Dan Inosanto said

Xue Sheng

All weight is underside
Joined
Jan 8, 2006
Messages
30,792
Reaction score
5,017
Location
North American Tectonic Plate
in 1972

A man does not excel because of his style. It's only when a man can go outside the bounds set by his system that he can excel. If a marital artist can practice a style without being bound and limited to his particular school, then and only then can he be liberated to fission with any type of opponent. A great majority of instructors, however, blind their practitioners and brainwash them into believing only thier school of training is best

Dan Inosanto, 1972

thoughts
 

Argus

Black Belt
Joined
Jul 16, 2012
Messages
656
Reaction score
218
Location
In my head!
That makes sense in a some ways. I find that I'm benefiting a lot from training in a diverse array of systems. However, I think Dan's words warrant some caution. I think that in order to "break out of" a system and come away with anything meaningful, one first needs to actually understand that system and make it a part of himself.

Much of the training we do in Martial Arts is abstract. The forms and drills that we practice, which comprise a large percentage of our training, are there to impart general skills and habits which are useful in fighting, rather than providing straight up answers or specific sequences and techniques. They're there, essentially, to develop structures, skills, and attributes that can be applied more generally under a diverse range of circumstances.

I've studied a large number of systems, theories, and languages outside of martial arts. And generally, I think in terms of "adopting" and "adapting." You adopt a system by gaining first a technical knowledge of it, and moving on to understand it in more general terms, whilst ingraining it physically or mentally such that it becomes second nature. Once you've "adopted" it, made it a part of yourself, and understand, then you can adapt it to your needs and your situation. Context is always key, and it must always be considered and adapted to in order to properly apply what you learn -- otherwise, you're actually hindering the proper application of the system itself. Otherwise, it's almost as if you were studying a language, and every time someone used a word or grammar construct that was not in your textbooks, you corrected them and asserted that it isn't proper English/French/German/Japanese! You'd sure have a hard time discussing pretty much anything with that approach, to say nothing of actually learning to speak the language fluently.

So, I actually don't see "going outside of the curriculum" as "going outside of the system." I just see that as actually applying the system.
 
Last edited:

Chris Parker

Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
Feb 18, 2008
Messages
6,142
Reaction score
992
Location
Melbourne, Australia
Thoughts? Sure.

He's wrong.

Honestly, he's simply swapping out one form of dogma for another, and failing to recognise many realities that fall beyond the scope of his view. I get where he's coming from, but… no. He's wrong.
 

Tony Dismukes

MT Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 11, 2005
Messages
5,848
Reaction score
4,392
Location
Lexington, KY
Thoughts? Sure.

He's wrong.

Honestly, he's simply swapping out one form of dogma for another, and failing to recognise many realities that fall beyond the scope of his view. I get where he's coming from, but… no. He's wrong.
In other words, his opinion differs from yours.

This is very much a matter of opinion, not verifiable physical fact. Perhaps if you could nail down a concrete definition of "excel", then you could subject the claim to some sort of empirical test. Otherwise it's just personal viewpoints.

I do wonder whether Guru Dan still holds the same opinion these days. He's done a lot of study in the intervening 43 years since that quote and has doubtless changed his mind about a lot of things.

In my opinion (for whatever that's worth), Dan Inosanto is a national treasure. As a student, teacher, practitioner, and scholar of the martial arts he's accomplished considerably more than anyone that I'm aware of on this forum. That doesn't mean I necessarily agree with everything he says - but I would definitely examine any statement he makes about the martial arts with a healthy degree of respect.
 

crazydiamond

Purple Belt
Joined
Sep 21, 2014
Messages
357
Reaction score
143
Isn't this basically what his teacher Bruce Lee taught ? Jeet Kune Do - a system without a system. Step outside "the classical mess" and find what works best for you from a variety of schools of thought and technique. This is the genesis of mixed martial arts. Study many things, outside of any one school, and absorb what is useful (for you) and disregard the rest?

Dan holds several ranks and belts in different martial arts systems.
 

jezr74

Master of Arts
Supporting Member
Joined
Sep 29, 2010
Messages
1,643
Reaction score
217
Location
Australia
Or is it more about not letting ego and pride restrict your learning?
 

Chris Parker

Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
Feb 18, 2008
Messages
6,142
Reaction score
992
Location
Melbourne, Australia
In other words, his opinion differs from yours.

