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Thread: Lineages

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    Default Lineages

    I went to the Wonder Valley camp this last weekend and it got me thinking about lineages.

    They aren't as clear cut as I thought they were.

    It seems that everybody has been in and around and under everybody else at one time or another. This is what I'm figuring out so far. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

    I knew that Planas and Wedlake were closely connected, but are not any longer.
    Dian Tanaka used to be under Tatum, but is now under either Wedlake or Planas (or at least closely associated)

    Wedlake was on the ground floor of the CKF with Sean Kelley.
    Wedlake was also part of the AKKS (or whatever it was called then) with Speakman and Sepulveda.
    Bryan Hawkins was also part of that association years ago but isn't any longer.

    Sepulveda used to be under Tatum.
    Sean Kelley used to be under Wedlake and Planas, but is now under Mike Pick.
    Bob Liles was under Tatum and under Mike Pick for awhile.
    LaBounty seems to be on good terms with everybody.
    Speakman used to be under Tatum.


    It just seems that so many of the seniors have been connected in a variety of ways that lineage shouldn't matter so much.

    No real point, I suppose. Just thinkin'.

    --Amy
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    Default Re: Lineages

    Greetings.

    I think that what you've noticed is very important.

    One thing... if lineage really doesn't matter much... what does?

    Another thing... the learning spirit makes you want to learn as much as possible from every possible source you can get your hands on... and then you have to "make it your own" or integrate it into your pool of knowledge and skills...

    So sometimes that integration makes you grow in other directions that the people that originally taught you...

    And remember... many of these peoplw you mentioned were peers. That means that you share and then with the things shared you do your own thing.

    This goes back to the point that people have different criteria for judging others... many times it is not performance. It's lineage, looks (not movements) or other things.

    Thanks for the post... very important thigs to consider.

    Juan M. Mercado

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    Default Re: Lineages

    A couple of thoughts.

    I am aware of Mr. Planas' thoughts concerning Mr. Wedlake's promotion to 10th. That's enough for me.

    Ms. Tanaka, as I understand it, went for more than a decade performing no martial art. If this is true, it makes me wonder why anyone would consider her a 'senior'. As for whom it is from which she claims she studies; after such an absence, it must be political.

    Sean Kelley seems an odd choice for a desription of a senior - he is much too young - isn't he about 40 years old? His mention in "The Journey" and on all of these types of messages speaks to political acumen.

    As for the others you mention, all good names, about which I have no thoughts. I think I have only met Mr. Liles (maybe).

    All these people may be very competent. I got very lucky when I signed up with a student of Mr. Planas.

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    Default Re: Lineages

    [quote=michaeledward;57212]I am aware of Mr. Planas' thoughts concerning Mr. Wedlake's promotion to 10th. That's enough for me.
    quote]

    I find it interesting to see that you are aware of Mr. Planas' thoughts about something that hasn't happened. Mr. Wedlake accepted a 9th last October with the acclamations and blessings of many 9th and 10ths around the world. If Mr. Planas chose not to support the promotion, that's fine. Unfortunately, I have noticed that many of those who have been around the longest have a long history of splitting up over various issues. I have also noted that lately some of them have been mending fences and renewing old friendships. I can only hope this trend continues. I have a great deal of respect for both Mr. Planas and Mr. Wedlake. I have attended seminars put on by both of these gentlemen and learned much from each. As a lowly brown belt I am content to learn from whoever will teach me, and I am confident that all of the instructors Amy mentioned could help me to improve my kenpo.

    Troy

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    Default Re: Lineages

    Was it 9th ? ... oh ... ... silly me.

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    Default Re: Lineages

    I have some insights, ideas and offerings, but you might not like them. They revolve around upper echelon members of the kenpo community being also human. They involve awareness of some of the fences that unmended, around what issues, and how they are re-mending. Ultimately, they involve some insider views on the politics of kenpo...some money driven, some personality conflicts, some just simply issues of convenience and others issues of integrity.

