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Frequently Asked Questions

I often hear martial arts people speak of their Family Tree. I am a new member and don't understand the importance of this. Many in the martial arts keep asking me about my family tree. I have no answers, can you explain this to me?

L ately, in America, people are becoming more aware of their own family heritage. Many seek out information about their great grandparents — who they were, where they came from, or what they may have achieved in life. People are always looking for a connection to the past as well as seeking more information about their bloodline.

In China, as in many other places in the world, a family tree holds a place of importance. In Chinese Kung Fu we use a tree to trace a student's heritage. It shows from whom and where a student learned his art. Having a good lineage from some noted master brings to the student a sense of dignity and honor. Many schools display their family free to show they are indeed proud to be members of a particular family of martial artists.

Another question should be asked. Assuming you have a tree in existence, does it necessarily reflect absolute truth? The answer is an absolute no. At best, you can use a family free to determine that an individual mentioned on the tree may have some connection to that lineage. It fails to mention any specifics about the person in question. Therefore, one should only look at a family tree as an indicator of possible experience, not as the last word on it.In general, though, a family tree is a good thing to have.

However, remember that the greatest masters may be seldom seen or heard from. You may hear a name whispered among martial artists, and see it nowhere else. His or her name may not be listed on any family tree, for nobody knows from where the master came, or where the master is going. This is the one to seek.

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