The other day I received this question. “I would be interested to hear some of your lineage ?” In the world of traditional martial arts the reputation of your teacher is important but not as important as the reputation of his teacher’s teacher. My Jujitsu linage goes from Dai Nippon Butoku Kai established in 1895 to Master Mikonosuke Kawaishi who developed the Kawaishi system and taught Shihan Siguaud Ogrins, a member of the French Foreign Legion who taught Shihan Veader when he move to Boston after the war who instructed me. I only traced my linage back back 4 generations but I could go back 12 generations to the original Samurai Family. Four generations is usually acceptable.

During the course of this thread there where people that didn’t grasp why linage was important. They argued that as long a your current teacher was good that’s all that mattered. Linage is important because your apart of something bigger. You are helping not just to carry on but to add to a system that has saved countless lives over the years. A lot like EMS, and knowing that should give you respect for the knowledge that has been handed down for safe keeping. We also recognize the obligation to share this knowledge responsibly with the next generation of young warriors that will take what we teach them into harms way to protect the innocent form evil.

When your a 12th generation descendant of a warrior system you don’t take fighting lightly. When your Shihan’s teacher was in Vietnam for 4 years with the French Foreign Legion and had to rely on his hand to hand skills to take lives you become acutely aware of the consequences physical conflict.

Not knowing your teachers , teacher and the lesson he or she has contributed to the system you may start to think that being a warrior is the same as liking to fight or that being tough is the goal. You would realize that martial arts isn’t about conflict and combat instead, its about intense self examination and brutal honesty. You begin to understand that a true warrior is also a healer, poet, lover, statesman, diplomat and teacher. That a true warrior never uses their martial knowledge to impress or oppress and never for entertainment purposes. That skills that have been acquired must only be used to preserve and protect.

A long linage also proves that a system is sound. Up until the last 100 plus years all of mans conflicts have been hand to hand. The ability to shoot someone is relatively new to human conflict. So if a technique or combat principle was not sound it would die on the battlefield at the hands of a better technician or sounder combat principle. Traditional systems have survived time,politics, opponents, and wars. They survive because they work when needed, not in a cage for the entertainment of others but in a vacant house on patrol outnumbered that’s when it works.

Linage to some extent is a testament to the soundness of a system, only the most effective systems have survived. More accurately stated “should” survive, but then as now the systems that survived are the ones best marketed. Great marketing ensures large numbers of students and that helps to ensure long term survival. The systems that have been handed down from generation to generation on a small scale often disappear with a sudden unexpected event or a single generation of disinterest. If you train large numbers of people then students will go and open schools and teach students who will go on to open schools.

Times have not changed, take for example the modern MMA craze where students seek out the most accomplished teachers based on their reputations as fighters. In the past students sought out the most accomplished warriors based on their reputations. The linage of the system I am a student of has its instructors and students surviving many life and death battles from Feudal Japan to World War 2 to Vietnam to the mean streets of the South Side of Boston. Based on reputation I choose to study with Shihan Veader and learn this proven system of self defense.

What does this have to do with EMS and sadly nothing. I wish we ran EMS eduction and training as the martial arts do. Medical schools run that way. Johns Hopkins is not the best school because they have some secrets they teach their students that no one else knows. No, its their linage. They have a long line of accomplished doctors which is why they attract the best students.

It would be fascinating to learn about my instructor’s teacher. It would be cool to listen to people reminisce about the good ole days and learn where the knowledge I have came from and how it was acquired. I believe you learn a lot about your art and skills if you know where they came from. Being apart of a long linage forces you to appreciate that you are apart of something bigger and it’s important.

My EMS linage Bruce Wheeler to Mary Call to Lee Potter to Ken Batson who was taught by Carl Doring and Tom Skinner to Randy Stair to BCFD C shift . That’s a pretty good linage if you ask me.