by Rick Young
Happy 77th birthday Guro Inosanto from myself and your students from all over the world. I know at this time you will be receiving many birthday wishes from those who care for you and love you both within the US and in other continents and countries. The wide spectrum and depth of these well wishes and the love shown in them is a huge acknowledgment, thank you, and testament to, how much you have lead, motivated, inspired and taught generation upon generation with a humility and generosity matched only by an incredible devotion to the arts and love of life. You are admired and loved across the globe for who you are and your wonderful sense of humanity both within the martial arts field and outside of it.
As one of your students for over thirty years I can honestly say it has been one of my greatest privileges to have had you in my life from a very early age. Your influence both within and outside of martial arts instruction has been a huge factor in how I have lived my life. I know this can be said by a huge amount of people who have also come in to contact with you either in seminars or through training with you in your own academy.
Your martial arts teaching is of course second to none and after being your student for many years I can honestly say I still feel like a beginner when I am attending a seminar or taking a class that you are teaching. Someone once said “There are a lot of great martial arts teachers but there is only one Dan Inosanto” I think this holds true now more than ever.
Even though you are primarily a martial arts instructor to your students it is also what you teach outside of the martial art curriculum which makes many of us stay with you and wish to study under you as long as you will have us as your students. Over and above your incredible martial art knowledge is your genuine quest to be a better human being and to improve yourself on a daily basis. Your incredible work ethic, humility, open mindedness and honesty while doing this serves as an inspiration for all of your students and those who know of your work to improve themselves both within the martial art framework and probably more importantly to make themselves better people trying to live positive and healthy lives outside of their respective training environments.
In your lifetime you have brought men and women together from different countries, cultures, religions and races in a way that shows us, your students, that we too can transcend any preconceived boundaries and use martial arts as a vehicle for bridging gaps and opening up pathways between people with different views and ideologies, hopefully in the end bringing a more beneficial presence to the world we live in. Your positive influence in so many people’s life’s has been and continues to be enormous.
So, Guro Inosanto, HAPPY BIRTHDAY! I hope you have a fantastic day and of course many, many fantastic years of living, teaching, and guiding all of those who treasure your presence in this world. And thank you so much from myself and anyone who loves and admires you for all you have given to so many people during your life’s work of spreading the martial arts and using them ultimately as a tool for peace, love and unification between all people.
With love and respect,
Rick Young’s Black Belt Academy