Most known for promoting Filipino Martial Arts and his friendship with world famous Bruce Lee (the founder of the system Jeet Kune Do), Guro Dan Inosanto is a world class martial artist, and a renowned authority figure of Jeet Kune Do and Filipino Martial Arts.
Born Daniel Arca Inosanto in July 24th 1936 in Stockton California, he began his lifelong journey in martial arts at the age of 10 in Okinawan Karate, Jiu-Jitsu and Judo. He entered military service to become a paratrooper in the 101st Airborne Division and while he was stationed in Fort Campbell, Kentucky he was exposed to various styles of Karate and Kenpo.
In 1961, after he was discharged, he moved to Los Angeles and looked further into the art of Kenpo. This path led him to meet and train under Ed Parker, fondly referred to as the “father of American Kenpo”. Several years of training under Ed Parker earned Dan Inosanto his black belt in the system. Soon after, Ed Parker would encourage Dan to pursue martial arts training from his filipino heritage. His father would then introduce Dan to several eskrimadors in the filipino community. Among them were Max Sarmiento, Angel Cabales and Johnny Lacoste.
In 1964 he met Bruce Lee through Ed Parker during the International Karate Championship and from then started a lifelong friendship with him. Being Bruce Lee’s student, the two exchanges many ideas. That is when Sifu Dan introduced Bruce to the Tabok-Tayok (more commonly known as nunchaku) which was subsequently used and made famous in Bruce’s movies (Fist of Fury, Way of the Dragon, Game of Death and Enter the Dragon). Sifu Dan is also among the very rare people, besides Taky Kimura and James Lee, to be certified by Bruce Lee to teach the art of Jeet Kune Do. Following Bruce Lee’s passing in 1973, Sifu Dan took on the responsibility to carry on Bruce Lee’s work and certified many people under the concepts of Jeet Kune Do throughout the world.
In parallel to his training with Bruce Lee, Guro Dan also trained with Grandmaster Leo M Giron in the 1970’s. He met Punong Guro Edgar Sulite on August 14 1989 in Indian Creek, TN at a Pekiti-Tirsia Kali camp conducted by Grand Tuhon Leo Gaje.
This experience led Guro Dan to evolve a system of Filipino Martial Arts called Lacoste-Inosanto Kali, which comes from several teachers (at least 16). He also trained in various other systems: Pentjack Silat with Pendekar Paul De Thouars and Pendekar Herman Suwanda, Muay Thai with Ajarn Chai Sirisute, Shoot Wrestling with Yori Nakamura, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu with the Machado brothers (where he earned a black belt). He also worked in the television and movie industry as a stunt man, fight choreographer, and trainer.
Being an authority in Jeet Kune Do, FMA and Silat, he has influenced many martial artists such as Erik Paulson, Brandon Lee, Ron Balicki, Paul Vunak, Jeff Imada, Philip Gelinas and so on.
He is the founder and current owner of the Inosanto Academy of Martial Arts in Marina Del Rey, California, where among the various martial arts that can be found are Jeet Kune Do, Filipino Martial Arts, Shoot Wrestling, Brazilian Jiu Jutsu, Muay Thai, Silat and Mixed Martial Arts.