on you?
I think what has influenced me the most about this man is not only his skill,
knowledge, expertise and PATIENCE is that he is truly a person who cares about
others. I have watched him and I know he has molded us all to not only be better
martial artist but a better person. When he talks about using the martial arts to

bridge the gap between cultures and people its not just talk. I know he has put
many of us including myself in situations that were uncomfortable and trying to
avoid but through this frustration you will grow. And so we did. I can only hope
that I will be able to add to my students lives a portion of what he has.

Please tell your favorite Dan Inosanto story

I know that he misses having me travel with him to Daniel Sullivans for those
verbal comments when getting stopped by the police. Now we all know that Guro
abides by the law and not only never drinks but even if he did would never drink
and drive. So the fact that an officer stopped him because he stopped short of a
traffic light, and asked if he had been drinking was crazy and a little funny. I just
made a comment that he always drives like that. I was trying to help but it didnt
come out that way At least I didnt suggest he have Guro walk the line to prove
he wasnt drinking. It was just too funny that of all people Guro would get stopped
and asked if hed been drinking!
Then there were those long trips to train with Grandmaster Attilio. If I recall we
traveled for 8 hours in the car for 2 hours of training. Leaving early in the morning
and returning just in time for Guro to start teaching. Simo Paula had informed me
when he starts playing the music loud hes getting tired and if he starts singing
When The Saints Go Marching In I should drive.
It was fun even though it was long and I would do it again if I could. If any of you
who know me question whether Im white or not, just ask Guro about it.
There are a many times when Guro would call me out to assist and I was only
hoping my brain would kick in and do the correct drill or technique and then come
those famous words, You can do that too, and Id know I should shoot myself
right then. But Guro being the wise person he is, when hes called out to do a drill
or Kembangan on the spur of the moment, in a room full of people just announces
that LaVonne & Joel will now do sarong techniques. That was worth a few laughs on
the way home from Vegas. Which is another thing about him that draws people in.
He can laugh at himself in training.
Sometimes when Guro, Joel and I would travel on the plane together there were
moments when Guro didnt claim us.
On one of the flights, we all happen walk on the plane separately, so no one knew
we were together. Guro sits down; Joel walks on by and is getting settled in the
aisle when I come on the plane. I look at Joel and say, SIT DOWN, RIGHT NOW,
Joel looks at me and responds, ILL KNOCK YOU OUT. I say, YOURE NOT BIG
Everyone in first class is staring except Guro Inosanto, who never looks up from his
book. Joel sits down and I walk back to my seat. At that point, he didnt know
either Joel or me.
He is turning 70 and Im sure that well be working out and training for another 30
years or so. He does more than most 30 year olds. Its an honor and a privilege to
have him as an instructor but what he has added to my life in friendship, laughter
and the introduction of new people and situations has enriched my life beyond what
I could have ever expected.

Name: Marc Crafty Dog Denny

How did you come to meet, train with and be certified by Dan Inosanto?
Growing up in NYC gave me reason to think about taking
up martial arts, but it was not until my last semester of
school at the age of 29 that I actually started.
After a year and a half of Fu Jow Pai Kung Fu and TKD, in
1982 I arrived in Long Beach CA to do real estate with
my brother.
I met a fellow on the beach doing strange martial arts
movementsmodified Wing Chun he called it and gave
me the phone number and address for The Kali
I had never heard of Kali, Jeet Kune Do or Dan Inosanto
but I went anyway.

Marc Denny

When I walked in there was some little guy with calves

the size of my thighs bending the first banana bag I had
ever seen. There were people waving around sticks and
knives; people kickboxing with real boxing gloves and kicks to the leg, and people
training on weird looking wooden apparatuses like on Saturday morning Kung Fu
The vibes of the room were very powerful and I knew I had found what I was
looking for.
My progress with Guro I. has been very slow-- it took me 8 years to become an
Apprentice Instructor in FMA, and a few years after that I made Associatebut I
just keep plugging along.

What is the single greatest influence Dan Inosanto has had on you?
To choose the single greatest influence of Guro I on me is hard because there are
so many:

the times we sparred (yes, he took me apart)

my lessons in his garage

the sage advice over dinner

watching him put on the white belt for BJJ and train his way to healing his
back injury

watching him deal with all of us even when we let him down or who treat him

and all the times he fools me even now with his sly, dumb fox shtick.

If I have to choose just one thing, I would say it is the way he allows people to
be who they are even as he patiently awaits their realization that the barriers
they perceive are but doors to open.

Please tell your favorite Dan Inosanto story

Im going to break the rules a bit here (how rare) and instead tell a Simo Paula
story. She keeps herself out of the spotlight, but without her, Guro Is story is
One night when I came in for training, Simo Paula told me that they had had to
throw a weirdo out earlier that evening.
During training I saw a guy with no shirt or shoes (it was a 50 degree night) looking
in the open side door. I alerted Simo and she confirmed it was the guy.
She picked up Danielle, (then an infant) --which surprised me-- covered her with a
blanket and went outside to talk to him. I grabbed a Bahi stick and followed.
From the position that I took about ten feet behind him, I saw he had some tabak
toyok (nunchucks) in his back pocket.
Ill shorten the story a bit and get to the ending. The guy left and I walked Simo
and Danielle back inside. When she took the blanket off, I saw she had a large pair
of scissors in her hand. He never had a clue to how close he was

Name: Marc McFann

How did you come to meet and train with Dan Inosanto?
I met Guro in the early eighties through
seminars he was doing in Houston and Dallas
Texas. I had done some training with Sifu
Larry Hartsell, Tim Tackett, Teddy Lucaylucay
and of course they all said I had to go train
with Sifu Dan.
Guro did lots of seminars by himself but
there were also lots of times when he taught
jointly with Ajarn Chai or Tuhon Gaje.

Marc McFann, Arkansas

I was living in Austin, TX at the time. Ray Parra was my training partner back in
those days. So I started taking every training opportunity that my pocket book
would allow.
I went out to the old IMB camp and was lucky enough to get Burt Richardson as my
training partner for the first couple of days. I also traveled out to the Smokey
Mountain camp where I made friendships that have lasted to this day, Erik Paulson,
Rick Young, Lavonne Martin, and many others.

What is the single greatest influence Dan Inosanto has had on you?
Its hard to pick out just one influence from Guro but one thing I think he passed on
to me, not directly but by his example, was his perpetual white belt quest for
knowledge and his incredible training ethic.
I remember attending a Guro/Tuhon seminar many years ago. It was billed as a
half day with Guro and a half day with Tuhon for two days. It turned out to be
about two hours of Guro per day and more hours than I can remember with Tuhon.
But, Guro was there for every hour, stick in hand, doing his 500 redondos just like
all the rest of us, except he didnt whine about it like the rest of us did.
This quest for knowledge and his humbleness has been demonstrated to me
numerous times since. Some examples from the top of my head; teaching JKD and
Kali at the Smokey Mountain camp and then getting in the ring and doing his pad
rounds with Ajarn Chai in front of all his students and getting hit.
To this day he still does it. He never misses a Thai camp. Training with him and
Carlos Machado when he was just getting into the BJJ, Pa Herman, Pendekar Paul,
Erik Paulson, the list is too long.

Please tell your favorite Dan Inosanto story

My favorite Guro anecdote? There are so many. Guros niceness and unwillingness
to say an unkind work about anything or anyone is legendary.
Also, he was always willing to learn from his own students. At one instructors camp
in LA, he asked Rick Young and me to help him with his grappling. We met him at
like 6 a.m. before he went to BJJ, yoga, and Silat lessons and he continued a
training/teaching day that ended after 10 p.m. Go to Legends Camphe is one of
the few that makes all 40 hours.

Name: Marty Zaninovich

How did you come to meet, train with and be certified by Dan Inosanto?
My interest in studying with Guro Dan at the Inosanto Academy started in the early
90s, but I was not able to study any Kali until 2001.
I started my studies with my Guro John Spezzano, regular classes & private
When I did, I was in awe. At that time, I did not understand why we could not
study immediately with Guro Dan. Well after my first class I realized why--I had a
lot to learn!!
Two years later, I started privates with Guro Mike Wise, and in April 2005, I
received my Apprentice Instructorship in the Filipino Martial Arts.

Please tell your favorite Dan Inosanto story

At the 2005 Legends camp, we had just finished morning classes with Guro Dan
and broke for lunch. A group of us were sitting on the mat and Guro John asked
me if I was going to take the next couple of classes. I told him I didn't know. Then
Guro Dan walked by and overheard us talking and said he would be my partner I
was terrified!! Guro John told me to tell him yes, which I nervously did.
In over 30 years of Kenpo training in which I have reached the rank of 6th Dan,
competed nationally and taught numerous seminars, this was one of the most
intimidating moments of my life!

What is the single greatest influence Dan Inosanto has had on you?
But it was also one of the most inspirational learning opportunities I have ever been
afforded. Words cannot describe what I was blessed to have experienced that day.
This was, after all, Guro Dan Inosanto, the best of the best! My appreciation goes
beyond any explanation I can give. Simply said, he is, as we all know, extremely
talented, caring, nurturing and so much more!!!

Name: Michele Thompson

How did you come to meet, train with and be certified by Dan Inosanto?
In 1993, I attended my first Guro Dan seminar in Princeton NJ. I remember how
excited I was to go and at the same time I was nervous that I wouldnt be able to
keep up with everyone else. Guro and Simo Paula where very helpful and spent a
nice amount of time helping my partner and myself with the drills. Between the
help he gave, his personality and the history he taught I walked out being even
MORE interested in the arts than before.
After the seminar, my instructor asked me to come over and he introduced me to
Guro. He was laughing and I was really nervous and thinking Oh my God, they
are laughing at how pitiful I am at this.
My instructor said Michele, tell Guro how old you are. I was thrown off by the
statement but I answered, 19. They both laughed and Guro said, Oh. My
instructor said Guro asked about you and mentioned that he thought you were 14
years old.
I had to laugh. Then of course, I was thinking in my head. Do I act 14? Do I look
that young? Or does he mean I am that uncoordinated? Oh man, I need to train
My instructor and I joked about that for years. And it made my first seminar even
more special to me.

What is the single greatest influence Dan Inosanto has had on you?
It is very hard to pick one moment that Guro has touched my life. There have been
so many. And I wish I could be around him more often.
I have never met anyone that humble, kind, peaceful and compassionate in my life.
When you are next to him you can just feel it, by the way he speaks to you and the
way he carries himself.
These are traits that I hope to somewhat emulate one day. And every moment I
am thankful to have him in my life.

Please tell your favorite Dan Inosanto story

Recently when faced with a very difficult situation in my life I was thankful most of
all for him. Thanks to Guro I learned about preservation of myself. And through
the training, his encouragement and compassion I didnt give up. I kept going and
no matter what I am still here training and living.
When I attended the Conference in Atlanta at Sifu Fongs school a few years ago I
remember being more nervous than normal. I had submitted my letter for
recommendation and by the time I arrived at the school for the conference, I was a
I thought about how much I didnt know and was overwhelmed by the thought. I
remember the whole time thinking, I dont deserve this. He isnt going to give it to
me. Lets just go home.
The second day he called me up to do the 5 count drill on tape, I was a mess and
had come to the conclusion that he would tell me I need to train more and maybe
later on I would deserve instructorship.

After I did the drill he said the nicest things about me. He told me about my
progress over the years and how he has seen me grow. I was standing there
thinking, I dont deserve this.
And then he said he was proud of me. I never heard that before. And at that point
I cried. And if I didnt get my certification it was ok because he was proud of me.
And at that moment that meant more. I felt for once that I must have done
something right.
Then he told me he was promoting me. I stood shocked for a moment and then
cried more and gave him a hug.
To this day, that has been one of the best moments of my life.

Name: Mykola Machnowsky

How did you come to meet, train with and be certified by Dan Inosanto?
I was totally enamored of the crazy actors you saw flying
around in movies in the 70s and 80s of Kung Fu Theater. It
was during these times that I also discovered Bruce Lee. He
seemed larger than life and the things did on the screen to me
at the time seemed even more amazing than the other actors.
It was here in Bruce Lee that I really discovered a passion not
for the amazing things the actors on screen did but rather the
whole idea of martial arts.
Fast forward about 10 years into the late eighties. I was a
young adult still in awe of Bruce Lee and his legend. I started
Mykola Machnowsky
working with a Tae Kwon Do instructor at my college, and
though I can only say good things about this instructor and his
teachings, I knew that this would not satisfy my thirst for the
martial arts. So I decided to start actively looking for anyone associate to Bruce Lees
teachings. This is when I first discovered Guro Dan, and even though I had seen Guro Dan
in Bruce Lees various books and movies I had never known that Guro was anything other
than a training partner of Bruce Lees. I started training at a school that was fairly new to
the area and working with an instructor who himself was developing under Guro Dan.
As I continued my training, I finally had the honor of meeting Guro Dan in person in NJ
during the very early nineties. This was the first of many Guro Dan seminars to come. I
really couldnt believe my eyes and as I am sure everyone can attest to, his skills as well as
his personality totally blew me away.
I knew right then and there that Guro Dan was not only Bruce Lees training partner he was
also a student, professor, and again for lack of a better word Principal of the martial arts.
In the next few years after this first seminar encounter, I trained with Mike Krivka in
Maryland. He reinforced my desire to train more under Guro Dan and it was a number of
years later Mike spoke to Guro on my behalf and during a seminar in Princeton Guro Dan
awarded me with my instructor certificate. This I have to say is one of the proudest and
most significant moments of my short, especially in comparison to Guro, martial arts career.

