There are many styles of martial arts which I have referred to before: sport, combat, military and energy work martial arts. Some arts main focus is on killing the enemy like Fairbairn’s WW2 Gutter fighting. Some are focused on containment and control like police work Jiu Jitsu (Brazilian Jiu Jitsu). Sport styles are fairly well recognized and do not need further mention here (Although looking at the more ancient forms of sport like Indian Kabbadi one can observe quite a bit about ancient sport)
What needs more clarification is scientific and natural styles.
Lets first start with natural styles. These would be the plains Indians (Native Americans) styles, Pacific Islander styles, Penkat Silat and others that would be passed down outside of formal training and usually the toughest fighters would have the victory over their enemies. This is also where we get the combat-proxy of sport from. It is for dominance over the opponent. This type of sport fighting and many other fighting styles are actually ego centric styles; to win dominance over the opponent.
Teaching was usually through kata (forms) or through dances encoded with the movements that were most helpful. They new of many natural methods and learned from animals. For Example :each Pacific Island nation (or people) would have their own forms of dance. Tradition and culture play a large part in the handing down of natural martial art.
Scientific Martial Arts
Scientific martial arts usually have two things in common: They are effective and reproducible. You will see this with Scientific Self defense (defendu) from W.E. Fairbairn, The Science of Self Defense from Edmund Price and many more. Fight science has been around in Western Martial arts for a few centuries. It was originally based on western martial arts of bare knuckle boxing and folk wrestling. Later styles incorporated Chinese Kung fu and Judo throws as the west forgot its combat oriented martial arts and replaced them for “civilized” sports. The point of these scientific combat forms was to kill or be killed.
A Martial art for the 21st Century
There are several natural and scientific martial arts in the world at the moment: Senmotic Functional Defense, ISAI martial art, and even KAPAP the close quarters principle based combatives from Israeli Yamam. The most scientific and natural art that I have ever found has been Kadochnikov Systema from Southern Russia.
The point of Kadochnikov systema is survival, but to also be able to take a step back and to solve a problem with science. This is a way of thinking and the point isn’t just to break the enemy. It is to be able to come out of any tricky situation with your head and body intact and to look forward to another day.
What real Kadochnikov Sytema Looks Like
The Architect of Systema