STOCKTON - Once a year, the world's foremost martial artist comes home. To Stockton.Dan Inosanto, 77 years old and widely recognized as the heir to the legendary Bruce Lee, will appear today, his second straight, at downtown's Podesto Impact Teen Center as part of his annual seminar devoted to the Filipino martial art of escrima."He looks like he's 40. He does everything and goes on for hours," said Stockton resident Tony Somera, his friend and promoter. "His physical ability is phenomenal, but he is a humble man. Dan never takes credit because he wants to give it to the teachers he has learned from. He is very fast and very athletic, a book of living history and knowledge. He is the most sought-after martial artist in the world, busy 48 weekends a year."This weekend is devoted to Stockton.Inosanto, an Edison High School graduate, will teach for 41/2 hours starting at 10 a.m. Devotees from across Northern California and the West are attending.
Dan Inosanto works with Alexandra Tan and other students on the first day of the seminar.
CALIXTRO ROMIAS/The RecordInosanto has been coming home since 1984 - to conduct the local seminar and to reconnect with family members.The Inosantos represent a pioneering Filipino family in Stockton. They were immigrants in the early 1900s. Dan Inosanto, born in 1936, grew up on Sonora Street in the heart of the city's Little Manila neighborhood.His father, Sebastian, was a labor contractor and his mother, Mary, went to college in her 40s and became a school teacher. "They helped a lot of Filipinos who didn't have a home or food," Somera said. "At one time, they had 100 men living in their basement and backyard."Sebastian contracted with them to cut lettuce, asparagus and celery."Dan Inosanto, an undergraduate of Whitworth University in Spokane, Wash., received his master's degree in physical education from University of the Pacific. After serving in the Army's 101st Airborne Division, he connected with Lee, a renowned martial arts expert and movie star, during the mid-1960s.Inosanto is one of three people allowed by Lee, who died in 1973, to teach and spread his martial arts system.He operates the Inosanto Academy of Martial Arts in Marina del Rey and he teaches such disciplines as Jeet Kune Do, Shoot wrestling, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Muay Thai, Silat, mixed martial arts and more.Inosanto also has had minor roles in several movies.Somera said that Stockton, with its large Filipino population, was once a hotbed for escrima, a form of martial arts that emphasizes weapon-based fighting with sticks, knives and other bladed weapons."The Filipino community is still pretty tight," Somera said. "Dan's relatives still live here and he is so busy that he has to have a reason like this (seminar) to come home."Inosanto is considered a martial arts master worldwide, but his annual homecoming seminar lists him simply as "guro," the Filipino word for teacher.
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Some previous entries on Manong Dan Inosanto:
- Filipino Martial Arts: From Kali and Escrima to Boxing (includes a Manong Inosanto demo at the Smithsonian Institute)
- BIRTHDAY: Happy 77th Birthday Guro Dan Inosanto!
- The Balisong Knife in Movies: Sharky's Machine (1981) (animated GIF of Manong Inosanto with Balisong Knife)
- Some animated GIF's of Dan Inosanto's demo at the Smithsonian Institute
- Dan Inosanto - Smithsonian Demo GIFs - Set 2 (disarms)
- Dan Inosanto - Smithsonian Demo GIFs - Set 3 (disarms)
- Dan Inosanto - Training the Martial Arts (Full instructional video)
- Poem by Dan Inosanto