Martial Talk's GMA Martial Arts Lineages

Juany118

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The thing about lineages in Chinese martial arts is a lot of people claim them based on the fact they trained with the guy a couple times. And in CMA that is not how it works. If it was I would have a lineage to the Chen Family from Chen Zhenglei, 2 lineages to Yip Man, a couple to different Bagua families and at least 3 in Xingyiquan, Heck While I'm at it I might as well claim a Chen family lineage to Chen Xiawang too because I once had a rather long, and interesting, phone conversation with Ren Guangyi about Chen Taijiquan. But the reality of lineage in the CMA world is I have none of those. So be careful when asking about lineages in CMA.

What I do have

Chen Changxing > Yang Luchan > Yang Jianhou > Yang Chengfu > Tung Ying Chieh > My Shifu > Me

Chen Chingping > Wu Yuxiang > Li Yiyu > Hao Weizhang > Li Hsiang Yuan > Tung Ying Chieh > My Shifu > Me

Agreed. I am also not big on Lineage, you can learn from the creator of a system but that doesn't mean squat about how well you perform. That said for the two arts I currently study... (Using only 20th century personages, I think the first in each is well known enough to be a fair starting point, especially the Kali that is second since it is Guro Dan's system)

Yip Man>William Cheung>Keith Mazza>My Sifu/Guro>me

Dan Inosanto>Paul Vunak>James Keating>My Sifu/Guro>Me.
 
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Gerry Seymour

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Agreed. I am also not big on Lineage, you can learn from the creator of a system but that doesn't mean squat about how well you perform. That said for the two arts I currently study... (Using only 20th century personages, I think the first in each is well known enough to be a fair starting point, especially the Kali that is second since it is Guro Dan's system)

Yip Man>William Cheung>Keith Mazza>My Sifu/Guro>me

Dan Inosanto>Paul Vunak>James Keating>My Sifu/Guro>Me.
I'll go so far as to say that oftentimes the founder's version isn't the best. Someone comes along and refines it nicely from the original version. The founder of a system may have been a genius (let's just say he/she was), but another very good instructor will still be able to improve upon his work. Despite what some will claim, there is no system so perfectly refined that it cannot still improve.
 

Steve

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Agreed. I am also not big on Lineage, you can learn from the creator of a system but that doesn't mean squat about how well you perform. That said for the two arts I currently study... (Using only 20th century personages, I think the first in each is well known enough to be a fair starting point, especially the Kali that is second since it is Guro Dan's system)

Yip Man>William Cheung>Keith Mazza>My Sifu/Guro>me

Dan Inosanto>Paul Vunak>James Keating>My Sifu/Guro>Me.
Lineage can tell you two things. If you're a novice, it can communicate that you are receiving quality instruction. "Oh, Buka, you train with Rickson Gracie? That's pretty cool. You're learning top notch BJJ."

If you've been ranked, it can lend weight and credibility to your skills. "You received your Black Belt from Rickson Gracie? Wow, Buka. He doesn't hand those out lightly."
 

Gerry Seymour

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Lineage can tell you two things. If you're a novice, it can communicate that you are receiving quality instruction. "Oh, Buka, you train with Rickson Gracie? That's pretty cool. You're learning top notch BJJ."

If you've been ranked, it can lend weight and credibility to your skills. "You received your Black Belt from Rickson Gracie? Wow, Buka. He doesn't hand those out lightly."
I somewhat disagree with the former. Most beginners don't have the knowledge to tell the difference between good credentials and bad ones. They know "famous" and "never heard of". Now, in BJJ, that mostly means if there's the last name "Gracie" in the recent lineage, it's helpful (even beginners will probably recognize that name). But there are plenty of areas of MA where the famous names aren't as consistent producers of good students.
 

Steve

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I somewhat disagree with the former. Most beginners don't have the knowledge to tell the difference between good credentials and bad ones. They know "famous" and "never heard of". Now, in BJJ, that mostly means if there's the last name "Gracie" in the recent lineage, it's helpful (even beginners will probably recognize that name). But there are plenty of areas of MA where the famous names aren't as consistent producers of good students.
Totally agree. What I mean is what we do it around here pretty routinely. Guy says, "I'm looking at this school. Says the school owner is Joe Blow." We look and say, "Oh, I don't know Joe Blow, but if he got his black belt from Saulo Ribiero, he's probably legit." I don't know Joe Blow. Never heard of him, but his affiliation to Saulo speaks to his skill. So, if you're a white belt or blue belt training with Joe Blow, you can feel pretty comfortable acknowledging that the guy is legit.

Of course, that doesn't speak to his skill as an instructor, but that's an aside to lineage.
 

Buka

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Lineage can tell you two things. If you're a novice, it can communicate that you are receiving quality instruction. "Oh, Buka, you train with Rickson Gracie? That's pretty cool. You're learning top notch BJJ."

