Blog Archive

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Review: Martial Arts Lineage Project

I don't know that I've ever done a review of a website before. First time for everything.

The Martial Arts Lineage Project is an online database, similar to a Wiki, and designed specifically for the martial arts community. Tim Johnson, the site's creator, seems to have set himself the goal of creating a resource where just about any martial artist could trace the lineage of their instructor, find out how different instructors are connected, and so on. It's an interesting idea.

Much like Wikipedia or similar projects, the Martial Arts Lineage Project is largely dependent on user-created and -edited content. Which means, not surprisingly, some entries are significantly more robust than others. At the moment, the site seems heavily weighted towards Chinese, Japanese, and Okinawan arts, but that may just be a reflection of both Johnson's personal experiences, and the large number of people practicing those styles. Assuming the site takes off, I imagine the database could become quite comprehensive.

The site is reasonably easy to interact with, though I confess I never tried editing anything. I did experiment with searching for both of my main instructors, Mark Dellagrotte (name mispelled as Dellagrotti), and Tony Blauer (who is in there by name only). If I get around to trying to edit or add information, I'll update this review accordingly.

The site also includes a podcast, where Tim interviews various personalities from around the martial arts community. I listened to a few of them...some were pretty interesting, but I didn't have the wherewithal to go through the entire archive.

My only concern with the site is that, without any kind of editorial process in place, it could become a place where people with false claims can promote themselves and even use it as a way to legitimize those claims. I may have missed something in the site, but as near as I can tell, there is no fact-checking process there. If someone wants to purport to be the surviving head of a non-existent ninja clan, they're free to do so.

Still, the site is an interesting project, and it could turn into a valuable resource as it grows. Worth taking a look at.

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