Based on artifacts found around China and India, the earliest evidence of something that could be considered a “martial art” is about 5,000 years ago. That’s a heck of a long time for something to exist. Inevitably, something that old will go through quite a fair number of changes throughout that length of time.
Martial arts was originally not only developed as a means of combat. It was also developed as a means of keeping fit and increasing one’s physical fitness. Over time, it propagated and there are styles of martial arts all over the world.
Through the decades, there has been a bit of an up and down in regards to how martial arts training has been approached. Although some styles used to focus on the freedom of movement and fluidity, a movement began at some point where instructors started teaching a “if they do this, you do that” philosophy. It became more reactive as opposed to proactive.
Here’s the reality: in a real fight, whether on the street or in defence of your own life, you can’t expect what your opponent will do. That being said, you also can’t focus on any one technique that you may do in response to any one attack. It becomes important to expect the unexpected!
When training, it’s important to practice a free-flowing way of fighting in order to allow yourself the flexibility to respond to any attack. This is why routine and constant drills, as well as free sparring is necessary in genuine martial arts. This allows you to groom yourself to the point where you will respond on reflex as opposed to thinking “Okay, here comes a front kick, I need to block THIS way…”
This is the difference between theory and practical application. Theory is extremely important; it’s how we learn the material required to progress. But the practical application is what’s required for survival. It’s what could potentially save your life, should you ever need to use the training you’ve undertaken.
I’m a firm advocate that you should never need to fight. But should someone back you in a corner and your life or the life of your family or loved ones ever be in jeopardy, it would be a good thing to be able to step up and do what’s necessary. Training for the unexpected will bring you closer to that goal. ☯