The future of Martial Arts
I made this topic as a place to debate/speculate on future trends regarding martial arts. Maybe things like "Is MMA just the new fad, or is it going to become a fixture in sports?" Right now I wanted to bring up one of the things I was thinking about last week.
I feel like Martial Arts are moving away from being a tool of self defense. I wonder, in the future is it possible for the martial arts to no longer be synonymous with self defense? The seeds were planted whenever the people found uses for martial arts other than self defense, and now it's much more prevalent.
Many martial art schools now don't even focus on self defense. The problem is most people that join martial arts aren't looking to learn self defense as a priority. Most of my students do it to have fun, or to get/stay in shape, or they want to compete. Of course there are people whose primary concern is learning self defense, but I feel they are in the minority. Hell, I didn't even start martial arts to learn self defense.
It explains why most of the larger martial arts school around here are mcdojos (for ex. PMA, TSMMA) where the focus is more on making money than teaching actual self defense. The really good MMA/Judo schools that are teaching actual self defense are smaller and sometimes even struggling to make ends meet. Then there are organizations like NAPMA that all but flat out say "Lessening the quality of your martial art is great if doing so will get you more students!"
I also think it has to do with people generally feeling safer. I know in the late 70s and 80s a lot more people were looking for self defense because NYC was...not the safest place to be. But as crime dropped and less people are attacked there is certainly less of a motivation to focus on self defense.
I just think this is an interesting direction the martial arts are going in. Especially since it's straying so far from its essence. Martial arts as self defense will never be fully eliminated until we live in a Utopian society where no one fights ever. And then, I fear the only martial arts that will survive will be the Tiger Shulmanns and the Mile High Karates which will then be teaching, I dunno...Tai Chi or Yoga or something. (Kidding, but god I hope that doesn't really happen)
But I fear this is turning more into a "commercialization is destroying martial arts" rant then a discussion on the future of martial arts. So feel free to respond to what I wrote, or add your own ideas on where the martial arts are heading.
tl;dr version: **** you, read it! Alright, alright fine....Where do you think the martial arts will be in the future? Will MMA still be as popular? And with the trend of less and less people taking up martial arts to learn self defense, is it possible that martial arts and self defense could become two different things?