- May 22, 2016
- Reaction score
I don't buy much of the arguments here. It ignores that not only in Asia has swords and other focuses you claim HEMA concentrated on been the PRIMARY weapon of wars and civilian violence-even at one point the most developed Asian countries such as Japan, China, Korea, India, Mongolia and Siam had adopted gunpowder weapons during the Medieval, Renaissance, and early modern period- but there were various points when the sword edicts were lifted and every male old enough to start a family (depending on the era this can be as low as 13) were walking to town with a military grade knife or sword. Even kids and women depending on how militarized a society was during specific time periods had short sword or other genuine military weapon and knew how to use them for self defense.
On top of that Europe had just as many sword hunting and bans throughout its history and even onto the 1700s-20th century there were gun bans and even staff bans in some country-well bans on anything that was showing a rise in murder rates. Hell right now there are people advocating knife bans in the UK.
Guns and even swords were not always cheap weapons that the lower classes could afford so I doubt that explains why Irish stick fighting or American clubbing etc died out by the 20th century because your average dockworker or farmer would be more concerned about putting food on the table than getting a gun.
Many of your historical claims are utter BS for example by the Civil War in America, the JAPANESE were fighting the Meiji Restoration. Guess what? MOST TROOPS other than Samurai police such as the Shinsengumi and other specialized soldiers were using RIFLES and CANON ARTILLERY to kill each other. In the Bakamutsu specific there were even epic neaval battle in which canons were hitting each other and even a few clad iron ships.
Nevermind the Chinese having their own riflemen albeit heavily outdated when they were fighting civil wars over dynastic succession in the same century as well as Siam having a relatively modern army and so on.
What about non Asian societies? The Turks were the earliest empire to adopt gunpowder on a mass scale beyond mere siege weapons yet they kept their wrestling styles albeit modified to be safer.
Capoeira and Brazil anyone? Which would have had musket armies by their independence. Same for other Latin America countries some which are so corrupt pistols can be bought on the street. Yet local machete and knife styles still survive despite guns being smuggled in that a poor farmer can afford them. Indeed even the Amazon savage tribes who survive in their lifestyle before the Spanish came have adopted rifles to a large extent, in some tribes hunting with the rifle even became the norm . Yet their spear arts still survived as well as their traditional lifestyle (living in huts with the earth as the floor, wearing strange clothes including half naked dress for men, worshipping pagan gods, etc).
So thee volution of warfare is BS explanation.
They adopted gun powder weapons, canons etc, but the rifles they adopted did not advance for some time. Many of them were using muzzle loaders, even then hardly universally i might add, when the Europeans showed up with repeating rifles in the 19th century. You also have nations such as Japan that would allow firearms, then ban them even from their Militaries off and on. Please also note I also specifically state that this trend in Asia ended in the 19th century which is when the Meji restoration occurred. The fading of Martial Arts in the West did not happen over night. It was a transition over time.
I think what you are missing is the OPs point of "mass appeal" in the West vs Asia and he specifically named certain MA. I specifically focus on the topic at hand.
While European powers did have sword bans etc, unlike Asia, in the West the fighting arts always spread from the military. You don't have temples with Martial Monks who then spread their Arts as an example. The Church, when it had military orders was a Power in and of itself.
I could break it all down, the differences in Religious Institutions, the differences in Governmental structures that evolved along with the technology Asks chose not to pursue. If you want I will literally lay out the reasons that a few books have covered comparing and contrasting the east and west military sciences during that time frame as it was very relevant to the 19th century relations that led to Meji etc.