Bud Thompson's Autobiography:
Sifu/Guro Bud Thompson, senior instructor, oldest student and long time friend of Sifu/Guro Dan Inosanto.
My passion for body building and nutrition traces back to my early years especially after my discharge from the U.S. Army in 1950. I was introduced to martial arts at that time to a system that was a form of Japanese Karate by one of my training partners at a local body building gym in East Los Angeles, California, but this system did not appeal to me due to its lack of fluid movement. I continued my interest in sparring and training along side my body building and focus on nutrition. I believe my passion for these arts has its beginnings with my living in East Los Angeles in a highly populated Mexican community and being non-Mexican with blonde hair and blue eyes I was even known as Weto, especially amongst the Mexican Gangs. I had first come in contact with these gangs in 1941. I left East Los Angeles in 1946 and moved to Montebello, California where I finished high school.
Soon after high school, I enlisted in the U.S. Army for the years of 1948, 1949 and 1950. After my discharge I continued my body building career which I had started in 1946. I drove heavy duty diesel trucks in Southern California for the next twelve years while studying nutrition and working out. In November 1962 I purchased Hollywood Natural Foods, a nutritional store founded in 1928.
The year was early 1965 when I met two of the most influential people in my life: Bruce Lee and Dan Inosanto. From that day forward, I knew I had found the art I had always longed for. In fact, the teachings of Bruce Lee and Dan Inosanto became my inspiration in life. Due to circumstances I was unable to train at Bruce Lee's China Town School, but I continued to see Bruce and Dan almost on a weekly basis. They would always come to Hollywood to check out the book stores for books for their research on martial arts. They would stop in to get refreshed at the lunch counter and pick up nutritional supplements.
If you saw Bruce, you saw Dan. That was the way it was. I never saw one without the other. After Bruce Lee got the role of Kato in The Green Hornet series, I lost contact with him and Dan. Then the tragic news came, the death of Bruce Lee on July 20, 1973 in Hong Kong.
In the fall of 1973 Sifu/Guro Dan Inosanto and his close friend and student Richard Bustillo came out of Dan's backyard training and founded the Filipino Kali Academy/Chinese Gung Fu at 23018 South Normandie in Torrance, California and I was reunited with Sifu/Guro Dan Inosanto. I started training at the Torrance Academy in April, 1974. Three years later at my completion of phase I, phase II, phase III and phase IV of training, I was secretly voted into the Jeet Kune Do (JKD) class by my seniors. This was an honor I have never forgotten. During the time I was training for several more years, I joined several prestigious organizations that included Kali Association of America, National Arnis Association U.S.A., and West Coast Eskrima Society. I served on the Torrance Academy's demonstration team. In August 1981, I performed on the island of Kuai, Hawaii for the passing of the Grand Mastership from Grandmaster Floro Villabrille to Tuhan Ben Largusa.
At the Torrance Academy I trained under some of the world's finest and most recognized martial artists: Grandmaster Floro Villabrille, Tuhan Ben Largusa, Guro Greg Lantayo, Master Johnny LaCoste, Sifu/Guro Dan Inosanto, Sifu/Guro Richard Bustillo, Sifu/Guro Jerry Poteet, Sifu/Guro Larry Hartsell, Guro Lucky Lucay Lucay, Sifu/Guro Teddy Lucay Lucay, Sifu/Guro Jeff Imada, Master Angel Cabales, Master Leo Giron, Ciriaco Canete, Grandmaster Pendakar Paul De Thouars, Guro John De Jong, Guro Steve Plinck, Punong Guro Edgar G. Sulite, Grandmaster Professor Wally Jay, Sensei Mits Yamashito, Tuhan Leo T.Gaje Jr., Sifu Hawkins Chueng, Sifu Francis Fong, Grandmaster William Chueng, Gilbert Tenio, Sifu Nino Bernardo, Pendakar Suryandi Jafri, Art Saxel, Pedro Carvalho, Nonfah Scharadecho and Ajarn Chai Sirisute.
To them, I would like to give my thanks and appreciation for instruction, insight and their allowing me to be a part of their lives.
After I trained several more years with Sifu/Guro Dan Inosanto, he approached me one day and asked if I would take his classes for a month as he was going on a seminar tour in Europe. That one month blossomed into many years as his seminar circuit became world wide. Sifu/Guro Dan Inosanto had decided that I had earned the respect and knowledge to be a certified instructor in Kali/Eskrima /Jun Fan Gung Fu.
In 1984 the Filipino Kali Academy/Chinese Gung Fu was closed as we had moved to a larger academy with the name changed to the I.M.B. Academy. I continued to teach all of Sifu/Guro Dan Inosanto's classes as his seminar tours were gaining even more momentum. A little over a year after the move to the I.M.B. Academy, Sifu/Guro Dan Inosanto made the decision that he could not simultaneously do worldwide seminars and teach at the I.M.B. and at his Marina Del Rey location. Thus, he left the I.M.B. Academy. Through these and later years of contact with Sifu/Guro Dan Inosanto, he has taught me to be a better person with humility, understanding, integrity and insight.
I continued to teach for Sifu/Guro Dan Inosanto's partner Sifu/Guro Richard Bustillo. In 1987 the Jeet Kune Do Society was founded, of which I was a part since its inception. I served on the Board of Directors for the Jeet Kune Do Society 1987-1988 and was called upon often for my advice and input. In July 1989 I left the I.M.B. Academy after four years and founded The Kali Academy of Martial Arts/Jun Fan Gun Fu Academy in Whittier, CA where I still teach.
Over the years I have heard people say that Sifu/Guro Dan Inosanto does not know Kali from JKD, and is not teaching JKD the way Bruce Lee intended.
I have a question for these people. How would you know? You were not there? I was, and I say to you: You people know not of what you speak. You are down on what you are not up on.
You know not of what you say and you are speaking out of ignorance, envy, greed and dishonorable intentions. The well informed need not rebut, for they are aware of the contributions that Sifu/Guro Dan Inosanto has made to the world of martial arts. These are documented and immeasurable. His humility will enable him to survive the malicious attacks against him. These attacks will be silenced in the end. Those who make these attacks are missing the point, for if were not for Sifu/Guro Dan Inosanto and his world wide seminars for the past twenty four years you would not be where you are today.
Walk softly you are awaking a sleeping giant.
Sifu/Guro Dan Inosanto is truly the world's most versatile and world wide martial artist.