Daniel Arca Inosanto (born July 24, 1936) is an American Filipino martial arts (FMA) instructor from California who is best-known as a student of the late Bruce Lee and authority on Jeet Kune Do.
Dan Inosanto has over 50 years experience in the martial arts and is a world authority in Jun Fan Gung Fu/Jeet Kune Do, Filipino martial arts, and Silat.
Dan was originally introduced into the martial arts at the age of ten. During that summer he was taught Okinawa Te and Jiu-Jitsu by a local from his home of Stockton, California. That experience left a favorable impression on Guro Dan, but he followed his interest in football and track for the next ten years. At Whitworth College in Spokane, Washington he won a track conference with 9.5 seconds in the 100 yard dash. His senior year he was the leading ground gainer for the football team. Later his primary career would be a Jr. High School Physical Education teacher.
After college in 1957 Dan took, up Judo from a man called Duke Yoshimura. He trained in Judo until 1959 when he entered the service to become a paratrooper in the 101st Airborne Division. During his tour of duty he was stationed in Fort Campbell, Kentucky. While stationed there Dan was exposed to various styles of Karate with exposure to some other arts as well. It was at this time Dan got his first look at Kenpo Karate.
In 1961, Dan was discharged from the military service and he moved to Los Angeles, California. He looked for an instructor in the art of Kenpo. This search would lead him to path that would change his life. Dan found the “Father of American Karate”, Kenpo Instructor Ed Parker. For the next several years Dan would train with Ed Parker and attain a black belt in the Kenpo system.
It was Ed Parker that first inspired Dan to study Filipino martial arts. Dan thought the Filipinos where just a bunch of stickfighting guys and the style was called Eskrima. But Ed Parker informed him that there was a lot more than just stick work to the Filipino martial arts. Dan later went to his father, who in turn introduced Dan to many Escrimadors in the local Filipino community. The three of the most prominent where Max Sarmiento, Angel Cabales, and Johnny Lacoste.
In 1964, Ed Parker was organizing his International Karate Championship. During that time Ed Parker needed someone to escort one of his out-of-town guests around town. So Dan was assigned the task to take care of Bruce Lee for the week. From this meeting Bruce Lee and Dan started a life long friendship. After the International Karate Championship Bruce ask Dan if he could go with him on a demonstration tour around the united states, and Dan agreed. Dan became Bruce’s training partner.
Bud Thompson recalls; “In 1965 I owned a successful nutritional supplement business in Hollywood, I use to see Bruce Lee and Dan Inosanto routinely once a week. They would always come to Hollywood to check out the book stores for their research on martial arts, after training. They would stop in to get refreshed at the lunch counter and pick up nutritional supplements. When you saw one of them, you would see the other, they were always together. “
In addition to having studied over 43 methods/styles of Filipino martial arts (being an instructor in several), he is an instructor in Muay Thai under Master Chai Sirisute, an instructor in Pentjak Silat under Pendekar Paul De Thouars and Pendekar Herman Suwanda, an instructor in Shoot Wrestling (Shooto) under Yori Nakamura. In keeping with the spirit of always being a student Dan is currently a Black belt and studies Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under the Machado Brothers.
Dan has worked both in the television and movie industry as a stunt man, fight choreographer, and trainer on numerous projects. In addition to this SIfu Dan has several instructional videos and has authored several books: “A Guide to Martial Arts Training”, “The Filipino Martial Arts”, “Jeet Kune Do”, and “Absorb What Is Useful”.
Dan has also received the following awards from Black Belt Magazine’s Hall of Fame: 1996, – Man of the Year, 1988 – Weapons Instructor of the Year, 1983 – Instructor of the Year, and 1977 – Jeet Kune Do Instructor of the Year. He has been in over 33 martial art instructional video’s to date.
This is a photo of Sifu Sean Elders with Guro Dan Inosanto.
” Guro Dan is a sweet, humble man. I would like to age like him, and walk with the skill, knowledge, and above all humility he walks with at the young age of 77. He is a walking legend, a role model for millions of Martial Artists all over the world. He inspires me to be a better father, husband, son, friend, martial artist, and teacher.” -Sifu Sean Elders