"You forget that he was once my apprentice, just as you were once his."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 Ass Pull or Contrived Coincidence. Either way, it's generally a concession to the Law of Conservation of Detail. 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 Badass Family. See also A Pupil of Mine Until He Turned to Evil. If two generations of such a chain team up, it's a Student and Master Team; see also Rule of Two. If the members of the chain pretend to be the same person to create a false legend of immortality, it's Legacy Immortality. Frequently deals with the Sempai/Kohai dynamic. Passing the Torch is also not uncommon.
— Count Dooku, regarding Qui-Gon Jinn, to Obi-Wan Kenobi, Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones
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Anime and Manga
- Naruto has a significant chain that starts at the founding of the village and continues even into the sequel series. Tobirama Senju (the Second Hokage) trains Hiruzen Sarutobi (known as the God of Shinobi and eventually the Third Hokage) who trains Jiraya (one of the Legendary Sanin) who trains Minato Namikaze (the Yellow Flash of Konaha and becomes Fourth Hokage) who trains Kakashi Hatake (the Sixth Hokage) who trains Naruto Uzumaki (the Seventh Hokage). Then informally Naurto is a mentor to Konohamaru Sarutobi who trains Boruto Uzumaki (Naruto's son and star of the sequel series Boruto).
- The chain also branches out at several points.
- Hiruzen Sarutobi also trained Orochimaru (one of the Legendary Sanin) who later trains Sasuke Uchiha who becomes a mentor to Boruto Uzumaki. Similarly he trained Tsunade (the third member of the Sanin and the Fifth Hokage) who trained Sakura Haruno.
- Jiraya also trains Nagato, Yahiko, and Konan who end up being the founders of the Akatsuki; because of this, at one point Nagato says that he should be considered Naruto's sempai. That organization is then taken over by Tobi, who is actually Obito Uchiha, a student of Minato Namikaze.
- Although we don't know the details, it is likely that these chains extend into prehistory. The Senju, Uchiha, and Hyuga clans are all descended from Hagoromo Ōtsutsuki, the semi-mythical Sage of Six Paths and the inventor of the art of ninjutsu.
- Besides the branching point of the chain from Hiruzen Sarutobi (aka the Third Hokage), there's also a chain of passing down the legacy of the two most iconic finisher jutsus, which are also among the few special techniques that are actually passed down mentor to student. Most fighting styles and special techniques are taught through familial clans, with the unrelated master just helping you to bring out your potential:
- Rasengan: Minato > Jiraiya and Kakashi > Naruto > Konohamaru > Boruto Uzumaki
- Chidori: Kakashi Hatake > Sasuke Uchiha
- From Iwagakure: Mu (Second Tsuchikage) > Onoki (Third Tsuchikage) > Deidara (a member of the Akastsuki)
- The "Youth!" chain: Might Duy > Might Guy > Rock Lee > Metal Lee
- The chain also branches out at several points.
- Ranma ˝, with Happosai > Genma Saotome and Soun Tendo > Ranma Saotome and Akane Tendo.
- One Piece:
- Luffy's pirate role model Red-Haired Shanks was once an apprentice pirate on the ship of the Pirate King Gold Roger. They even passed down the same hat.
- Franky, his fellow apprentice Iceberg, and their mentor Tom are the latest in a chain that spans centuries, as indicated by the fact that they passed along the blueprints to the Ancient Weapon Pluton as a countermeasure against the potential revival of an already existing Pluton via the Poneglyphs. In the present day, Paulie is Iceberg's primary apprentice carrying on the chain.
- Dragon Ball provides several good chains.
- The primary ones begin with Mutaito, who died pre-series to defeat King Piccolo. When Master Roshi first sees Chichi fight at a tournament, he doesn't recognize her, but he does recognize that her fighting style is very similar to his.
- Mutaito > Master Roshi > Son Gohan, Sr > Son Goku > Son Gohan, Pan, and Uub
- Mutaito > Master Roshi > Ox King > Chichi > Son Goten
- Mutaito > Master Roshi > Krillin & Yamcha
- Mutaito > Master Shen > Tien & Chiaotzu
- One chain changes due to the time travel arc. In the original timeline, without Future Trunks' interference, his father is dead and Gohan's father died after Trunks was born, without conceiving a second child. The global disaster going on also means he spends his time constantly fighting, not going to the high school where Present Gohan met his wife. Because Future Trunks prolonged his father's and Goku's lives, Present Trunks was never trained by Gohan. They're still good friends, but Trunks has no need for a male role model with his dad alive. Instead, Gohan ends up training his younger brother and future wife.
- Piccolo > Son Gohan > (Future) Trunks
- Piccolo > Son Gohan > Videl & 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 Freeza's techniques as well.
