Humans have been around for millions of years. Over the ages, humans have had to fight all types of beasts and, at times, other humans. One would assume that over this period of time, every way possible to defend or attack with the human body would have been used, and that the most effective ways would have endured through the ages. Therefore, it is difficult to believe that some modern day martial art “master” has suddenly discovered a way of fighting that has not been discovered during millions of years of humans fighting for their very existence. After all, the basic physical structure of humans has not changed since we became humans. We still have two arms and hands, and two legs and feet. A side kick is a side kick no matter what martial art uses it, what country claims to have discovered it, or what name it is given.
This being the case, then why are there so many new ways of fighting being discovered every year by martial art “masters?” The reason is simple—they are not! The only thing being discovered is a new way to package an existing way of fighting for the purpose of enhancing the egos and wallets of the “masters.” This not a recent phenomenon, “new” martial arts have been founded by “masters” for centuries. The ones that have been around the longest have had more time for the followers to invent more ways for their art to be “different” than the other arts, and to associate their arts more with certain counties or regions. Until the last century, little had been written about the older martial arts, so this has allowed their followers to invent histories to suit their own purposes.
Does this mean there is nothing new to discover in the martial arts? No! Scientific study continues to discover new training methods that may be used in traditional martial art training. Scientific research analyzes body movements to find which movements may best be used to attain specific outcomes. For example, a sprinter uses different training methods than does a marathoner. Therefore, any traditional martial art may be enhanced by incorporating modern training methods into its training. There is no need for the art to be re-founded by some “master.”
So what is it that all these martial art “masters” are founding? Just as when a manufacturer adds blue dye to its old detergent and repackages it as “new and improved,” these ‘master” are not creating anything new, they are merely repackaging something old by changing some aspect of it, such as the order in which certain movements are performed.
For example, yoga has been around for thousands of years, and, just as in the martial arts, there are many versions of it. In recent years, Bikram Choudhury founded Bikram Yoga. What is Bikram Yoga? It is sequence of traditional yoga poses performed in a 105 degree room. So what is new about it? Choudhury says it is the order in which he performs the poses. Therefore, it follows that if you change the poses used or the order of the poses, or you change the temperature of the room a few degrees, you too may invent a new style of yoga. For example, Hot Yoga use different poses than Bikram Yoga and trains in an approximately 97.8 degree (body temperature) room.
In the music world, "borrowing" or "sampling" as they call it, has been around forever. For example, "Under Pressure" is a 1981 song recorded by Queen and David Bowie. In 1990, Vanilla Ice used the bass rift from "Under Pressure" on his only hit "Ice Ice Baby." Vanilla Ice defended his song saying the rift was different since one note was different in it.
Martial art “masters” do pretty much the same thing. They rename traditional techniques, change the order of movements in patterns, change the way students salute (bow), change the style of the uniform, and then add some hocus-pocus that flim-flam artists have used for centuries.
Modern automobiles use new technologies, but they still use the original four wheels with brakes on each wheel, a steering wheel, a windshield, a clutch, brake, and accelerator pedals, etc. No one claims to have “founded” a new automobile just because they have improved on the original
If you are interested in learning a martial art, choose one of the older, traditional martial arts; an art that has eliminated all the hocus-pocus of the past and uses modern training methods. If you are interested in self-defense, then choose a martial art that has techniques that have been adapted to defend against the attacks and weapons that you may face in your current surroundings. This does not necessarily mean you have to choose a new “modern” martial art; a traditional art that has adapted to modern times is just as effective as some newly “founded” martial art that claims to be better for modern self-defense situations.