[[quoteright:330:[[Manga/{{Naruto}} http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Naruto410.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:330:A proud tradition of {{Ninja}} and [[AnimeHair Hair-gel.]]]]
->''"You forget that he was once my apprentice, just as you were once his."''
-->-- '''Count Dooku''', regarding '''Qui-Gon Jinn''', to '''Obi-Wan Kenobi''', ''[[Film/AttackOfTheClones Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones]]''

In fiction, a common revelation is that the protagonist and antagonist were trained by the same mentor. This is occasionally taken even further by the revelation that another important character is the one who trained the mentor, and so on up the line.

When done well, this can add to the drama and development of the story and characters. It also allows for the comparing and contrasting of characters using similar skill sets at varying levels of mastery. When done badly, it can come off somewhere in the range of an AssPull or ContrivedCoincidence. Either way, it's generally a concession to the LawOfConservationOfDetail.

As noted above, an inevitable result of this chain, if it gets long enough, is one link having to fight another. Also, the problems of one of the prior masters may end up dropped in the lap of the latest disciple.

Chains should consist of at ''least'' three characters who can be connected in a straight line (in other words, character A trained character B who went on to train character C). The chain can branch out in more than one direction, but just one master training two apprentices doesn't count.

Depending on how Master Apprentice relationship is depicted, this can lead to not-blood related version of BadassFamily. See also APupilOfMineUntilHeTurnedToEvil. If two generations of such a chain team up, it's a StudentAndMasterTeam; see also RuleOfTwo. Frequently deals with the SempaiKohai dynamic.
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!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder: Anime & Manga ]]

* ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'', as pictured above: The First and Second Hokages (not pictured) > The Third Hokage > Jiraiya > the Fourth Hokage > Kakashi > Naruto > (informally) Konohamaru.
** Sasuke and Sakura connect to the chain as well through The Third Hokage's two fellow students, Orochimaru and Tsunade, who were also Jiraiya's former teammates.
** There's also the all important Jiraiya > Pain link. In fact, Pain thinks Naruto should consider him his [[SempaiKohai Sempai]].
** Not to mention Minato > Obito.
** From Iwagakure: Mu (Second Tsuchikage) > Onoki (Third Tsuchikage) > Deidara
* A smaller chain would be ''Manga/RanmaOneHalf'', with Happosai > Genma Saotome and Soun Tendo > Ranma Saotome and Akane Tendo.
* ''Manga/OnePiece's'': [[TheHero Luffy's]] pirate role model Red-Haired Shanks was once an apprentice pirate on the ship of the Pirate King Gold Roger. They even [[spoiler:passed down the same hat.]]
* ''Manga/{{Dragonball}}'' provides several good chains.
** The primary one begins with Mutaito, who taught Masters Shen and Roshi, the Crane and Turtle Hermits. Master Roshi went on to train Son Gohan, Sr. and, between them, taught Son Goku. Finally, Goku found a disciple at the end of the series in Uub, the reincarnation of Majin Buu.
** As for the Crane Hermit, he went on to train Tenshinhan and Chiaotzu.
** One could also make an argument for Piccolo > Son Gohan > Videl.
** Master Roshi's other student, the Ox-King, taught his daughter Chi-Chi, who trained her second son, Son Goten.
** Also Goku(+ the teachings from his chain) and Piccolo (Namekian techniques) > Gohan > Goten, combined with Vegeta (Saiyan techniques) > Trunks gives Gotenks one of the most versatile move-set of the entire series, probably only passed by Cell who could use Frieza's techniques as well.
*** At some point before the "Son Goku and His Friends Return" special Gotenks also picks up Tien and Yamcha's moves, either by observation or training.
** In the alternate future (meaning, the future that would have happened without any time traveling arcs), Piccolo > Son Gohan > Trunks.
* The Hokuto Shinken style from ''Manga/FistOfTheNorthStar'' is passed on through a singular line of successors that spans over 1,800 years and 64 grand masters. At the tail end of the chain is Kenshiro, who inherited the deadly martial art from Ryuken (Kasumi Ramon), who succeeded his older brother Kasumi Kenshiro, main character of ''FistOfTheBlueSky'', who learned the art style from his father Kasumi Tesshin.
** It's worth noting that the chain has a number of offshoot links - each master of Hokuto Shinken teaches several students, but only one will learn the full art, while all the others must either abandon the style, be crippled, or die. Needless to say, not every student accepted those terms.
* In ''Anime/TenshiNiNarumon'' Mikael is a mentor to Noelle, just as Raphael was a mentor to him.
* There is an example in [[Anime/FullmetalAlchemist the 2003 anime version]] of ''Manga/FullmetalAlchemist''. Ed and Al were trained by Izumi, who was trained by Dante. The symbol on Ed's coat, Al's armor, Izumi's collarbone, and Dante's wall seems to be a sort of crest, to indicate who studied under whom.
* The ''Manga/SaintSeiya'' anime has the Aquarius Gold Saint > the Crystal Saint > Hyoga. In the Manga, Aquarius Camus was Hyoga's mentor instead.
* In the ''Manga/{{Saiyuki}}'' anime and manga series, this is how the Tenchi Kaigen [[PaperTalisman [=sutras=]]] are passed from one sanzo priest to another (at least in East Asia, it may work differently in Tibet). Of the current crop of sanzos, Ukoku and Genjyo both inherited their [=sutras=] directly from the sanzos who trained them, Koumyou and Goudai, respectively. Koumyou and Goudai both studied under Abbot Jikaku (not a sanzo but still one of the most powerful Buddhist priests in China up until his death) as novices, making a 3-generation chain on either side of the current Minus Wave conflict.
* In ''Manga/JoJosBizarreAdventure'', Tonpeti taught William A. Zeppeli, Dire and Straits the Ripple technique. Zeppeli went on to mentor Jonathan Joestar, shortly before Straits adopted and mentored Lisa Lisa, who decades later would teach William and Jonathan's grandsons, Caesar Zeppeli and Joseph Joestar. Dire had no successors that we know of.
* ''{{Manga/Bartender}}'': Wakui Tsubasa is at the end of the chain Kaze Gorou -> Sasakura Ryu -> Wakui Tsubasa, and is shown a great deal of respect as Kaze-sensei's first grand-apprentice.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Comic Books ]]

