A Thank You Note To Guro Inosanto

by Don Garon

Dear Guro,

I have been thinking a lot about you lately and decided to write you a thank you note.

2013 is a special year for me in two big ways. First, I will turn 60 this year. Second, and much more important, is that this year marks my 30th year of training with you.

I want you to know that for 30 years you have been a constant source of inspiration for me.

You inspire me to be a better teacher because I have never met a teacher that can engage a group better than you. Every time I take a class from you, I look for those little things you do to get the class to ‘buy in’ to what you are saying. Whenever one of my guys comes up and says thanks to me for a ‘good class’, they are thanking you too.

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Happy Birthday Guro Inosanto!

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.

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Thank You To Guro Inosanto

by Rick Faye

Guro/Sifu Dan Inosanto,

In the many years I have been associated with you I have been constantly thankful for your influence, inspiration, knowledge and example. Being your student has been nothing short of life changing.

Through your teaching I have learned the martial art methods of many different cultures. I have seen some of the depth of your research and I am amazed at your intellect and dedication to this day. You have taught me to see the positive in each art. Each element that you have brought out has been shown with respect for the people who developed it and shared it with you. Over the years I have been privileged to learn the good parts of so many cultures and to truly see that they each has something good to offer.

As you have shown these arts and methods you have truly used the principles of Jeet Kune Do in blending the methods. I know you have been criticized for some of your research. I also know that some of it hurt you personally. Please rest assured that I am one of many who understand and appreciate you and the way you have brought this art forward. With constant improvement and innovation you have made this an ongoing process that is truly fascinating. Not all the things you have taught are doable by me but I have enjoyed seeing them and being exposed to them.

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At 50 you’ll be a beginner

by Diana Rathborne

When Simo Paula asked me to contribute an article for Guro’s upcoming birthday, I thought of the many varied gifts I have received from learning and training with Guro Inosanto these last 20+ years. As Guro’s birthday is the catalyst for this article, it seems fitting to touch on maturing in the martial arts.

During a seminar weekend at the Mn Kali Group at least 15 years ago, I heard Guro Dan say “At 50 you’ll be a beginner” to my instructor Rick Faye. I was in my 30s, Rick was in his 40s and Guro was, well, Guro, and, as always, remarkable at every age. At the time I remember thinking “Huh. He said it so it must be true, but I’ve been training at least 10 years now, Rick as been training 20 or more. I don’t think I’m a beginner, and Rick’s definitely not a beginner.”

As this is the year I turn 50, I have to say that I am grateful that I get to focus on becoming a beginner martial artist instead of (or in addition to) bifocals, gray hair (locating and removing), the temptations of Botox, that stretching is no longer optional and increased absent-mindedness.

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What Training with Guro Dan Means to Me

by Terry Barnett

I first met Guro Dan in 1978 and for almost 35 years he has been my guiding light. Like many people I marvel at Guro’s encyclopedic knowledge of the martial arts and the way he continues to strive to improve and broaden his knowledge. However, for me the greatest gift he bestows upon those of us lucky enough to be around him is how he heightens our awareness of one thing…love. Without ever preaching, without ever insisting that we follow a particular ‘way’ of life; without ever placing any particular responsibility on us he presents us with the greatest template for compassion and honesty that one could hope for. In Guro’s position it’s near impossible to avoid some negative reaction along the way but when it comes he simply moves through it like light cutting through dark…when you bear witness to this you cannot help but want to up your game emotionally. As a man who could choose to spend his time exclusively with the greatest martial artists on the planet, to see him giving the same level of attention and respect to a beginning student or seminar attendee acts as a reminder to all of us that we need to work on our egos. More than all of this through is his total disdain for anything that would seem to unfairly favor one person over another…he is the ultimate in fair play…simply the best there is.

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