What is the single greatest influence Dan Inosanto has had on you?
In the short amount of time (compared to my seniors) I have known Guro Dan, he has been
a very positive influence on me. Honestly, the skills Guro has and the stellar reputation he
has could easily translate into a very marketable commodity. Instead, I see Guro passing on
those opportunities and instead teaching the Arts so that other generations can pass it
along. This to me shows Guros dedication and has been one of his greatest influences. Its
the mentality to teach students and show them that the Martial Arts can be fun,
educational, and spiritually enlightening. It can certainly also befit a living and most likely a
very comfortable one at that but I would rather teach one person the values Guro has
instilled in me than take a generic martial arts school mentality and make a lot of money.

Please tell your favorite Dan Inosanto story

I am going to look at a story of a Guro Dan seminar I attended with Erik Paulson as his
assistant. We were well into training and we were training with weapons particularly the
stick and dagger. Guro was explaining the drills and unfortunately for us I believe someone
gave him coffee during lunch. This meant that Guro was going a million miles per hour!
Well Guro was explaining a stick and dagger drill but while he was explaining the drill super
fast Erik was making funny faces. We were all starting to chuckle a little but Guro kept
going not realizing Erik was being Erik. Well when he did realize Guro started to laugh.
This made all of us laugh and he kept trying to finish explaining the drill but Erik had him
laughing so much Guro was literally speechless. I have to say it was one of the funniest
and lightest moments I have had with Guro. Ill never forget him laughing and still trying to
explain the drill!!

Name: Nick Sacoulas

How did you come to meet, train with and be certified by Dan Inosanto?
I first met Guro Dan at a seminar in New York
in 1988. As a new student of Jeet Kune Do I
was both overwhelmed and awestruck by the
knowledge and skill of this martial arts legend.
After all, he did rub elbows with Bruce Lee
which left me star struck as well.
After attending the seminar and listening to
his anecdotes, I found that he was a kind,
down to earth and approachable person. And
his humility was inescapable.
This experience led me to understand that
mastery is a lifelong pursuit and one which
requires humility, openness, and generosity.

Nick Sacoulas
New York

With Sifu Neil Cauliffes tutelage, guidance and support, I was able to achieve an
Apprentice instructorship under Guro Dan in 1992.
Since then, I have made it a priority to attend seminars, workshops, and camps
throughout the country to continue my training under Guro Inosanto.
Im also lucky enough to host him every year since 1997 at the school Ive founded
based on his teachings, Progressive Martial Arts Academy

What is the single greatest Influence Dan Inosanto has had on you?
The single greatest influence that Guro Dan has had on me has been his ability to
always lead by example. His way of being, his ability to communicate with others,
and his constant pursuit of learning has always had a great impact on me.
Guro Dan always acts as if he knows nothing and yet he knows so much about
everything. He never utters a bad word about anything or anyone and can find the
beauty in everything. As a person, student and an instructor, hes everything I
strive to be.

Please tell your favorite Dan Inosanto story

There are many moments that I remember about Guro Dan and too many to
mention. But one that stands out especially in my mind was a time that he and Erik
Paulson were down in New York for a seminar that I was hosting.
After the seminar we all stopped by the school and Erik playfully took Guro down
while they were in their street attire. They continued to wrestle playfully and I
watched as Guro Dan laughed and giggled the whole time. What stood out to me
the most was how Guro could still be so child-like and engage in this behavior with
his students.
It only further displayed to me his humility and the love he has for his students.
Until this day, I look forward to having Guro every year come down not only to hold
seminars but to spend that extra quality time together.
I always hope a little of him rubs off on me.

Name: Norris Domangue

How did you come to meet, train with and be certified by Dan Inosanto?
I started formal martial arts training back in 1977
in Tae Kwon Do. I joined the Military in 1984 and
continued my training while stationed in Korea.
When I came back to the US I had several degreed
Black Belts in Hapkido and Tae Kwon Do and was
looking for a new art to grow in. I knew that stick
fighting existed but did not know what it was

Norris Domangue
In 1988, looking in the phone book while stationed
at Bergstrom Air Force Base in Austin TX, I was
fortunate in finding Ray Parra who was a Guro
Inosanto and Tuhon Gaje instructor as well as an Ajarn Chai Thai Boxing instructor.
This was my 1st exposure to Kali, Jun Fan and other South East Asian arts.
Totally blew me away and altered my training mind set forever. I continued to train
with Ray until 1992 when I got stationed with the US Coast Guard flying out of
Miami on counter-narcotics missions.
In Miami I had my first exposure to Guro Inosanto when he was hosted by Dwight
Woods. This experience was another turning point for me and expanded my
concept of what a martial artist could be-that much knowledge combined with the
humility and approachability was very foreign to me at the time.
As work and time would allow I drove a couple of hours (I lived in Ft Lauderdale) to
Dwights school to continue training. I also would visit Ray for training and beer
drinking in Austin.
While stationed in Nebraska after Florida, I would have Ray Parra in for seminars
and continued my training with him. In the fall of 1997, he nominated me for
instructorship directly under Guro Inosanto and I was looked at at Gibsons
Academy of martial arts in Tulsa.
I dont think I have ever been so nervous-all Saturday night in our hotel room I
kept asking Ray and Steve Elliot Do you think it went all right?.. Do you think it
went all right?
In January, I was notified that I had been accepted directly as an Instructor. I can
say with my whole heart, no single event in martial arts has been as meaningful to

What is the single greatest influence Dan Inosanto has had on you?

Please tell your favorite Dan Inosanto story

Name: Patrick Davies

How did you come to meet, train with and be certified by Dan Inosanto?
Its 1986 and a friend gives me a flyer he
picked up for a martial arts seminar by
some bloke who used to train with Bruce
Lee. I cant recall the motivation but we
turned up somewhere in Glasgow
(Scotland) in our gis and barefoot. We
walked through the door where there was
this guy in shorts, tank top and trainers
throwing kicks (later identified as Thai
kicks) right in front of the wall. It was Rick
Young and he would soon become
instrumental in changing my life, not that
we were to know it at the time.

Patrick Davies, Scotland

Guro arrived with his assistant Cass Magda. Wed never been exposed to any of the
material and were duly lost in the material with a pair of sticks we didnt really
know what to do with.
What was left, however, was the charisma of the wee man in sweats of whom many
bigger men were obviously in awe!
It was announced the Rick was hosting a Wing Chun seminar soon and I went on to
contact Rick about it which eventually led to me travelling twice a week every
week down to Edinburgh to train with him at the BB Halls on Edinburghs Ferry Rd
for years to come.
My journey has taken many paths since then but I recall in the return journey from
that first encounter with Guro, my companion had said that he couldnt ever devote
all his life to the arts in the way Inosanto obviously had. I sat quietly in the back
and rued out the window thinking that I could. That was 20 years ago and guess
what Im doing still today?
Sifu Marc McFann put me under Guro in 2003. I try to see him at every opportunity
possible. I sometimes feel that I know less now than I did before. But that is what I
enjoy and indulge in!

What is the single greatest influence Dan Inosanto has had on you?
I went running. My ribs hurt with every step, an injury that was preventing my
preparation for my 1999 trip to the Inosanto Academy. I put Guros image in my
head and I carried on, running every day through the pain barrier. Ive used that
trick whenever there has been an excuse not to train, where Ive come close to
giving up.
I have no excuses anymore. I look at Guro and I see someone at one with his life,
no conflict, the embodiment of Krishnamurtis philosophy. He can never show that
technique twice in the same manner because hes there, in the moment and forcing
his will on the moment is not JKD. How can I make an excuse now?

Please tell your favorite Dan Inosanto story

I could mention the time in London when he was miked up to a PA system when he
went to the toilet or some of the conversations Ive been fortunate to have over a
late meal after training.
The only thing that really comes to mind is when Guro walks up to you in camp and
says that is really good. You know hes giving you encouragement when you are
struggling. When you do something he asks and he goes You can do it that way
a polite way of saying that you have done it wrong! Weve all been there!
However in March 2005, after a training session with Sifu Hartsell which took place
on the Friday after the 4 hours of camp material, a group of us were hanging out
about to return to the hotel when Guro appeared with Kurt.
Someone handed him a fax and he started reading it. He suddenly exclaimed that
he was reading without his glasses and Kurt referred to the fact that hed just
cleared a blockage of energy in his neck. Guro started reading the certificates on
the wall and people became quite excited and talked to Kurt.
We all missed Guro opening his office and pulling out some kettle bells. Suddenly
he had me out on the mat showing me kettle bell routines for an hour! Sneaky

Note from Dwight Woods:

I just had to insert this other photo of Pat because of the look on his face!

Name: Patrick Van Vlasselaer

How did you come to meet and train with Dan Inosanto?
It all happened back in May 1989, when I first met Guro Dan in Speyer (Germany).
On the arrival day, Saturday, I thought I knew already much about Martial Arts (I
was already teaching for 5 years at the University) and was curious what else I
could learn.
I saw so many students carrying sticks and was wondering what the hell are they
doing with sticks? So the first day it was all about Eskrima, followed by Jun Fan
gung fu and I knew zip, nada, rien, nikske, nothing...and I thought I knew

What is the single greatest influence Dan Inosanto has had on you?
With this encounter and seeing Guro Dan flowing like water, I became humble
again, and knew that knowledge is endless. But the charisma of Guro touched me
so deeply that he felt like a father , a person who could guide me through life , not
only as a 'Martial Arts Father', but also as a 'Spiritual Father'.
He makes me think, feel, express myself and more important... let me be who I
am. Til the day of today I am really grateful and honored to have the opportunity
of being one of his instructors and being part of his 'family' -organisation.
Through him, I have met so many new people, fellow instructors, many of whom
have become friends.
May I end with the words: 'Thank You for crossing my path of life'.

Please tell your favorite Dan Inosanto story

Name: Peter Kwong

How did you come to meet and train with Dan Inosanto?
I first met Guru Inosanto at the September 1986 seminar at the Minnesota Kali
Group. It was located above the
Sawadee Thai Restaurant on Washington
Street in Minneapolis.
I came with my Kempo group to attend
the seminar. Needless to say, I, along
with everyone else, was completely
overwhelmed. We were blown away by
all the technical information only minutes
into the seminar.
I dont think I remember much of what
Peter Kwong, Minnesota
we did that weekend. But I knew at that
point in time that the arts you embraced
are definitely worth looking at more closely. I could only imagine how you felt
when Bruce first introduced you to Jun Fan Gung Fu.
I joined Rick Faye shortly after that weekend. Under his tutelage, I became one of
his instructors in 1994. I was officially admitted to IIMAIA October 1996 achieving
level 1 apprentice instructor in Jun Fan Gung Fu and Filipino Martial Arts. I, along
with countless individuals worldwide, am grateful to have Guru Dan and Simo Paula
in running this top-notch organization.

What is the single greatest influence Dan Inosanto has had on you?
Guru Inosanto has influenced me in so many ways, its impossible to put on paper.
But I think your humbleness has the greatest impact on me. It is very easy to
become self-absorbed and conceited with martial arts as a focal point in a persons
life. I see that in many individuals in the martial arts community. But being
around people like Sifu Dan, Rick Faye, Francis Fong, Master Chai, etc., I came to
realize that martial arts when taught by superior teachers can be a good vehicle to
keep oneself grounded.
Another important lesson Guru Dan has taught me is the cultural awareness aspect
of the martial arts. We, as a society, must begin to show respect and acceptance of
others. Much of the strife and calamity in the world today, I believe, comes from
the inability to accept or understand those differences. Guru Dan has taught us to
appreciate all arts, no matter where theyre from.

Please tell your favorite Dan Inosanto story

Name: Ray Khan

How did you come to meet, train with and be certified by Dan Inosanto?
I met Guru Dan while training with Sifu
Dwight Woods in Miami. When I relocated
to Colorado I was certified by Guru Dan
when I attended a seminar with my
students hosted by my close friend and
JKD Instructor Vic Spatola.

What is the single greatest influence

Dan Inosanto has had on you?
At the age of 70, Guru Dan moves with
the speed and agility of a professional
athlete. His ability to do this resides in the
Ray Khan, Colorado
fact that he not only cross-trains in
different martial arts systems but also in
different fitness systems such as Kettle Bell, Gyrotonics and Yoga.
The physical and mental appreciation that there is a life of hidden treasures within
the simplest, most basic movements. Guru Dan's existence is his single
greatest influence on me and he continues to challenge me to evolve both
mentally and physically every day in a variety of ways.

Please tell your favorite Dan Inosanto story

All of Guru's stories are brilliant and provocative; I love to hear them! My favorites
are the ones that illustrate his early training days with Kali and the countless hours
he spent stroking the angle one on the tree. I am especially moved by the
memories he shares of not appreciating the hidden treasures of keen effort,
strength, flexibility, and endurance it took back in the day to bend down in a
crouched stance all day cutting rice. Movements are the gifts of life. Thank
you, Guru, for teaching me that precious lesson!

