The greatest influence on your martial arts are your primary instructors: not Bruce Lee nor Dan Inosanto, no matter how much you want them to be.
Most martial artists of my generation didn’t have to learn the hard way: making pilgrimages to The Academy, other masters, and seminars. We had someone at least semi-local who just gave us most of the material. Travel was enrichment, relationship building, and fun. So it kind of bothers me when such people in their public persona cite Guro Dan as the greatest influence on their lives, because they are the most ungrateful piece of shit ever. EVER, to not recognize those who held their hand, granted access, and who they may even move like.
This article is not about you (I blocked the total bullshit comments that got me to writing this). But if you think it’s about you, the problem’s in the mirror.
Was Guro Dan correcting your hand placement, footwork, sparring? If so, by all means, you’re lucky and probably recognize that. Were you primarily a distance/seminar learner? Again I applaud your dedication. If not, and you had a ‘real’ teacher but spout respect only for the famous, YOU are why it’s harder to get a photo alone with Guro Dan than it is with the President of the United States. (Not that I care about the photo; it’s just weird that for someone so open protocol should be more byzantine than silat)
I get the marketing angle: of course you’ll manage SEO for JKD/Inosanto/Bruce Lee, and if your true lineage is not supported by a robust marketing platform, maybe even only mention it once in passing. It’s not useful information to most people (maybe a post on that later) so I get not putting it front and center, but that’s not quite the same thing as trying to be somebody else.
I get the hero worship: wanting a closer connection to someone you truly admire.
I do not get the complete lack of self awareness that is the core of JKD. The part that understands how you learn and then manifest knowledge.
I do not get missing the core lesson of respect when that’s what you claim you are doing. At the seminar this past weekend, Guro Dan mentioned, as usual, several of his teachers, from names I have a hard time remembering to Bruce to his father. He spent maybe 15-20% of the seminar talking about history and learning: that’s way more than he spends on any actual technique. What’s the real lesson here?