One of the things you may be asked as a martial artist is to describe your lineage. Lineage is normally used to describe one’s ancestry, how the “line” of your ancestors is connected to you. The concept of Lineage can also be applied to the path of knowledge from teachers long ago to one’s direct teachers. A friend of mine, (the late) Dr. Marc Lewis, who was also the first president of the American Bando Association, could trace his academic lineage all the way to Gallileo.

Having a lineage indicates a level of authenticity to your basis of knowledge, and being able to describe it shows your appreciation and respect for those before you. If someone claims to have a deep knowledge of an area and is not able to trace their lineage of learning, it’s possible that some of what they claim to know (or to be able to do) is not fundamentally sound.

Jim Sheeran and I are proud of our lineage in Bando. Our primary teacher is Grand Master R. Joe Manley; our other teachers include Grandmaster Lloyd Davis and Sayaji Errol Younger. We also have benefitted from others in Bando who have been teachers. For me, I also trace my lineage to Grand Masters Rick Suskind (cobra system) and Duvon Winborne (monk system). All of these named teachers had as their primary instructor Grand Master U. Maung Gyi. Going even further back, the ABA Website documents Dr. Gyi’s lineage to the teachers that he studied with.

For those of you who are part of Piedmont Bando of Northern Virginia, you can trace your lineage to Jim and me, and from us to Dr. Gyi. And if you are in another school, I hope that you are able to trace your lineage and to be able to share it proudly.