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TMA UnderGround >> lineage: yea or nay?


2/4/04 9:17 AM
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Stickgrappler
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Edited: 04-Feb-04
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my take on lineage is this: if you are out to propagate the style/system then lineage is probably important to you. if you are into MA for self defense, then lineage probably is not important to you. you just want to have an instructor who can impart to you the fundamentals of self defense. also, i think the majority of the human race has this very basic/primal need to feel needed and feel accepted. this ties into name recognition. i am a student under the world famous GM xyz. woohoo! i am in the in-crowd. IMO, part of the appeal of taking classes at a franchise mcdojo is this very human need to be accepted. well, one counter-argument to lineage is: GM xyz can kick a$$, more importantly can YOU? being a student in GM xyz's lineage doesn't gurantee you to be able to kick a$$. then you have MAists who cross-train with many of the famous instructors and not so famous instructors. then you got the MAists who train with one instructor, get a belt, then go on to another instructor get another belt, and eventually under some instructor, he would've gotten a black belt. i don't know, am i rambling? maybe not enough caffeine yet.
2/4/04 9:29 AM
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tjmitch
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Interesting topic...at the school I study at lineage was never even discussed( unusual for a CMA school) until I was a brown belt. Part of my black sash exam was written, and one of the questions was you had to research our lineage. It was quite interesting. But i think people get WAY to caught up in the Lineage think. Just becuase GM famous guy could kick ass does not mean you can. And GM famous guy could kick ass becuase....get this....he faught. Alot. Against people with different martial backgrounds than his. And he would learn other peoples arts. Mmmm...sounds familiar. In a way I am glad my instructor didnt make a big deal out of our lineage. I wouldnt want a bunch of students running around taking about who great the lineage of our school is, when they couldnt punch thier way out of a wet paper bag. I guess thats why he waits until you are ready to go to black belt before it comes up.
2/4/04 9:52 AM
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Willybone
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I don't think lineage has ever met that much to me. One of my favorite teachers, Sensei Zulkifli, I have no idea from where or who he learned anything. His obvious skill and need to teach were the only credentials I needed to want to learn from him.
I do still think it's a cool idea, though. I think there's some worth to the idea, as an unbroken line of transmission for an old way of training. Even then, I don't think any teacher leaves anything totally unchanged.
2/4/04 9:57 AM
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Hillbilly
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Doesn`t mean much to me even though the Trad styles/schools I`ve trained have great lineage..
2/4/04 10:32 AM
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Stickgrappler
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Hillbilly, why did you go to the schools you went to in the first place? was it cos they have great lineage? or more like, it was nearby and convenient and fit into your schedule? tjmitch, it's not meant to diss you or your school, but most trad. CMA doesn't have belts/sashes. i know modern times have changed CMA a bit to have some kind of ranking system for various reasons. just a fragmented thought. Willybone, i hear ya. was talking to my training partner. he went to a seminar that was taught by an instructor with a questionable lineage/background. he has good rep as an instructor being able to teach fighting skills. my buddy is attending his 2nd seminar with this instructor. got me thinking about this.
2/4/04 10:50 AM
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tjmitch
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SG, I know in TCMA there really isnt a belt ranking system, but you know a guy still has to make a living. So its kids classes and all of the other trappings of a commercial school. But if you really are interested in learning CMA as a fighting art, you will be able to. it isnt for everybody, and in fact you kind of have to seek it out, as my Sifu does not like to teach everybody to fight, as it scares off ALOT of students. For example right now I am learning Shuai-Chiao. This isnt a class that shows up on the class scedule, it is me a 3 or 4 other advanced students getting together with Sifu early mornings before the school opens and kicking the crap out of each other. In the past he has put SC into the regular advanced curriclum and within a few months that class was all but empty. It is a physically demanding and often painful art to learn. Same with MMA type fighting. If you go to a regularly scheduled sparring class, you are not going to see it. you are going to see people learnig basic kick boxing skills with very light contact. But if you seek it out, and you have the right disposition you will get to spar with alot more contact and with no "rules" other than dont be a dick, dont get mad and dont hurt anyone. Again, in the past when I was coming up, the sparring class was a lot rougher. And there was about 10 guys who would go. And the story that kept coming up was that most students were afraid to go to the sparring class cause it was to rough for them. Now if you go to a "sparring class" you will see basic kickboxing skills, and basic trapping skilss being taught, but not "put to the test" and really learned against a fully resiting oppoent. A very small % of the population wants that. Well, anyway I am rambling.