- At some point before the "Son Goku and His Friends Return" special Gotenks also picks up Tenshinhan and Yamcha's moves, either by observation or training. Of course, just about everybody borrows Tenshinhan's Boring, but Practical Solar Flare at one point or another.
- The primary ones begin with Mutaito, who died pre-series to defeat King Piccolo. When Master Roshi first sees Chichi fight at a tournament, he doesn't recognize her, but he does recognize that her fighting style is very similar to his.
- The Hokuto Shinken style from Fist of the North Star 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 Fist of the Blue Sky, 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 I'm Gonna Be an Angel! Mikael is a mentor to Noelle, just as Raphael was a mentor to him.
- There is an example in the 2003 anime version of Fullmetal Alchemist. 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 Saint Seiya anime has the Aquarius Gold Saint > the Crystal Saint > Hyoga. In the Manga, Aquarius Camus was Hyoga's mentor instead.
- In the Saiyuki anime and manga series, this is how the Tenchi Kaigen 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 JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, 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.
- 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.
- In My Hero Academia, a Master-Apprentice Chain exists between Nana Shimura, All Might, and Izuku Midoriya, respectively the seventh, eighth, and ninth users of the Quirk "One For All". Short flashbacks show that many of the ideals All Might inspires and encourages in Midoriya were learned from his master. While it is unknown if this chain extends through One For All's prior users, the Quirk is unique in that its current user has the ability to pass it on to a chosen successor.
- In Daredevil Master Izo was one of the Hand's founders and a teacher of Stick, who was Matt Murdock's master. The 2015 series will add new link to the chain with Matt's own student, Sam Chung.
- Batman (Bruce Wayne) > Nightwing (Dick Grayson) > Robin (Damian Wayne)
- Batman #700 introduces a chain of Batmen: Bruce Wayne > Dick Grayson > Damian Wayne > Terry McGinnis.
- The Flash: Barry Allen is the teacher to Wally West, who would later have Barry's grandson Bart briefly under his wing.
- Ancient One had taught two students - Doctor Strange and Baron Mordo. Strange would later go and take on apprentices his later wife, Clea and alien Rintrah, while Mordo would pass his knowledge to his daughter, Astrid.
- Things We Don't Tell Humans provides several chains, most of them involving 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
- Harry Potter: Pokemon Master Series has the legendary Pokemon Lugia teach Pokemon Tracker Jack Kenway The Lost Art of Speaking (allowing a person to communicate with a Pokemon and eventually inherit some of their abilities). Jack in turn teaches his brother Jonas and his adopted daughter Jasmine how to Speak and it is hinted that Jack will be training Harry as well.
- The God Squad gives us Fausticorn—> Lord Tydal—> Celestia—> Sunset Shimmer and Twilight —>Starlight Glimmer. We also get Fausticorn—> Lord Tydal—> Luna and Sunset Shimmer (Tydal taking over her training).
- A Brief History of Equestria has Star Swirl the Bearded > Clover the Clever > Mimic the Great and Powerful.
- Child of the Storm has Doctor Strange > Wanda Maximoff > Harry Dresden.
- The Bridge
- Starswirl the Bearded —> Clover the Clever, Princess Celestia, and Princess Luna —(Celestia)—> Princess Twilight Sparkle and Sunset Shimmer.
- Godzilla Senior and King Kong —> Godzilla Junior —> Mariner Chibi Moon.
- From the prequel trilogy of Star Wars we learn that it goes: Yoda > Count Dooku > Qui-Gon Jinn > Obi-Wan Kenobi > Anakin Skywalker> Ahsoka Tano (Ahsoka is introduced in the Star Wars: The Clone Wars 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 Rule of Two 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 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.
- There have also been cases of Sith masters taking multiple apprentices (as with Darth Sidious training both Darth Maul and Darth Tyranus simultaneously and hiding them from each other), or Sith apprentices taking apprentices of their own. Violations of the Rule of Two are generally self-correcting; when an apprentice takes an apprentice, they're plotting to replace their master, and when a master takes a second apprentice, they're usually planning to dispose of the first one. In the case of Darth Bane and Darth Zannah, both had taken apprentices, and Darth Bane's second apprentice ended up serving Zannah.
- So far, what little we know about the New Jedi Order from the sequel trilogy is Luke Skywalker > Kylo Ren.
- 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]
- Star Trek
- 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).
- Star Trek Into Darkness introduces Fleet Admiral Alexander Marcus, who talked Christopher Pike into joining Starfleet.
- Cars 3 expands from Cars to get Smokey > Doc Hudson > Lightning > Cruz. The film spends a lot of time showing the ways history repeats, as well as how it doesn't.
- Ranger's Apprentice 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. Word of God says Will will not receive his own proper apprentice until the last book.
