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Evil Solvalou
11/28/2007 11:08am,
I've been thinking about writing this for awhile. I thought I should just grow a pair and post it already. I will probably say stupid things and not get what I'm trying to say across
very well, but I'll try anyway.

Also, if this has been done before, Iím sorry.

It seems to me that we should be in a golden age for martial arts. Let me go through some of the details that led me to this theory.

Living and working conditions

We all work hard these days, but what if we compare the amount of work we do today to the people of 200 years ago?

It seems to me that the peasant class would spend the vast majority of their time working their arse off just trying to survive. There were no supermarkets, electricity, microwave ovens or any other such conveniences, meaning even cooking would have been a major job for the average person.

This would lead me to believe that the only people who would have the time and money to seriously study martial arts would be the very wealthy, in other words, those who could afford to hire people to do most of their work. (I imagine they would have to do some work themselves to stay wealthy.)

However modern technology has eased much of the burden for average people, meaning more time and energy can be applied to other activities such as martial arts.

All of this leads me to theorise that now a much higher percentage of the population could study martial arts than in the past which could lead to more skilled fighters being developed.

Technology

I'll start on medical technology.

We all know the importance of sparring right? The question is ďis sparring safer in modern times than in the past?Ē

I say yes, it should be. Advances in medicine mean that injuries can now be treated much more efficiently, not to mention the equipment and training that can be easily obtained by the general public, meaning that any teacher can be trained in basic first aid and have a readily available first aid kit for minor problems.

We also have a thorough knowledge of the human body, meaning that training techniques should be far more efficient and effective.

This same knowledge can also be applied to equipment for the fighter that is far superior to past equipment. This can include things such as safety equipment such better mouth guards and helmets, training aids like exercise machines and punching bags, or almost anything you can think of.

Which brings me to another point; modern manufacturing techniques, which can make these things easily available to even relatively small gyms.

All of this makes me suggest that training today could be significantly superior, primarily because of the advances in science and technology allowing more training like sparring with less risk, and better machines and equipment providing greater results for the fighter.

Competition

When studying traditional martial arts in my younger years one of my most common arguments for their effectiveness was the old ďthey were used on the battlefield for thousands of yearsĒ crap. I wont go into detail on that since you all already know the arguments against that.

However this is important since itís generally (falsely) used to show that these arts evolved in a context where they either worked or the practitioner died.

Even in the few cases where an art was indeed created for and used on the battlefield, the simple fact is that these battlefields have long since disappeared.

So where does that leave us in regards to testing these arts?

That is of course where competition steps in.

The reality is that there are a near limitless number of formats a fighter can participate in to test and hone their abilities. From wrestling competitions, boxing, Judo, kickboxing, Sanda, MMA, K1 and many others, if there is a range, or combination of ranges, chances are good that there is a format out there that that is just right for it.

This should mean that any type of fighting should be able to be refined by competition to be effective in the modern world.

Of course not all practitioners of an art need to compete, but the fact there is a sort of lab out there for the style/range means that those who do compete can contribute to the refinement and evolution of the art.

The Internet

Yes, the Internet.

If there are two things the internet is good for, itís information and porn. Search for long enough for either one and you will find what you need to satisfy you.

In theory any person has a wealth of information about a limitless number of martial arts teachers from around the world at their fingertips.

Anyone willing to take the time to research, with an open and unbiased mind and using logical thinking, should easily be able to discern who is teaching crap and who is a quality teacher.

Not to mention fights, results, videos and many other pieces of information can be recorded and accessed by anybody who looks to find evidence of what people are telling them.

There is a lot of information out there that can be used to prove or disprove a personís claims, meaning that even a person new to the martial arts should be able to sort the good from the bad.

But is this a golden age?

So if this is a golden age of martial arts then surely frauds and bad teachers/styles could easily be weeded out, using the above mentioned competitions and the Internet, meaning the vast majority of schools, styles, teachers and students would be tested, refined and proven many times.

Is that the case?

Conclusion

So where is my golden age? Why did I study a crappy martial art, involving chi, no sparring, forms and compliant partner drills for a year and a half?

Why did it take me many years to realise that fighting like you see in Jet Li movies doesnít exist?

Why did I even write those two paragraphs? Because Iím trying to show Iím not on some high horse, Iím not preaching and I donít believe Iím above it all. I have fallen into the same traps many others have fallen into.

Is it because itís easier to believe that easy compliant drills will make you an invincible ninja or kung fu warrior who can fight off multiple opponents like in the movies than it is to realise that even after years of hard training in a proven style you can still get your arse kicked?

Is it a certain arrogance among the general population, the sort that makes people believe they know it all already?

Of course, I donít know, and IĎm not even remotely smart enough to know. But I would like to know what people more informed than me think.

Are we in a golden age, or is it coming or already gone or not even on the horizon?

Why are there still so many bad schools? (Yes, I know not everyone trains to fight, but Iím talking about schools who do train to fight or for self defence.)

Are my theories on the social and technological advances providing a greater chance for martial arts are load of crap, and if so, why? I am not an historian, and Iíll admit I did no research in writing this (remember that point on arrogance?) so if Iím wrong about anything, please feel free to correct me.

Anyone want to add anything?

Thanks for reading. (If you did.)

AikidoBot
11/28/2007 11:10am,
In spite of what some other web-sites would have you believe, we here at Bullshido.net welcome you, Evil Solvalou, with open arms and hope that you will share with us your unique experiences and ideas on the martial arts.... so that we may then make fun of those experiences and ideas.