Name: Ray Parra

How did you come to meet and train with Dan Inosanto?
I started training in the martial arts in 1973.
I was going to college and working at an
outdoor drive-in movie theater. During that
time, what movies do you think were
showing? The Bruce Lee movies. That is
what sparked my interest as well as that of
countless others in the martial arts during
that time and still today.
In 1980, I became involved in JKD and
Filipino martial arts. I was able to train with
Ted Lucaylucay, Tuhon Leo Gaje Jr. and Sifu
Larry Hartsell. It was in 1982 at the Big
Ray Parra, Texas
Springs, Texas instructor camp held by
Tuhon Gaje that I met Guro. I recall
introducing myself to him and sharing that I had trained under Sifu Hartsell and
was an apprentice instructor under Guro Ted Lucaylucay. I remember Guro
acknowledging me and commenting how great my instructors were.
The 1982 Big Springs camp was held in December. Guro Dan taught the JKD
portion of the camp. I recall watching his trapping in action and noted that it was
only a blur. I had no idea what he was doing because it was so fast. Of course, his
demonstration in slow motion was well way beyond my full speed action.
During this camp, one of my cherished moments occurred during the beginning of
the camp. All the participants were in the auditorium and being welcomed by the
Mayor of Big Springs, the ambassador from the Philippines, Tuhon Leo Gaje Jr. and
the Playboy centerfold of the year. It was during this time that Guro and Tuhon
Gaje put on a most electrifying and memorable display of distance sparring. They
were both dressed in authentic Filipino outfits and the blades were glimmering as
they were propelled with such procession and amazing speeds. If anyone has not
seen that video action, they should because it was truly magical.

What is the single greatest influence Dan Inosanto has had on you?
What is Guros greatest influence on me? I would think that it is in the way he
perceives life. Whether he is teaching a large group or talking one on one. He is
always himself and doesnt need to put on an act to impress anyone.
He is a very humble man who loves teaching as much as he loves his fellow man.
Guro appears to be like a child in that every experience he comes into contact with
seems new and exhilarating. He can find excitement and interest in even most
mundane things.
As an instructor under Guro, my loyalty is unwavering and I will strive to emulate
him in the way that I teach the arts and the way I deal with my fellow man. All I
can say is thank you Guro.

Please tell your favorite Dan Inosanto story

My favorite Guro story involves the Gibsons, Steve Elliot, Marc McFann and me.
When we would get together and train under Guro in St Louis, LA. or wherever, we
found that Guro had a certain way of saying something that may or may not have a
different meaning.
Because of this, we thought we needed to put together a dictionary of Guros
comments and what we thought they actually mean. Therefore, we came up with
the following Guro to English Dictionary:
Guros Comment:
1. Thats OK too.
2. It can be
3. You can do it that way
4. Thats a good one too
5. That will work
6. Some people do it that way
7. I never saw that one before
8. It has merit
9. OK now Im going to give you a little
10. You should work on your _______
11. Let me clean that up a little bit for you
12. I did not like that video but I probably
didnt watch it right
13. Ill let you use your own judgment
14. Hes just following a different path
15. Now I will do it again in slow motion

Real Meaning:
You did it wrong but I will accept that.
Yes, it can be but it is not
Yes, but that is not the way it is to be
Yeah, but not the one that I asked for
But not now it wont
Still not what I want
You idiot
But not in this situation
Watch out you are going to get blasted
You really look terrible. Start working
That looks really sloppy maybe this can
That video was terrible
If you screw up it is your own doing
He has no direction
You still wont be able to catch it

Name: Ray Yee

How did you come to meet and train with Dan Inosanto?
My name is Ray Yee, I started my martial arts training
in the Spring 1980 in Honk Kong, were my uncle, Tang
Po Hong (long time student to Wong Shun Leong)
introduced me to the arts of Wing Chun Gung Fu and
Tai Chi.. When fall came, I returned home to the US
where I was then hooked to the martial arts. From
1981 to 1988 tried every type of training that was
available to me, not knowing exactly what I liked, I
soon knew what didnt fit with my personality, which
Ray Yee, New Mexico
was the tradition Chinese and Japanese systems that I
Finally, in the summer of 1988 I met my Mentor, Teacher and life long friend:
Christopher Clarke, Sifu Chris knew of the Wing Chun and had showed me some of
the basics of the Inosanto Method of Martial Arts, Wow! I was intrigued and wanted
to train more. Soon after I attended Sifu Damon Caros seminar in Portland, Oregon
and soon after gave up all other peruses and began my journey to learning all I
could about the Inosanto Method and hope to someday meet and train under the
legend. In 1994, I got my dream introduction to Guro Inosanto. I have recently this
year been given the honor and privilege of become an Apprentice Instructor under

What is the single greatest influence Dan Inosanto has had on you?
In my time training with Guro Inosanto, the principle and analogies that have made
the most difference in my life have been Guros examples of sports vs. life or
martial arts training.
I have used Sifu's sports analogies with my life, teaching and overall becoming a
better martial artist.

Please tell your favorite Dan Inosanto story

My favorite story of Guro Inosanto is the story he has told regarding his first
exposure to the Masters and Guros of Filipino Martial Arts. (How can these guys be
any good, they dont have uniforms, they dont even have belts?) Since hearing
this story, I always remember to not judge a person by what they wear or what the
certificate says, but by their abilities.

Name: Raymond Crow

How did you come to meet and train with Dan Inosanto?
I meet Guro Inosanto due to a call I had with Taky
I wanted to train in Bruce Lees art. He told me he did
not teach to the public, but there was a student of Sijo's
that did teach his art. His name was Dan Inosanto.
So I meet Sifu Inosanto in 1979 at the Torrance school
and begun my training with him. I thought I was on top
of the world. I took private lessons and classes at the
Torrance school off and on, traveling back and forth from
Dallas, Texas.
In 1985, I got my Apprentice Instructor Certificate from
Guro Inosanto.

Raymond Crow

What is the single greatest influence Dan Inosanto has had on you?
And the one influence I see is his humanity and I try to have that. I feel very lucky
to know him and being a student of his.

Please tell your favorite Dan Inosanto story

The story is of being a being a bodyguard. It was with Sifu Hartsell. He told us
about when they were working for this guy from the Middle East. All at once, they
got shot at and Sifu Hartsell grabbed Guro Inosanto down and kept him from
getting shot. It was the way Sifu Hartsell told the story.

Name: Richard Amador

How did you come to meet, train with and be certified by Dan Inosanto?
I was training with Dwight Woods in
Miami and LaVonne Martin from Sarasota
hosted a seminar with Dan Inosanto in
1987. After that, starting in 1989,
Dwight hosted a seminar with Dan
Inosanto every year. In 1990, I asked
Sifu Dan about the instructorship
program and he said to keep training
hard. I got my Apprentice Instructorship
in 1993.

What is the single greatest influence

Dan Inosanto has had on you?
How can anybody not want to learn as
much as they can when you have
somebody that wants to teach it so

Richard Amador
North Fort Myers, Florida

Please tell your favorite Dan Inosanto story

In one of the Miami seminars Sifu Dan comes and he had taken out his back. He
was in a lot of pain. Dwight told him that he and I could demo for him. We demo'd
part of the Silat portion of the seminar but, Sifu Dan still wanted to teach and
demonstrate. I said "Sifu, why don't you just have a seat and tell us what you
want to demo and Dwight and I will walk around while you rest your back?" To
which he replied "They came to the seminar for me to teach them and I don't want
them to feel like I let them down."

Name: Richard Pak Peterson

How did you come to meet and train with Dan Inosanto?
My name is Richard Pak Peterson. I was
promoted to Associate Instructor in
August of 2005. In 1995, I was fortunate
to meet Sifu Inosanto at the South East
Conference at Sifu Francis Fongs School
in Atlanta. I was so amazed by his skill
and knowledge of Martial Arts. After the
seminar I went back to my Hotel and
wrote down everything I learned in order
not to forget the information. I still have
those notes to this day.

What is the single greatest influence

Dan Inosanto has had on you?

Richard Peterson, Washington

Please tell your favorite Dan Inosanto story

As a Seattle Police Officer, my primary job is to teach Defensive Tactics at the
Washington State Police Academy. As a Captain in the Army Reserves, my
responsibility is to teach Urban Combatives to soldiers deploying overseas. All of
my teachings are a result of the knowledge given to me by Sifu Inosanto, which
also filtrates to me through Sifu Chris Clarke. All the people I teach know that my
information comes from the Inosanto Method of training.
I want to thank Sifu Inosanto on the behalf of Washington State Police Officers,
Deputies and soldiers from the U.S. Army. You have made us stronger and better
able to our job.
No matter what I have accomplished in my lifetime, being a representative of the
Inosanto Academy has been the highlight of my Martial Arts career. I am forever
thankful of Sifus dedication to his students and his way of life.

Happy 70th Birthday Sifu,

Youre the best,
Richard Peterson
Seattle, WA

Name: Richard Kwon

How did you come to meet, train with and be certified by Dan Inosanto?
I do remember as a kid that I always wanted to train with
Guro Dan Inosanto. Ive known about him since I was a
kid and watched him in the movie, "game of death" with
Sigung Bruce lee. Also of course, Ive read his books and
articles. So as a kid, that was my dream in hopes to know
him and learn from his teachings. But, it wasn't 'til later
when I turned 25 years old, that I had the chance to
finally meet him. But, it was not at the academy, but of
all places, a shopping mall. I remember I was in the
elevator with my brother, and a buddy of mine, and in
came Guro Dan Inosanto. I was totally surprised to see
him there. Then he walked out of the elevator. Then I
realized that it was sign for me to pursue my childhood
dream, and find him and train with him.

Richard Kwon

So within the next two months or so, I managed to find the academy with a little
detective work and there I was. I remember that I was so nervous, that I wasn't
sure what I was doing' there. I started training with him in Kali class and I started
my Jun Fan Gung Fu class with Sifu Yori. then over the next couple of years, I
started training in Muay Thai, Silat, and mixed martial arts, so I can train with Guro
Dan more. Then eventually I got promoted into Jun Fan Phase 3 class where from
then and now, I train with him almost all of his classes. This all happened between
the years 2000 to 2002. In 2003, I received my apprentice instructorship under
him. Then I realized my childhood dream came true. So not only do I train with
the best, but I got to know him as a person and I have admired his success and
most of all, his humbleness. I strive to be able to do the same.

What is the single greatest influence Dan Inosanto has had on you?
Sifu Dans greatest influence on me would have to be that anyone can do anything
if they put their heart and mind to it. He made me believe that I can do martial
arts even if you are smaller than most people. I'm only 4'9" tall, so he made me
feel that I can also accomplish the same goals as others in the martial arts... And
finally, his humility made me become a better person and never to take things
personally, but rather to just let it go...and move on....
I consider him to be my second father, and I think it is safe to say, that a lot of
people do. He has shown us so much and is always willing to help us to improve
ourselves; it gave me tremendous inspiration to take myself beyond my
I just hope that I make him proud of me and that I will be able to continue to carry
on his legacy and be able to show people that I train with a legend. He is indeed
my hero, if not at least a mentor.
I will always be grateful for his belief in me and my loyalty with him is forever.....

Please tell your favorite Dan Inosanto story

then I believe my favorite Dan Inosanto story would have to be is when he asks
you to demo a technique whether it's Kali, Silat or Jun Fan and you do something
else besides what he really wanted to see and he ends up saying, "Yeah, you can
do that". I guess that's my favorite story, it's when he says that to anyone when
they do something else besides what he really wants to see.

Name: Rick Faye

How did you come to meet, train with and be certified by Dan Inosanto?
My Name is Rick Faye and I have been asked to
contribute to a group of writings for Sifu/Guro
Dan Inosanto. I consider this an honor and I
will do my best to express the wonderful
influence he has had on my life.
I met Dan Inosanto at a seminar in Chicago. I
believe the year was 1979. I had been invited
to the seminar by my old training partner Scott
Pomeroy. He had seen Mr. Inosanto at the
Aspen Martial Arts Academy. I was
immediately blown away by the speed and
fluidity with which Dan showed the art. I was
never a real Bruce Lee fan, but I knew I would
follow Dan if I could.
Sifu Inosanto taught a vast curriculum but
emphasized the principles behind the art. I
was fascinated by the way it all fit together. He
Rick Faye, Minnesota
was able to tie martial arts together from many
different cultures. As seminars became more
popular, I was able to follow him all over the country.
At first, it seemed that being 2000 miles away from the Inosanto Academy (then in
Torrance) was a deficit in this art. But as time went on, I began to see it could be an
advantage in certain ways. We would attend seminars, learn what we could and take it
home and do what Sifu told us to do, play with it - work with it - train it. Listening to the
principles and applying them, we developed as a small group who enjoyed training and
innovating in this art. Guro Inosanto made this art accessible to people who could only
follow him in seminars.
Sifu was able to bring this Scandinavian, Midwestern, reserved, student to tears four times.
Once when he gave me permission to teach with an Apprentice instructor's certificate.
Three more times with Associate, Full and Senior Instructor Certificates. What really moved
me was that each time, he teared up as well. The last time was bad enough that he could
not speak (so my assistant Diana Rathborne actually promoted me to Senior Instructor).

What is the single greatest influence Dan Inosanto has had on you?
Guro Inosanto was always hard for me to talk to, only because I hold him in such high
esteem. This fact led to a sort of unwritten rule with my group. We always stayed to the
back and tried not to bother Mr. Inosanto. I could see that he was besieged with people
who just wanted some of his time or to be seen with him. I somehow felt that he had a
much more significant role in my life.
Dan showed us the many cultural influences behind the art. These cultures and influences
all played a role in this art. I could see that if that was true in martial art it could be true in
Guro taught that there was a progression to every part of the art. If you get the
progression right, you could develop any type of student.
Sifu, If you are reading this, I am honored beyond measure.
Sifu you have also strengthened my faith. You have shown me that spirituality can have
many faces but the heart of it is still the same. The creator has very few messengers as
powerful and kind as you.