2/4/04 11:13 AM
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juszczec
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IMNSHO, practioners of Eastern MA in the West should only be concerned with how well their teacher can instruct/perform and who taught their teacher. Lineage has become kind of a reflected glory. "I do Goju and Yamaguchi killed a tiger with his bare hands so I'm the toughest guy around." No. Problem is people believe this kind of thing. Mark
2/4/04 11:26 AM
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poobear
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I'm not big on lineage, so much as my instructor's personal merits.
2/4/04 1:38 PM
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Takedown
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Capoeira carries the huge burden of establishing lineage. Not that it's a bad thing, but in Capoeira, who you trained under carries your reputation a long way. The reason why lineage is so important is because of the fake Mestres who came to the U.S. back in the mid-90's. They were offered plane tickets to the U.S. by Varig Airlines in Brazil, and in exchange, were given a Mestre's Certificate by Varig to teach Capoeira anywhere in the world. Keep in mind, the young men who did this were nowhere close to the level or experience of a recognized Mestre. The Capoeira community as a whole has had to do a lot of "cleaning up" to re-establish the art's legitimacy and integrity because of these clowns. In addition, people have the misconception that Capoeira came from breakdancing. LMAO, sorry folks, but try doing some research before you continue to make a fool out of yourself. If you do research, you'll see that Mestres from Brazil and around the world aren't world famous "B-Boyz" from Brooklyn or Cali. I've visited some academies on my own who claimed to teach Capoeira. When I went in to speak with the head instructors at each school, they could not verify where they had learned Capoeira. It's places like these that give the art a bad name, and falsely promote Capoeira to an unwary public. If you trained under a famous Mestre in Brazil or in any part of the world, people in the Capoeira community flock to you like you're a piece of gold. Then, you have some not-so famous Mestres or Contra-Mestres who come from smaller groups, who are able to teach classes just as well as an established Mestre. I think it's hype that people in the MA world build up to 1) Legitimize their credentials; 2) Make a name for themselves; 3)Have the "my d*ck is bigger than yours because of my lineage" mentality; 4) Simply an ego trip.
2/4/04 5:12 PM
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Hillbilly
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Stick* I started Lua in 1978 because it was so different. The teacher was also a Judo guy and taught us alot of MMA type stuff.. We would just beat the snot out of each other every class.. Come to find out he was one the Olohe`s first BB. Olohe Kaihewalu started Lua when he was 3 years old as he was born to a Lua family. My TCMA Sifu and I have been friends for about 20 years. 12 years or so ago I started with him because I thought it would help my back problem.. His Taiji teacher learned straight from Yang Lu Chan, his Ba Gua teacher was B P Chan. I guess the main attribute of Lineage is you know you are learning the whole system as it was designed.
2/4/04 8:25 PM
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poobear
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Yang Lu Chan?? Kewl! Details???
2/4/04 8:47 PM
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Ricky T
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People like to identify with something that's greater than themselves to give them a sense of belonging and importance. If my TMA instructor was Bruce Lee's buddy/student then I can say my instructor learned from Bruce Lee and I, too , am associated with him. It makes us feel good that with a few degrees of separation, we are linked into someone elses legacy.
2/5/04 9:41 AM
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Stickgrappler
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Ricky T, your post expressed what i was thinking but i could not adequately put into words. thanks! Hillbilly, name dropper ;-) seriously, Yang Lu Chan and B P Chan, holy Chen village, batman!
2/6/04 1:32 PM
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Naughty Gorilla
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Edited: 06-Feb-04
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For arts that don't compete, there aren't many other yardsticks of authenticity, so yeah I'd say it's good to know.
2/6/04 5:18 PM
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e. kaye
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Edited: 06-Feb-04
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Lineage is both important and unimportant. What gets me riled is people that deny their lineage. This happens often when someone "founds" their own art and makes themselves a "Master". If someone won't reveal who their teacher is, I walk away. Even if you left on bad terms, there is no reason to deny your lineage. They often don't want you to knwo because they never really achieved a high rank in that art. Lineage does impart a certain stamp of credibility. The downside is that I know guys that train for one seminar with someone and then claim lineage to that teacher. I think that you really have to put in a lot of time and really get somewhere in a system to claim lineage.
