Local features have been widely used in computer vision tasks, e.g., human action recognition, but it tends to be an extremely challenging task to deal with large-scale local features of high dimensionality with redundant information. In this paper, we propose a novel fully supervised local descriptor learning algorithm called discriminative embedding method based on the image-to-class distance (I2CDDE) to learn compact but highly discriminative local feature descriptors for more accurate and efficient action recognition. By leveraging the advantages of the I2C distance, the proposed I2CDDE incorporates class labels to enable fully supervised learning of local feature descriptors, which achieves highly discriminative but compact local descriptors. The objective of our I2CDDE is to minimize the I2C distances from samples to their corresponding classes while maximizing the I2C distances to the other classes in the low-dimensional space. To further improve the performance, we propose incorporating a manifold regularization based on the graph Laplacian into the objective function, which can enhance the smoothness of the embedding by extracting the local intrinsic geometrical structure. The proposed I2CDDE for the first time achieves fully supervised learning of local feature descriptors. It significantly improves the performance of I2C-based methods by increasing the discriminative ability of local features while greatly reducing the computational burden by dimensionality reduction to handle large-scale data. We apply the proposed I2CDDE algorithm to human action recognition on four widely used benchmark datasets. The results have shown that I2CDDE can significantly improve I2C-based classifiers and achieves state-of-the-art performance.