    There were a lot of "social climbers" competing for space around Mr. Parker's periphery...folks who came around just to rub elbows and hope for advancement based on networking. Some guys mentioned above are defiinitely social climbers. Some are lifers with such a commitment to maintaining a traceable thread back to the excellence Mr. Parker wanted from leadership. Some of the splits were over the almighty dollar, some over personal issues; it is up to them to identifiy themselves if they so choose.

    Some kenpo seniors, in my mind, have sought to lead by example via putting their nose to the grindstone and trying to improve and pass on the art they learned from Mr. Parker, or their interpretation of it. LaBounty, White, Chap'el, Sepulveda, Trejo, and many others come to mind. Some "semi-seniors" (guys who were there, but were NOT 6ths or 7ths at the time of Mr. Parkers passing) are committed to growing the art, but many have given over to serving their ego under the disguise of growing the art.

    Kenpo has politics; it's inevitable. Lineages will always reflect the politics of whatever day in past reference is being referred to. I have myself been embroiled in some of the silly politics, but have always uiltimately just wanted to learn good kenpo from different guys with intriguing takes on it. I'm a bit of an A-hole and a perfectionist, so I've only trained under the guidance of Dinosaurs -- none available? I'll do without. They have all been kind, good men with their hearts in the right place, even if they managed to make enemies along the way.

    As a shrink, I buried myself into family systems theory for a spell. Families are pretty much all dysfunctional in some way, and alliances are fickle beasts that change with the development and interests of the involved parties. Kenpo is a big, extended dysfunctional family. Fickle alliances, and all.

    For now, I'm working with some good folks with excellent hearts and strong ethics. I have excellent instructors and mentors who continue to demonstrate what the high road should look like. I also have some wiggly lineages from which I learned some really good stuff (mob enforcers, guys who bought their rank but were super-talented anyway), some AAA pedigree lineages from which I learned questionable quality stuff, and some pristine lineages from which I've learned some really neat kenpo (concepts from Parker; stronger basics, sparring, & living commitments from White; advanced mechanics & supportive concepts from Chap'el). I've been on the mat with the best, and am grateful for it.

    So here's what I'm getting to...

    In general: If you're a kenpoist, what are you going to do to improve your kenpo, and pass it on to the next generation?

    In specific: Amy. I know you've had some lineage switches in recent history, some supportable, some questionable, depending on who you talk to. Ultimately, what are YOU going to do to pass on your commitment to excellence to your students? How good your students are will not be evident in a pedigree alone; you could have been a 1st gen immediately under Parker, and still turn out crappy kenpo kids. So, along the lines of "live your commitment so that anybody looking from the outside, in, immediately gets it", what will you do to ensure -- regardless of whose association or name is on their certificates other than your own -- that your students -- your kenpo kids -- can walk with justifiable confidence that the skills they possess are top notch A#1?

    My great grandfather is in my lineage; he was a crook, a killer, a thug and a thief, and they tarred and feathered him at the county line. His kid improved on his life, and built America during the depression and the 2nd world war. My immediate parent on that side bettered himself still, becoming a ground-breaking nuclear physics researcher and systems analysis guru. As his kid, I think I'm falling backwards down the high mountain he built, and hope to correct for this. I don't have kids, but if I did, part of my commitment to them would be to provide a stronger parenting experience for them than mine provided for me. I do have kenpo kids, so to speak, and live that commitment for them. To give them the same or better kenpo experience (depending on the quality of the original material I'm passing on), with the admonition to them to do better still.

    In time, the only lineage we have that really matters is our own.

    Regards,

    Dave
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    Default Re: Lineages

    Hi Dave,

    I'm quite comfortable with what I'm passing on and I am also quite comfortable with my commitment to excellence.

    This feels a lot like an unnecessary lecture to me and I don't especially appreciate it.

    The only thing you wrote that seems at all relevent is the last sentence.

