Generations?

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Generations?

Postby Jasok » Fri May 19, 2017 5:15 pm

I don't totally understand how generations are being calculated. A first generation person studied directly with GMW correct? So then each successive student that becomes an instructor under (for example) a first gen is then a second gen......correct or not?
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Re: Generations?

Postby bigpappa » Fri May 19, 2017 5:58 pm

I've always understood that what you described to mean exactly that. A first gen master studied and was promoted directly by Jimmy Woo. A second or third gen would be someone promoted by someone other than Jimmy.

There are some interesting caveats, though. Back in the day, Jimmy used to require all black belts to be awarded by himself, and not by instructors teaching at the various studios that were in operation. So a studio owner could promote a student as far a brown belt, but the black belt was awarded by Jimmy himself after he determined that the student met the criteria at the time. He often traveled around to the various studios, sometimes taught, and sometimes promoted. Other times the students had to go to his school in El Monte to receive their black belt.

So you have black belts that say they received their black belt from Jimmy Woo, which is literally a true statement, however they spent the vast bulk of their training under a different instructor at a studio other than El Monte. So would it be correct to say they were a first gen black belt? I suppose so. Later there were too many black belts and studios around for Jimmy to manage all that, and he allowed studio owners to promote to black belt.

Once they got their black belts, though, they had to train at Jimmy's to earn their degrees. At some point it became ok for studio owners to start awarding degrees of black belt, but someone else on here would probably be able to tell you when (Ron Gatewood?). So I would presume that any of those black belts that earned their master ranks from a person other than Jimmy would then be a second gen, third gen, etc.

I myself would be interested for historical purposes to know that approximate years when these various changes all took place. Again, I think Ron would be the resident expert on this, but maybe somebody else would know as well?
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Re: Generations?

Postby Jasok » Sat May 20, 2017 9:44 am

Thanks bigpappa - You also went right into the caveat that I was going to ask next as I was confused about all that and cleared it all right up. :D
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Re: Generations?

Postby bigpappa » Mon May 22, 2017 3:30 pm

My second San Soo instructor, and the one that I earned my black belt from falls into the category of trained elsewhere, but got his black belt from Jimmy.

There is a lot of sniping that goes on regarding the various masters out there. They will say things like "Jimmy only promoted him because he felt sorry for him," or "he just showed up to class a lot so he finally got promoted, but Jimmy told me that his San Soo really wasn't that good..."

My $.02 on this if its worth anything because I met Jimmy only twice and I was around 18 years old and didn't even talk to him (was too much in awe) is that Jimmy knew full well what he was doing when he promoted anybody. He knew that hanging a black belt on a student, or promoting a black belt to master would reflect on him and his school. Jimmy knew that this person would possibly open their own school (if they didn't have one already), and represent the art that he had worked so hard to establish in the USA. I don't think he gave anybody a master rank that in his eyes didn't meet the criteria of having put in the time, received the lessons, and could execute the lessons with the degree of proficiency required to be worthy of that rank. So my opinion is that if they got any belt from Jimmy at all, much less a master rank, they are legit.

That doesn't mean that I don't have opinions about their individual ability or teaching style, but that's a different subject.

Did those conversations between a black belt and Jimmy about their peers happen? Maybe. I'm not going to call anybody a liar. However, I would suggest that that person who Jimmy said those things to be introspective and think about why Jimmy told them those things in the first place. Was he really treating them as a confidant or a friend, or was he really trying to send a message to them in very infuriatingly obtuse and oblique way that Chinese people tend to communicate sometimes?
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