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  • Writer's pictureLouella Esguerra

Dan Inosanto's Seminar

Seems a little late to be writing about this seminar as it was in 2017 and it's now 2022. Though I think it deserves a mention since it's the only Dan Inosanto seminar I've attended and I still remember parts of it today. I wasn't sure what to expect but when I arrived at the Monash university basketball gym (my old workplace) I saw many people there from all walks of life. People had different martial arts backgrounds and I was fairly new to FMA. I only discovered Dan Inosanto through my readings online and when I found out that he was American-Filipino, had knowledge in FMA, and also a teacher to Bruce Lee I jumped at the chance to attend. Luckily I was partnered with a girl who knew the material already. She was an accompanying martial artist from Queensland who was there to support people who were attending. I had no clue what I was doing so I must have looked uncoordinated especially when we were asked to shadow box. Throughout the entire seminar I watched other people with little knowledge in the material struggle to understand what was going on. I think this might be an issue with having such a large class to teach and not enough supporting instructors. We learnt a variety of things that day from multiple martial arts. I believe Inosanto has a background in silat so we covered takedowns and punches from that discipline. Lastly we covered sticks which is what I was there to learn. It was mainly high low high low, high high low low modern arnis material. I think this must have been because not enough people there knew FMA? so we stuck mainly to the basics. It didn't matter in the end as Dan Inosanto had so many stories to share about its origins, his take on history, his own background living in America. I could sit there for hours just listening to him speaking and not even participate in his seminar. He had brought a plastic pocket folder with him that had history findings and notes all over it. He mentioned that his team were working on some historical book or writing of some sort on origins of Kali? What a wealth of knowledge he must possess! I would like to read a biography or something similar just on his life and what he knows. Afterwards I was able to have a quick chat with him and he mentioned that he was born in America. I remember looking at him with a surprised face since he was much older than I was and I migrated to Australia with my parents. I thought we were part of that age group, the boomers, gen x, and gen y, who were part of that diaspora of Filipinos looking for work abroad. How could his parents have been so eager to move to America in their time? Or were his parents part of the Hawaiian group of Filipinos who were succumbed to work on plantations? American-Filipino history is so much older than Australian-Filipino history and I was curious to find out more. He also mentioned that he hadn't been to the Philippines. I wondered why since so many Filipino's abroad seem to want to go visit the Philippines at least once. But I never asked and decided that it was probably something personal I didn't need to pry into.

In the end I was really happy that I was able to be taught by Dan Inosanto. It was special and it meant something to me to be taught a Kali by a Filipino. It's rare for me to find a Filipino who teaches something as culturally significant as FMA. I hope one day there is a bio or a documentary on him. He seems to be a legend in the martial arts world and deserves the recognition.

Dan Inosanto will be in Queensland, Australia in November-December 2022. Seriously considering going up there for it plus maybe spend some time in the sunshine beaches.


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