Hey Tony,

Yeah, I can see how you'd come to that conclusion, but no, I meant quite literally that he was wrong. As in factually incorrect, not as in "in my opinion I favour a different approach".

This is very much a matter of opinion, not verifiable physical fact.

Sure it is. In fact, it's quite easy. Let's look at exactly what Dan's quote says…

Dan Inosanto said:
A man does not excel because of his style.

Look, on the surface of this, I'd agree… just not in the way that Dan means it. I'd say that it's the personal effort, study, dedication, and so on that allows a person to excel… of course, that's not what Dan meant.

Dan Inosanto said:
It's only when a man can go outside the bounds set by his system that he can excel.

Yeah… here's where I disagree. Of course, you suggested that this wasn't verifiable "physical" fact… well, no, it's not a "physical" anything… it's an observable fact, though. All you need to do is to come up with a single example of anyone who has excelled within a single system or methodology… staying "inside the bounds" (something I feel is a gross misunderstanding of the way martial systems work, for the record), and we have our verifiable fact demonstrating Dan being wrong.

So… find me someone who excels at BJJ… name a Gracie, really… or someone who has excelled at Iai… or Judo… or, well, anyone who has excelled in their system. Again, Dan is wrong. Simply wrong.

We'll deal with what "excel" means in a bit, though…

Dan Inosanto said:
If a martial artist can practice a style without being bound and limited to his particular school, then and only then can he be liberated to fission with any type of opponent.

Well, this is simple conjecture on Dan's (Bruce's?) part, honestly… what happens if we get someone who stays "bound and limited" (really, I don't think this showed much grasp of the way martial systems operate) to their particular style, but is able to "fission" with any type of opponent? And how do we know that that hasn't happened many, many, many times over? I mean… so long as we're labelling things "opinion" here…

Dan Inosanto said:
A great majority of instructors, however, blind their practitioners and brainwash them into believing only their school of training is the best.

Yeah… this part, frankly, I find offensive… bluntly, it's on par with comments and posts made by members here showing little to no understanding of what they're attempting to criticise… and using rather inflammatory language in the bargain. I mean… "blind their practitioners"? "Brainwash them"?!? Seriously?

Here's the reality. A single, congruent training methodology, geared towards a coherent context and intended application is always, always, going to be far more successful, higher-return, verifiable, consistent, usable, applicable, and reliable than any cobbled together mess could be. If you want to see some evidence of that, simply look at the development of, well, anything that starts out as being a "best of all, worst of none" approach… such as JKD or MMA. JKD is a training concept for taking disparately sourced methods, and giving them some internal consistency centred around the individual… MMA has become such a standardised methodology that it's now practically it's own distinct system. While the origins were in people who were already schooled in one approach trying to add aspects of other systems, it's developed (naturally, organically, necessarily) to be a single, congruent approach which covers all the ranges and skills required for success in MMA competition.

As I said… My thoughts? Dan was wrong. Simply, flat out incorrect.

Perhaps if you could nail down a concrete definition of "excel", then you could subject the claim to some sort of empirical test. Otherwise it's just personal viewpoints.

Sure. To excel means, simply, to go beyond. And that's the issue… Dan gives no context for what he's saying these people "excel" at. Of course, the immediate response to that is "it's obvious, he means to excel at fighting!"… except we all know that fighting ain't just fighting… there are many different forms, contexts, situations, environments, considerations, and more. So, if that's his meaning, he's missing a lot. But let's be kinder to him… let's take it to "fighting for real, not competition, in some kind of street encounter". Well, you can get people who excel at that without even being "bound" to a system to begin with… so he'd be wrong on that count. Then, you can get people who excel being bound to a single system… so he'd be wrong again. And you can get people who do some of this, some of that, and never excel in anything… which undermines his idea.

But let's give him even more of a benefit here… let's say that he's talking about a fight for real… not a competition… on the street… against someone with a defined style of attack… which might not be covered in hypothetical system that a student was "bound and limited to"… and said student wasn't wanting to simply survive his self defence encounter with this random, skilled, unknown attacker… but wanted to excel in the way he dealt with him. That still doesn't necessarily require anything like going "outside of the bounds" of a system… as the system is simply not the techniques… it's the tactical approaches and strategic concepts… which is why I say that Dan's comments show a lack of understanding of a single system in the first place.

