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Pedigree? Shmedigree.

Elevating Martial Arts Skills Through Targeted Training

Pedigree? Shmedigree.

It has been several years since the “F*ck Your Lineage” video was released, and now a once major training organization that has built its marketing around being “not a martial art” has proclaimed pedigree to be canon. So, should martial arts instructors be evaluated by who they were instructed by? Can the best martial arts instructors only be developed through certain coaches?  

Pedigree is about straight lines: royalty, dog breeds, and martial arts are typical examples. It’s about denying outside influences to such a degree that debilitating health maladies are inevitable. Whether it’s limb malformation, hip dysplasia, or blind allegiance to a figurehead, this inbreeding favors form over function. It’s not about what “works” but rather how something appears or makes one feel or because that’s how it’s always been.

Here’s the thing: pedigree matters to the individual. It can be a source of pride to have worked with someone the individual has deemed worthy of respect. However, pedigree is about the past and says little about the individual’s ability to execute or teach others to do so in the present. In this case, past is not prologue.

A much better barometer, especially as it relates to a person or organization that one is looking to for leadership, curriculum, training methodology, tactics, etc., in the realm of realistic self-defense, is: What does their training look like now? The past one/two/five years? And what are they planning for the next five years? What are they DOING?

When an organization has built a house of cards on pedigree, denying the absolute need for continuing education from outside subject matter experts, it has no choice but to espouse the absolute virtue of “pedigree” while simultaneously speaking of “disloyalty” and “lack of understanding” to anyone who questions such a flawed approach (maybe their next certification is “how to win a debate in only three logical fallacies.”) Pedigree HAS to matter most to them.

So, if the people at the top of your “reality-based self-defense” organization are not regularly training and teaching on mats, on gun ranges, in sim rooms, and the like with people who bring a different perspective, if they are inventing new ways to take your money, if they are talking about everything except their training, that organization has lost its way. It cannot help you achieve your teaching and training goals. It cannot improve your life. Caveat emptor, indeed.

About the Author

Ryan Hoover is the Founder and Chief Instructor for Fit to Fight®. He has extensive knowledge in Krav Maga, Wrestling, Muay Thai, Kickboxing, and other fighting arts. Ryan is a 2nd Degree Krav Maga black belt, the founder of Fit to Fight® Modern Krav Maga™, and a BJJ Black Belt.