T.E.Lawrence noted "With 2000 years of examples behind us, we have no excuses when firghting for not fighting well"
Another quotation is also somewhat illuminating: "There really is no such thing as a traditional European sword art per se. What does exist is a collection of reconstructed techniques and movements-----
----there is no traditional teaching method for Renaissance swordsmanship. However, there is no ritual or mystique either'
John Clements "the Illustrated Use of Rapiers and Cut and Thrust Weapons"
In the West the use of weaponry has become rather over associated with the military.
This military, as in Augustan Roman times, is fast becoming a professional military.
At the same time governments, including our own, have already succeeded , subliminally or by outright regulation, in discouraging or extinguishing the practice of the use of modern personal weapons by those not currently in the Military.
Combat Shotgunning-well at least I received one day's training.
Combat handgunning is also alive and well-just not available formally on every street corner.
Simultaneously with this trend the importation of Eastern systems of learning, with their concurrent feeling of belonging to something larger than oneself, has increased its pace.
Fencing, And the three types of shooting 'clays' are viewed as 'sports' not arts.
But that that is clearly not the case in the East with respect to swordsmanship.
I certainly would love to enable the folk of the West to elevate such "sports" to the level of arts.
To some extent this has already begun to happen.
For what its worth I have practiced Archery (sport and hunting with its associated fieldcraft) Handgun and Military Rifle Competition.
If fencing had been more available for "public consumption" (perhaps it was and I just didn't notice) I hope that i would have studied it,
I do not mean to imply the fencing is not practiced 'properly" or anything like that, just that the system of learning the empty hand as we know it has outstripped the popularity of many 'sports' which might otherwise be considered as 'art' or 'a way'.
We just have failed to adapt and elevate Western martial arts to the level of "Do".
Or, at least, it appears that that is so.
Obviously I note that with respect to many arms (knives swords etc) there certainly exists a history--but no embodiment yet of their use into a system of learning such as we have experienced in Uechi Ryu.
The closest thing I can think of to earning a black belt in "shooting" off the top off my head would be to earn the "distinguished rifleman" classification or to be allowed into the "gunfighter" class of the growing 'sport' of single action cowboy Shooting.
But Alvin York and Carlos Hathcock should remain examples of what we should consider one of the true "Western Martial Arts".
Perhaps William Butler Hitchcock could be an example of a master of another Western martial art.
Having said that I will leave this thread with another quote that I cannot name the source for "there are few things more dangerous in the world than an American kid with an M-16".
I was fortunate enough to get a little "on the firing line" training with M-16 and M-14 clones as well as the venerable Springfield and M-1.
I am aware that this post is a bit of 'shooting from the hip' again and i encourage all to fill in any gaps as they see fit.