One more possible interpretation? Sure.

Let's go the martial artist route… is it possible that Dan's actually talking about excelling as a martial artist, which he's defining as someone who doesn't actually focus on personal development within a system, but instead, one who ignores the intrinsic coherency of a single, defined strategic and tactical approach to combat in favour of adapting and importing less-understood interpretations and iterations of multiple forms? Yeah… I'm not going to call that "excelling" at all…

Frankly, if you want to get good at something (to excel, one might say), do that one thing. You don't get good at speaking French by leaning individual words from 20 languages.

I do wonder whether Guru Dan still holds the same opinion these days. He's done a lot of study in the intervening 43 years since that quote and has doubtless changed his mind about a lot of things.

Honestly, I'd hope so.

In my opinion (for whatever that's worth), Dan Inosanto is a national treasure. As a student, teacher, practitioner, and scholar of the martial arts he's accomplished considerably more than anyone that I'm aware of on this forum. That doesn't mean I necessarily agree with everything he says - but I would definitely examine any statement he makes about the martial arts with a healthy degree of respect.

I agree. I have nothing but respect for Dan Inosanto, and the place he holds in the martial arts world and community. That, however, does not exempt him from being incorrect, now or in the past.

That said, I'm going to highlight again that I wasn't really intending to proffer an opinion… I really was dealing in the realm of facts. If I'd meant to imply an opinion, I would have said that "I personally disagree with Dan's take on things"… I didn't. I said he was wrong. And, I stand by that, as detailed here.

Isn't this basically what his teacher Bruce Lee taught ?

In a real way, yeah. Which is what I was talking about when I said that Dan had swapped out one form of dogma for another… one which might seem like it makes sense logically, but fails when looked at critically.

The other thing to remember is that this quote from Dan was from 1972… he'd only met Bruce for the first time in 1964… so this is based on, at best, 8 years of training with Bruce… part of which was Dan teaching, rather than Bruce teaching, for the record… but the point is Dan was with Bruce as he was developing such ideas… which means that these ideas were, at this point, still fairly new to both Dan and Bruce… and, to that end, rather untested outside of Bruce's personal physical (training) and thought experiments. As I said… swapping out one form of dogma (the odd idea that a system, teaching it's approach, is "brainwashing it's practitioners") for another (you have to do many different things to really excel at martial arts). Neither are correct.

Jeet Kune Do - a system without a system.

That's part of the idea, yeah… of course, Bruce was hardly the first to come up with such an idea… but, historically, it never works out that way… not long term, anyway.

Step outside "the classical mess" and find what works best for you from a variety of schools of thought and technique.

Yeah… look, to be completely frank here, if Bruce was around today, espousing the same things on a forum such as this, I'd be spending much of my time arguing with him and telling him he wasn't educated enough to really know what he's talking about with regards to what he classed as "the classical mess"… the man was very talented, highly charismatic, exceptionally physically gifted… but rather lacking in his actual education in martial arts. I genuinely feel that if he'd gotten a deeper, and longer education, his opinions would have been quite different.

This is the genesis of mixed martial arts.

This gets said a lot, and bluntly, no, it's not true. If we're going to class the idea of a martial artist taking a bunch of different ideas and approaches, and putting them together in a way that worked for them as the genesis of mixed martial arts, you're going to have to go back quite a number of centuries before Bruce at the very least. If we're meaning what is known as MMA today, then no, that's almost antithetical to what Bruce's context was all about… so no, it's almost the opposite. The similarities are largely superficial, bluntly.

Study many things, outside of any one school, and absorb what is useful (for you) and disregard the rest?

Which doesn't work without a thorough grounding in the first place… after all, how do you know what to disregard? Maybe you're simply trying to apply something in the wrong context, and it'd be quite useful (for you)… maybe you simply don't have the skill yet… and you disregard something viable due to your own lack, rather than the methods…

Look, I train many, many things. And the simple fact is that the way they work best is to keep them separate.

Dan holds several ranks and belts in different martial arts systems.

Yes, he does. For example, he held a Shodan in Ed Parker's American Kempo, and was part of Ed's demo team at the 1964 demo that Bruce Lee was "discovered" at… which is where and how he met Bruce in the first place… and where his nunchaku training (that he taught Bruce) came from.

Or is it more about not letting ego and pride restrict your learning?

