BADGER: Excellent analysis. It reminds me of when Dan Inosanto first met Bruce Lee. One of the topics of discussion was Lee's opinion that Dan should have been given credit for scoring a winning point during a match at the 1964 Long Beach Internationals. Bruce told Dan that the judges simply didn't see Dan's rear hand strike due to the speed of the punch.
I have heard that Dan was like the fastest guy in the world , second only to Bruce.
how true was that ?
"Fastest" is a relative term. There are, as most here know, several types of speed. Running speed is one thing and may be related to the skill at hearing the starting pistol (in the 100m dash), skill at coming off the starting blocks, the type of surface and experience and if you have good competitors to push you. It may be a factor of having 'fast twitch muscles (this is debated) in the legs'.
You also have 'MPH speed', 'initiation speed', response speed, and then the ability to intuit what the opponent is doing.
When Jesse Glover talked about BL throwing a punch at a reflex timer he gave two speeds, 0.05 seconds (50 milliseconds) at 3 feet (the punch starts when a light comes on and the stops when the person hits the pad), and 0.08 seconds (80 milliseconds).
Jesse said that he came in around 0.18 or 180 milliseconds. Contrast this to the time it takes someone to blink which is about 300-400 milliseconds or eight times longer than BL's punch response at three feet. In theory he could literally wait until you start to blink then throw a punch and you'd never see it.
Now as to whether Guro Dan was this fast I would say no, he was probably in the range of an athletic male in his 20s, or about 200 milliseconds. Why? Well for one thing if he was nearly as fast as BL, Dan would not have been so impressed.
Now Dan did talk about speed and he said as you gain experience you develop what he called 'fast eyes'. IOW you are very quick to conceptualize what the other person is doing. Compare to watching a soccer game the first time. You really don't know what you're seeing or where to look. After you have seen some games and know the rules and positions your eyes can take it in and process it.
I think Dan had skills, among the the ability to let other people bring their A game and the ability to figure out how things might fit together, but I do not think he had super high attributes, he just kept at is and his flow was very, very good. He was a good teacher and he was good at static demonstrations.
He freely admits he's a martial historian more than a fighter and he was not that interested in fighting or competing. I met him in the early 80s at a demo and when he came in there was a guy manning the front desk. He just looked at Dan walking by not knowing who he was and he turned to the gym owner and said in a rather astonished tone 'That guy could kill you'. Pretty interesting.