Please tell your favorite Dan Inosanto story

Sifu was able to guide me to other instructors. He always seemed to have a good idea of
what I would find and how it would effect my development.
Dan taught us to see the positive in arts and in people. He was able to take something
meaningful from anywhere. In one incident at the Marina Academy (on my honeymoon
after I left my bride in San Francisco) a drunken man walked in. He started to yell
something about fighting. Because of my job then I went into protective mode. Sifu
Inosanto on the other hand said, "Rick - look - he's talking about your base and how to be
stable". Dan truly can learn from anyone!
Sifu was at my house playing with my old dog Brandy (a small apricot poodle). As they
tugged on a rag and moved across the floor Sifu said "Hey, look at his legs, that's step and
At another time during a dinner in Minneapolis, a Ninja student went to Dan's place at the
table and kneeled next him. As he proceeded to explain about Ninjutsu I was about to
escort him out when Dan said "that's probably just what he needs right now"
Still another example came when the Ninjutsu teacher in Irvine California was teaching his
students to dive and roll over a mid level strike with the stick. Guro whistled his stick on
that line and just said, "That would really make you fast".
Time and again, Sifu was able to find the nugget of truth in each system and the positive in
each individual.
There have been many myths that have grown around Guro. In '85 or '86 we had some
pictures taken at my gym. When they were developed, you clearly saw Sifu's head through
the Kris that should have covered it.
There have been stories about conflicts that Guro may have been in. They all grew as they
were told. Exaggerated or not, they made us all think.
I remember the day I decided to try this for a living. Guro taught this incredibly violent
series of things and then stopped in the middle. He gave a long speech about Love! That
this art was about love for mankind and that you need to defend others. That it was about
love for country and the duty to defend it. And that it was about love for self and the life
the creator gave you.
I knew with that kind of message this art could really help people. Through this art I have
had many students come to me and, in private, tell me things such as, "since I started here
I have not needed my antidepressants; "I have quit smoking because of this art; "I have
lost 75 pounds since I started here;because of this training I had the confidence to
interview for that new job;thank you for the opportunity to teach and train here. It's a
way I can have a positive effect on people and help out in some way; "Thank god for all
the training we did or I would never have made it through this Cancer treatment. The days
when I have heard these things have been some of the best in my life.
We have all been shown there are two ways to age. You can let it go or continue to be
active for most of your life. We are lucky to have been given an art that is this diverse and
contains things for all stages of life. This art will keep you mentally and physically active.
Through Sifu Inosanto's example, we have seen that dedication and persistence will serve
us all well.
Possibly Sifu's greatest legacy is that he encouraged each of us to choose our own path in
this art. Each of us has expressed ourselves differently. In the Physical performance of the
art. In the practical application of the art. In the creation of school structures and the
general profession of the art. Most importantly in the way we fit it into our lives. That each
of us is different is a great credit to Guro Inosanto.
As for me Sifu, you gave me an entire life style. I consider myself lucky to have lived at a
time when I could study under you and live this life. Thank you and Happy Birthday
I will close with my standard speech to students who have not been to an Inosanto seminar
before. I tell them that no matter where you are in the building you can "feel" him enter
the gym.

Name: Risto Hietala

How did you come to meet, train with and be certified by Dan Inosanto?
What is the single greatest influence Dan Inosanto has had on you?
Please tell your favorite Dan Inosanto story
The very first time I saw Sifu Dan was around year 2000 and had started my
training in WuHsinKuen Academy of Martial Arts in Dallas Texas under Sifu Jon
Rister when he took me to my first Sifu Dans seminar and it didnt take long when
my eyes were wide open! All those millions of techniques passed by my small
brains but it didnt matter because what I saw was so amazing. So fluent and
sophisticated still deadly if needed techniques and how they were executed and
how about that information and the knowledge too! Stillso humble and nice that
was what stroke me immediately and it still strikes me and I never stop admiring
those qualities of Sifu Dans character.
Also the last seminar 2005 in Dallas where I was had a nice surprise. Sifu Dan was
talking about differences with the different cultures and suddenly he asked that
wasnt this the case between Finland and Sweden too! I had got my apprentice
instructor certificate just recently then which had been my dream since that first
seminar. So I thought that as we all know how much Sifu Dan loves to learn that
maybe he even had studied something about Finland too which shouldnt surprise
me at all??!!
I will always remember when Sifu Dan was talking about the history of different
Martial Arts i.e. Kali etc. on that same seminar on year 2000 and since then I have
tried to keep on my mind to explore and learn more about the histories of different
Martial Arts too.
But anyway to keep it short. I want to congratulate Sifu Dan of his Birthday and
wish him the very best! Thank you for everything Sifu Dan!
Best Regards,
Risto Hietala
Finland, Oulu

Name: Rob Lock

How did you come to meet, train with and be certified by Dan Inosanto?
Way back in July 1986 I attended a
seminar under Sifu Larry Hartsell at the
Finsbury Leisure centre in London. The
seminar was hosted by none other than
Bobby Breen and there I met Rick Young
and Terry Barnett who suggested I sign
up for a forthcoming Guru Dan Inosanto
seminar, which of course I did!
From then on, I have trained virtually
each year under Guru Dan, July in
Rob Lock, England
London and November in Edinburgh plus
twice travelling to Los Angeles to train
directly under Guru Dan.
When I first met Guru Dan I was blown away by his encyclopedic knowledge of a
vast array of Martial Arts and not only that but he had the skills to match
everything he talked about that day. But what came through that day and had done
every time I train under Guru Dan is his passion for life and learning and his love of
people and all cultures. I remember him commenting one day that the practice of
Martial Arts should bring people and cultures together and not divide them as we
know can often be the case.
Five years ago my Instructor and good friend Erik Paulson did me the great honour
of nominating me as an apprentice under Guru Dan Inosanto. My dreams came true
when Guru Dan accepted me and I am now going through my associate Instructor
level, I try my very best each day to train in and teach the martial Arts in a way
that I hope will make Guru Dan proud.

What is the single greatest influence Dan Inosanto has had on you?
The greatest influence Guru Dan has had on me is helping me see the martial Arts,
as a life long area of study that can help one become a better person and hopefully
a good role model for children who make up a large percentage of my Academy.

Please tell your favourite Dan Inosanto story

My favourite Guru Dan story is I think from an English student who wrote the
following in a book I read some years ago. The student in question, if I remember
correctly, was a t a Guru Dan seminar under Guru Dan and Larry Harsell. During
the lunch break the student was walking towards Guru and caught his attention or
so he thought. Guru Dan spoke up "Hi Larry, how do you feel?" The student thought
wow! Guru Dan must remember me but was puzzled why Guru Dan had called him
Larry!! The student then had a five minute chat with Guru and then happily went
on his way.
He happened to turn around that same minute and realised that Guru Dan had
been addressing Larry Hartsell and not him when asked "Larry how do you feel?"
I am sure anyone who knows Guru Dan at this point will be thinking "Yes that is
Guru Dan all over, not wanting to embarrass the student he continued in the
conversation until the student had left ! "
This is my favourite story of Guru Dan and I think gives us a real insight into his
caring nature.

Name: Ron Kosakowski

How did you come to meet, train with and be certified by Dan Inosanto?
One day Larry Hartsell was talking about who
I am certified under and he brought up Guro
Dans name and I told him that although I
had been training with him since the late
80s, I didnt have a certification with him.
Larry was surprised and said he will get me a
referral. Simo Paula had contacted me and
then sent me papers to fill out and I got my
certification in Kali and in JKD with Guro Dan.

Ron (& Gina) Kosakowski


More formally, my first experience with Guro

Dan all started with seminars in New Jersey
back in the late 80s. Starting then and with
every other time I saw him made it more than convincing to me that he is a real
martial scientist. I have seen many people as well as myself, wondering if being a
martial art extremist is a difficult path to follow. And obviously, we all benefit from
his many martial art experiences.
I assume that willingness for Guro Dan to learn the various cultures, the history
and the martial art styles, is the reason why the Inosanto Academy Instructors
have that mutual humbleness along with the lack of ego with the eagerness to learn
martial arts from whoever is around that makes good sense. That, outside of
learning various martial art styles, techniques, culture and history, the open
mindedness, the humbleness has been and still is a big influence on me.

What is the single greatest influence Dan Inosanto has had on you?
Speaking of humbleness, I have a picture that I took some years ago of Guro Dan
that really expresses what I am referring to. It is a picture of Guro Dan Inosanto in
a Purple Belt, Sifu Francis Fong in a White Belt with their Brazilian Jiu Jitsu teacher,
Jon Machado. This picture expresses what I have been talking about here. This
whole package is what makes me feel very proud to be part of the Inosanto
Academy Instructors.

Please tell your favorite Dan Inosanto story

Of course, like every other teenager back in the early 70s, I was really into the
Bruce Lee movies and reading anything on Bruce Lee and his Jeet Kune Do. Not
surprisingly, many articles on Bruce Lee or Jeet Kune Do in those days had either a
picture of Guro Dan with Bruce Lee and/or Guro Dan showing various possible Jeet
Kune Do combinations. There is one particular combination that sticks out in my
head that he did in a magazine that I used to bring into play in my point sparring
days. I cant remember which magazine it wasSelf Defense or Inside Kung Fu?
Anyway, this specific combination happens to be fake high, fake low, fake high with
the lead hand right into a sidekick to the mid-section. There was tape on the floor
in each picture so it was easy to pick up on how to coordinate the simultaneous
hand placement along with the footwork together. And like I said, I had used this
combination in point sparring. The first person in point sparring to get three points
won the match. I remember beating people using that same combination for two
and sometimes three points in a row. I would say that was my long distant first
unofficial Jeet Kune Do lesson subliminally from Guro Dan Inosanto.

Name: Roy Harris

How did you come to meet, train with and be certified by Dan Inosanto?
I began my journey in 1981 in Minneapolis,
Minnesota under the tutelage of Sifu Rick Faye (A
Full Instructor under Sifu Inosanto). When I
made my decision to move out to California in
1986, Sifu Rick Faye recommended I train at the
world famous Inosanto Academy of Martial Arts.
Well, I ended up moving to San Diego, California.
And unfortunately, the
Inosanto Academy was 147 miles north of where
I lived. However, because there
were no JKD or FMA Academies in San Diego, I
chose to make the weekly trek from my home in
San Ysidro, California to the Inosanto Academy in
Marina del Rey, California.
After several years of training at the academy,
and after spending a year training with Sifu
privately, I finally became certified under Sifu.
This is one certification that I truly cherish!

Roy Harris, California

What is the single greatest influence Dan Inosanto has had on you?
Sifu Inosanto stands out as a humble, "always willing to learn", student of the
martial arts! This one aspect of his life has made the greatest influence on my life.
I try to emulate this "willingness to learn" in my own journey. I remain open to new
ideas and concepts, and, will often compare and contrast the new ideas
against my former training concepts. If I happen to find a new training methods
that is better suited for me, or one that is better suited for some of my students, I
adopting it.
Here is an example of just that: Several years ago, I made my first trip to the
Philippines. While I was there, I got the chance to study an interesting sword
training method called "Kalis Ilustrisimo." At the time, I had 18 years of experience
in Filipino Martial Arts and had trained with quite a few well-known instructors.
However, I was not ready for the knowledge I was about to receive.
When most of the knowledge I received went against my previous training, I chose
to empty my cup and receive all that would be given to me without judging or
criticizing it first. I would not have been able to have that mindset had I not been
influenced by Sifu!
Sifu Inosanto is truly my inspiration! He is the best example of what it means to be
a student!

Please tell your favorite Dan Inosanto story

My favorite story, one that Sifu has told me several times, is the one where he talks
about the very first time he met Bruce Lee. I could listen to this story a thousand

Name: Rudy Rogers

How did you come to meet, train with and be certified by Dan Inosanto?
My name is Rudy Rogers. I am 4th level Associate Instructor
under Guro Dan Inosanto and a Level II instructor under my
Sifu Rick Faye.
I started training in martial arts when I was 10 years old. My
first martial art was Judo. Martial arts were almost a survival
mechanism must in the rough inner city of Gary, Indiana
where I spent part of my childhood.
My family moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1985. Shortly
thereafter, I stumbled upon Sifu Rick Fayes gym The
Minnesota Kali Group.
I was enthralled and thrilled to say the least, because not only
after my first class did I walk away with something practical
that I could use if needed, but the martial curriculum was
straight from the late Bruce Lee himself via Guro Dan

Rudy Rogers

I knew of Guro Inosanto through studying Bruce Lees fighting method and books
as well as the movies he has been involved in. I never guessed that I would ever
meet him or even belong to his association or even better yet to have him know me
by name! I thank Sifu Faye for that.
I have been training with Rick Faye for about 20 years now. I have been an
instructor under Guro Dan for about 10 years.

What is the single greatest Influence Dan Inosanto has had on you?
Guro Dan has been and continues to be a very important influence in my life. I
cherish deeply the tutelage that I have acquired from one of his top students, Rick
Faye. He is inspiring to me in that he has been there and done that so to speak.
I feel that if there is ever a national treasure, Guro Dan is definitely one of them.
He is a lexicon of the martial arts both past and present. We should cherish every
moment we have with him and not bicker or needlessly bring up and debate or rehash trivial matters or rivalries that have been settled eons ago.

Please tell your favorite Dan Inosanto story

At my first seminar in 93 Guro was demonstrating a single-leg take down to a
standing half-crab Achilles lock. When someone from the group smugly asked
Cant you just roll out of that? There were audible gasps across the room then
silence as Guro Dan asked the poor inquisitive student up to be demoed on.
Guro performed the take down on the guy then switched to the half-crab. The
student tried to roll out of it and Guro Dan locked the hold in by performing the
sitting version of the half-crab and the guy immediately yelped and frantically
tapped out.
Poor dude, I felt embarrassed for him, but guiltily, we all had a good laugh
unfortunately at his expense and is a point of humor for those people that
witnessed it even to this day. Needless to say, the guy wasnt at the seminar for
the second day.