2/8/04 5:23 PM
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RapidAssault
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Edited: 08-Feb-04
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There is a saying that "We make too much out of origins." I forget who said that though, but there is a ring of truth to that. Ultimately, when one becomes intrigued by the notion of lineage, what follows is the discovery of the origins. The problem lies when people then tries to prove that theirs was the "original" (eg. "My style was the first to invent this technique. You guys just stole it from us"). As Stickgrappler stated in the first post, it's "very basic/primal need to feel needed and feel accepted. This ties into name recognition." I would also add that it feel good to be a part of something "greater" (especially if being great means being one of the first). From my experience, the desire to find out one's lineage seemed second nature. No sooner after joining a school, the question of where one fits in comes to mind. When I first started martial arts, I had a choice of going to a TKD school, a local kung fu class, or another kung fu school in Chinatown. Although I eventually settled with the local kung fu school, there is no doubt that I would have done exactly the same thing and searched for my lineage if I had joined the other schools. After all, it was important that what I was learning was "authentic" or recognized by the larger community. Nowadays, lineage seems to be a big nay for me. As my university prof said, "Why make such a big deal of being the first? Who is to say that the discover/idea didn't spring up in more than one place at any given time?"
2/18/04 7:40 AM
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wck
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Edited: 18-Feb-04
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Lineage IMO is a means of demonstrating that you had access to a source of "information" about that fighting method (you studied with Rickson or Yip Man, i.e. that you went to school) but says nothing about how well you did in school (were you an A student or a D student?), or what your ability is to actually use that information (fight), or how well you can pass the info on to others (teach). It's important but is not the whole enchilada.
3/4/04 3:06 PM
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miksan
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I look at lineage as a quick background check on a potential teacher. If you know his teacher was good then you might assume he might be a decent teacher. But that could be a wrong assumption also. Honestly if you know the guy had a crap teacher, you aren't that willing to learn from him.
9/14/04 9:20 AM
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OnDaMat
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Edited: 14-Sep-04
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lineage is something that TMAers invented so they would have something to argue over instead of fight and something to talk about instead of train...
9/14/04 1:29 PM
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Robkali
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Edited: 14-Sep-04
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OnDaMat: So what do you train in & why?
9/15/04 6:42 AM
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OnDaMat
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well I subwrestle and box. but I've done some Tang Lang Quan, xing yi & bagua (when I was in China) which was fun. I guess I was a little harsh but I'm kind of amused by people who spend more energy worrying about lineage of a style and never put in the gung fu. Of course I have met a lot of fantastic TMAers but I have also met a lot of people with...how do I put it? ......yoda complex.
9/15/04 3:36 PM
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Robkali
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Edited: 15-Sep-04
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OK thats cool, Now let me ask you this: when you went to start training in xing-yi & bagua, did you just go up to any old dude in the park & ask to be taught or did you learn under someone you knew was qualified because he/she had a traceable lineage?
9/16/04 8:00 AM
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OnDaMat
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I went because a mate of mine said he was good, and he was a cool guy. He also had people there who trained quite hard and could hit, so it was a good thing. lineage never figured into it, I mean such and such a connection to Dong Hai Chuan doesn't mean dick if you dont drill it which was my point originally, even if it was very poorly put :)
9/16/04 2:56 PM
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Robkali
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Edited: 16-Sep-04
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I get what your saying & I agree - mostly, but you do agree you had a reference point of some kind?: the word of your friend, which is basically how the whole lineage thing gets going..."I train with so&so and he & his students can fight" sort of thing thereby intrigueing other people to go train with so&so, who then get a reputation of their own & people asking them where they learned how to do what they did, and so on, and so on, and so on = Lineage. Also I agree that if it works AND his students can pull it off as well, by all means lineage wouldnt figure into it...but then the above tends to happen. All that being said - would you have gone to train with him if your mate had said "I know this guy who teaches this "______" system and is good, but he claims to have learned directly from the founder of "____", but it has been proven that he is not really from that lineage"? Or conversely, would you or would you not go train with someone because a good friend told you "Holy crap, train with this guy!! He absolutely sucks! And his teacher was terrible & his teacher before him, who founded the art, was really terrible..." anyway, I am starting to babble ;o) see ya Rob
9/20/04 4:25 AM
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HELWIG
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Edited: 20-Sep-04
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Its important as historical documentation in my opinion. I trained in Moo Duk Kwan under H.C. Hwang, whose father, Hwang Kee was the founder of the style. It became a huge deal when other Koreans were using his style name and others were calling themselves Grandmaster. But even most of those guys still recognized him as the top person. In MMA guys jump ship and change teams all the time. You have to do whats best for yourself, but MMA could greatly benefit from the respect and conduct that TMA promotes in my opinion.

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