The concept of lineage has always been a critical part of martial arts. Just as warriors would ask you who your master was and what style you train in any late 70's Hong Kong Kung Fu movie, so do we now ask the guy wearing a TapOut tee shirt in Starbucks where (or if) he trains, etc. If I train Drunken Style and you train Monkey Style, but our masters are friends, then we are friends. We could go on an adventure together seeking revenge or maybe enter a secret fighting-to-the-death competition. That's how it works.
In BJJ, if we find out we have similar lineage (e.g., our coaches trained together or we are both RCJJ Machado-related), we have a bond. It's like being cousins or something. It also lends to a grappler's credibility if he can show he trains with respected coaches. All of it ... is very important and also natural to what we do as martial artists.
Jean Jacques Machado was promoted to red/black belt (7th degree) this week. It was a small affair attended in part by John Machado, Dan Inosanto, my coach, Renato Magno, Kron Gracie and, of course, Rickson Gracie. As you my already know, Rickson awarded the belt to Jean Jacques. From the looks of it, there was some light rolling that occurred. This, grapplers, is what Jiu Jitsu is all about and one of the many things that makes it great. Your Jiu Jitsu is your heritage.
So, if you we meet me and we find out our coaches trained together back in the day - you and I, grappler - we can definitely go on a vigilante rampage together or take on a small army of ninjas. Your choice.
Take a look at some great photos shot by our friend and teammate, John Lamonica. These pics say it all.