Who was your master

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Talk' started by Bruce7, Nov 29, 2018.

  1. Bruce7

    Bruce7 Orange Belt

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    Most Martial Arts schools websites do not say who the instructor's masters was.
    I am looking for a school. I don't care what degree black belt you are. I care about who taught you.
    There are 300 Martial Art schools in Houston Area, going to the schools will take forever.
    A lot of schools website will say taekwondo and nothing else as to what kind of taekwondo it is.
    Is their a directory website that give you information.
     
  2. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    I'm not sure if my primary instructor (the closest thing to "master" in your usage) is listed on my website. It wouldn't be terribly helpful if it was. If someone sees I trained under John Wyndham, they know exactly nothing more of use than they did before reading that sentence.
     
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  3. MetalBoar

    MetalBoar Orange Belt

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    I agree that sometimes this info is less than helpful. If I were to say that my Hapkido instructor was GM Kim, well, that would be 100% useless as I think there are ~ 10 GM Kim's right here in Seattle teaching TKD or HKD or more likely both. If I were to tell you about his background, lineage and the organization(s) he's affiliated with that might be of more use. Personally, I'd rather hear about what he teaches, his teaching philosophy, etc. Still, I admit that I enjoy the history of martial arts, especially the recent history, so I like following someone's lineage just to see what sort of reputation their teachers and/or teachers' teachers have. I don't think it's terribly indicative of how good a school is, but it does tell you something about whether they have any credibility in regards to their claim to knowing a specific art.

    As I complained about in another recent thread, there are a lot of terrible MA web sites out there, and I don't just mean aesthetically. I've found an unfortunate number that don't even tell you what style they're teaching, just Karate for instance, sometimes not even that. Maybe that's not terrible if there's only 1 or 2 schools in a 75 mile radius, but when you're trying to filter for schools in a place like Houston (or Seattle, or Phoenix), well, they just filtered themselves right out of my search. Even more don't even tell you who the instructor is, much less the instructor's qualifications.
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2018
  4. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    In some cases, even that benefit doesn't exist. NGA (my primary art) is a small community, with some deep political divides. So, if they went to the largest organization (the NGAA), they wouldn't see any of my instructors listed there, since they only list members (and all three have left that association over time, as did I). One of the instructors (the senior of the three) no longer has any dealings with the other two, who have started a loose federation. So lineage doesn't do much to help figure out anything in NGA, unless all involved are still within the NGAA. And then there's the fact that lineage sources hit a brick wall at the current head of the NGAA. There's no way to track beyond that point, at all.

    And even if the lineage was easy to track, it would tell little about what I teach. My NGA isn't terribly similar to what those instructors teach. At least one of them would almost certainly say I no longer teach that art because of the differences.
     
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  5. Bruce7

    Bruce7 Orange Belt

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    Home Gives a great deal of information about his training and Sensei Steven A. Weber in Nihon Goshin Aikido his master, you can follow back masters all the way back to Japan.
    If you were in Houston I would drive a long way to try your school out.
     
  6. Dirty Dog

    Dirty Dog MT Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    I can recite my lineage all the way back to GM Hwang. It's not very long.
    GM HWANG, Kee
    GM LEE, Kang Ik
    GM KIM, Wang
    GM VALDEZ, CR
    Me.

    But do you really know any more than you already did?
     
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  7. Buka

    Buka Grandmaster

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    My lineage, at least in TKD, was Jong Soo Park, Billy Blanks, me. But I've been fortunate to have a lot of lineages. Comes with being a mutt.
     
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  8. dvcochran

    dvcochran Master Black Belt

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    There are several "Black Belt Hall of Fame" websites. Maybe this will help.
    Specific to TKD, maybe you should drill down from the top starting with the organizations (WTF, ITF, ATA, etc...).
    Not in your area, but my GM is Seoung Eui Shin; https://www.mastershinonline.com/ .
    He was predominantly Tang Soo Do in his origination and his Master was Hwang Kee.
     
  9. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    But what does any of that actually tell you? To folks I side NGA, Weber's name has meaning. Outside that community, what information does it provide?
     
  10. kempodisciple

    kempodisciple Senior Master

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    None of that actually gives me information about him. It would tell me very little about him as an instructor if I wanted to train with him, and even less about someone that learned from him.
     
  11. Headhunter

    Headhunter Senior Master

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    Honestly I couldn't care less about any of that stuff....if I enjoy a guys classes and he teaches well then it makes no difference to me if he trained under the founder of the style or some guy who lives down the road who teaches once a week
     
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  12. Kung Fu Wang

    Kung Fu Wang Grandmaster

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    You should not always live under your teacher's shadow no matter how famous he was.
     
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  13. Buka

    Buka Grandmaster

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    And you know, I really don’t care for the term Master in Martial Arts. Having known many, I always addressed them as such in front of Martial Artists, but privately every one I’ve ever known....just uses first names.

    I met a kid in his twenties some time ago in a Martial Arts supply place. He introduced himself to me as Master Key. I told Joe Lewis about it that night. He referred to him as Young Master Much Faster, which is where I first heard that term.

