What is the difference between military and civilian situations? There are military problems that require restraint, there are civilian problems that require deadly force.
Specific problems are irrelevent. It is the overall design that counts. It is like why do people in the desert needs to carry more water. There are always oasis.
I'm not interested in "kungfu challenges". If someone think I offended him I'd apoloize and de-escalate. What I'm concerned about are violent people who escalate irrationally. There are people who have been in and out of prison since they were 15. They're out on parole, want to rob you to buy drugs and if caught will go back to prison for the rest of their lives. These people will think nothing of sticking a knife in you and crank you like an antique car.
What about emotionally disturbed people off their medication? Ever see a 90 lb woman so out of control four 200 lb men can't wrestle her down? Martial arts do not prepare you against a woman who don't care about her teeth getting knocked out, she just wants to bite your nose off even if it kills her. This is the problem of fighting "amatuers" versus pros.
This is a very complex question and I am currently writing a thesis on. We need to look at the legal system of the ancient world (I am focusing my time frame to Ming and Qing dynasty for obvious reasons), cultural differences, education system, societal values, as well as confucian value's application of martial arts and its developement in city, countryside and the military. But the general answer would be the method of subdueing the opponent. Getting them to give up willingly is the ideal (it is possible although it does take a certain cultural context, I doubt it is applicable today since everything is so westernized), if that is not possible then doing it without hurting them, if that is not possible then it is a matter of breaking the 'weapons' of the opponent. Namely the elbow and knee joint.
Note that 'fighting' and 'victory' must be looked in their historical and cultural context. While the lose-lose situation does remain to this day as I will explain, the general idea of what 'fighting' means and what it means to 'win' a fight is actually different.
This kind of fighting isn't contact sports. The winner goes to the emergency room and the loser to the morgue.
What I meant about the lose-lose situation is that if you kill someone, emergency room is just a mid-stop to the final destination of either your own cell or the chair. Street fighting leading to death of one party no matter in which country is a serious offence. Even in a place like America, self-defence is RARELY successful in such sitautions (my sister is a lawyer, I have been reading her case studies). The fact is, it is rarely a 'kill or be killed' situaiton. So the tactics you employ will determine what happens to you in court. Statistically, one will find that boxers tend to get punished more severely when they engage in street fights compared to other styles like karate and jujitsu because their training evolved around beat-him-up (and the proven effect of boxers which increases their agressive tendency compared to karate and aikido which makes someone less agressive)
You ID the threat, you put it down before you lose control of the situation. Use maximum force immediatly, escalate faster than he can adapt, go nuclear, survive at all costs. Or don't fight at all.
This is a highly westernized concept of conflict. People believe that whenever a fight starts, it is universal and it is the same everywhere. This is actually a misconception. The idea of 'controlling the sitaution' and all the other things you mentioned are actually under the premise of the lack of a strong unconcious desire for social harmony which was the case in ancient China (Japan is similar but there are slight differences in the mentality, whether it is reflected in today's Japan is still a question). If anything, beating someone down even if it was justified by our standards will generate guilt on the beater's side. Also, there is no law back then which indicates that self-defence was actually an excuse for beating someone. Beating someone is, by most cases of regional courts, a crime which is not measured in what the situation was, but how badly you beat him. (Yeah, there are times when i wonder if the westerners had a case when they said the chinese were barbarians)
The essence of martial arts is to defeat a stronger foe, otherwise what's the point?
Martial arts is to win. Not winning in a certain context we are aware of. The contexts which limits martial arts development is mostly unconcious unless (1) victory was not single motivation of the evolution (of which did not occur in the ancient times) and (2) under very specific circumstances such as obvious physical constraints. What these unconcious constraints are, are actually how we define 'winning'.
The idea of 'X style will alow you to beat someone bigger' is actually a kind of culture that evolved since the 1900s. I really don't see any classical texts that stresses on this fact. Rather they make briefing statements such as winning against people of all size.
Stronger could mean physically stronger, more skilled, or more violent. Most so-called "real" martial arts today do not prepare you for the latter and most common threat. Since men lived in caves and long before there were sifus and fighting styles we knew instinctively to pickup a weapon when attacked by wild beasts. The desire to survive and willingness to commit totally has kept our species alive for a million years. It's in our blood and it has termendous power. Don't underestimate what it can do.
I would be the first to agree that traditional martial arts is actually a little out of date in terms of the context of battles on the streets. it is not that they are ineffective, it is to say that their effectiveness evolved in a situation different to what it is today. People today acts differently as they did back then. So it is more like applying a set of tools to a different job like using a high heel shoe as a hammer. Not that it doesn't work, just not as good. Although your analysis of our evolution as a species is correct, what you don't take into account is how one's behaviour is changed due to being in a society and a civilization. If we go by strict evolution logic, suicide and deformaties would be a evolutionary impossibility.
there is no such thing as 'pure martial arts' or 'pure fighting' which is independent of everything else. I use to think that when I first started out but eventually studying across a number of systems and researching on this history of martial arts evolution taught me otherwise. Martial arts and fighting are human-based activities. And when one deals with human-based activities, we must always take into account of the context the humans evolved in.
Edited by Wujiang, 02 August 2005 - 10:44 AM.