- Myth Adventures gives us a chain consisting of Garkin and later Aahz > Skeeve > Massha. As of Class Dis-Mythed, one could also argue for Garkin/Aahz > Skeeve > Jinetta, Pologne, Freezia, Bee, Tolk & Melvine. Bee also trained briefly under Massha, which would extend the Garkin/Aahz chain above by another link.
- The Dresden Files 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.
- There's also the Doom of Damocles, McCoy offered to sponsor Harry when he was on trial for killing his prior mentor in self-defense and the Senior Council voted to put him under an extreme probation with McCoy responsible for making sure he didn't break the Laws of Magic again, including killing him if necessary. Then when Molly was on trial for enthralling her friends (to stop them from taking heroin) Harry sponsored her Doom of Damocles.
- Harry Potter 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 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 Matthew Swift series has Robert Bakker > Matthew Swift > Dana Mikeda; as of the end of the second book Matthew has acquired another apprentice, Penny Ngwenya.
- In the Discworld novel Lords and Ladies, 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 Robin Hobb's 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 Verity's son Dutiful, Burrich's son Swift, and...Chade himself.
- In Circle of Magic 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 Matador Series, 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, The Machiavelli Interface Massey, is revealed to have learned under Khadaji as well, by enrolling in the Matador's training school.
- Since every clan cat in Warrior Cats 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.
- Since medicine cats always mentor one another, the chains can be traced back all the way to the prequels.
- Bramblestar, the current leader of ThunderClan was mentored by Firestar, who was mentored by Bluestar, who was (partially) mentored by Sunstar, who was mentored by Pinestar. The best part is, it's all purely coincidental.
- Dustpelt trained both Squirrelflight and Ashfur. Ashfur hates Squirrelflight with his entire being.
- In Barbara Hambly's 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.
- The Exile's Violin: 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.
- In Mistborn: The Original Trilogy, we have a chain of Mistborn teachers and students that goes Gemmell (in the backstory)->Kelsier->Vin-> Elend (and, indirectly, Spook).
- Journey to Chaos: The immediate chain presented is in the Dragon's Lair mercenary company. It is Basilard Bladi->Eric Watley->Zettai Centurion/ Bladi. Looming Shadow extends the chain back two thousand years by stating that Dengel Tymh taught the first batch of Dragon's Lair mages. Then it goes further back to Ariek Valeten, who taught Dengel.
- In Shannara we have a chain of High Druids who each mentored their successor either directly or as a Spirit Advisor: Galaphile -> (various Druids)-> Bremen-> Allanon-> Walker Boh-> Grianne Ohmsford-> Khyber Elessedil-> Aphenglow Elessedil.
- The Buffyverse gives us The Master > Darla > Angel(us) > Drusilla > Spike. Spike even once refers to Angel as his "Yoda", in reference to the Star Wars list above.
- Inspector Morse / Lewis: Morse > Lewis > Hathaway > Maddox. The previous link in the chain (MacNutt) put in an appearance in "Masonic Mysteries".
- Highlander: Connor > Duncan > Richie
- In the Ultra Series, there is Ultra Seven > Ultraman Leo > Ultraman Zero. Zero is Seven's son, BTW.
- Used in 30 Rock Don Geiss > Jack Donaghy > Liz Lemon > Hazel Whassername
- Open All Hours: Arkwright > Granville > Leroy.
- In Criminal Minds episode, "The Apprenticeship" not only are the Un Sub's mentor and student, but the mentor Un Sub had his own mentor.
- In Doctor Who, there is the chain Rassilon > Borusa > The Doctor, and arguably this can be extended with The Doctor > Sarah-Jane Smith > the kids from The Sarah Jane Adventures.
- To Japanese fans, a particularly famous chain is Karl Gotch > Hiro Matsuda > The Great Muta > Akebono. (in USA, Muta's connection to The Great Kabuki is played up instead) This was parodied in Fighting Opera Hustle, where the Great Muta's mist "impregnates" Yinling The Erotic Terrorist with "Monster Bono".
- Chris Hero was apart of several, such as Ian Rotten teaching Hero how to be a Garbage Wrestler in IWA Mid-South and Hero going on to teach many others such as Trik Davis, Mickie Knuckles, Bryce Remsburg and Nadia Nyce. Dave Taylor taught Hero the art of chain wrestling, which he would pass onto Wrestling/Claudio Castagnoli, who would go on to help Hero and Mike Quackenbush train more wrestlers in Chikara.
- Pro Wrestling Guerilla had London and Kendrick, who trained one of the promotion's proverbial founders Joey Ryan, who trained Willie Mack.
- The main three members of Team Ambition were Tony Kozina, who trained Davey Richards, who trained Kyle O'Reilly.