* In ''Comicbook/{{Daredevil}}'' Master Izo was one of The Hand's founders and a teacher of Stick, who was Matt's master.
* Franchise/{{Batman}} (Bruce Wayne) > Nightwing (Dick Grayson) > Robin (Damian Wayne)
** Batman #700 introduces a chain of Batmen: Bruce Wayne > Dick Grayson > Damian Wayne > [[ComicBook/BatmanBeyond Terry McGinnis]].

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Fan Fiction ]]

* ''FanFic/ThingsWeDontTellHumans'' provides several excellent chains, most of them involving [[OldMaster Terratron]] and Prowl at some point:
** Terratron --> Prowl --> Bluestreak, Sunstreaker, Sideswipe, Barricade, Bumblebee, Faust, Optimus Prime, others; Terratron --> Arcee, Chromia --> Elita-One; Terratron --> Prowl --> Sunstreaker --> Skids, Mudflap

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Film ]]

* From the prequel trilogy of ''Franchise/StarWars'' we learn that it goes: Yoda > Count Dooku > Qui-Gon Jinn > Obi-Wan Kenobi > Anakin Skywalker> Ahsoka Tano (Ahsoka is introduced in the ''WesternAnimation/StarWarsTheCloneWars'' animated series, which is declared to be the second highest level of canon below the movies.)
** In the original trilogy, on his deathbed Yoda entrusts Luke with passing down what he has learned from Obi-Wan and him, thus it becomes: Obi-Wan and Yoda > Luke Skywalker > The new Jedi.
** Darth Bane codifies this as the RuleOfTwo for the Sith, and they stick to it for over a millenium: Darth Bane> Darth Zannah > (lone Sith lords) > Darth Plagueis > Darth Sidious > Darths Maul, Tyranus, and Vader.
-->''"Two there should be; no more, no less. One to embody power, the other to crave it."''
** The [[Franchise/StarWarsExpandedUniverse Expanded Universe]] also subverts this, with Sidious and Vader each having other students, but none of them being "true" Sith apprentices. It also fills in several of the missing links in the chain between Bane and Plagueis.
* ''Film/{{Red}}'' brought up in this exchange when Moses has Cooper in an arm-lock;
--> '''Moses:''' Kordeski trained you?
--> '''Cooper:''' Yeah...
--> '''Moses:''' I trained Kordeski.
--> [''SNAP'']
* The ''Film/{{Rocky}}'' series has Mickey Goldmill > Rocky Balboa > Tommy Gunn (who later turns on Rocky in one of the standard plotlines associated with this trope).
** A proposed movie ''Creed'' would have Rocky train the grandson of his friend/rival Apollo Creed.
* It's not as obvious as the others, but ''Franchise/StarTrek'' has Christopher Pike > James T. Kirk > Hikaru Sulu. Chekov also appears to be a protegee of Kirk at first, but takes a different career path after the second movie (moving into Starfleet Intelligence rather than becoming a starship captain himself).
** StarTrekIntoDarkness introduces Fleet Admiral Alexander Marcus, who talked Christopher Pike into joining Starfleet.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Literature ]]