Name: Salem Assli

How did you come to meet, train with and be certified by Dan Inosanto?
I was a 13 years old French boy
and very much involved in
gymnastic, when I first saw Bruce
Lee. Immediately, I thought to
myself, I want to learn his martial
arts. I read everything I could find
about Bruce Lee and his Jeet Kune
Do, determined to learn how to kick
like him. I was devastated to find
out that he had passed away and
perhaps, I will never be able to
learn his techniques. One day, I
heard that Chuck Norris opened a
Salem Assli, California
martial arts store in Lille (my
hometown). My friend and I went to
see what they had. I purchased a pair of focus gloves, and in the corner, there was
a pile of American magazines in English. I did not understand a word of it, but could
read on the cover of one of them Dan Inosanto Jeet Kune Do part 2. I grabbed
several issues and started to translate them with the help of a dictionary. I found
out that Bruce Lee had many students and even made an instructor. I returned to
the stores and bought more issues. In the last issue dedicated to the art of Jeet
Kune Do, I learned that Inosantos school was name the Kali Academy, and at the
end of the magazine, there was a school directory. I immediately focused my
attention on the California section and here was the address.
By then, I was a teenager ready to go to the army, which I hated. But we all had to
do one year, or two as a conscientious objector. Even so I fell in this category, the
idea of spending two years instead of one did not appeal to me, especially since my
goal was set already, I will someday go to California to study under Bruce Lees
number one student.
While in Germany, I looked for someone who spoke English and I asked him to
translate a letter that I intended to send to Dan Inosanto. I mailed it from France
during permission at the end of 1979. I almost despaired to receive an answer,
when exactly a year later, a letter from California arrived at home from the Kali
Academy. I jumped so high that I almost hit the ceiling of my parents home. Sifu
Dan Inosanto is accepting me at a student at the Kali Academy. Nobody believed
that I was going to leave France to go to the USA by myself at 19. I worked hard
and saved my money, but when I applied for my visa (at that time French citizens
had to have a visa for the States), they blindly refused, under the pretext that I did
not have any attach in France and maybe I would not come back. In this aspect
they were right, but I did not know that yet. I returned to the US Embassy several
times but always got turned down. Finally, out of despair that they will ever let me
go, I decided to be patient. I then started my own business, had an apartment in
the center of Paris, was making good money. I threw away my old passport and got
a brand new one with no stamps on it. Nervously I returned 3 years later to the US
Embassy just to have them stamp on my passport a permanent visa. I was ready
to go, and made immediately the preparation for this trip. I wrote back to Dan
Inosanto, and I even inserted a picture of myself doing a flying jumping kick
wearing the Game Of Deaths yellow track suit I was really a Bruce Lee fanatic!

I remember that I arrived in Los Angeles on Thanksgiving Day of 1983. It was

pouring cats and dogs that evening, and I phone Dan, not knowing that it was a big
holiday for American families. The next day, after having spend a night in a hotel in
Beverly Hills, I decided to take the bus for Torrance to get as close as possible from
the Kali Academy. I phone Dan again, but there was a little problem, I barely spoke
any English. I tried to give him the address of the gas station where I was waiting,
and he immediately went on his way to pick me up. Two or three hours later, I am
still waiting. A little worry, I had the guy at the gas station giving my exact
location, I forgot one number, and Dan went all the way to Downtown Los Angeles
to look for me, and not finding me, went back home.
Finally, the man arrived, with a big smile and dressed up very casually. I
immediately felt the connection. I felt terrible to have wasted his time, but did not
know how to express it.
However, his kindness and compassion, made me comfortable. He immediately
took me to visit the Kali Academy, and upon entering the school, I felt that I was in
the right place. Bruces spirit, by this I mean his knowledge and philosophy of the
martial arts transpired in this place. That evening there was a tall red hair guy who
was trained in boxing by a man who was Rocky Marcianos sparring partner.
After the tour, Dan Inosanto brought me to his apartment where I stayed with
several other students, among them Cass Magda.
Often I had the privileges to have Sifu Dan Inosanto (he was now my Sifu) to pick
me up to go train at the Academy. It was a wonderful time, tough, but wonderful. I
was training 6 days a week, and learning English at the same time. During my free
time, I was at the apartment complex club, playing pool while listening to French
songs. I remember Del Pollard telling me while we were playing: Well I dont know
yet if you will be a good JKD man, but you will definitely be a damn good pool
In 1986, as I was ready to return to France for the first time, Dan and Paula came
to my Savate class to wish me good luck on my trip abroad and Sifu Dan gave me
my first certification in Jun Fan JKD and the Filipino Martial Arts.

What is the single greatest influence Dan Inosanto has had on you?
I always felt close mentally to Sifu Dan Inosanto, and at the beginning, I practically
only trained in his classes.
I will not speak about his incommensurable talents in the martial arts, because that
will be nothing new, unless you were born yesterday.
One thing I like about some humans is their abilities to laugh at everything and
particularly the ability to laugh about themselves. Dan Inosanto is one of them, and
one of the best examples. He always laughs at his mistakes, and I found this so
I feel very lucky to have made the move and quit everything in France for a life in
the US near a man that taught me so much, not to say everything in the martial
arts. I became a decent technician in Savate, thanks to him, and if many martial
arts are on the map, it is thanks to him. Practically every martial artist should
recognize his influence, whether it is for the martial art(s) they practice, the
equipment they use, or the philosophy that gives them a direction.

Please tell your favorite Dan Inosanto story

There are so many beautiful anecdotes during these 20 and plus years spend next
to this great man, that I would not know where to start.

One day, as I was watching a movie at his house, his wife Paula kindly fixed me
some drink and brought some cookies. Later on, Sifu Dan arrived and sat next to
me on the sofa after grabbing some cookies he picked up from a nice and shiny
package. The cookies were shaped like a bone and he told his wife that they were
really tasty. She glanced at the table, grabbed the bag and told him not to eat his
dogs cookies.
Recently he asked me if I watched the movie The Pink Panther with Steve Martin,
and that he saw it three times during one of his trip, and he was laughing so hard
in the airplane. I told him that I saw it also and I found it very funny too. Then he
said to me: It was funny, but what makes me laugh more than anything is when
he was speaking he reminded me of you. On my way back home I recalled the
conversation and found myself laughing like crazy.
I always like his subtle sense of humor. The man is truly funny, but never too
much. I remember one day we were driving in Chinatown, and he had to slow down
for an old Chinese lady who was very slowly crossing the road with the help of a
cane. He told me that despite the fact that she is walking slow, she was actually an
expert in Kung Fu, and that she was known as a famous fighter in Chinatown. I
replied that from looking at her like that, one will never guess. About five minutes
and seeing my disbelief face, he burst out laughing at me for obviously being so
Throughout the years, Sifu Dan gave me few compliments that I will never take for
granted. There is one in particular that will stay with me forever. Sifu Dan was
having a conversation with Sifu Rick Faye. I was sitting with both of them, I
entered the conversation and gave my opinion which truly surprised Rick who said
that he did not know that I had this type of thinking and Sifu Dan replied: Salem
has a very high level of consciousness. To me it is the ultimate compliment, a
compliment that was not given to make me feel good, but simply because he cares,
he is very observant and always giving.
Today, he is celebrating his seventieth birthday, and yet, not only he doesnt look
like he is seventy, but he constantly behaves like if he was in his early twenties. He
is always thirsty of knowledge, and not just the martial arts, he bites into life from
every directions. His interests are broader than anyone might think. I have to say
that contrarily to many people including some high-ranking JKD family members,
Inosanto truly understand the meaning of Jeet Kune Do. He also understands that
you only have the age that you want to give to yourself. Dan Inosanto is a teenager
trapped in an adults body, and because all of this, I have to say: Happy Birthday
Sifu and see you for the next seventy years.

Peace, Love
Salem Assli
Laguna Beach
18 July 2006

Name: Scott Anderson

How did you come to meet and train with Dan Inosanto?
The first time I had any contact with Guro Dan was in 1986. The mid 80"s was in
the height of the "Ninja Boom" and I was training at a school associated with
Stephen K Hayes. At that time I thought that I had found the only art for me.
Well our school was lucky enough to have the opportunity to bring Guro Dan in for
a workshop. I had heard of Guro Dan before, so I was curious to see him.
Guro and Simo Paula came in for a three-hour workshop and by the end I felt as if I
hadn't learned anything about Martial Arts. It was Awesome!!
I quickly started training with Pat Finley and Steve Braun in both JKD and Kali. I
also began going to every seminar that I could afford with Guro Dan.
At all the seminars I attended, Guro would show so much material, that by
lunchtime on day 2, my mind would be fried.

What is the single greatest Influence Dan Inosanto has had on you?
There are many things about Guro that I admire, but one of the things that truly
amazes me is his encyclopedic knowledge of various martial arts. Before seminars,
I would go through my notes to find areas that were missing or had incomplete
parts to the drills. I would bring these questions to Guro. Not one time did Guro
ever have to refer to any notes to answer my questions. He would not only know
what drill I was talking about, he would go off and give me 8 to 10 more options. I
was lucky if I could retain one or two.

Please tell your favorite Dan Inosanto story

In 1995, I attended my first Pacific Northwest Muay Thai Camp. And to my
amazement Guro Dan was there. Here was this world renowned Martial Art
Instructor in the field pounding out rounds with everyone else. More amazing is
that he has not missed an Oregon Thai Camp since. Guro Dan is truly an amazing

Name: Stephen Bodnar

How did you come to meet and train with Dan Inosanto?
I remember the first time I met Sifu
Inosanto it was in 1984. I owned and
operated a small school in Pittsburgh,
Although I taught traditional martial arts I
always included kickboxing and any other
material I could fit into my style. I was a
fan of Bruce Lee and wished I could have
trained with him.
Knowing my interest in Bruce Lee, one of
my fellow martial artists found out there
was a seminar in North Carolina being
given by Bruces number one student and
I had to be there.

Stephen Bodnar, Pennsylvania

I knew little of Kali /Eskrima although I

spent 1 years in the P.I. and I loved
weapons. Not only was Sifu Inosanto there but also Larry Hartsell and Francis Fong
among others. I was blown away with the material and the time that Sifu spent
with me. I continued training with Sifu and became one of the first instructors from

What is the single greatest Influence Dan Inosanto has had on you?
The single greatest influence was in Sifus attitude toward respect to the masters
and his hunger to learn. His speeches on martial arts is like a library and At the
end of the day, if you havent picked it up, its still mine, really struck home. He
illustrated three important things, theory and concepts, the constant shedding and
gaining of info and the practicing over and over until its second nature.

Please tell your favorite Dan Inosanto story

In 1986, we hosted a seminar in Pittsburgh. Chris Kent came with Sifu Inosanto.
Somehow, Manong talked us into having one of the first full-contact stick fighting
tournaments in this area. We pitted Team Pittsburgh vs. Team Baltimore and guess
who had to anchor at heavyweight?
Never having fought full-contact in the five categories, single and double stick,
staff, dagger and empty hand. I was a bit nervous. Manongs words of advice and
wisdom were a lifesaver. He would explain, do like this or do like that, hit
here, duck there.
Looking back on the experience it was funny but not so at the time. It went so fast,
I never felt the welts until well after the bout. Needless to say we beat Baltimore.
I will always respect and admire Sifu Inosanto for his instruction and his friendship.

Name: Steve Braun

How did you come to meet and train with Dan Inosanto?
I first met Guro Dan Inosanto in 1981 when my Sifu, Ray
Mar, brought him to Bethesda, Maryland. Ray had been a
student of the original Kali Academy in LA. Another person
in the area brought Guro to Baltimore a year later and I was
hooked. I even got to uke for Guro a couple of time!
I went to many east coast seminars over the next few years
and asked him about the apprentice program in 1985. Pat
Finely, Guros first apprentice in the Baltimore-DC area was
always talking about moving and I didnt want our classes to
stop if he left the region.

What is the single greatest Influence Dan Inosanto has

had on you?

Steve Braun

Guro has influenced my life in so many ways, but primarily he helped me find a
personal path that has developed both my strengths and weaknesses. I am a fulltime high school teacher of special education and I learned more about teaching
from my times with Guro than I ever learned in a college class. Guro meets the
student wherever they are and builds from there, teaching them the tools they
need to continue to grow and improve. The schools across the country would do a
much better job if they followed Guros teachings.

Please tell your favorite Dan Inosanto story

My favorite Guro story happened in the late 80s in Pittsburgh. Don Garon was
having a combined tournament and seminar. The tourney was on Saturday and the
seminar was Sunday. A number of Guros apprentices, including myself, did
demonstration sparring matches during a break in the tournament Saturday
afternoon. As is usual when Don hosts a seminar, he invited all the seminar
participants to dinner Saturday night. When we arrived that evening, we were all
surprised to see Bruce Leroy there. Bruce Leroy from the Last Dragon. Not
Taimak, but a guy who had come to Pittsburgh on the bus from New York City. He
was wearing the traditional kung-fu outfit with the frog buttons and white, turned
back sleeves. And the bamboo coolie hat. Straight out of the movie. Well, we all
sat down to talk before dinner arrived and Bruce Leroy came right over and sat at
the table with Guro and Don, Chris Kent, Guros assistant at the time, and a few
apprentices. Who would win in a fight between a ninja and Bruce Lee?. Thats
what he asked. Guro answered in a very matter of fact tone, Well that would
depend on the ninja. He met the student where he was and continued on. What
patience and understanding. What a teacher. My teacher.