- Referenced in SHINE Wrestling when Malia Hosaka was running down The Buddy System and ensured whatever her trainee Daffney was teaching them would not be enough.
- Ars Magica 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.
- The second Knights of the Old Republic notes Revan had such a chain. 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 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 Force, since this would technically not break the Handmaiden's oath to Atris about never learning the ways of the 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 Star Wars: The Old Republic 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 Street Fighter 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 Final Fantasy VII Angeal is the mentor of Zack and Zack is the mentor of Cloud.
- From Ace Attorney: Marvin Grossberg > Diego Armando > Mia Fey > Phoenix Wright > Apollo Justice and Athena Cykes (although Apollo did most of his initial training under Kristoph Gavin). That "the only time a lawyer can cry is when it's all over" creed that Phoenix teaches Apollo and Athena came all the way from Diego telling Mia that when she lost her first case.
- In the Modern Warfare series, a clear line of progression can be seen between the various viewpoint characters, going in the order MacMillan > Price > Soap > Roach. Unfortunately, the chain is cut short by the deaths of Roach and Soap.
- In Diablo III, the crusaders of Zakarum each had an apprentice. When the crusader fell in battle, their apprentice would take on their weapon, shield, name, and an apprentice of their own.
- Stand Still, Stay Silent: While there is mention of a period during which Lalli was training for magic under his grandmother Ensi, presumably alongside his much older cousin Onni, the story starts with Onni's Promotion to Parent in regards to Lalli dating from eleven years earlier. This means that unless Lalli's magic training has literally stagnated over the last eleven years, there is an Ensi > Onni > Lalli chain in place.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra have several:
- Sky Bison > many generations > Gyatso > Aang > Tenzin > Jinora, Ikki, Meelo, Korra > New Airbenders.
- 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 > Aang, with the dragons also directly helping all of these characters
- In chi-blocking, Amon > the Equalists. Presumably, Amon was either trained by Ty Lee or one of her students.
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003): The turtles were taught by Splinter, who learned how to fight from Hamato Yoshi, who was the disciple of the Ancient One.
- Star Wars Rebels: Ezra Bridger is being taught by Kanan Jarrus, who was taught by Depa Billaba, who was taught by Mace Windu.
- Defenders of the Earth has Enigma > Theron > Mandrake > Kshin. Enigma is an interdimensional being who was exiled to Earth in the form of a magical book, though he is eventually restored to his true form. Theron found the book, which taught him the ways of magic; he then passed that knowledge on to Mandrake, who, as the series progresses starts to train Kshin.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: Princess Celestia trained Twilight Sparkle, who in season six begins training Starlight Glimmer. "All Bottled Up" hints that Starlight may be continuing the chain with Trixie.
- This trope is Truth in Television as regards the birth of Western philosophy. Aristotle was taught by Plato, who was taught by 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 Alexander the Great.
- Homer to Virgil to 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...
- 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) -> Rush Limbaugh -> 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 episcopal form of church government (Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican, and Lutheran) generally use the system of 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 Jesus Christ 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 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 Serious Business.
- 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, that Wong Fei Hung).
- Several of Nintendo's leading lights have such a chain. Gunpei Yokoi, creator of the Game Boy and several respected franchises, was a mentor to Shigeru Miyamoto, who is now in charge of nearly all of Nintendo's first-party titles. Miyamoto, in turn, mentored Masahiro Sakurai, creator of Kirby and Super Smash Bros., and Satoshi Tajiri, the creator of Pokémon.
- Judaism's rabbinic tradition contains the term סמיכה semikhah (literally means "leaning on hands"), which is essentially accreditation/ordination that the new rabbi has the skills and knowledge to advise and make rulings in Jewish law and traditions, and is granted by a quorum of existing rabbis, typically including the new rabbi's mentor, and involves a formal blessing ‘Yoreh Yoreh. Yaddin Yaddin’ (‘May he decide? He may decide! May he judge? He may judge!’). According to tradition, the chain of Semikhah extends in an unbroken chain back to Moshe Rabbeinu (Moses) at Sinai and the giving of the Torah and the Ten Commandments.
- The concept of a person's Erdős number is that it is the number of times removed any given person is from Paul Erdős, a well-renowned and extremely well-published mathematician (possibly the single most published mathematician to date).
- How are most blue collar professions (and even some that require a college degree in other places) taught their trade in German speaking countries? Why of course through a master-apprentice relationship. Complete with some medieval sounding traditions like dressing in special clothes and moving around the country to work. Unlike other examples on this list master-apprentice chains are not as easy to track down as records are sketchier, but it is entirely likely that the master of a brewer trained today was the apprentice of another master who was the apprentice of another master... all the way back to before the law specifying beer can only be hops, barley-malt and water was first passed — five hundred years ago.