Honestly, I see it pretty much the opposite. To me, thinking you know better than the system you're studying, you know better than your seniors there, you know better than the instructors, you can find the answers that they obviously don't have outside the system itself… that is ego and pride at work. And it's certainly going to restrict your learning of that system if you're not allowing yourself to be guided by those who have more experience and understanding of it than you do.
 

Tony Dismukes

MT Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 11, 2005
Messages
5,848
Reaction score
4,392
Location
Lexington, KY
it's an observable fact, though. All you need to do is to come up with a single example of anyone who has excelled within a single system or methodology… staying "inside the bounds" (something I feel is a gross misunderstanding of the way martial systems work, for the record), and we have our verifiable fact demonstrating Dan being wrong.

So… find me someone who excels at BJJ… name a Gracie, really… or someone who has excelled at Iai… or Judo… or, well, anyone who has excelled in their system. Again, Dan is wrong. Simply wrong.

We'll deal with what "excel" means in a bit, though…

Well, I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that even in 1972 Dan was personally acquainted with multiple people who excelled within the context of whatever martial art they happened to train in and was knowledgeable enough to recognize their ability. That leads me to think that when he used "excel" in that sentence he meant something other than "being exceptionally skilled in a given system" or "being exceptionally good at fighting using that system."

Sure. To excel means, simply, to go beyond. And that's the issue… Dan gives no context for what he's saying these people "excel" at.

He doesn't give context for excelling, he doesn't give degree of excelling, he doesn't specify the manner of excelling. That's what makes it difficult to argue against as a matter of fact - if we don't understand exactly his meaning then it's hard to say that he's factually right or wrong.

I suspect that even if he still holds to the whatever opinion he did back then, he could explain it today with much more precision and empirical support. Back in 1972 he was still a student of Bruce Lee and was still expressing himself using Lee's language. At this point in his life he has gone far, far beyond Bruce Lee in his knowledge, experience, and understanding of the martial arts.
 
OP
Xue Sheng

Xue Sheng

All weight is underside
Joined
Jan 8, 2006
Messages
30,792
Reaction score
5,017
Location
North American Tectonic Plate
Honestly, I see it pretty much the opposite. To me, thinking you know better than the system you're studying, you know better than your seniors there, you know better than the instructors, you can find the answers that they obviously don't have outside the system itself… that is ego and pride at work. And it's certainly going to restrict your learning of that system if you're not allowing yourself to be guided by those who have more experience and understanding of it than you do.

I interpreted this completely differently than you did as it applies to what Dan Inosanto said, and I still do.

Or is it more about not letting ego and pride restrict your learning?

I don't think any of it is implying that anyone knows "better than your seniors there, you know better than the instructors" I think it is more personal and not allowing the ego of the individual practitioner to do exactly what you are saying. Go with an open mind but do not take anything for granted just because a teacher or a person there told you it is that way. And on the flip side of that, be open to listening to what they have to say and think about it, do not let your ego, or their ego, get in the way and cloud your thinking

I also do not find this offensive

A great majority of instructors, however, blind their practitioners and brainwash them into believing only their school of training is the best.

I do find it to be an exaggeration, but not offensive because it does happen, but I would not say the majority
 

jezr74

Master of Arts
Supporting Member
Joined
Sep 29, 2010
Messages
1,643
Reaction score
217
Location
Australia
It's an opinion, I don't see anything factual in it, but a reflection of his own learning. We can all decide take it or leave it, and how we see it will be a reflection of ourselves and how we were taught. Some conservative, others progressive.

In someway I see it as his way of pointing out that innovation is ok, if you out grow something, you should be able to move on, the same way we have the choice to do with everything else in life, career, learning and teaching. Is nothing wrong with it, not everyone is the same.
 

geezer

Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
Oct 20, 2007
Messages
6,621
Reaction score
2,574
Location
Phoenix, AZ
Chris brings up some excellent points, such as:
Frankly, if you want to get good at something (to excel, one might say), do that one thing. You don't get good at speaking French by leaning individual words from 20 languages.

Personally there is a tendency towards this sort of "more is better" thinking in some JKD schools, and especially in some Kenpo schools ....which is not at all surprising considering their eclectic roots. And, as Chis pointed out, Guro Dan got his first black belt in Ed Parker's Kenpo. The obvious argument in favor of this eclectic, multi-system approach is that you have more "tools in your toolbox". What people forget is that more isn't always better. Often simply being better is actually better.