    --Amy

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Dave in da house View Post
    In general: If you're a kenpoist, what are you going to do to improve your kenpo, and pass it on to the next generation?

    In specific: Amy. I know you've had some lineage switches in recent history, some supportable, some questionable, depending on who you talk to. Ultimately, what are YOU going to do to pass on your commitment to excellence to your students? How good your students are will not be evident in a pedigree alone; you could have been a 1st gen immediately under Parker, and still turn out crappy kenpo kids. So, along the lines of "live your commitment so that anybody looking from the outside, in, immediately gets it", what will you do to ensure -- regardless of whose association or name is on their certificates other than your own -- that your students -- your kenpo kids -- can walk with justifiable confidence that the skills they possess are top notch A#1?

    In time, the only lineage we have that really matters is our own.
    The New Kenpo Continuum Book is now accepting submissions for volume 2. Our fabulous, ever-changing website is Sacramento Kenpo Karate.
    I'm a member of the Universal Life Church and the ULC Seminary. I'm also a Sacramento Wedding Minister and Disc Jockey
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    Default Re: Lineages

    I will also point out that I think at least a couple people in the initial list spent time under the Tracys, before moving over to Parker for various reasons. Just widening the picture a bit...
    Michael


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    Default Re: Lineages

    Quote Originally Posted by amylong View Post
    Hi Dave,

    I'm quite comfortable with what I'm passing on and I am also quite comfortable with my commitment to excellence.

    This feels a lot like an unnecessary lecture to me and I don't especially appreciate it.

    The only thing you wrote that seems at all relevent is the last sentence.

    --Amy
    Allow me to clarify: No lecture intended; merely observations to provide context around issues that have been in kenpo for a long time. Lineage is politics. The only thing that ultimately matters is our commitment to our students; our commitment to excellence as teachers, directed to you solely as the person who started this thread, with the attempt of adding meaning by relating it to personal references within the realm of your personal experiences. No hidden agendas; no innuendoes; no lectures.

    I mentioned your split as being questionable depending on who you asked, because at the time you joined AKKS, there were critics of your decision on this and other fora. Personally, I don't care. It affects me not, but to say it was without speed-bumps might not be entirely accurate, and this is what I was referring to. Nothing more; nothing less. Again, a pattern often repeated in kenpo politics (reference Mr. Kelley's frequent switches, and the response he gets on KenpoNet each time he changes affiliations).

    Nothing in my post was intended to challenge you, minimize your choice, demean your position, nor raise your hackles. If you're getting that, let's clear it up in plainspeak so there are no misunderstandings or unecessary hard feelings.

    Regards,

    Dave
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    Default Re: Lineages

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Dave in da house View Post
    Allow me to clarify: No lecture intended; merely observations to provide context around issues that have been in kenpo for a long time. Lineage is politics. The only thing that ultimately matters is our commitment to our students; our commitment to excellence as teachers, directed to you solely as the person who started this thread, with the attempt of adding meaning by relating it to personal references within the realm of your personal experiences. No hidden agendas; no innuendoes; no lectures.

    I mentioned your split as being questionable depending on who you asked, because at the time you joined AKKS, there were critics of your decision on this and other fora. Personally, I don't care. It affects me not, but to say it was without speed-bumps might not be entirely accurate, and this is what I was referring to. Nothing more; nothing less. Again, a pattern often repeated in kenpo politics (reference Mr. Kelley's frequent switches, and the response he gets on KenpoNet each time he changes affiliations).

    Nothing in my post was intended to challenge you, minimize your choice, demean your position, nor raise your hackles. If you're getting that, let's clear it up in plainspeak so there are no misunderstandings or unecessary hard feelings.