    Still makes me smile.
     
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  14. Dirty Dog

    Dirty Dog MT Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    I do not think I have ever heard anyone except a westerner introduce themselves with a title.
    I introduce myself to new students by my name. Nothing more.

    As a matter of fact, the only person who I expect to call me Master is Mrs Dog.

    And she just rolls her eyes when I tell her that's what I expect, so...
     
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  15. jks9199

    jks9199 Administrator Staff Member

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    What does who taught me matter, unless you know who's who within my art? And, even then, you don't know how well I learned... And, even more importantly, if you want to learn, how well I teach.

    Ranks are meaningless, true... OK, more accurately, ranks only are meaningful if you know what system and how they were awarded. But knowing the teacher isn't much more use... My instructor is a great teacher. He's had some outstanding students. And some of those outstanding students can teach -- but some cannot. I'm not saying anything bad about them when I say that; it's just a talent they lack. Some of the least talented students are great teachers...

    Maybe a better effort to locate a school is to look at how several groups of students perform?
     
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  16. JR 137

    JR 137 Senior Master

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    In all fairness to the OP, I think the teacher listing his teacher(s) does have some significance. If I don’t know anything about the instructor in question and/or the art or organization, it may help me understand what he’s teaching. More so, it tells who promoted him or if he promoted himself. It does give or take away some credibility.

    People come here and ask if a school is good or not quite often. The universal answer is go and visit. But when we’re checking a website, we almost always look at the teacher’s bio. How many times have we said “he’s a black belt under X, which is a good thing”? Especially in BJJ. How many times have we said “it looks like he’s promoted himself to X dan and gave himself a title”? Before we start saying a teacher’s teacher etc. is irrelevant, we should ask ourselves how many times we’ve given advice about a school/teacher we haven’t heard of.

    What’s going on on the floor is absolutely the most important thing. We pretty much always follow up with that, but don’t say we don’t look at the teacher’s credentials, which who’s taught and promoted him is a part of that. Some arts far more than others.

    If I were to claim 3rd dan in BJJ and someone came here looking for information about me and my school, don’t think for a second this place and many others wouldn’t have a field day with it if they thought I was full of crap. They’d think I was full of crap if they’ve never heard of me and I didn’t list who I was a black belt under and/or who he was a black belt under if that person wasn’t one of the big names. Same if I had a website claiming X dan in karate and gave no description about the style, organization, and who promoted me to that rank. Same for any art and rank I claimed.

    Pull up many threads asking about many arts where the teacher’s credentials are questionable as proof. Pull up many threads where someone used the title Soke or the like.

    Overall and as a whole, we’ve shown practically no respect for the self promoted people. We’ve said go visit, but we’ve been quite suspicious of them. And rightfully so.
     
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  17. Bruce7

    Bruce7 Orange Belt

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    Thank you, that is what I was trying to say. With over 300 schools in the Houston Area I need to use the websites to reduce the number of schools to a manageable number to try.
    Once you get to a school if you are experienced you know if it is real and if it is a good fit for you.
     
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  18. frank raud

    frank raud Master Black Belt

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    I personally know someone who has a martial arts resume that looks like the kind of thing people make up. Training with the Gracies back in the garage days, training with Kelly McCann and Carl Cestari in Combatives, shooting at Thunder Ranch and with Mas Ayoob, amongst may other accomplishments. On paper, it looks incredible. In real life, he is unco-ordinated and not impressive at all. Your instructor's resume isn't a guarantee you will be any good to learn from. It is something to consider, but not the only thing.
     
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  19. Yokazuna514

    Yokazuna514 Green Belt

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    Having a traceable lineage is important and tells prospective students that the person they intend to be learning from has been through an independent promotion process themselves. It should tell them how long that person has been training, under whom and how long it took to achieve each level. Sure, some of the names initially may be unknown but with a little research on the net or through people that 'should' know, a lineage can be verified and the quality of instruction can be determined (on the surface) before even taking one class.

    Is it a guarantee that the school is right for you ? No. There is no guarantee that the instructor(s) is a good teacher. That should be determined by taking a few classes but it can tell you that the instructor is probably not making it up as (s)he goes along and that their may be an independent verification of the quality of the MA being taught at this school if they continue to belong to the mother association.
     
  20. JR 137

    JR 137 Senior Master

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    The resume and credentials should get you in the door. What should get you to stay or leave is what’s going on on the floor. In addition to that, I used an analogy in a BJJ thread before, and it’s relevant here...

    Let’s say you’re looking to take up boxing in Catskill, NY in the 80s. You see Cus D’Amato’s gym. Impeccable credentials - D’Amato, Rooney, and Atlas are training the fighters. Mike Tyson is one of the boxers. Can’t argue resume and credentials.

    You start training, and the trainers give you 5 minutes of their time on a good day. All they want is a new punching bag for Iron Mike. How great is that gym for you?

    I have no idea how things went in that gym. Could’ve been that way, could’ve been the opposite. I don’t know because I never stepped foot in their. The impeccable credentials would’ve got me to visit. What was actually going on would’ve got me to stay or leave.
     
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