A great example of this is the following video by a guy who learned to ride a "backwards bike" ....a bike that is made with handlebars geared to work opposite the usual direction. He spent an inordinate amount of time and effort learning to master this reversed steering only to discover that in the course of his training he lost the ability to ride a regular bike!


A martial artist who combines systems built on different, even contradictory methods and principles runs the same risk. Instead of being a master of multiple methods, he may become less effective at applying any single method. I've seen this in the systems I train, especially Ving Tsun. We focus on particular ways of doing things that are tightly integrated into a functional system. People who try to integrate certain other methods often end up destroying the integrity and efficacy of their VT/WC/WT. Youtube is replete with buff and bold "innovators" who have done exactly that.

Now, in the nature of full disclosure, I should state that I do also train Escrima, and have some experience in grappling. But I don't mix these arts willy nilly. Neither am I totally adverse to students cross-training, if they so choose. Unlike Chris, I am not a student of the traditional Japanese Koryu, and I do see some place, even the necessity for innovation and evolution in Martial Arts. This is my opinion, if you will. Perhaps I'm more like Tony in this regard? And I must admit, Guro Dan was one of my early inspirations leading me to take up Escrima in the early 80s.

 

Chris Parker

Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
Feb 18, 2008
Messages
6,142
Reaction score
992
Location
Melbourne, Australia
Hey Tony,

Well, I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that even in 1972 Dan was personally acquainted with multiple people who excelled within the context of whatever martial art they happened to train in and was knowledgeable enough to recognize their ability. That leads me to think that when he used "excel" in that sentence he meant something other than "being exceptionally skilled in a given system" or "being exceptionally good at fighting using that system."

Ha, you know, I'd go out on a far smaller limb and say that, odds are, no, he wouldn't necessarily have been able to recognise such things… I mean, let's look at it. Dan, at the time, had basically trained for a while under Ed Parker, then moved on to train under/with Bruce… both exceptional practitioners and teachers, sure, but in a very cold, harsh light of day, with all the benefits of some 5 decades having passed, and the understandings that have come with them, I don't know that either would be afforded the "revolutionary" status that they enjoy were they to state the same ideas today.

That said, they're not the focus… Dan is. And, as said, at that time, Dan had been training under Ed for about half a decade, then Bruce for (at most) 8 years…. it's a reasonable, time, and there's no doubting Dan's personal, natural talent… but it's still not a lot of exposure (in the broader sense). Realistically, it's far more feasible that Dan had his initial understanding of martial arts from his training with Ed… who, frankly, had some basic skills, and great marketing abilities (particularly at that point in time)… but a fairly simple, blunt-object grasp of martial arts. That was then challenged by Bruce, who was far more finesse oriented and, due to his interest in and study of philosophy, spoke to a more complex understanding of martial arts… however, was also young, and relatively uneducated (in terms of formal exposure)… taking a individualistic approach to the arts, rather than looking at them from a longer and wider perspective (as educational structures beyond and separate from individual traits and skills). Simply put, Bruce's approach was mostly influenced by his own natural talent, rather than education or understanding… so his ideals and concepts reflect that.

This is the situation Dan was in… he'd had his initial perspective of martial arts (from Ed Parker) successfully challenged by his new teacher (Bruce Lee)… and, as the old saying goes, there is no zealot like a convert. Dan, at that time, had been converted to Bruce's take on things… which is reflected in the quote, but doesn't indicate any personal critical assessment on Dan's part.

In other words, Dan was still relatively inexperienced with no indication that he would have as much ability to assess as you suggest.

He doesn't give context for excelling, he doesn't give degree of excelling, he doesn't specify the manner of excelling. That's what makes it difficult to argue against as a matter of fact - if we don't understand exactly his meaning then it's hard to say that he's factually right or wrong.

Within some areas of learning, there is the concept of sub-communication, or sub-com. This is what is said below, or behind, the actual words. Sometimes it's simply implied, sometimes it's the unsaid driving force motivating behaviours and actions… which can be a good way to check for congruence (integrity/honesty), among other things. When it comes to Dan's comments, no, he doesn't give context, degrees, or manners of excelling… overtly. However, he does give a fair few clues…

"A man does not excel because of his style. It is only when a man can go outside of the bounds of his set by his system that he can excel".