    Regards,

    Dave
    Good Stuff Dave. I was reading this thread and got to Amy's last post and thought it was heading downhill. Good stuff tying it all together (your clarification is exactly how I was reading your initial textbook disguised as a post ). Reminds me why I chuckle everytime someone asks me the "lineage" question.
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    Default Re: Lineages

    From my own personal experience, lineage matters a lot. My Kenpo lineage is very similar to MichaelEdward's, but when I had the good fortune to work out on the mat with Mike, I learned that some of the techs that I learned were very different than the ones that he learned. I later found out from my former instructor that some techs had been changed, sometimes to accommodate the needs of children.

    Mike has also relayed a time when Mrs. Cogliandro hosted invitationals in Boston (2003 I think) and, while unplanned, all of the presenting instructors happened to dig in to the same singular technique to demonstrate and dissect. Mike has mentioned in other threads that some of the executions didn't even look like Kenpo.

    While there are political ramifications to lineage, there is much more to lineage than arguments over whether X is better than Y. Kenpo is principles of motion, and it is one's lineage....all the way from SGM Parker down to one's individual instructor...that determines precisely what those principles are.

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    Default Re: Lineages

    Quote Originally Posted by michaeledward View Post
    Was it 9th ? ... oh ... ... silly me.
    Not silly just....proactive. The day will likely come when Mr. Wedlake gets promoted to 10th and you'll already know what Mr. Planas thinks about it

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    Default Re: Lineages

    Quote Originally Posted by amylong View Post

    It seems that everybody has been in and around and under everybody else at one time or another. This is what I'm figuring out so far. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

    I knew that Planas and Wedlake were closely connected, but are not any longer.
    Dian Tanaka used to be under Tatum, but is now under either Wedlake or Planas (or at least closely associated)

    Wedlake was on the ground floor of the CKF with Sean Kelley.
    Wedlake was also part of the AKKS (or whatever it was called then) with Speakman and Sepulveda.
    Bryan Hawkins was also part of that association years ago but isn't any longer.

    Sepulveda used to be under Tatum.
    Sean Kelley used to be under Wedlake and Planas, but is now under Mike Pick.
    Bob Liles was under Tatum and under Mike Pick for awhile.
    LaBounty seems to be on good terms with everybody.
    Speakman used to be under Tatum.


    It just seems that so many of the seniors have been connected in a variety of ways that lineage shouldn't matter so much.

    No real point, I suppose. Just thinkin'.

    --Amy
    Good post Amy. I agree.

    The other point that isn't mentioned much is that:

    What good is lineage if you don't do anything with it? What I mean is that your lineage doesn't make you good. It will only provide the tools to be good - YOU have to do the work. If I trained directly under Bruce Lee in his school but never took the time to practice on my own, people might be surprised to hear that I am one of Bruce Lee's students, based on my skills.

    Here is a non-martial arts example. If I attend university, and go to my lectures once per week, but don't take the time to study, to do my homework, or prepare for exams, I probably won't do well in the course (regardless of how world reknown by professor is).
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    Default Re: Lineages

    Quote Originally Posted by profesormental View Post

    Another thing... the learning spirit makes you want to learn as much as possible from every possible source you can get your hands on... and then you have to "make it your own" or integrate it into your pool of knowledge and skills...

    So sometimes that integration makes you grow in other directions that the people that originally taught you...
    Oscar De La Hoya is a prime example of that. He has switched coaches many times over his career because he felt he needed the change. Some will say that is a lack of loyalty, but he has done what he has felt best to get to the top. It obviously worked for him as he will go down as one of the top boxers during this era.
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    Default Re: Lineages

    Quote Originally Posted by michaeledward View Post

    Sean Kelley seems an odd choice for a desription of a senior - he is much too young - isn't he about 40 years old? His mention in "The Journey" and on all of these types of messages speaks to political acumen.
    You are certainly entitled to your opinion, but knowing Sean's training history, and the type of leader that he is, sorry but he deserves to be on that list.
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    Default Re: Lineages

    Quote Originally Posted by Seabrook View Post
    Oscar De La Hoya is a prime example of that. He has switched coaches many times over his career because he felt he needed the change. Some will say that is a lack of loyalty, but he has done what he has felt best to get to the top. It obviously worked for him as he will go down as one of the top boxers during this era.
    I've had a number of different instructors over the years for a variety of reasons (moving, having kids, having cancer, school, etc.) and I've found that each one has something different to offer. Or at least they all had something different that I gleaned from them.