* ''Literature/RangersApprentice'' has a slightly unusual version. Halt trained Gilan. Gilan became a full Ranger, and Halt took on another apprentice, our protagonist Will. Gilan then at various points helped teach Will. Will himself has helped train a few apprentices, but briefly and he wasn't their master. WordOfGod says Will will not receive his own proper apprentice until the last book.
* ''Literature/MythAdventures'' gives us a chain consisting of Garkin and later Aahz > Skeeve > Massha
* ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles'' is developing a chain with Ebenzar [=McCoy=] > Harry Dresden > Molly Carpenter. [=McCoy=] also taught Harry's mother, and ''Turn Coat'' reveals that [=McCoy=] is part of a long one stretching back all the way to the original Merlin.
* Literature/HarryPotter received more than the standard Defence Against the Dark Arts training - Lupin, for example, gave him some exclusive tutelage. Harry then founded Dumbledore's Army and passed everything he knew to them. Later Neville, formerly a trainee of the D.A., continued Harry's legacy.
* Done by entire species in the ''Literature/{{Uplift}}'' series. A species is formally designated by its chain of uplifters and by those species it has uplifted, and a species' prestige in galactic society is largely determined by the prestige of their chain.
* The ''Literature/MatthewSwift'' series has Robert Bakker > Matthew Swift > Dana Mikeda; as of the end of the second book [[spoiler:Matthew has acquired another apprentice, Penny Ngwenya.]]
* In the ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'' novel ''Discworld/LordsAndLadies'', Granny Weatherwax lists a series of witches, her master, her master's master, etc. Subverted in that only one of those witches had even been mentioned in any other book.
** There's also John Keel > Sam Vimes > Sam Vimes (via time loop) > Virtually everyone else in the watch. And since Vimes's training is highly valued across the Disc, we can assume there are a few watchmen being trained by his graduates.
* Fitz of Creator/RobinHobb's ''[[Literature/RealmOfTheElderlings Farseer]]'' and ''Tawny Man'' trilogies is at the center of a few of these. Fitz was apprenticed, in different areas, to Verity, Burrich, and Chade; later, Fitz becomes master to [[spoiler: Verity's son Dutiful, Burrich's son Swift, and...Chade himself]].
* In ''Literature/CircleOfMagic'' and ''Circle Opens'' there's Lark > Sandry > Pasco, Niko > Tris > Keth (and maybe Glaki), Frostpine > Kirel & Daja > Nia & Jory, and Rosethorn > Briar > Evvy
* In Steve Perry's Literature/MatadorSeries, the chain of training in an unarmed martial combat form called "The 97 Steps" is Diamond > Pen > Khadaji > the Matadors. A [=Master/Apprentice=] reversal chain also figure into the works with Red teaching Khadaji to use spetsdods, then Khadaji teaching Red The 97 Steps. Additionally, one of the antagonists in the book, ''Literature/TheMachiavelliInterface'' Massey, is revealed to have learned under Khadaji as well, by enrolling in the Matador's training school.
* Since every clan cat in ''Literature/WarriorCats'' has a mentor, there are often long chains of apprentice to mentor. This can get really convoluted when cats switch clans, seeing as the more recent [=ThunderClan=] medicine cats can trace their roots back to the early [=ShadowClan=]. Also, there are other funny coincidences.
** Firestar, leader of [=ThunderClan=] was trained by the previous leader [=Bluestar=], whose mentor was [=Sunstar=], the leader before her.
** Dustpelt trained both Squirrelflight and Ashfur. Ashfur hates Squirrelflight with his entire being.
* In Creator/BarbaraHambly's ''Literature/{{Dragonsbane}}'' series knowing a mage's Master-Apprentice Chain or 'line' tells you all kind of things about the type of spells they are likely to know and avoid.
* ''Literature/TheExilesViolin'': At the start of the story, Jacquie is a rookie under the wing of a veteran detective, Serge. At the end of the story, she has become the veteran and has her own rookie in Clay.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Live Action TV ]]