Name: Steve Grantham

How did you come to meet, train with and be certified Dan Inosanto?
I attended my first Sifu Dan seminar in Hilton Head
in November of 1989 (Rick McElroy was hosting). I
attended the two day seminar, and Sifu Francis
Fong was also giving a small 2 hr workshop on
Sunday. I couldnt really follow any of the material
at the seminar since I was a Tae Kwon Do guy, but
I was completely sold on Kali, Sifu Dan, and Sifu
Francis because of that seminar.
This was the seminar where Simo Paula
accidentally wrenched Sifu Dans elbow in a
takedown/disarm (didnt know enough at the time
to see what she was doing). I think he had
problems with that elbow for quite a while after
The seminar was on a weekend, and I signed up
with Sifu Francis the very next week. I trained Kali
at his school full time, and visited Sifu Dans school
at the old, old location on Glencoe several times in
the early 90s to train whenever I could. I got my
apprentice instructorship in FMA and JKD in 1995,
and I was thrilled!

Steve Grantham, Georgia

What is the single greatest Influence Dan Inosanto has had on you?
Single greatest influence Sifu Dan has had on me? Just the way he is so open to
learning anything he can from whoever can show him something. He always trying
to put himself in uncomfortable situations (training wise) so increase his learning.
One of reasons I will always be with him though, is something a little simpler. Hes
just a really, really good man. In 16-17 years, I have never heard him say anything
mean about anyone. Ever.

Please tell your favorite Dan Inosanto story

My favorite story of Guro Dan is something I witnessed one time when Sifu Francis
was having a training conference in Atlanta with Master Chai & Sifu Dan. Simo
Paula was there, and Erik Paulson was there to help Sifu Dan demo.
Sifu Francis asked me to help drive them to the airport around 5:30 am on Monday,
so we get to the hotel and everyone comes down and gets in the car except Erik,
who apparently overslept.
Simo Paula goes to get him, and everyone is kind of sitting there yawning, except
Sifu Dan, who gets out of the Van, and starts doing a Silat djuru in the hotel
driveway. It cracked me up. The man can just never get enough..

Name: Steve Grody

How did you come to meet, train with and be certified by Dan Inosanto?
I was training under the traditional teacher Share K. Lew,
but was taken by a senior student to watch a class of
Dan's at the old Kali Academy in '79 and immediately
saw that they were doing everything I was missing with
the classical training, so I made plans to start as soon as
I could. I believe it was in '85 that Dan told me he would
like me to assist him over at his Marina Del Rey
academy, and did so until '92. While at the Marina
academy, he put an apprentice under me, and a few
years later when there was the possibility of my teaching
in Italy, he authorized me to create a ranking and
certification system.

What is the single greatest Influence Dan Inosanto

has had on you?
Dan's greatest influence on me is as a living example of
what Bruce Lee told him: your first loyalty should always
be towards your personal truth, and that truth is always
evolving. Also, when assisting, to feel his energy and
spontaneous moments was truly instructive.

Steve Grody

Please tell your favorite Dan Inosanto story

It's hard to pick a favorite Inosanto story; his wicked humor towards the smallminded; his incisive analysis of various instructors and systems; his perfect
analogies that helped make complex ideas clear. But one story that made us laugh
was about when he was in Hong Kong and working with some of the Wing Chun
group there who very much wanted Dan to understand that Bruce Lee's criticisms
of Wing Chun were "wrong" by being rough with Dan in their chi sao with him. Dan
being Dan let them do their thing for a while, and then when he felt he had seen
what they had, started to ding them up with Kali all the while acting like he was
just being clumsy.

Name: Steve Tarani

How did you come to meet, train with and be certified by Dan Inosanto?
Having trained with Guro Ted Lucaylucay in the early 1980s,
we were in awe that our teacher (Guro Ted) got to train in
the backyard group with Guro Dan.
Great reverence and respect were my first impressions of Guru
Dan before we ever met. Guro Ted then introduced me to one
of Guro Dans instructors Grandmaster Leovigildo M. Giron
(then he was known as Master Leo).
When I started training up in Stockton, California it was a
privilege and an honor to learn Escrima from one of the very
same teachers and in the very same neighborhood that Guru
Dan had grown up. Grandmaster Giron would take us for walks
down to visit where Danny grew up and show us where
Danny went to school and told us the stories of how Gurus
mom used to train in Filipino martial arts. It was incredible to
see and hear the real life stories of Guru growing up and
training in Stockton.

Steve Tarani

Then, several years into my training under Grandmaster Giron, he recommended

that I go see Danny.
So I did. The first time I ever saw Guru was at the University of California in Irvine
where it looked like he was performing a laser light show with weapons. He was
unbelievable I had never seen anything like him he was (and still is) amazing.
After attending a few seminars with Guru in the late 1980s and joining the
academy (at Glencoe) in the early 90s, Guru moved the Inosanto Academy over to
Manchester Ave (1994) where I have been committed full time to this very day
(now school moved to Beach Ave).
Because I was a graduate instructor under Master Leo, Guru allowed me into the
instructors class and in those days we were required to become Muay Thai
instructors as well as train under other of Gurus teachers. Later on Guru
Introduced me to both Punong Guro Edgar Sulite and Bapak Herman Suwanda
both of whom I remained a loyal and private student until their respective passing.
It was again with great honor and with respect to Guru Dan that I enjoyed the
privilege of training under these teachers because if it wasnt for his personal
introduction and recommendations, the training that made possible my current
employment would never have occurred.
Basically, I owe my entire lifetime career to Guru Dan. I cannot find the words that
can truly and accurately express the level of respect and deep gratitude that I have
for the man.

What is the single greatest Influence Dan Inosanto has had on you?
The single and greatest influence that Guru Dan has had on me was inspiration. In
my opinion the greatest gift a human being can selflessly give to another human
being is inspiration.
Guru Dan is a limitless fountain of inspiration. Hes a veritable walking encyclopedia
of knowledge and skill which he uses as a catalyst to motivate and inspire his

Personally, he awoke the teacher in me as I see him do to all who come in contact
with him. In my humble opinion, we are all students as we are all teachers. His
real-to-life personal example of humility, personal encouragement and inspiration
are truly the greatest influence that Guru has had on me.
In deep gratitude and respect to him I make every attempt to emulate Guru Dan
every day of my life to keep that fire of inspiration burning and to encourage and
inspire others in the same way that he continues to encourage and inspire me.

Please tell your favorite Dan Inosanto story

Difficult to pick one as there are many, but it was one of Gurus seminars in
Northern California in the late 1990s. At the time Joel and LaVonne were with Guru
and I was there to assist Guru if needed and attended with my Bahala Na brothers.
Guru would occasionally asked Joel and I to demo a drill. There were close to three
hundred students in attendance this was a huge gym and there was standing
room only. Everything was going well, except for one disrespectful guy who kept
trying to interrupt Guru while he was teaching and get his attention to watch him
do something. It got to be really annoying and Joel and I had to keep shuffling this
guy away.
Even at lunch this guy without an ounce of respect kept trying to bug Guru and by
now the Bahala Na boys got involved in keeping this guy away from Guru.
But, Guru being Guru, said No its OK, lets see what hes got and we all
surrounded Guru like an Italian Godfather as this guy grabbed a pair of nunchaku
and went out the back door to impress Guru with his moves.
So, Guru gives him the raised eyebrow as he watches the guy start twirling the
and suddenly at high speed and without warning the guy cracked himself in the
back of his own head with his own clubs so hard that his eyes rolled to the back of
his head and he began wobbling on his feet.
Guru, without skipping a beat said Yes, you can do that and went back to
It was very difficult to control laughter and smiling for the remainder of the

Name: Steven Mosley

How did you come to meet, train with and be certified by Dan Inosanto?
I have been training in the martial arts since
1979, and have been teaching martial
arts/police defensive tactics since 1985. In
March of 1997, I attended my first
Southeastern Martial Arts Conference at the
Francis Fong Academy in Atlanta, Georgia.
This is where I first met the legend Guro Dan
Inosanto. As is typical of probably
everyones first seminar, I was totally
overwhelmed. I can honestly say that
everyone that I came into contact with during
the seminar was extremely helpful, even
though I had no clue what I was doing.
Due to work & life commitments, my training
under Guro Inosanto was very limited until
July of 2002. This was the year that I met
my best friend and one of my current
instructors, Don Garon. Don is the former
owner of Pennsylvania Karate Academy and
has been an instructor under Guro Inosanto
for over two decades. What a blessing!

Steven Mosley, Georgia

Through Don Garon, I was reintroduced to Filipino Martial Arts and Guro Inosanto.
Many seminars later and with the blessing of my three current instructors, Stephen
Grantham (Phoenix Martial Arts Academy), Billy Jack Rucks (One Source
Progressive Fighting) and Don Garon, I was awarded my Apprentice Instructor
Certificate on October 1, 2005.

What is the single greatest Influence Dan Inosanto has had on you?
There are many ways that Guro Inosanto has influenced my life, I am sure of that.
Some I realize, others will present themselves when it is time. The single greatest
influence that Guro Inosanto has had on me, teaching me to flow.
Let me explain, I have experience in combat. I have been a career law
enforcement officer for over twenty years. The one thing about combat that is a
constant is that it is fluid. When you learn to flow, you learn to transition from one
technique to the next until something works.
The one of the biggest problems with most police defensive tactics systems is there
is no transition from one technique to the next. When something does not work
there is a hesitation. Hesitation can be deadly. Through Guro Dans teaching, I am
doing my best to educate everyone that will listen about flow.

Please tell your favorite Dan Inosanto story

When you experience a relationship with a living legend, there is no one favorite
story. All are personal, and I will cherish all of the stories that I have heard and
experienced. When my three-year-old daughter and one-year-old triplet sons get
older and can appreciate the stories, I will share each and every one of them. So
they too can know the man, Dan Inosanto, my teacher and my friend.

Name: Sule Welch

How did you come to meet, train with and be certified by Dan Inosanto?
My first introduction to Guro Inosanto was through his books. I was always a Bruce
Lee movie fan, until I stumbled on a book by Dan Inosanto A Guide to Martial Arts
Training with Equipment. I was intrigued by the way Guro catalogued, explained
and photographed the various training drills he and Si-Gung Bruce Lee used to train
the Jun Fan Gung Fu methods. I bought more of his books and my fascination
moved beyond movies to the realities of training.
As I began contemplating a move to attend college, I considered attending UCLA
and trying to find a way to learn more about Jun Fan Gung Fu by training at the
Inosanto Academy. Unfortunately, I discovered I had neither the time nor money
to make that big of a move at that time.
As I began considering schools in the Southeast, I referred to one of Guros books,
Absorb What is Useful where he referenced a man named Francis Fong in Atlanta,
GA for his trapping ability and Wing Chun Kung Fu a base system for JKD. As I
searched for more information about Sifu Fong I learned about a training
conference taking place in Atlanta featuring Guro, Sifu Fong and Ajarn Chai.
Simply stated, the Southeast Martial Arts Conference changed my life forever.
First, it set me on my journey to study Wing Chun Kung Fu under Sifu Fong
exclusively for 5 years (1989-1994).
In 1994, I had to move from Atlanta to Charlotte, NC in 1994 for a job opportunity.
From 1994-1998, I made two trips a year back to Francis Fong Academy to attend
every SEMATC.
In 1998, I finally found an employment opportunity in Atlanta with a new company.
I immediately re-enrolled as a regular student again at the Francis Fong Martial Arts
Academy. I was happy to be home!
After continuing to study and assist at the Francis Fong Academy, I expressed
interest to Sifu Fong about my desire to expand my knowledge and apply for an
instructorship under Guro in Filipino Martial Art and Jung Fan Gung Fu.
Sifu Fong supported my decision and immediately increased my leadership
responsibilities at the academy. He also submitted a letter to Guro on my behalf
and suggested I write a letter expressing my interest to Guro also.
In 2003 I was honored with my Lakan Guro Apprentice Level 1 Instructor of
Filipino Martial Arts and Apprentice Instructor Level 1 of Jun Fan Gung Fu.

Please tell your favorite Dan Inosanto story

My favorite Guro story takes place in California at the Inosanto academy in March
2005. We had just finished the first half of the Instructor Camp.
During the break Guro comes out onto the mat with a kettle ball. I had never
seen this thing that looked like a cannon ball with a handle before. As someone
who always has a question in his mind and on his lips, I asked him what it was.
Before I knew it, Guro had me hooked! In his natural, subtle, encouraging, and
happy (like a kid with a new toy) way Guro also had me doing 100 repetitions of
squats and catches with this thing!
Later my Si-Hing Steve Grantham, who was present at the conference and getting
good laugh out of the grimace on my face during this impromptu kettle ball demo,

comes over and says with a big smile, Didnt you wonder why I slowly stepped
behind the mats when he brought that thing out and didnt say a word? I saw that
look in Guros eye as soon as you asked him a question about it and I knew you
were in for a workout!
Although I didnt feel it in my legs immediately for the remainder of the camp, I
decided to try a Yoga class that night after the Camp. Big mistake! My legs were
shaking like a leaf during the entire class, even when we were standing still.
All I could think about was that smile on Guros face while I was doing those 100
reps and of course Si-Hing Steve laughing in the background.
As bad as the pain was the next morning, I still felt good about having that
experience with Guro. His enthusiasm for sharing something new with others,
always taking an opportunity to train, and always being open to new methods, is an
attitude I want to have for the rest of my life.
I truly believe these things along with his sense of playfulness, ability to motivate
people and his constant quest for new things are his three greatest assets as a
person and instructor. I hope I can be half the instructor he is one day and go for
as long as he has with no signs of slowing down.

What is the single greatest Influence Dan Inosanto has had on you
That said, the single greatest influence Guro has had on me is, He inspires me to
be the best human being and teacher I can be.