    It's interesting because I've had one teacher for six months and he made my list of influential teachers, while others I've had for the same amount of time only made my lists of 'places I went to keep somewhat in shape until I found a good school.'

    --Amy
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    Default Re: Lineages

    Quote Originally Posted by KenpoJuJitsu3 View Post
    Good Stuff Dave. I was reading this thread and got to Amy's last post and thought it was heading downhill. Good stuff tying it all together (your clarification is exactly how I was reading your initial textbook disguised as a post ). Reminds me why I chuckle everytime someone asks me the "lineage" question.
    Clearly I hadn't had enough sleep when I read his first post. Since my name was highlighted, it just sorta felt person. (You mean it's not all about me?) lol.

    I do agree that it's what we do with what we learn that's important. I believe that was intended as my initial point, but I didn't make it very well.

    --Amy
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    Default Re: Lineages

    I think all the discussion about lineages is good stuff, to a point. Even though I'm in a kenpo school, we've aligned ourselves more with CMA than with kenpo, for a number of reasons. Even though I do have a private instructor, for all practical purposes my lineage is SGM Parker, GM Al Tracy, GM Richard Lee, me. As a result, I'm kind of looking at this discussion from the outside. Changes of lineage, mixing of lineages, etc., is a fun, academic lesson in the history of kenpo.

    Given that perspective, when we're talking about lineages, it appears that a lot of discussion has to do with prestige points. Personally, I think what's even more important is how's the quality of what you're learning? Does the particular senior's approach to kenpo fit your needs? What works for one, may not work for another. I think those two questions are more important than what the lineage back to SGM Parker is, even though it's a great topic of discussion. Just my two cents.
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    Default Re: Lineages

    Quote Originally Posted by jdinca View Post
    Changes of lineage, mixing of lineages, etc., is a fun, academic lesson in the history of kenpo.

    Given that perspective, when we're talking about lineages, it appears that a lot of discussion has to do with prestige points. Personally, I think what's even more important is how's the quality of what you're learning? Does the particular senior's approach to kenpo fit your needs? What works for one, may not work for another. I think those two questions are more important than what the lineage back to SGM Parker is, even though it's a great topic of discussion. Just my two cents.

    My thoughts on starting this thread was just noticing how the lineages are somewhat academic since everybody seems to have spent time with everyone else.

    I absolutely agree that it's what you get from your instructor that counts. If you connect with your instructor and if you can relate to the teaching style, as well as whether the information you're getting is valid.

    That's actually what I experienced this last weekend. I went to a camp that was hosted by people of a totally different lineage and I got such great information and met such terrific people that it really seems like lineage just doesn't matter.

    --Amy
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    Default Re: Lineages

    Greetings.

    This generation of Kenpoka, Kenpoists, Martial Scientists, etc., i.e. mostly practitioners that are less than 40 years old,

    I've noticed that we have a huge pool of resources that we put to use, and this includes a wide range of materials, seminars, camps, intensives, sourse, classes from many different trainers, masters, seniors, etc.

    Thus for us, I really think that the lineage thing is mostly meaningless.

    This is because we will have trained with some many teachers that...

    our training mentor is us. WE choose our teachers, what we learn and from whom. That brings that responsability of our performance more into our hands than ever, since we even have control over our teachers.

    Does that make sense?

    My point is that lineage in my experience amounts to almost nothing. Being grateful and acknowledging those that taught you and giving credit were it is due...

    THAT means something to me.

    You personal desire and drive to become better than yesterday, every day...

    THAT means something to me.

    Putting your money where your mouth is and your foot where you say it will go...

    THAT may hurt. Which I enjoy!

    SIncerely,

    Juan M. Mercado

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