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Dan Inosanto

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Dan Inosanto
Born (1936-07-24) July 24, 1936 (age 87)
Occupation(s)Martial arts instructor, actor
StyleJeet Kune Do, Eskrima, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, American Kenpo, Muay Thai, Pencak Silat, Tai Chi, Shoot Wrestling, Judo
Children3, including Diana Lee Inosanto

Dan Inosanto (born July 24, 1936) is an American martial arts instructor and actor. Inosanto holds Instructor or black belt level ranks in several martial arts. He has studied traditional Okinawan karate, Judo, Jujutsu, Kenpo, Shoot wrestling, Systema, Filipino martial arts, and Jeet Kune Do. He was one of three people who were appointed to teach at one of the three Jun Fan Gung Fu institutes under Bruce Lee, the other two being Taky Kimura and James Yimm Lee. After Bruce Lee's death, Inosanto became the principal spokesperson and historian for Jeet Kune Do.

Inosanto is credited for training martial arts to a number of Hollywood actors including Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris and others. He has had minor roles in a number of films, including Lee's uncompleted last film Game of Death (1972), and Steven Seagal's Out for Justice (1991).

Early life and education[edit]

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.[1] Dan served as a paratrooper with the 101st Airborne Division from 1959 to 1961. He was also a member of the Strategic Army Corps. At Fort Campbell he refined his skills in various martial arts, training under Henry Slomanski.[2]

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.[3] After Bruce Lee's death, Inosanto became the principal spokesperson and historian for Jeet Kune Do.[4] 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. Dan was commissioned in 1977 by the Dallas Cowboys to incorporate martial arts into the team’s training.

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.[5] 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.[citation needed] He has also been promoted to fifth degree black belt in the Machado family style of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.[6] 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 has appeared on YouTube videos talking about training in Systema and appreciation for his teacher, Martin Wheeler.[7]

Notable students[edit]

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 famous students include:


  • Filipino Martial Arts as Taught by Dan Inosanto by Dan Inosanto ISBN 0-938676-01-6
  • Absorb What Is Useful (Jeet Kune Do Guidebook Vol 2) by Dan Inosanto ISBN 0-938676-03-2
  • Jeet kune do by Salem Assli and Dan Inosanto ISBN 2-7027-0693-2
  • Guide to Martial Arts Training With Equipment by Dan Inosanto ISBN 0-938676-02-4
  • Jeet Kune Do: The Art & Philosophy of Bruce Lee by Dan Inosanto ISBN 0-938676-00-8
  • Jeet Kune Do: Conditioning and Grappling Methods Intro by Dan Inosanto ISBN 0-9531766-5-7






  1. ^ Kelly 2000, p. 24.
  2. ^ "Veteran Of The Day: Dan Inosanto". VA News. February 3, 2018.
  3. ^ Kelly 2000, p. 31.
  4. ^ Kelly 2000, pp. 46–50
  5. ^ "Dan Inosanto Profile". Martialinfo.com. Archived from the original on April 1, 2017.
  6. ^ Jones, Phil (August 18, 2023). "Dan Inosanto Promoted To Fifth Degree BJJ Black Belt By Jean Jacques Machado". Jitsmagazine. Retrieved August 18, 2023.
  7. ^ Martin, Wheeler (September 20, 2016). "On Systema by Guro Dan Inosanto". YouTube. Archived from the original on December 12, 2021. Retrieved June 21, 2019.
  8. ^ a b c d Kelly 2000, p. 130
  9. ^ a b Kelly 2000, p. 109
  10. ^ Uyehara, M. Bruce Lee: The Incomparable Fighter. Black Belt Communications. p. 55. It was Inosanto who taught Bruce the use of the nunchaku and the staff in his movies.
  11. ^ "The Book of Eli - Denzel Washington Interview, Comic Con". About.com. Archived from the original on July 7, 2011. Retrieved March 15, 2011.
  12. ^ Kelly 2000, p. 51.
  13. ^ Imada, Jeff (1984). The Balisong Manual. California: Unique Publications. p. 130. ISBN 0-86568-102-3.
  14. ^ Beasley, Jerry (2001). Jeet Kune Do Experience: Understanding Bruce Lee's Ultimate Martial Art. Paladin Press. p. 216. ISBN 1-58160-131-X.
  15. ^ Kelly 2000, p. 131.
  16. ^ Combs, Roger (2004). "Emerson Knives". Knives Illustrated. 18 (2): 36–41, 65–69.
  17. ^ Kelly 2000, p. 145.
  18. ^ Kelly 2000, p. 133
  19. ^ "Professor Salem Assli". The Way Of No Way. April 7, 2016. Retrieved May 30, 2021.


Further reading[edit]

  • Baiss, Bridget (2000). The Crow: The Story Behind The Film. London: Making of The Crow Inc. ISBN 1-870048-54-7.
  • Balicki, Ron; Gold, Steven (2007). Jeet Kune Do: The Principles of a Complete Fighter. HNL Publishing. ISBN 978-0-9531766-3-2.
  • Seaman, Kevin (1999). Jun Fan Gung Fu Seeking The Path Of Jeet Kune Do. Brooklyn, NY: HNL Publishing. ISBN 0-9531766-2-2.

External links[edit]