Name: Suzanne (Luna) Spezzano

How did you come to meet and train with Dan Inosanto?
What is the single greatest Influence Dan Inosanto has had on you?
Please tell your favorite Dan Inosanto story
I've been a student at the Inosanto Academy
since 1997. When I heard about this collection
of favorite Guro Dan stories I took a long look at
all my years of training and the influence Guro
has had on me.
One particular moment stood out.
My most favorite Guro Dan story is not so much
a story but one of those great life lessons he will
nonchalantly drop on us in the middle of class.
We were talking about other systems and Guro
was telling us how we could learn from
everything and everyone. He then said the
phrase that I have since repeated more times
than I can remember:

Suzanne Spezzano

"If you want to be the biggest tree in the forest, don't cut all the other trees down,
just grow."
Simple and brilliant. That's Guro.
I still can't believe he's 70 years old. He has completely redefined that age.
Happy Birthday Guro and thank you for all that you've given us.
With love and respect, your student for life,
Suzanne Spezzano

Name: Thomas Monden

How did you come to meet, train with and be certified by Dan Inosanto?
My English language is not so good, that I can give you a long story for your gift.
My first Seminar under Guro Dan was in 1989 in Speyer, Germany. It was a great
moment for me.
In the first time, I had saw the Jeet Kune Do concepts in original motions.
Since 1989, I was going to each Seminar in Germany, when possible. 5 times, I
was in Los Angeles in the Academy and I had get my Apprentice Instructor
certificate in October 2005.

What is the single greatest Influence Dan Inosanto has had on you?
The greatest influence from Sifu Dan is the free mind in Dan's Training.

Please tell your favorite Dan Inosanto story

Name: Tim Coleman

How did you come to meet and train with Dan Inosanto?
My first encounter with Guro Dan Inosanto was through a seminar in Princeton, NJ
in the fall of 1996. I was not only a newcomer to Jun Fan/JKD, Kali and Silat, but
to all martial arts. What I experienced that day exceeded all my expectations.
I was exposed to overwhelming array of techniques and applications. I could barely
jot half of them down in my notes, let alone absorb all of it. But, far more valuable
than the information presented was the way in which it was conveyed to me by
Guro Inosanto.
I was in awe of his incredible skill, his vast knowledge of many cultures and their
history, and his ability to teach complex and foreign techniques using familiar
methods and language. However, what I found most inspiring were his genuine
humility, kindness, and reverence for the arts.
Since my introduction to Guro Inosanto a decade ago, I have sought to train as
much as possible in the arts. In doing so, I can say confidently that my entire life
has been positively and profoundly affected. I was deeply honored in being
accepted for apprentice instructorship just last year. I continue to strive to
exemplify the same kind of discipline, dedication, humility, and enthusiasm that
Guro Inosanto continues to radiate for all his students. I am blessed to be a part of
the Inosanto community, and I have Guro to thank for it.

What is the single greatest Influence Dan Inosanto has had on you?

Please tell your favorite Dan Inosanto story

Name: Tim Tackett

How did you come to meet, train with and be certified by Dan Inosanto?
In 1967 I saw Bruce Lee demonstrate JKD at Ed Parkers
tournament in Long Beach, Ca and wanted to start studying with
him right on the spot, but I soon realized that I would not have
enough time until after I finished college. In 1968, I started a
Master of Fine Arts program at UCR and no longer had time to
teach martial arts full time. So I closed down my school and
rented a hall in Redlands two nights a week where I taught what I
called Chinese karate as hardly anyone had heard of kung fu let
alone Kuo Shu.

Tim Tackett

In 1970 I received my M.F.A. and started teaching drama in high

school. Soon after this my first student, Bob Chapman, and I, on
the recommendation of Dan Lee, sought out Dan Inosanto. Dan
who had opened up a backyard Jeet Kune Do school after Bruce Lee had closed his
L.A. Chinatown school shortly before moving to Hong Kong to star in The Big Boss.
We both felt privileged to be accepted in Dan Inosantos backyard class. The class
consisted of about 10 students. I got to meet for the first time such JKD luminaries
as; Bob Bremer, Dan Lee, Richard Bustillo, Jerry Poteet, and Pete Jacobs. Later
Chris Kent, Ted Lucaylucay, and Jeff Imada joined a second class.
In 1973, Dan Inosanto honored me with the rank of Senior First and I was given
permission to have a small Jeet Kune Do group. In Dans backyard school it was
always stressed that JKD was something special. There were certain techniques
that Bruce Lee did not want given out outside of what we all felt were a small and
special group. Dan told us that Bruce said, If knowledge is power then why pass it
out indiscriminately.
At the same time I was teaching the principles of JKD and using them as tools to
examine the martial arts I had learned up until that time. I found that much of
what I had been teaching was not very efficient. For my own personal experience I
kept some hsing-I and all of my tai chi for myself, but I had no desire to teach
anything but Jeet Kune Do. Since I didnt want to teach JKD openly I closed the
school and moved the senior group to my garage where weve been ever since.

What is the single greatest Influence Dan Inosanto has had on you?
It was his teaching me to look at martial arts in a new way. To really get rid of the
nonessential and work on daily decrease.

Please tell your favorite Dan Inosanto story

One time about 1978, some guy came into the Kali Academy. Dan and I were in the
office when he just walked in. He started talking about martial arts in general and
how good he was as Dan was going through his file cabinet. He then said that he
could probably hit Dan and Dan couldn't do anything about it. Dan still was going
through the file cabinet, but the temperature in the room seemed to lower. Dan's
voice got very steady and quieter. Even if you know Dan very well you would not
have recognized this Dan. His whole attitude changed. Dan just looked at him in the
eyes and said in a quiet voice, "Why would you want to do that?" The guy looked at
Dan a moment and quickly left without saying a word.
One other time was when he hit himself on the head demonstrating nunchakus at
Ed Parker's tournament.

Name: Tim Tokarz

How did you come to meet, train with and be certified by Dan Inosanto?
I began training in the Inosanto method of Jun Fan / JKD and Kali in early 1993 at
the age of 23 under the instruction of then Apprentice Instructor, Ted Georgas
(Skokie, Illinois). I had recently graduated college and was looking for a place to
continue training, as I had been training in various martial arts for approximately
10 years. I was so excited to find a gym that offered Jeet Kune Do, Kali and Muay
My commute to the gym was a 2-hour round-trip, but I drove it with zeal. Ted
Georgas was (is) an excellent representative for the Inosanto Academy of Martial
Arts, whose instruction and skills motivated me to eventually become an instructor
under Guro Inosanto.
Throughout my youth, I had seen Guro Dan Inosanto in movies as well as in the
many martial arts magazines that I had collected since I was a kid. I had always
been fascinated with the martial arts, and for me, Guro held a martial art superhero
status similar in the ways that many young kids shooting hoops on playground
basketball courts view Michael Jordan here in Chicago.
At one point in the seminar, Guro Dan was lecturing the group, and many of us
were sitting on the floor listening and taking notes. As anyone who had ever
attended one of Guros seminars might notice, he oftentimes focus his gaze on one
person for a time, while talking to the group. That day, it was me. 30 45 seconds
seemed like a month. Everything in my peripheral blurred when Guro Inosantos
eyes locked on me. I have absolutely no idea what the hell he said. I was too busy
riding the rush and didnt hear a word. I felt like a kid, thinking Wow, Dan Inosanto
is talking to me!.
All I could do was nod my head as if I understood - as to not look as dumb as I felt.
Lucky for me, Simo Paula was there and helped fill in the voids - as she always did.
Guro later called my instructors up by name, which only added to the awe of that
day for me. Years later, on June 1st, 1996, he called me up by name and granted
me the title of Apprentice Instructor.

What is the single greatest Influence Dan Inosanto has had on you?
Since the beginning of my training, Guro/Sifu Dan Inosanto has greatly influenced
my life as a martial artist and as a person.
I admire him for his humbleness, his respect for other arts, and his willingness to
start from scratch in learning other methods. Hes not afraid to tie on a white belt
and jump into something new.
Hes genuine; he wears his heart on his sleeve. I appreciate his kindness and
generosity, his sharing of his lifes training and research. I have grown so much as
a result of his experiences and years of hard work.
As a seminar student and instructor, I unfortunately have not had the face time
that many of Guros student-instructors have had. Often times when I see him, he
is usually surrounded and has little breathing room to himself so I try to give him
his space. Today, however, seems a great day to kiss a little ass and say that I
(sadly) havent really taken the opportunity to tell Guro how much his commitment
to training and research, selfless sharing, and genuineness of character have been
a role model to me as Im sure it has to all of his students.

Name: Thomas Tom Macaluso

How did you come to meet and train with Dan Inosanto?
I started in JKD and Kali though Neil Cauliffe. I
read an article that talked about JKD/Kali and
showed people sparring in WEKAF gear. I met
Guro Dan in his first NYC seminar and after
that I was driven to learn as much as possible

What is the single greatest influence Dan

Inosanto has had on you?
Guro Dan has influenced me by his example ,
by continuously training and researching
constantly trying to improve himself

Please tell your favorite Dan Inosanto


Thomas Macaluso
New York

My favorite Guro Dan story is after his first NYC seminar. My friend Andy who was
training Shotokan karate asked him some questions about a karate Kata. I didn't
really expect him to answer (not knowing Guro at the time.)
Not only did he answer, but Guro amazed us at the knowledge he had of an art that
he doesn't really teach.
I was also in awe of the fact that he was so approachable and easy to talk to!

Name: Toshiro Yamada

How did you come to meet and train with Dan Inosanto?
My best friend from Japan told me it's very worthwhile to have instructorship under
Guru Dan and which is very true.

What is the single greatest Influence Dan Inosanto has had on you?
You know what; I just feel his peaceful energy. That's what I got influenced from

Please tell your favorite Dan Inosanto story

In Thai camp, I had a chance to do light sparring with him. IN THAI CAMP, guess
what he did to me? Biu gee, biu gee, biu gee, oou tek over and over again in front
of Ajarn Chai.

Name: Tracey Mannon

How did you come to meet, train with and be certified by Dan Inosanto?
My first exposure to Guro Dan
Inosanto was at Don Garon's
Pennsylvania Karate Academy,
where I was a student. Don
Garon highly recommended
that we attend the seminar.
I remember being totally
amazed, astonished, and
inspired by Guro's talent, but
most of all was impressed by
his kindness. At the time, I
Tracey Mannon,
was a rank beginner, and he
still was nice enough to take
some time to personally help my training partner and me.


I became close friends with Lani Mustin, a student and instructor under Guro Dan.
I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to train and travel with Lani so that we
could attend additional seminars of Guro Dan's outside of Pittsburgh.
I eventually moved to Atlanta to assist Sifu Francis Fong at his Academy. Sifu Fong
recommended me to Guro Dan for instructor certification in 2004.

What is the single greatest Influence Dan Inosanto has had on you?
The SINGLE greatest influence Guro Dan has had on me:
My first Thai camp was in the year 2000, and the training was very intense. Guro
Dan trained right alongside us, and he was such a huge inspiration and motivation
to me at the camp.
Whenever I was tired, I would watch him training and I knew that I couldn't give up
and that I had to keep going. I would learn so much just by watching his form and
So whenever I am tired and think about slacking in my training, I think about his
dedication and discipline and it provides me with all of the inspiration I need.

Please tell your favorite Dan Inosanto story

Its not my story cause I wasnt there but I heard there was a really funny story
between Salem Assli and Guro Dan about Egypt and a Jeep.
Also, there was the time at Thai camp when Michele Thompson pulled him up to
dance one of the Indian dances and he pulled off the Ram Muay 3-Step.
I hesitate to talk about this one cause I dont want to embarrass him and you know
he hates to call people by the wrong name. But hes called me Stacy so many
times instead of Tracey, that Im thinking of changing my name!

Name: Tsuyoshi Abe

How did you come to meet, train with and be certified by Dan Inosanto?
My training in Jeet Kune Do
started in Seattle, Washington
with Taky Kimura. I trained with
him for over four years from
1985 to 1989. In 1988, I heard
that Dan Inosanto was going to
be teaching at a seminar in
Grants Pass, Oregon. So my
training partner and I went to
see him there.
As a result of that trip, I decided
that I was going to move to Los
Angeles. I had already finished
three years of college in Seattle
and now had to finish four years
of college somewhere else. New
York was too far and too expensive so I would have moved to LA anyhow. Meeting
Sifu Dan just helped me to decide faster.
My training at the Inosanto Academy was a twenty hours per week, five days a
week love affair. Through Takys recommendation I was immediately able to train in
Sifu Dans Phase 3 classes, but I also trained with Tim Cordoza in the Phase 1 and
Kali classes. I had JKD experience but I didnt know much about the Filipino martial
One day, Simo Paula called me into the office and asked me if I wanted to be an
instructor. I said, Sure, someday and she gave me a hug and said, Welcome
aboard. But I didnt get my certificate for maybe another 9 months. In 1993, I
believe, I got my Associate Instructorship and started traveling with Sifu Dan for

What is the single greatest influence Dan Inosanto has had on you?
Sifus greatest influence on me is his humility and his always be a student
mentality. When you know something, sometimes you can become cocky. Well, he
knows so much but he would never behave that way.

Please tell your favorite Dan Inosanto story

There are so many stories but as I was telling Jeff (Imada), I cant think of any one
thats my favorite.
There was the time when we took 24 hours and 6 plane rides to get to a seminar in
Canada. Somehow, we ended up in Saint Johns New Brunswick instead of St.
Johns, Newfoundland or was it the other way around?
There was also the time when our bags didnt make it to the seminar city until
Sunday, so Guro and I had to buy new underwear.
Or the time when we were traveling and he must have been really hungry or tired
or both and I saw him eat six burgers!

