Seminar Journals: Time with Guro Dan Inosanto

 

There was something very special about this time at my instructor Dan Inosanto’s seminar in Montreal. I imagine that some of the reasons had to do with the fact that we had a great showing from our own school…with seven of our people out , most of them senior students, and also some of our most committed intermediate students. I’m very proud of the energy and joy these guys’ brought with them and have added some of their own words about this unique experience to this post.

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Our trip to Montreal to see Guro Dan Inosanto, began as a misadventure.  What should have been a 6 hour journey turned into a ten-hour escapade involving traffic (bad), specialty Quebec beer at Beer Paradise (good) and an epic AirBnB mix-up.  Those who follow us on Facebook know we’ve had a run of bad luck when it comes to accommodations at seminars but fortunately this one ended well with our crew booked in a swanky hotel two blocks from the seminar all paid for by AirBnB.

The next morning we met with our Host, Philip Gelinas at GAMMA (Gelinas Academy of Mixed Martial Arts) and spent a little time getting reacquainted before getting ready for the day of training. For the seniors, this was not their first visit with Guro Dan…and for the others it was. I remember Kalle, one of the intermediate students, mentioning to me that Guro Dan was much more lovable than he imagined, and I smiled because I remembered feeling that way myself when I first met him, and every time I am in his presence.

[stextbox id=”info” caption=”Kalle E.”]The Inosanto seminar was very insightful, informative and inspiring! It was an excellent opportunity to gain new perspectives and participate in a gathering of like-minds. Having studied much of the content at Zirger Academy, myself and fellow students felt comfortable absorbing the plethora of information delivered by Guro Dan. It’s amazing how connections are made between the various arts and how you can utilize toolsets according to the situation and environment. Guro Dan’s stories and bits of wisdom are gifts which he emits with a truly positive and aspirational aura. I feel honoured to be part of our family of arts and I’m totally energized by the experience!
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The first day was dedicated to JFJKD and JKD Concepts which I feel is a must for anyone studying JKD. It is very important to hear the distinctions between the curriculum of JKD circa 1973 vs the Philosophy of the System that continues to grow and evolve since that time. It’s a bit like meeting your grandfather and hearing the oral history of your own family going back several generations and linking it to what you know today. If you have not had the opportunity to get to one of these seminars I strongly suggest you listen to the Tuhon and Son interview with Guro Inosanto, it will give you a similar experience.

 

[stextbox id=”info” caption=”Justin P.”]Guro Dan Inosanto is warm and humble. Few teachers at his level acknowledge their own teachers, but Guro Dan explains where he learned every piece of knowledge he has, which makes it much easier for students to follow up and learn more. Indeed, few teachers at his level are as committed to continuing to learn, but Guro Dan’s seminars are full of material that he has learned, adapted, and made his own – and he challenges students to do the same. His approach to martial arts is that challenge: to never stop learning, to never stop researching, and to adapt your learning to your own attributes and situation. I am proud to have been at the seminar, and will study with him as often as I can.[/stextbox]

 

On the Saturday evening Mark Beaumont, hosted a Jeet Kune Beer night at a local micro-brewery, he is a very social guy, does all the introductions and such…embarrassed the hell outta me as I’m kinda shy before the first pint. After that tho’ it was a great social and we got to hang out with old friends and make some new ones. The service was great and the spirit in the room couldn’t have been better.

The second day focused on Maphilindo Silat and Filipino Martial Arts. I was very proud of my guys, I think it is part of the reason the weekend was so motivating for all of us…we kept up! That is no simple feat at an Inosanto Seminar, things move fast and if you are not familiar with the content, you feel it. There was some stuff at the end that we struggled with, but we like that because it gives us more to work on. I was able to get 29 pages of notes from the seminar and I doubt I missed more than 10 % of the content. For the guys, they got to see our progress.  The juniors got to see themselves keeping up in a crowd of folks who have also been following this very dense subject matter…it’s a good barometer of one’s development. My seniors got to see how much they had improved since the following year, and they were very happy about it. The fact is they did very, very well, and spread out to work with some of the other instructor level folks in the room. I heard Guro complement each of them at some time through the seminar, which is something that gives me a smile that just won’t fade.

 

[stextbox id=”info” caption=”Jason F.”]It was a phenomenal experience to meet Guro Dan and to also see him live in action. Aside from the physical aspect behind the arts, I was captivated by his understanding of the history and philosophy. It was humbling to hear him say that martial arts is mostly learning and self discovery. Overall, it was fun to be there with everybody. Much respect to an amazing artist.[/stextbox]

 

The ride home that night had the electricity of celebration. I don’t think I have seen Colin and Simon so excited about their training or their future in martial arts. All in all, the experience has left me more confident and motivated about the Academy and its future. It is a great time to train together and I think that everyone that made it to class this week could feel that same thread of excitement and momentum. If you’ve ever thought that you wanted to learn JKD Concepts, Silat or Philipino Martial Arts you should pay a us a visit …there are three generations of students and instructors here who would be excited to share their love of the art and the training with you.

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This is my fourth year heading out to train with Guro Dan, and my second time out at Gamma. The seminar was an awesome experience. Every year you see things that you’ve seen before, but there is also a nice chunk of the material that is new or at least approached in a way that you haven’t seen before. Guro has so much knowledge of a variety of cultures and martial arts its really a solid experience to be able to listen to him describe how these arts have changed and grown over the years. I wouldn’t miss this seminar for almost anything, and I’m already dying for the opportunity to head back out there again.

It’s always a good time heading out on a road trip with friends, and its no different to do so with your classmates. We spend a nice chunk of every week chasing each other around the mats with fists, sticks, knives, etc. It was nice to just hang out in Montreal have some drinks and shoot the shit. When you travel with people in the Martial Arts community its so interesting to see how other gyms accept and interact with you. We’ve made a lot of good friends out at Gamma, and in other martial arts organizations around the world. You really have to get out and experience it to understand how welcoming people are that do something as obscure as martial arts… even though it’s becoming less and less obscure as time goes on. It really says a lot about Martial Culture to experience the sharing of ideas in this way.

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