* The ''[[Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer Buffyverse]]'' gives us The Master > Darla > Angel(us) > Drusilla > Spike. Spike even once refers to Angel as his "Yoda", in reference to the ''StarWars'' list above.
* InspectorMorse / {{Lewis}}: Morse > Lewis > Hathaway. The previous link in the chain ([=MacNutt=]) put in an appearance in "Masonic Mysteries".
** The new prequel series to ''InspectorMorse'', ''Series/{{Endeavour}}'', adds Inspector Thursday as DC Morse's mentor.
* ''Series/{{Highlander}}'': Connor > Duncan > Richie
* In the ''Franchise/UltraSeries'', there is Series/UltraSeven > Series/UltramanLeo > Franchise/UltramanZero. Zero is Seven's son, BTW.
* Used in ''Series/ThirtyRock'' Don Geiss > Jack Donaghy > Liz Lemon > Hazel Whassername
* ''Series/OpenAllHours'': Arkwright > Granville > Leroy.

[[folder:Professional Wrestling]]
* To Japanese fans, a particularly famous chain is Karl Gotch > Hiro Matsuda > Wrestling/TheGreatMuta > Akebono. (in USA, Muta's connection to The Great Kabuki is played up instead) This was parodied in Wrestling/FightingOperaHustle, where the Great Muta's [[SuperSpit mist]] "impregnates" Yinling The Erotic Terrorist with "Monster Bono".[[/folder]]

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Tabletop Games ]]

* ''TabletopGame/ArsMagica'' has a Master-Apprentice chain back (in theory) to the Founders. Every mage is nominally descended, parens to fidelius, from the Founder of one of the Twelve (or Thirteen) Houses, although adoption is common from outside the Order; only four Houses require direct descent. This is part of the basis for Hermetic social structure - if your master is revealed to have betrayed his oath, you have a legal problem. Further, if you go bad, your master has already sworn to hunt you down and slay you.
* In Warhammer every Battle Wizard in the Empire can trace a chain back to the first Supreme Patriarch - Volans - or another of the original pupils of the High Elf mage Teclis, who founded their Colleges of Magic after the Great War Against Chaos some two centuries before the present day. Teclis himself trained at the feet of Loremaster Belannaer. Belannaer's tutors during the reign of Bel-Hathor the Sage have not been revealed, but it is possible that Bel-Hathor himself was among them.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Video Games ]]

* The second ''VideoGame/KnightsOfTheOldRepublic'' notes Revan had such a chain. [[spoiler: However it may or may not be a slip up that Kreia and Arren Kae, the handmaidens mother, are both identified as having been both his first and last. Unless they are both the ''[[ShrugOfGod same]]'' person.]]
** Kreia serves as the teacher of the Exile. In turn, the Exile agrees to unofficially train the Handmaiden in the ways of the ''[[InsistentTerminology Force]]'', since this would [[LoopholeAbuse technically not break]] the Handmaiden's oath to Atris about never learning the ways of the ''[[ExactWords Jedi]]''.
** It should be noted that the Exile had several ''other'' proteges, though they don't qualify since the Disciple ''already'' had Jedi training, Visas Marr was a reformed Sith and Atton, Mira and Bao-Dur were convinced to develop their Force-Sensitive abilities, but recieved no formal training.
* The Sith Inquisitor character in ''VideoGame/StarWarsTheOldRepublic'' is part of such a chain: s/he is an apprentice to Lord (later Darth) Zash and, from Act II onwards, the master to the ex-padawan Ashara Zavros. Late in Act III, the Inquisitor also takes an official apprentice from the Sith Academy, much like themselves at the beginning of the game.
* In the ''Franchise/StreetFighter'' series, Ryu and Ken were trained by Gouken, who himself was taught by Goutetsu. Ken would later go on to (unofficially) take Sean in as his student (as well as begin training his own son, Mel), while Ryu would indirectly mentor Sakura (who based her fighting style on his own).
* In ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII'' Angeal is the mentor of Zack and Zack is the mentor of Cloud.
* From ''VisualNovel/AceAttorney'': Marvin Grossberg > Diego Armando > Mia Fey > Phoenix Wright > Apollo Justice.
* In the ''VideoGame/ModernWarfare'' series, a clear line of progression can be seen between the various viewpoint characters, going in the order [=MacMillan=] > Price > Soap > Roach. [[spoiler:Unfortunately, the chain is cut short by the deaths of Roach and Soap.]]