Name: Vic Spatola

My experiences with a legend in martial arts and one of the kindest men I know.

How did you come to meet and train with Dan Inosanto?
I was first introduced to Guru Dan
Inosanto by my long time instructor,
Lavonne Martin. We attended a
Southeast Martial Arts Conference
with Sifu Dan, Sifu Francis Fong and
Ajarn Chai. To give some
background to this story, I had been
training in Okinawan Karate and
Japanese Jiu-Jitsu with Sensei Martin
for the last two and half years and I
was now experimenting with some
different martial arts. So I decided
to go with my instructor to this
seminar. Now this was my first
experience training with Guru Dan
Vic Spatola, Colorado
and with Sifu Francis, (I had
attended a Thai Boxing workshop
with Ajarn Chai previously), so I was
completely unprepared for the 2 days that came.
I started with an eager attitude and an open mind. I ended with a headache and a
look that was similar to a cow staring at a passing train in amazement!
I was floored to learn there were that many ways to break an arm! I was inspired,
impressed and profoundly moved by this Filipino man and what he was capable of
doing physically. I began training in JKD, Kali and Silat under Guru Dan and
eventually moved out to California to train with him at the Inosanto Academy.

What is the single greatest Influence Dan Inosanto has had on you?
I then learned how great this man was not only as a source of historical knowledge,
but as a human being. I have seen Guru Dan give money to anyone who needed it,
help people in need and sponsor people for citizenship. I think the only thing that
exceeds Dan Inosanto's knowledge surrounding the martial arts is his compassion
for his fellow man.

Please tell your favorite Dan Inosanto story

Now for the funny story! My favorite story about Guru is when he and I went to the
Thai Boxing Camp in Oregon. For those of you who do not know, Guru is not
exactly an outdoors type of person. He actually has allergies to wood, sunshine,
clean air and trees. So there we are after a grueling day of Thai Boxing with Ajarn
Chai and we're driving back to the hotel at night through the pitch-black Oregon
woods. I was driving and Guru was in the passenger seat. We come around a
bend and two small black bears and a bigger black bear run across the road.
Guru looks up as I hit the brakes and slow down and says "Vic, look out for the
dogs!" After a small giggle I tell him what they were, to which he responds, "You're
kidding me! Right? There are bears in these woods?". For the rest of that trip I
kept Guru on his toes by telling him that there was a bear around every corner.

Name: Vince Perez-Mazzola

How did you come to meet, train with and be certified by Dan Inosanto?
It was in 1987 that I first met Sifu Dan Inosanto. I had actually spent the previous summer
training in Los Angles at the Marina Del Rey Academy with other legends such as Larry
Hartsell, Ted Lucaylucay, and others. Sifu was busy with seminars, so I never got to see
him face-to face until a year or so later. It was a cold day in a Maryland Suburb.
At the time, I was attending the George Washington University and was an active member
of the campus Kali/Jun fan Club ran by Guro Stephen Braun and Pat Findlay. We were
attending a Guru Dan Seminar, one of many to follow, being hosted at a local Tae Kwon Do
Two years after, after completing my degree, I traveled back to Los Angels, and re-entered
the Inosanto Academy as a full-fledged member in 1989. I passed my Thai Boxing test in
91, received my teaching certificates in FMA, Jun fan and the Madjapahit Arts a few years
later. I even have had the privilege of becoming a Staff Instructor teaching Kali, Silat and
Muay Thai at the Academy.

What is the single greatest Influence Dan Inosanto has had on you?
It is difficult to choose a moment in time when Sifu Dan influenced me the most. His
kindness wisdom and generosity touched so many of us. As a student of both the old
Marina Del Rey School and the new larger facility, I was privy to many closed door classes
in which Guro would speak about training, life, history and of his many instructors.
Though combat and combat training are physical endeavors, Sifu would constantly place
emphasis on the historical and cultural aspects of the arts he was himself exploring and the
concepts which he was exposing to us.
As a younger man, my adventurous side found me away from the Academy as much as in
it. These absences, though personally illuminating, sometimes felt like a betrayal of sorts.
I would travel to parts unknown, train with other instructors, and just simply NOT be there
at the Academy.
For years, and to this day, I sometimes feel like the black sheep of the family, but Guro
has never treated me as such. In fact, I am proud to this day to receive jovial greetings
from the man who taught me so much, and to receive praise and recommendations from
the Academy for teaching in my area of the world.
Sifu Dan once pulled me aside and told me how he felt, and that my absences were a good
thing and that they exposed to me more than just the Academy, but to other training,
systems and cultures.

Please tell your favorite Dan Inosanto story

At that Maryland seminar training commenced with basic single stick drills from the Largo
Mano, Giron method. Within minutes, it was clear that even the basics were far beyond
most of those in attendance. Well, all except us.
So without hesitation, Sifu broke out the focus mitts and began teaching basic boxing. With
a slight smile he came over to our group as we jabbed, crossed, hooked and uppercutted.
His manner was warming and made us feel like insiders, which in essence we were, being
that we actually know the subject matter at hand.
At one point he came up to me and complimented my boxing skills. Like a star struck kid,
all I could do when he asked me where I had learned to box, was point, slack-jawed and
speechless at my instructor Stephen. It is one of the few times in my life that I, big mouth
Vince has even been struck speechless. We finished the seminar and again Sifu approached
me. We talked about my having been to the Academy and my plans for after school. I
asked him then and there if I could be student, directly under him.

Name: Xiang Jing Yao

How did you come to meet, train with and be certified by Dan Inosanto?
I first read about Guro Dan Inosanto in
many Bruce Lee magazines in 1970s, and
I saw Guro Dan in the movie Game of
Death when it came to Japan. I read the
magazines and watched the movie again
and again, but as a kid who loved Bruce
Lees movies, Guro Dan was always a
sideman of Sijo Bruce Lee.
In Japan, Bruce Lee was well known as a
celebrity, but not much information on
JKD as martial arts was available in
1970s and 1980s. My parents also feared
that I would get injuries, and I was not
allowed to do any martial arts training. In
1995, I found a gym and finally started
my training of JKD in Osaka, Japan.

Xiang Jing Yao

New Jersey/Pennsylvania

In 1996, I moved from Japan to Baltimore MD and was surprised that many people
were taking JKD lessons. I saw a flyer of the North-East Conference in Cortland NY
in 1997, and took a 10-hr greyhound bus trip (that time I did not know how to
drive). That was the first time I saw Guro Dan in person.
I was so happy and thrilled that I could see him in my life. Guros demo was eyeopening and marvelous; I could not believe what I was watching. During the
conference, Guro did one or two drills with me, which I felt so honored. I still
remember his kindness and patience in doing drills with a beginner like me.
In 2003, I was lucky to be certified as an apprentice instructor under Guro Dan. I
still feel nervous every time I say hi to Guro (like a child who had a chance to talk
with his/her idol or a star) or do something in front of him, but Guro has always
been friendly, encouraging and understanding. I always feel I am fortunate to be
able to one of Guros students.

What is the single greatest influence Dan Inosanto has had on you?
The more I see Guro Dan at his seminars, my respect to Guro has grown. I have
been impressed by not only his wonderful skills or vast knowledge, but his
personality, humility and love towards martial arts.
I am also touched by Guros dedication to Sijo Bruce Lee as his friend. Now, Guro
Dan means more than a sideman of Bruce Lee and means a lot in my life. Guro has
been so inspiring in any respects.
I always admire Guro Dans humbleness. I hear many people criticize others, and it
is easy to be critical to others. However, respect to others is one of the most
important things and I try to be humble and open my mind.

Please tell your favorite Dan Inosanto story

I was not sure what you meant by my first demo with Guro Dan. Actually my first
drill with Guro Dan was not a demo. During North-East conference, the masters
(Guro Dan, Ajarn Chai and Sifu Fong) were walking around during the time of drill

exercise. When I was switching a partner, he walked by and paired with me for one
drill. I was surprised because I did not expect any grand master would join the
group for drills. He was very friendly and nice.
Now I find him training as same as regular students in TBA Oregon camps and he
practices harder than anyone in the camp. I also remember a drill of Krabi-Krabong
in one TBA Oregon camp. There was a random battle simulation during the KrabiKrabong practice, and I happened to run into Guro Dan. Even though he was a
Guro, he let me attack him and said Good! to me.
Aside from training, I remember a group dinner with Guro Dan, Ajarn Chai and Sifu
Fong in a restaurant in Atlanta at the South-East conference at Sifu Fongs school.
The three sat next to each other. They were so cute when they looked at the menu
with glasses on at the same time, ordered the same menu (salmon teriyaki, I
And of course, the dish came at the same time, and they started to eat the same
menu together at the same time. It was very nice to watch these three masters
hanging out together.

Additional Well-Wishers

Name: Lexis Aragon (age 13)

How did you come to meet and train with Dan Inosanto?
I train under my Sifu Dwight Woods and I
remember he told me about his Sifu. So I was
curious and asked if I could meet him one day.
He said, Sure and I then asked, How? Thats
when I found out that Sigung Dan had been
coming to Miami every year for a long time.
Since then Ive been to two seminars and plan to
continue going every year.

What is the single greatest influence Dan

Inosanto has had on you?
The greatest influence Sigung Dan has had on me
it that even though he is almost 70 years old he
can do everything from Kali to Jun Fan to
takedowns (my favorite) to grappling. And Im
only 13 and by the time I get to the takedowns,
Im ready to pass out!
But to tell you the truth, its just an honor being
in the same room as him because thats like as
close as you can get to Bruce Lee.

Please tell your favorite Dan Inosanto story

Lexis Aragon
Miami, Florida

Wow! Now thats a hard one because I like so many. I would have to say its the
one that Guro Dan went home from his Brazilian Jiu Jitsu class and was trying to
show his wife what he had learned but she wouldnt let him and just kept poking
him in the eyes and he was just like a little kid saying, Okay, I wont show you,
but then she told him, Okay, okay show me!

Name: Marivel Izquierdo

How did you come to meet and train with Dan Inosanto?
Never having had any martial art training I
started in the UMAA Fitness kickboxing
program then graduated to Muay Thai and
finally, JKD. The more I was exposed to all
these arts the more I wanted to learn. Then
at last, June of 2000, my first seminar with
Guru Inosanto! It was amazing. I thank Sifu
Dwight for exposing me and all the students
at UMAA to Guru Inosanto, not just a great
legend but also a wonderful human being.

What is the single greatest influence

Dan Inosanto has had on you?

Marivel Izquierdo
Miami, Florida

The single greatest influence he has had on

me is observing this legend who trained with Bruce Lee, who has been all over the
world, been in movies, is a great instructor, etc. Guru is the most humble human
being I have ever met. Every time I am in his presence, his kindness and humility
remind me how it should be.

Please tell your favorite Dan Inosanto story

My favorite Inosanto story is walking through Frys Outpost(?) in Atlanta and
looking for a new briefcase. Here I was shopping with THE MAN and he was asking
me for help on what to purchase.

Name: Orestes Sampson

How did you come to meet and train with Dan Inosanto?
I met Guru Dan Inosanto
at the annual Miami
seminar in 2000, two
years after I started
training JKD with my
instructor Sifu Dwight

What is the single

greatest influence Dan
Inosanto has had on
I would say one of Daniel
Inosantos biggest
influences on me has
Orestes Sampson
been consistency. The
Miami, Florida
man has done things
throughout the years
that in some ways seem supernatural. At the point and time we are now in, in the
martial art community, and the intense request for his knowledge and time, Guru
Dan Inosanto is a great example of consistency. I have always seen him as a
person who has a level of understanding and commitment to anything he decides to

Please tell your favorite Dan Inosanto story

In 2003, I went to the 13th annual Pacific Northwest Muay Thai camp in Oregon with
my instructor. At the camp there was a section of training that was just shadow
boxing. Sifu Dwight and I were right next to each other in a big group of students
and instructors. In between rounds Sifu Troy from Orlando asked Sifu Dwight to
demo a jumping, spinning, outside crescent kick. As Sifu Dwight walked over to
Sifu Troy I did the kick in back of him. Sifu Troy saw the kick and told Sifu Dwight
not to worry, he just did it behind you. We all looked at each other, laughed, and
went right back into training. It was not a big deal at the time.
Later that evening, Guru Dan walked up to me and said that he saw me doing the
jumping kick earlier that day, and that it looked pretty good. I said thank you and
moved on to other conversation. It may not seem like much, but the way he
reacted helped me along the way. You see, it was the first time Guru Dan had
actually given me a thumbs up on a technique, as I hadnt very much time under
my belt with him. Him complimenting me then was even more significant as it was
the first time Id done that kick in years and it was not part of the camps activities.
Most of the techniques we were training were a little closer to the ground and I
even wondered if by doing it I would get a set of push-ups.
In my first moment of messing around, Guru Dan sees me and tells me it was a
pretty good-looking kick. To this day, I still think about that. I was inspired to do
better and try harder due to his words and his actions. I saw him training as long
as everybody else and he was always the loudest one with the most energy. When
a person like this gives a word of praise, you must do nothing but accept. The rest
of the camp I kicked my butt off.

Name: Peter Newton

How did you come to meet, train with and be certified by Dan Inosanto?
What is the single greatest influence Dan Inosanto has had on you?
Please tell your favorite Dan Inosanto story
The reason why I started training in Combative Sports is you; in 1983, you were
interviewed in 2 episodes of BBC Way of the Warrior and I was a teenager with no
knowledge of martial arts. JKD\Kali since that time has been my inspiration and
home looking after me during the bad times and pushing me forward during the
good times. I would like to say thank you for inspiring me to train then and every
time I train with you since that moment.
Thank You
Peter Newton