Dan Hover wrote:
True everything does have some sort of need to evolve, but if that was really true, coming down to street effectiveness, then wouldn't we all essentially then come up with the exact same art at some point in time? A sort of Budo Darwinism, that would quickly render arts like Tai chi extinct, as well as most Koryu?
I'd have to answer with a resounding, no. Even IF (and I'm just using the term, not personally behind it yet) the MAs evolve, there still wouldn't be one art. Why? 1. Because no two people are the same. 2. There are multiple ways of gettting to the same place. 3. And there are no attacks that are the exact same.
1. People take a martial art that suits them, physically, psychologically, spiritually, and emotionally. Each person also excels at the art in a different pace. Some go beyond most.
2. Given any attack, most martial arts have a way of neutralizing the attack in the same general way. Aikido isn't the only art to neutralize an attack with both attacker and defender unharmed, etc. Even within Aikido schools, there are various ways to achieve those goals. So, again, there are too many paths to the same spot for anything to evolve into one path. And there are a lot of examples of this in the past and now. In the past, Japanese sword schools had various ways to position the sword. There are various MA backgrounds in the people who win the UFC. Not one single karate school wins every championship. Different countries win the Gold in Olympic Judo. Etc, etc, etc.
3. In the real world, an attack is a unique critter. It will never be repeated exactly the same. Therefore, there are various methods of dealing with said attack. MA training isn't there for the path. The "do" in the martial arts isn't there for learning how to defend against an attack. It isn't there as the end point, either. The "do" is a descriptive concept relating to the previous words. It is, at times, the "how" and the "why" and the "what" of each person training.
The end result, though, of a martial art is in its whole concept whereby one learns to deal with any attack in any situation. And that is individualistic in nature.
aiki, karate, ju, jeet kun, etc, etc, deal with descriptive words on the type of art. The do also describes the "being", the "life", the "essence" of the practitioner as he/she learns the art. Some say the path of, some say the way of, etc. It is that and more, however, it is specific to each person. Together, one ultimately finds a completeness in that art on how not only to live, but to handle any and all attacks, whether mental or physical.
Short answer, IMO, there won't be a budo darwinism type of event for all martial arts.