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Western Animation ]]

* ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'' and ''WesternAnimation/TheLegendOfKorra'' have several:
** Sky Bison > many generations > Gyatso > Aang > Tenzin > Jinora, Ikki, Meelo, Korra
** Badgermoles > the original Earthbenders and (separately) Toph > Aang, Lin, Metalbenders
** The Moon > many generations > Pakku (and Hama) > Katara > Aang, Korra, presumably Kya
** Dragons > original Firebenders, Sun Tribe, Iroh > Zuko [[spoiler:> Aang, with the dragons also directly helping all of these characters]]

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Real Life ]]

* This trope is TruthInTelevision as regards the birth of Western philosophy. Creator/{{Aristotle}} was taught by Creator/{{Plato}}, who was taught by Creator/{{Socrates}}, from whom several other strains of Philosophy (such as Stoicism) occasionally claim mentorship. Just to cap off the chain of historical celebrities, Aristotle was the tutor of AlexanderTheGreat.
* [[TheTrojanWar Homer]] to [[Literature/TheAeneid Virgil]] to [[Literature/TheDivineComedy Dante]]. Sort of, Virgil saw Homer as his greatest inspiration and Dante felt that Virgil had been his guide in the epic poetry but none of them ever met. John Milton, read all three of these poets assiduously in their respective languages and set out to surpass them and the age of great epics doesn't end with Milton...
* TruthInTelevision in music: Teaching has always been considered part of the job of every eminent musician. For instance, virtually every professional pianist today is a seventh-, eighth- or ninth- generation pupil of Franz Liszt.
** Organists (especially French ones) consider their "pedigree" a mark of pride. As with pianists, most organists trace their lineage back to Franck, who (with a little bit of juggling) traces his back to Johann Sebastian Bach.
* Conservative news media has had this chain: National Review (specifically Bill Buckley) -> RushLimbaugh -> Fox News
* Conservative politics works this way. Bill Buckley (again) -> Barry Goldwater -> Ronald Reagan.
* Documented for mathematicians and many scientists by The Mathematics Genealogy Project. Some of the lineages of student-and-advisor ''have been traced back more than 500 years''. For example, Steven Hawking's advisor-tree traces back along one branch to George Hermonymus, who taught the ancient Greek classics at the Sorbonne in the 1470s.
* Lineage can be important in certain martial arts, and different lineages of the same martial art will practise it in a slightly different way.
** Since the 14th century there was a German school of sword-fighting descended from the pupils of master Johannes Liechtenauer, and other school of fighting in various countries and time periods. Unfortunately the line of masters who knew the art was broken when the weapons they taught fell out of fashion, and all that was left were the books in which they wrote their teachings. Today there is a new plethora of fencing organizations trying to revive historical European martial arts from these old fight-books and establish new chains of masters and apprentices.
* Christian churches that follow the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Episcopal_polity episcopal form of church government]] (Catholic, [[OrthodoxChristianity Orthodox]], Anglican, and Lutheran) generally use the system of [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apostolic_succession Apostolic Succession]], which is a variant of this: each priest must be ordained and each bishop consecrated by a previous bishop, with a chain that would eventually lead back to one of the Apostles, who were chosen by JesusChrist himself. There are Lutheran denominations that do not hold to the doctrine of Apostolic Succession; only those characterized as "High Church" preserve it. The Methodist churches, which are breakaways from the Anglican, also have very complicated views on the subject.
* In traditional Japanese arts, a tradition called ''iemoto'' is respected, where the sensei who leads a particular lineage of the art selects one of his apprentices to be [[HeirToTheDojo his personal successor]]. The iemoto is essentially considered a family, and becoming the successor effectively means being adopted by the sensei (if there wasn't already a blood relation). Like everything else related to the traditional arts, this is ''extremely'' SeriousBusiness.
* Lau Kar Leung, Master of the Hung Gar style and Hong Kong cinema superstar, is at the end of the chain: Lau Kar Leung < Lau Cham < Lam Sai Wing < Wong Fei Hung (Yes, ''[[Film/OnceUponATimeInChina that]]'' Wong Fei Hung).
* Several of Creator/{{Nintendo}}'s leading lights have such a chain. Creator/GunpeiYokoi, creator of the GameBoy and several respected franchises, was a mentor to Creator/ShigeruMiyamoto, who is now in charge of nearly all of Nintendo's first-party titles. Miyamoto, in turn, mentored Creator/MasahiroSakurai, creator of ''VideoGame/{{Kirby}}'' and ''VideoGame/SuperSmashBros'', and Satoshi Tajiri, the creator of ''Franchise/{{Pokemon}}''.
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