If you've been ranked, it can lend weight and credibility to your skills. "You received your Black Belt from Rickson Gracie? Wow, Buka. He doesn't hand those out lightly."

Lineage can help going forward, too.

Fifteen miles from where I now sit is a school run by Professor Luis Heredia. If I'm going to go anywhere, it's right there. (well, duh)
 

Tony Dismukes

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Knowing lineage can have a few benefits.

For those of us who are interested in history, it can help understand the background and development of what we study.

We may discover personal connections in the overlap of our lineages.

For those who know enough about an art to be familiar with the stylistic divergences between different teaching lineages, it may give us a clue as to which school of a given art might fit us better. (This is far from infallible, especially for those arts which allow a high degree of personal expression. Every one of the black belts at my school has a style which is personal enough that you wouldn't necessarily guess we came from the same school, let alone the same Carlson Gracie lineage.)

For individuals who have been granted some sort of rank or teaching credentials, it can form a line of validation which may be useful in deciding whether someone has legitimate skills and knowledge. You may not know me from Adam, but if you know that Carlson Gracie was an accomplished fighter and trainer of champions and you know Carlson Gracie vouched for the skill and knowledge of Carlson Gracie Jr. and you know Carlson Jr. vouches for the skill and knowledge of Mike O'Donnell and you know Mike O'Donnell vouches for the skill and knowledge of Tony Dismukes, then you might conclude that maybe I have something to offer.

That last point, however, rests on having some pre-existing knowledge of the qualifications of the persons handing out those initial credentials and the general standards of the art. That's why I find it a bit silly when people create their own arts and promoted themselves to 10th dan. They may or may not be great martial artists deserving of recognition, but the rank carries no meaningful information. They might as well declare that their rank is a 24th gloop polka dot beret. We don't know what it means in terms of any objective standard. If they teach a bunch of students who go out and make a positive impression on the martial arts world, so that everybody knows a black belt in Jim-Bob Fu is invariably a badass, then the ranks may start to mean something.
 

Flying Crane

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I'll go so far as to say that oftentimes the founder's version isn't the best. Someone comes along and refines it nicely from the original version. The founder of a system may have been a genius (let's just say he/she was), but another very good instructor will still be able to improve upon his work. Despite what some will claim, there is no system so perfectly refined that it cannot still improve.
Nothing springs forth from a vacuum, fully formed.
 

Juany118

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Lineage can tell you two things. If you're a novice, it can communicate that you are receiving quality instruction. "Oh, Buka, you train with Rickson Gracie? That's pretty cool. You're learning top notch BJJ."

If you've been ranked, it can lend weight and credibility to your skills. "You received your Black Belt from Rickson Gracie? Wow, Buka. He doesn't hand those out lightly."


By lineage I mean going beyond your personal instructor and their reputation to those before.

That said my purpose in learning MA is rather specific. I know people who are black belts under her reputable instructors. They do great inside their school, against people studying the same thing. However at least one that I know got the short end when he ended up in a fight outside the dojo. It's on the street where lineage, globally, means nothing imo.
 

Steve

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By lineage I mean going beyond your personal instructor and their reputation to those before.

That said my purpose in learning MA is rather specific. I know people who are black belts under her reputable instructors. They do great inside their school, against people studying the same thing. However at least one that I know got the short end when he ended up in a fight outside the dojo. It's on the street where lineage, globally, means nothing imo.
YMMV.
 
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Dylan9d

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By lineage I mean going beyond your personal instructor and their reputation to those before.

That said my purpose in learning MA is rather specific. I know people who are black belts under her reputable instructors. They do great inside their school, against people studying the same thing. However at least one that I know got the short end when he ended up in a fight outside the dojo. It's on the street where lineage, globally, means nothing imo.

Wing Chun?
 

Juany118

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Wing Chun?

Not my WC at least, though I admit it is a weakness in some schools. We do all the "regular" training of course but my Sifu, and his, are also Department of Justice and Defense Combatives instructors (his Sifu also is a firearms instructor for the same). As such they incorporate "street" applicable training.

Whether it be taking advantage of the fact that some of us have decent knowledge in other Martial Arts, or simply making sure you square up partners of different experience. You may or may not be surprised how useful it is to have a newer, but aggressive, student doing the unexpected because they don't really know the playbook yet. My school also teaches Kali in parallel, it's not two separate classes and that likely helps as well because while there are some similarities there are also clear differences as well.

I often think I lucked out finding both this school and Sifu/Guro.
 

Chris Parker

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My understanding of the koryu approach (from what Chris Parker has said) is that they maintain the tradition and principles, but don't attempt to maintiain it entirely without change.

