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Is lineage important?

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  • #16
    Lineage??? You mean those funny looking diagrams on the walls of martial arts school, that for some sort of strange reason often start with legendary names as Chang San Feng who lived in the 8th century and reincarnated in himself in the 10th, and again in the 12th and 13th and... or the ones that start with Ng Mui, who learned win chung from a snake and a crane and we have absolutely zero proof to have really existed. Or the ones of Baiyuan Tongbei that start 2500 years ago with a mythical white monkey.....

    Or like the one of a "kungfu" teacher in this school I visited who claims to have learned from another Spanish guy who in one trip to south-America learned 100 forms from this mysterious oriental grandmaster, to whom they bow at the beginning of class but then turns out to be a statue of a taoist saint......

    And what if I train within the greatest lineage on earth, I mean like from Bodidarma straight to Bruce Lee and straight to me and just plain stink at it but I start a school and teach what I think I know or what I can hide not to know and go on about my fantastic lineage? ...... I've seen some teachers from real lineages that don't train anymore and don`t remember how to do the techniques but still teach.

    I mean sure lineage can indicate more or less what to expect from someone. And if you can learn from the best and have that certificied by a lineage chart, well that's great. You're very lucky then. And if the teacher is really good and understands his art and -important- knows how to teach you then you're even luckier.

    I for myself have never told any of my students from what lineage I am to get them in my classes. In fact if people start asking me too much questions I tell them to come to class and if they like it they can stay and if not they are free to go and train with somebody else. And if they ask me what kungfu is about I say it' s punches and kicks. And if they ask me about belts I tell them they are to keep pants from dropping. Some people find me rude for this, some think it's funny. For someone who comes for his first lessons I don't think lineage should be a big issue. For advanced students it might be interesting to know if a certain place if legit or if it trains in a similar way as his previous school. Well if one of my students comes up to me after class and asks me "who did you learn from?" I will tell him/her what our lineage is. But if they don't ask I'm not going to waste training time on it.

    Well I guess lineage is important but I've seen too much people claim to much things that simply are not true.


    • #17
      I forgot one: What about "new" arts? I mean the first generation students of Morihei Ueshiba probably would have been frowned upon in europe or the States saying they were direct students of this never heard of japanese art. or let's say like kajukenbo. Some time ago people got laughed at when they said they were students of this funny sounding martial art. "What's that Kajukomnbo, hahaha" would the karate guy have answered possibly.


      • #18

        my training was never formal, but even so every now and again you run across some history on the tecniques you learn.

        In my opinion, the best teachers were usually the best students. if you want to learn to fight, all you have to do is fight. after enough of that, if you don't die, you might learn something. but if you want to learn the mechanics of fighting, you're going to have to learn how to question your instructors. traditionally it is said, that teachers are learning you, while you learn your lessons. this is said to be done because you need to know that a student is responsable for & with his skills before he/she can learn the adept skillsets.

        but it seems that most students want the express lane classes. feeling as if they have the right to certain knowledge. but the truth is, that the only way to the top of the mountain, is to start at the bottom.

        without the strentgh, speed, and forms training, the move you learned is pretty much useless. it is by tying the strentgh, speed, and forms training, together with the move, that gives you technique. then using the technique in fight simulation, to learn the skill of how and when to use it. only then have you mastered the technique.

        in our fast food world, most people do not stay with a master long enough to really learn some of the more dynamic principles of their art.

        your training only just begins at the so called black belt level. EVERYTHING you have been taught up to this point is basics and advanced basics. and the teacher may never tell you, but you might only be avarage in your abilities. (because you didn't investigate what they were teaching you and why. how it works, or how to get the most out of it). these are questions that a good student will ask, after trying the form for a while. good teachers don't tell you everything, some things you learn through exploration. then when you have questions that stem from that thread, your master will understand how hard you've tried, and may begin to share more pearls of wisdom with you.

        I do think that Linege is important, because not everyone can do, or even knows your techniques. and your techniques have been handed down from generation to generation dont you want to know who passed on these family heirlooms for you to have and use and pass down.?
        Last edited by onefocus; 02-05-2007, 12:07 AM.


        • #19
          Yes. If your goal is to brag about who you learned from instead of actually learning kung fu.

          You can always tell who people are by the first words out of their mouth. If the first thing they do is puff up their chest and say "Well, I! learned from so and so", they probably don't know much kung fu.

          If they don't talk about who they learned from, or actively refuse to say who they learned from, there is a strong chance that they have learned kung fu and the value of being humble.

          They have also learned the value of keeping their superior abilities and training secret from their opponents.

          People who are real fighters do not go around giving out secrets. Only braggarts or salesman looking for gullible students to support them go around with a resume of who trained them


          • #20
            So why do you brag about your superior abilities and reveal your secrets all the time Happeh?



            • #21
              i think we are going to continue being critical of you until you realize how absurd you are being.

              You just mentioned on another thread how you stopped training with the same person Doc studied with because you have moved beyond the training he had to offer. That's a pretty big statement to make considering. Happeh, Braggart or salesman?

              Originally posted by Happeh
              You can always tell who people are by the first words out of their mouth. If the first thing they do is puff up their chest and say "Well, I! learned from so and so", they probably don't know much kung fu.
              Despite your contradictary posts I can agree with some of the statements with your post here. However, I still think lineage is important in terms of passing on the tradition. I don't want to pass down the traditions of some egotistical, manipulative, in it for the ca$h teacher no matter how great his skills are...well maybe if he had some ridiculous unheard of kung fu skills I'd consider it.
              Last edited by tetsumaru; 02-18-2007, 04:31 PM.
              "What is barely legal?" - Ali G


              • #22
                I think lineage is extremely important in martial arts. As time goes by, different styles become altered and changed by the different masters that practice them. By understanding the lineage of ones teachings, they can better trace the origin of those styles, and gain more understanding of those styles. Furthermore, there are those who seek to master as many different styles of martial arts as possible, and in those cases it is important to be very varied in the lineages that you study under. Shakespeare Chan, for example, mastered over 150 different styles of martial arts. Now there's someone who couldn't focus on just one, or five!

                Consider that back in the day in the Shaolin temple, there were a very limited selection of styles. As the masters began to spread out, and mingle with other masters, and intermarry, the family tree of styles became broader and broader, until it even began to branch out into different countries, and morph into radically different martial arts styles from the old school forms of yonder year. By learning about ones lineage, you can trace your style to its roots, and study why things changed.

                I also think it's important to recognize ones lineage, because it is symbolic of one of the most important things for a kung fu man, and that's to pass on the knowledge of the kung fu. Without the important student/master relationship, the kung fu would not have survived as long as it has. Keeping track of ones lineage, before one masters their style and continues to pass on the knowledge, is similar to keeping track of ones family tree. By remembering and honoring our past, we can better forge a path to our future. I hope that makes sense.


                • #23
                  I know several cases where one mediocre student goes to extraordinary lengths to kiss ass. So the teacher endorses him when he starts teaching on his own. Meanwhile there were 5 other highly skilled students who the master won't publicly endorse. Thusly they don't talk about their lineage. Does this mean they wouldn't be great to train under?

                  Also when you say lineage does that refer to a specific teacher or style?


                  • #24
                    I mean teacher. In some cases, some teachers have learned different styles and your lineage becomes a melting pot of styles. Whether you acknowledge it or not some teachers will only teach what their main teacher taught them but if you pay attention to detail you may notice different styles mixed in...mutts...I'm a mutt.
                    "What is barely legal?" - Ali G


                    • #25
                      For a student lineage is a step to locate his teacher yet if his eyes are not "open" he will lose him again


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