What did the individuals who coined the term "martial art" think of when they came up with it? Did they think of gi clothed fighters tussling on a mat or trunk-wearing fighters in a ring? I hope not, because almost everything we see isn't "an art suitable for war".
One of my common musings has been about the lack of science in the martial arts. It has always disturbed me that what passes as the martial arts is so often full of dogma which assumes much, but never proves anything (the too dangerous to practice, excuse). I have even seen the EXCUSE that it's a "martial art, not a martial science"! The focus of a martial art really is about killing, maiming, or otherwise "neutralizing" the enemy, isn't it? This means that we should study the human body for weak points/vitals. Not a new practice, right? Yet, in this day and age, it's hard to find info on it. Why? The Greeks studied the human body for that purpose, in addition to medicine. The Romans, Italians, and Spaniards did the same. The Chinese are famous for it. Yet, if you look for the information today, all you find are Dim Mak or Chin Na references with all of the fairy tales that come with it. There's some good information but a lot of nonsense to wade through. Ultimately, if you want accurate, unbiased information, you have to go to medical journals. WHY? The doctor's purpose is to treat somebody, so he needs the info. The purpose of the martial arts is to hurt somebody, so why isn't the information there for the martial artist? There's more to taking out the human body than kidney shots, neck strikes, and groin kicks.
What about the science of combat method itself? The Spaniards had Destreza prior to the 1500's which used complicated, but scientifically based theories about movement, attack, and defense to establish proper, very simple, and effective movement, strikes, and parries. It served them well but disappeared after the 1800's with the gradual death of the blade in favor of the firearm. There are only so many ways a man can move and anecedotes about real-life fights share so much in common, regarding defensive and offensive movements (usually that the best defense IS a good offense). It's all very pretty to see complicated techniques, but simplicity is inevitably the victor, this too is a common theme. Science and reasoning is preferable to mysticism and dogma in the all of the industries of the world, except religion and martial arts. This is both disturbing and frustrating for individuals looking at the martial arts for what it was originally for: non-sport combat.
Perhaps it is best to call what I am looking for as MARTIAL SCIENCE, not the MARTIAL ARTS. I would like to hear what you guys really think about this, particularly those of you that work in life-threatening occupations.