Take my comments as an example of giving a wide window into a very narrow field... with very different views in different directions... so, yes, but no at the same time. Speaking broadly (and accurately as one can, being so general), the "koryu approach" is to look after the Koryu itself. Exactly how that is done is up to the Ryu itself, it's current generation/head, and more, but the emphasis is always on what is best for the Ryu... whether that means adapting, changing, preserving, stagnating in order to retain, or simply ending the school itself (another very definite possibility).

And, for the record, Watkins-sensei (Hyoho) is the real authority on such things here...

For my take on lineage, and it's importance, luckily it's all been put down before... very clearly and eloquently... by Mr Ellis Amdur, Shihan of Toda-ha Buko Ryu and Araki Ryu, as well as teaching his own form of Aikido, and other modern approaches. The Importance of Paper in Japanese Martial Traditions 斤暹郎

While dealing largely with both classical arts and "neo-classical" ones, it also deals with modern systems, and the importance of lineage/teacher relationships in them.
 

Gerry Seymour

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Take my comments as an example of giving a wide window into a very narrow field... with very different views in different directions... so, yes, but no at the same time. Speaking broadly (and accurately as one can, being so general), the "koryu approach" is to look after the Koryu itself. Exactly how that is done is up to the Ryu itself, it's current generation/head, and more, but the emphasis is always on what is best for the Ryu... whether that means adapting, changing, preserving, stagnating in order to retain, or simply ending the school itself (another very definite possibility).

And, for the record, Watkins-sensei (Hyoho) is the real authority on such things here...

For my take on lineage, and it's importance, luckily it's all been put down before... very clearly and eloquently... by Mr Ellis Amdur, Shihan of Toda-ha Buko Ryu and Araki Ryu, as well as teaching his own form of Aikido, and other modern approaches. The Importance of Paper in Japanese Martial Traditions 斤暹郎

While dealing largely with both classical arts and "neo-classical" ones, it also deals with modern systems, and the importance of lineage/teacher relationships in them.
Thanks for stepping up, Chris. I know the Koryu mindset is/can be different from how others approach the arts. I still sometimes have trouble wrapping my head around what's different, because some of it can be so nearly similar, but still not quite the same.
 

Gerry Seymour

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Take my comments as an example of giving a wide window into a very narrow field... with very different views in different directions... so, yes, but no at the same time. Speaking broadly (and accurately as one can, being so general), the "koryu approach" is to look after the Koryu itself. Exactly how that is done is up to the Ryu itself, it's current generation/head, and more, but the emphasis is always on what is best for the Ryu... whether that means adapting, changing, preserving, stagnating in order to retain, or simply ending the school itself (another very definite possibility).

And, for the record, Watkins-sensei (Hyoho) is the real authority on such things here...

For my take on lineage, and it's importance, luckily it's all been put down before... very clearly and eloquently... by Mr Ellis Amdur, Shihan of Toda-ha Buko Ryu and Araki Ryu, as well as teaching his own form of Aikido, and other modern approaches. The Importance of Paper in Japanese Martial Traditions 斤暹郎

While dealing largely with both classical arts and "neo-classical" ones, it also deals with modern systems, and the importance of lineage/teacher relationships in them.
Just finished the article from your link. I don't find anything there that's much different from my own view. I don't care about lineage from a functional perspective, though it can be a helpful indicator (as with the continuous link with koryu). So, if someone claims no lineage, I am only concerned with his/her ability to do and/or teach effectively. If someone claims lineage (whether specific instructors or a style), then it is something I want to be able to verify, simply because they made the claim. And I'm okay with gaps in evidence, if there's some reasonable explanation (and not a lot of defensiveness when asked). Heck, we have gaps in the history of NGA. I've looked at what I can look at, and gotten information from some outside NGA, and I'm satisfied that the gaps are reasonable.
 

swhitney222

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I have tried for a few years to research my past lineage for a historical background. mostly because my past instructor will not tell anyone who he studied from in both his arts Kenpo and Wing Chun. He claims to have taken an Oath not to reveal Both his Kenpo teacher and his Wing Chun teacher. When I started martial arts Lineage was not even something that was thought of. I was more into the practicality and effectiveness of the art. The reason for the research is that my past instructor developed his own system of Kenpo by taking Ed Parker's name and attacks from EPAK and creating his own defenses techniques. and after making it through his system my focus started to change and I began to research Ed Parker's actual system. so I wanted to know why he changed his system and what background he came from, mostly because what he created did not flow and move like people from EPAK. So he wouldn't answer my questions and I moved on to another teacher. but to Quote Tony Dismukes "For those of us who are interested in history, it can help understand the background and development of what we study."

2000-2015 Past Lineage (American Kenpo/Wing Chun)
?? Mystery??? ----> Mike Agbay ----> Me
2014-Current Lineage (Ed Parker's American Kenpo)
Chow --> Ed Parker -->Gilbert Velez ---> Doreen Direnzo (Coogliandro) ---> Dave Staples ----> Me
 
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