So, what's the sub-com here? Pretty simply, it's a comment based on the assessment of an individual's skills/ability within the (broad) context of martial arts, separate from the context of the system(s) studied themselves. So there's our context. As far as "degree", that's frankly irrelevant… I didn't bring up "degrees" of excelling either… to excel is to go beyond. The question might be "beyond what?", but that's all.

"If a martial artist can practice a style without being bound and limited to his particular style, then and only then can he be liberated…"

This is where Dan really gets things completely wrong, really… firstly by misunderstanding what training in a particular martial methodology is, and secondly by attributing his single value to the benefits and aims of such training. Of course, to take it back to your comments (and sub-communication), this gives us the "manner" of excelling. In Dan's comments, unless you can "fission with any type of opponent", you haven't excelled. So he's looking purely at combative application in a broad, hypothetical, and unrealistic manner.

I mean… it's all there. And it's all quite easy to say whether it's factually correct or not. You just have to know how to read it…

I suspect that even if he still holds to the whatever opinion he did back then, he could explain it today with much more precision and empirical support. Back in 1972 he was still a student of Bruce Lee and was still expressing himself using Lee's language. At this point in his life he has gone far, far beyond Bruce Lee in his knowledge, experience, and understanding of the martial arts.

Sure, agreed. None of that changes the limited understanding shown in the original quote from 1972, of course… and, provided we're simply discussing the merits and applicability of that quote (rather than any potential leaps of insight and experience), then it's rather irrelevant to the points I'm making here.

I interpreted this completely differently than you did as it applies to what Dan Inosanto said, and I still do.

Fair enough. Personally, I don't see anything to do with pride or ego in what Dan said… and was responding to Jezr's comments, rather than Dan's.

I don't think any of it is implying that anyone knows "better than your seniors there, you know better than the instructors" I think it is more personal and not allowing the ego of the individual practitioner to do exactly what you are saying. Go with an open mind but do not take anything for granted just because a teacher or a person there told you it is that way. And on the flip side of that, be open to listening to what they have to say and think about it, do not let your ego, or their ego, get in the way and cloud your thinking

Yeah… I get that idea… but I don't think there's anything in what Dan said that even relates too strongly to that. He's talking about the idea of no one system/style having all the answers to all possible situations… which is true to a degree… but again denies the reality of the way systems are set up… the way they are always geared towards a particular context… even what Bruce did.

I also do not find this offensive

That's fine.. I do. But that's an issue I'd have with Dan, of course.

I do find it to be an exaggeration, but not offensive because it does happen, but I would not say the majority

Sure, it can happen… and does in some form… but the negative bias shown, combined with the lack of any real insight into particular systems methodology in the quote, as well as with the way Dan is basically parroting (in a blind, brainwashed manner, by his descriptions…) the way Bruce approached things, then yeah, I'd find being tarred with such a hypocritical brush offensive. But, as I said, that's something I'd need to take up with him.

It's an opinion, I don't see anything factual in it, but a reflection of his own learning. We can all decide take it or leave it, and how we see it will be a reflection of ourselves and how we were taught. Some conservative, others progressive.

In someway I see it as his way of pointing out that innovation is ok, if you out grow something, you should be able to move on, the same way we have the choice to do with everything else in life, career, learning and teaching. Is nothing wrong with it, not everyone is the same.

Hmm… thing is, there's nothing about innovation in Dan's comment at all… nor is there anything about "outgrowing" anything at all. He also states a number of things as "factual" (such as the definitive language that "the only way you can excel is…", "(many) instructors… brainwash their students…" and so on).

Now, in the nature of full disclosure, I should state that I do also train Escrima, and have some experience in grappling. But I don't mix these arts willy nilly. Neither am I totally adverse to students cross-training, if they so choose. Unlike Chris, I am not a student of the traditional Japanese Koryu, and I do see some place, even the necessity for innovation and evolution in Martial Arts. This is my opinion, if you will. Perhaps I'm more like Tony in this regard? And I must admit, Guro Dan was one of my early inspirations leading me to take up Escrima in the early 80s.

