Generation X...or Y...or Z?
I wrote this blog awhile ago but I decided to repost it after receiving word that a particular JKD instructor asked someone who was certified as an instructor by someone else, "What are you under him for? Why don't you come under me? I'm a first generation guy."
Here is the original blog:
Someone wrote to me the other day concerning the idea of “lineage” in JKD, and questioning what “generation” they were. They told me that they assumed that they were one generation whereas someone from another faction told them they were another.
My response to them was that it all depends on how a person defines what each generation is; how you break it down. The way some people look at it is that as Bruce Lee was the founder of Jeet Kune Do, people such as Taky Kimura, James Lee, Dan Inosanto, and Ted Wong would be classified as first generation students. I, as a direct student of Dan Inosanto, would be second generation, and my students would then be third generation. If, however, one views Bruce Lee as the first generation, then Dan, Taky, and Ted would be classified as second generation, I would be third generation, and my students fourth generation.
We often hear that the closer the person is in the lineage the greater the knowledge they supposedly will possess. This is usually put out there to establish the individual’s own status in the JKD hierarchy and the JKD marketplace. However, such is not necessarily the case, especially when it comes to Jeet Kune Do. JKD is an art where the individual has to do the work for themselves. I have met some individuals who trained as direct students of Bruce Lee, whose knowledge and understanding is to some extent quite limited. On the other hand I have met people who are several steps down the “generation” ladder who have a deep comprehension and understanding of JKD. In the same way that some families have several generations of writers, painter, musicians, etc., sometimes a generation or two further down the line might possess and exhibit greater knowledge, skill or talent than the members of a preceding generation.
In the end, it really doesn’t matter what “generation” a person is. What matters is the knowledge, expertise, and teaching ability they possess with regard to JKD. The idea of status or where one stands in the JKD hierarchy or the JKD marketplace is something I honestly pay very little attention to. What truly matters, when it comes down to it, is whether or not they “get it.”
I find this subject quite amusing as I have heard such things for years. Now any of you reading this, please do not take offense or consider me blasphemous when I say, "Sorry, but not everyone who touched the robe of Christ was healed." In the same way, simply having known Bruce Lee or even having trained with for a period of time does not necessarily make a person a JKD instructor, and especially not necessarily a good one. Hence the reason for the above blog. So do not place such an emphasis on what generation the instructor is as compared to the knowledge the person possesses and what they can do for you as a student.