Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Roots and Branches

Over the weekend, we started a new study course with +W. Hock Hochheim Combatives - Pacific Archipelago Combat.  We will be taking this every other month for ten sessions.

Volcano not included.
 Image from Hock's site linked above.

My teacher studied with Hock for many years, and much of what he teaches today stems from what we learned in the first PAC seminar.  It was an amazing opportunity to work directly with one of the major influences on my teacher (and thus, me).  I missed the opportunity to train directly with Professor Remy Presas and GMM Roberto Presas, which will always be something I'll regret.

I've said before that I'm grateful that my art is modern - the basic facts of how my art developed are recent enough that it's well understood by most of us.  I have heard many stories of both Presas Brothers, from people who knew and studied with them.

But over time, many of these stories are going to be lost - are already lost, even, as some of the first generation students forget or pass on.  There will be some important leaders in the development of my art that will pass away to obscurity.  Some techniques that were once foundation techniques will be forgotten.

My art will change, maybe so much so that it won't even be recognizable as being the same as what the founders intended.

This is normal - most of our arts and lore of what we do has changed, because that's the nature of things.  Regular people - and that's what our founders were, regular people, with flaws - become lionized into becoming larger than life legends.

My art is not alone in this - your art, too, will have the same thing happen to it, as we get further and further away from the origin.

I get to work with the roots and immediate branches of my art - yours may be over a century removed, thus, you're working in the branches only, as the roots are far, far below where you are on the tree of your art.
Can you spot my branch?

But it's all the same tree.  I don't know that we have to worry so much about authenticity and how the founder intended things to be, as our modern context makes it really difficult to imagine it.  Time, politics, and omission makes it very difficult to understand, sometimes, the origins of what we do.

And that's okay, because the tree - it keeps growing.  That's the most important thing, isn't it?