Ha, you might be surprised at the level of innovation and evolution within koryu, my friend…
 

Tony Dismukes

MT Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 11, 2005
Messages
5,848
Reaction score
4,392
Location
Lexington, KY
Ha, you know, I'd go out on a far smaller limb and say that, odds are, no, he wouldn't necessarily have been able to recognise such things… I mean, let's look at it. Dan, at the time, had basically trained for a while under Ed Parker, then moved on to train under/with Bruce… both exceptional practitioners and teachers, sure, but in a very cold, harsh light of day, with all the benefits of some 5 decades having passed, and the understandings that have come with them, I don't know that either would be afforded the "revolutionary" status that they enjoy were they to state the same ideas today.
Well, in addition to Parker and Lee, by 1972 Dan had been training with Leo Giron for a couple of years. I was assuming he had also met Gene Lebell and Wally Jay by that point, but I can't find confirmation one way or another on this.
 

Chris Parker

Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
Feb 18, 2008
Messages
6,142
Reaction score
992
Location
Melbourne, Australia
Well, he first started with Leo Giron in 1970… so, depending on when the quote was from, it's really only one or two years there… but the point remains that there is no support for the idea that, at that stage, Dan was knowledgable enough to make completely independent assessments of the level you're suggesting… or that that has any real impact on the quote.
 

Tgace

Grandmaster
Joined
Jul 31, 2003
Messages
7,766
Reaction score
408
in 1972



thoughts

I believe he's right. If whats being taught is founded in techniques/tactics that are combat effective then any of those arts "will do". The real factor is the practitioner and his/her dedication to training. Realistic practice coupled with an instructor who knows how to train people will be far more important than any particular "art" in question. Anyone who really believes that it's their "art" that's the deciding factor in a fight has drunk the kool-aid

Who cares about Inosanto and his training history? The idea of analyzing quotes is to encapsulate/discuss a concept/idea and I believe the idea presented in this quote has merit.

Of course Inosanto's frame of reference here is probably the "superiority" of JKD and it's philosophy, so there's probably some contradiction there. But much depends on what your agenda is as you enter the discussion.
 
Last edited:
OP
Xue Sheng

Xue Sheng

All weight is underside
Joined
Jan 8, 2006
Messages
30,792
Reaction score
5,017
Location
North American Tectonic Plate
Well, in addition to Parker and Lee, by 1972 Dan had been training with Leo Giron for a couple of years. I was assuming he had also met Gene Lebell and Wally Jay by that point, but I can't find confirmation one way or another on this.

There is an entire article attached to the quote I posted that talks about Dan Inosanto training with many others and always going it as a beginner and not going in on his reputation or background training.

I did not post it because I did not want to type out the whole darn thing. Let me see what I can do
 

jezr74

Master of Arts
Supporting Member
Joined
Sep 29, 2010
Messages
1,643
Reaction score
217
Location
Australia
Looks more to be philosophical in my opinion, which leaves it open to interpretation.
 

Chris Parker

Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
Feb 18, 2008
Messages
6,142
Reaction score
992
Location
Melbourne, Australia
I believe he's right. If whats being taught is founded in techniques/tactics that are combat effective then any of those arts "will do". The real factor is the practitioner and his/her dedication to training. Realistic practice coupled with an instructor who knows how to train people will be far more important than any particular "art" in question. Anyone who really believes that it's their "art" that's the deciding factor in a fight has drunk the kool-aid

Sure… except that's not what the quote says. In fact, it's fairly explicitly the opposite… Dan's not saying that you need a good instructor, or that your art needs to be "founded in techniques/tactics that are combat effective", he's saying that you can't stick with only one system… you have to go outside of and beyond it if you're going to "excel". I agree that the person is more of a factor than the art, and if that was what Dan meant in the first sentence, I'd agree on that level… but that's not how he meant it.

Who cares about Inosanto and his training history? The idea of analyzing quotes is to encapsulate/discuss a concept/idea

Agreed.

and I believe the idea presented in this quote has merit.

Less agreed… ha!

Of course Inosanto's frame of reference here is probably the "superiority" of JKD and it's philosophy, so there's probably some contradiction there.

Agreed again.

But much depends on what your agenda is as you enter the discussion.

Sure.

Looks more to be philosophical in my opinion, which leaves it open to interpretation.

What do you mean by "philosophical"? I see it as an expression of a philosophical ideal, but the expression here isn't something I'd classify as a philosophical statement… rather an expression of what is felt to be a pragmatic one.
 
Top