Technology – The Pathway for Accessibility with Martial Arts

Technology has paved the way for globalized accessibility with many mediums like music, movies, literature, art, etc. They offering insight into cultures and communication with people all around the world.

Before the internet, these visceral and immediate connections among the large masses of people were perceived as an impossibility. As time passes, there are more developments and applications in an almost exponential fashion thanks to technology.

This is no different considering the practice of martial arts as well.

Technology has also spurred the development and propagation of martial arts throughout the entire world and the vast growth of fitness related implementations associated with the practice. It has made information from previously unknown locations and unrevealed martial art styles approachable to anyone that has an internet connection or Wi-Fi hot spot.

Now you don’t even need to go to a dojo in order to grasp the many intricacies that exist in martial arts. One can simply learn from just watching videos online and apply them to their reality. Many martial arts’ actors and stunt professionals have denoted their skills and abilities being primarily achieved just by watching films.

Although, going to your local dojo is the quickest and sure fire way to learn correctly.

Technology has offered a supreme lens into the world of martial arts where anyone can peer into any door that one desires.

Hammacher Schlemmer Trainer
Photo courtesy of hammacher.com

Previously, the development of written manuscripts with the utilization of images was a big break for conveying and teaching information about specific forms and situations of applied martial arts.

As an example, Bruce Lee was a major proponent in outsourcing previously prohibited styles and techniques practiced in China to “foreigners” of the Western world with his books relaying his conjoined Jeet Kune Do style.

Although the idea of relaying information through writing has been used way before any of our time, he created a system of images and words that made learning martial arts quick and easy.

As we move forward in time, this practice of relaying martial arts-related information internationally boomed where styles that exist in the confines of “non-outsider” culture can be viewed by all.

Presently, with the introduction of the World Wide Web, a martial arts class that you would see in a dojo can be viewed all online.

While online classes take away from the experience of going in and having a teacher move your body in the correct positions for the sake of muscle memory, it has made learning martial arts extremely accessible to people who may or may not be able to afford the classes themselves.

In accordance to visual representations of martial arts, what has popularized the international interest of martial arts is contained within the medium of film.

Whenever the average person—practitioner or not— thinks of martial arts, they picture a scene or a number of scenes taken from popular martial art films.

If you are an American especially, you have most likely seen or at least have heard of professionals such as the likes of Bruce Lee, Jet Li, Jackie Chan, and more second wave famous practitioners like Donnie Yen, Tony Jaa, and Stephen Chow.

Tony Jaa, who is famous for popularizing Indonesian martial art styles with “Ong Bak” is quoted saying that he grew up watching films by Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, and Jet Li at temple fairs which is what inspired him to learn martial arts.

Tony Jaa told Time magazine in a 2004 interview that:

“What they (Lee, Chan and Li) did was so beautiful and heroic that I wanted to do it too. I practiced until I could do the move exactly as I had seen the masters do it.”

This is just one case out of many where the increase propagation of film within the world of martial arts has pushed its popularity to areas that are more rural and less-technologically advanced.

Given these specific areas, technology plays an important role.

Without the globalized effect of outsourcing the many different styles of martial arts, many of these arts could have died out or have been forgotten forever.

With the case of Tony Jaa and his most readily used style of Pencak Silat, without the popularity of the “Ong Bak” movies more than just his career would have suffered.

Indonesia, besides the capital of Bali, is quite the rural and dangerous place for individuals that aren’t traditionally from there, it makes learning martial arts, especially if you’re an outsider, remarkably difficult.

But thanks to Tony Jaa, he has made the otherwise eventual lost art popular to the point of people opening schools to teach Silat all throughout the United States.

The more people that travel to these undisclosed areas and show the locals that they actually have a strong sense of responsibility in preserving their culture, specifically martial arts, then the easier it will be for others to do the same.

Before the technology of planes and boats for expedient travel were developed this type of mass outsource wouldn’t have been possible, especially not in the current exponential rate of growth that the world is exhibiting now.

Another great aspect of having the ability to go to many different places and learn the different styles that exist culturally there is that practitioners can pick and choose which applications from which styles work best for them.

The greatest visual proponent of this can be seen in the newly popularized sport of Mixed Martial Arts.

In this environment, people can pick and choose from specific styles and test their limits against others doing the same. This is the new wave of martial arts that has begun to become astoundingly popular in the United States, even being theorized to eventually take over boxing in viewer polls within the next coming years.

Although these aren’t traditional applications of martial arts, it provides a stark realization of how popular the practices are becoming world-wide and how technology is pushing the boundaries further into a large melting pot of accessibility.

new machine
new machine for fighter to train
Photo courtesy of competitiveedgeproducts.com

Considering the sport of MMA one has to primarily realize the large developments made in the execution and training of martial artists for their energy-taxing matches.

New machines that use specific data and sensors have been invented in order to fully prepare fighters via interactive viewing, interactive training as well as post-workout statistics.

With these innovations, practitioners can track the exact speed, accuracy, and power of their strikes with such exactness which will allow martial artists to become increasingly faster and stronger.These innovations will also push the physical boundaries of the body as well as provide information for the extent of injury regarding safety.

Although there is still a lot of room for technology to provide innovations for the utilization and understanding of martial arts, it is a union that will continue to exist until the end of time.

One can only hope that their long history together will continue to make martial arts more and more accessible to anyone that has the desire to learn, not only to the people that can afford it.

Comments
Read more like this