Dan Inosanto (USA)
Grand Master weapon instructor of the year
Dan Inosanto began training in martial arts at the age of 11 receiving instruction from his uncle who first taught him traditional Okinawan Karate and later also Judo and Jujutsu. He was a student of Ed Parker, from whom he received a shodan rank in American Kenpo. Inosanto is one of three people who have been appointed to teach at one of the three Jun Fan Gung Fu Institutes under Bruce Lee; Taky Kimura and James Yimm Lee are the other two people. Inosanto studied with different martial arts masters elsewhere in the United States, Southeast Asia, and Europe, including Johnny Lacoste, and Chai Sirisute. After Bruce Lee's death, Inosanto became the principal spokesperson and historian for Jeet Kune Do. He has had minor roles in a number of films, including Bruce Lee's uncompleted last film Game of Death (1972). During this time period (1964–75), he also taught physical education at Malaga Cove Intermediate School in Palos Verdes Estates, California.
The film I Am Bruce Lee provided Inosanto an opportunity to reveal a little-known fact about the friendship the two men shared. Inosanto was teacher to Bruce Lee, introducing him to nunchaku. Inosanto explained that he introduced the weapon to Lee, taught him the basics and some exercises to get him started on his weapons training. The Game of Death movie, one of the most recognizable of the Bruce Lee films, showcases the use of the nunchaku by Lee and Inosanto. He is featured as the Black Belt Magazine's 1996 "Man of the Year".
Inosanto holds Instructor or black belt level ranks in several martial arts. He is known for promoting the Filipino Martial Arts. He is responsible for bringing several obscure forms of the South East Asia Martial Arts into the public eye such as Silat, a hybrid combative form existing in such countries as Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines. He has recently acquired his black belt in the Machado family style of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. He trained Shoot wrestling under Yorinaga Nakamura. Currently he is the vice-president of Lameco International, carrying on the Eskrima of the late Filipino martial artist Edgar Sulite.
Inosanto teaches The Art and Philosophy of Jeet Kune Do, Filipino Martial Arts, Shoot wrestling, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Eskrima, Muay Thai, Silat, mixed martial arts and other arts at his Marina del Rey, California school, the Inosanto Academy of Martial Arts.
Dan Inosanto's notable students include
- Bruce Lee
- Diana Lee Inosanto: daughter, actress, stuntwoman, writer and producer
- Brandon Lee: deceased son of the late Bruce Lee
- Ron Balicki: stuntman, actor, producer, and son-in-law of Dan Inosanto
- Chai Sirisute: founder of the Thai Boxing Association of the USA
- Richard Bustillo: martial arts instructor and founder of the IMB Academy in Torrance, CA
- Denzel Washington: Academy Award-winning actor, director, producer
- Edgar Sulite: founder and creator of Lameco Eskrima
- Burton Richardson: One of the Original Dog Brothers and founder of JKD Unlimited
- Jeff Imada: stuntman, actor, fight choreographer (The Crow, Bourne series, Iron Man 2, The Green Hornet, Hanna)
- Forest Whitaker: Academy Award-winning actor, producer, director, writer
- Nathan Jung: actor, stuntman known for his height cast frequently in "heavy" roles
- Erik Paulson: Shooto champion, trainer to UFC fighters and founder of Combat Submission Wrestling (CSW)
- Graciela Casillas-Tortorelli
- Ernest Emerson Martial artist and custom knife manufacturer.
- Ricky Nelson
- Ryan Gruhn: MMA Coach, Dog Brother, BJJ Black Belt.
- Jerry Poteet
- Yorinaga Nakamura: Shoot Wrestler
- Anderson Silva: MMA fighter