The Master is not a form, nor a name, it’s an indication that directs you to where you come from.

Karate, has been passed down from generation to generation, and with each new generation building on the knowledge and experience of the previous one.
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One of the fundamental aspects of traditional karate is its emphasis on lineage and the importance of maintaining the teachings of our predecessors.
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Traditional lineage refers to the transmission of knowledge and techniques from teacher to student. This transmission is not just limited to the physical techniques of karate, but includes values, ethics, and philosophy.
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In many traditional dojo, lineage is seen as a vital aspect for authenticity and integrity. The knowledge, principles and techniques of a certain individual or group have been preserved and passed down from generation to generation.
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A traditional lineage, instills a sense of respect and reverence for our predecessors. Karate is not just a physical practice, but a way of life. By maintaining a strong sense of lineage, practitioners are reminded of the importance of certain values and are motivated to live up to the standards set by our predecessors.
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It can also foster a sense of community and belonging. Practitioners who can trace their lineage back to the same teacher or school often feel a strong connection to one another. This connection is based on a shared history and a common set of values, and can be a source of support and inspiration.
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However, people should not mistake lineage for ability. There are a number of people who claim that just because they have trained with a given person, that it legitimizes what they do. Whereas, the only real measure is how effective your martial art is, and how competent students are as a whole.
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Asking practitioners and instructors about their lineage to ascertain their ability, is flawed, because the lineage maybe politically motivated, financial, or not based on ability.
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Another problem with lineage is when it is used to stifle progress. If potential developments and improvements are shunned in a desire to keep a pure lineage, then that will ultimately lead to stagnation.
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Lineage as a by-product of quality instruction has to be positive. Lineage as political control, bias, or as means to discourage progress, is on the other hand, not a good idea.
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A traditional lineage can be a fundamental aspect of karate, and everyone has a lineage, of sorts. All of us have learned what we know from someone. Assuming that there has been direct instruction, then there will be links to a previous generation. The question becomes at what point is that link legitimate?
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A practitioner who has only trained for a couple of years with a particular instructor, his skills and depth of knowledge will be below par. His students may come to realize that there are things that they want to know that he can’t provide.
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People should not mistake lineage for ability, knowledge and understanding. Just because someone claims they have trained with a given person, it does not legitimize what they do.
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Good technique, understanding, or ability, doesn’t necessarily come with lineage. But responsibility for a ‘Ryu’, historical, and cultural issues and interests do.
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The martial arts is also a business, and as the number of schools rise, the quality of any given school can vary. Teaching a martial art is not only teaching movements; it is also about passing down values and lessons, creating a nurturing environment and letting people grow physically, mentally, and spiritually.
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Is it better to hear that; “You have a good lineage” or “You have a good teacher”?
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Relying on lineage alone can blinker you to genuinely excellent teachers. In my experience, claims of lineage and martial arts politics often go hand in hand. When they do it’s never a good thing.
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The most important thing is honesty and the quality of training. Lineage can legitimize, depending on the art, and a good historical lineage can be fascinating. Lineage (or a legacy) is often claimed, and it is presumed as some sort of endorsement….. unfortunately in many cases, that may not be the case.
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