The Sensei

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The Sensei
Directed by D. Lee Inosanto
Produced by D. Lee Inosanto
Ron Balicki
Tarik Heitmann
Written by D. Lee Inosanto
Starring Diana Lee Inosanto
Keith David
Louis Mandylor
Sab Shimono
Emily Kuroda
Tzi Ma
Michael O'Laskey II
Mark McGraw
Michael Yama
Tim Lounibos
Michael Hake
Music by Deane Ogden
Cinematography Mark Rutledge
Edited by Reine-Claire
Zen Mountain
Release date
  • 2008 (2008)
Running time
95 minutes
Country United States
Language English

The Sensei is a 2008 independent feature film, written, produced and directed by Diana Lee Inosanto (credited as D. Lee Inosanto).


Set in Colorado, the story takes place in 1985 during the rise of the AIDS panic. McClain Evans is a gay high school student, constantly the target of bullying in his town. Karen O'Neil is a woman haunted by the death of her pro-boxer fiance, Mark Corey. After a five-year absence, she returns to her family, who runs a successful martial arts school. When McClain is attacked by three local teens, his mother, Annie, asks Karen to teach her son martial arts so that he can defend himself. Karen's family is fearful of anti-gay retaliation, so Karen is forced to secretly teach McClain at night. When word of this reaches her family, and the small-town community, violence erupts, and family and friendship are challenged, forcing Karen to reveal her own dark and tragic secret to those she loves most.


  • Diana Lee Inosanto as Karen Nakano O'Neil
  • Michael O'laskey as McClain Evans
  • Brad Thornton as Larry Blackbelt
  • Keith David as the Minister
  • Louis Mandylor as Mark Corey
  • Sab Shimono as Taky Nakano
  • Emily Kuroda as Flora Nakano
  • Michael Yama as Yori Nakano
  • Tim Lounibos as Simon Nakano O'Neil
  • Tzi Ma as the Buddhist Monk
  • Mark McGraw as Rick Beard
  • Jonathan Camp as Craig Beard
  • Gina Scalzi as Annie Evans
  • Bryan Frank as Peter O'Neil
  • Michael Hake as Gary O'Neil
  • Ron Balicki as Samurai #1 / Sparring Partner Vince



External links[edit]