Tens of thousands of years ago, on some hostile stretch of barren land, a solitary figure crouched down, scrutinizing his world. Tired and hungry his eyes desperately scanned the terrain about him. Then, there it was! He had found it! It wasn't the first time he had done this.
Carefully he followed the larger hominoid to his resting place. Still he did not approach. Instead he moved stealthily to a hide position in a nearby grove of brush. There he waited until dark. With the sun gone and the fires burnt low, he crept out of his hide and slipped into the shelter he had been studying so intently. There lining on a straw mat, fast asleep, laid his intention. With one swift smash of a rock all of this unfortunate fellow's possessions were his.
He gathered up whatever we wanted and as silent as he came, disappeared into the darkness. Somewhere in the of chaotic haze of survival, this scavenger had realized that the use of a rock gave him greater power and a better chance of overcoming another being. On that day, a new study was born. From the forge of violence, necessity and desire the study of human conflict was born. Martial Arts had come to be!! As mankind progressed in the face of ever present violence it began to sort out and collect methods of fighting which fostered a better advantage over others. Weapons certainly made up part of it, but there were also the various ways a man could evade, move, wrestle, and strike down another human. Within the cauldron of experience poor methods fell to the side while better methods were kept and improved upon. As man got better and better at violence he began to repeat and link particular sets of methods. He taught these same methods to the other members, and to the children, of their small groups. As an unintentional side effect some methods developed universally, others more unique, developed individually. Methods could be traced back to specific areas, even to specific groups. For example a group could be identified by the way they fletched or tipped an arrow. As time slid forward decades slid to years, to centuries. Over time these martial arts were further refined, honed, taught, and traded. The terrain, the nature and availability of the materials and environment which surrounded them, even the manner by which a group survived, all added an individual signature to these martial developments. Throughout it all, there was only one constant; that being where ever there remained man, there remained the necessity to be efficient in the arts of human conflict. Up and across the globe man spread. From Africa up through Asia in to what is now modern Mongolia. Up through plains and deserts of North Africa rounding the Mediterranean into Western and Eastern Europe. They spread from there north across the cold seas into the British Isles and into the icy fiords and valleys of Scandinavia. And with these migrations, so the martial arts were brought.
As societies entrenched and stabilized some societies developed a greater proficiency at certain skills than other. For some it was agriculture and architecture. For others those were skills such as violent and organized aggression.
Martial arts became valued not only by the takers but also by those who wished not to be taken. Within these both societies the core element of each and all was the human body, they all shared this same fundamental similarity. Still individual men would arise, gifted men who for one reason or another excelled in the art of war and the art of man to man conflict as war was then. Each were different as each imprint determined its own variance. These men changed the face of martial arts and their societies born the traits of their methods. Cultures and traditions, Asian, Egyptian, Roman, Beserkers, Native Americans, European, Celtic, each in their time, each in their way, again changed the face of martial arts
... Yet a new wind blew bringing with it a new development. Both groups and individuals conspired to dissect the various martial art styles. Removing precise elements, studying them, enhancing them. Not as an art as a whole. But as just that element, as an art evolving unto itself. They studied just the sword, or just the joints, or just a certain sub set of the greater martial art spectrums. So that single element now became a martial art, unique unto itself. This happened everywhere but nowhere more so than the orient.
As people travelled and traded, so did these methods of combat spread farther and further, until the entire planet was interconnected and aware. Roots of ju-jitsu could be traced from Japan to Brazil, Shanghai, Russian, and Britain, while white men became recognized Ninja Masters in North America. By no means unique, these events occurred globally, continuing to this very day. The martial arts themselves fueled their own change, forever morphing and evolving.
With the pacification of civilizations, fewer and fewer men lived and died by the sword, but competition within and between methods developed and grew. The compass swung from violence to a focus on health and sport. Emphasis evolved to place greater importance on subsections of training such as cardiovascular development and physical health. Influences from other sports migrated in. Highly skilled Martial Arts adopted influences such as gymnastics showcasing combinations of kicks and strikes mixed with intricate tumbles, jumps, and flips. All melding to create a new generation of artistic martial arts.
Then the world shook!!
In a small arena men gathered to watch the birth of a new era. Modern gladiators, engaged in no holds barred combat. Mano a mano, in violent caged battle. This new lust grew, and spread, and as it spread it to evolved. For a myriad of reasons it refined into a specific format, held in specific venues. As so was born this sport called Mixed Martial Arts, or what we know today as MMA. Then as did the teaching of the ancients, it grew and spread, until now it too covers the entire globe.
Martial Arts had come full circle. From a time when martial arts addressed all of the various elements of combat, it has passed though the evolution of complete diversification, only to arrive back at the
beginning where once again a complete Martial Artist must be as at home on his feet as he is on the ground, as he is at striking as he is at contests of strength against strength.
If our cave dwelling ancestor could only see this now. The garden of Martial Arts where weapons and empty hands meet hundreds of forms of Art, Self Defense and Combatives, health and sports, and MMA Where Martial Arts of every manner flourish. Perhaps he would look down at that rock in his hand and wonder,... "how he himself would negotiate this ever changing landscape,... this world of Martial Arts".