Interesting thoughts from Cord but I only partly agree with you.
Many of the most highly respected and effective martial arts in the world were developed by wise men on misty mountain tops. They developed exceptional levels of skill in fighting arts to test their bodies and minds to the highest levels, to discover their limitations and in doing so to understand themselves in a way that none of us truly could. Unfortunately many of those exceptional skills are now lost to the world and most of us are now training mere shadows of what were once incredibly inspiring arts. I know most of you will want to argue with that statement but that doesn't make it less so.
A runner or a cook for example aren't learning skills that enable them to learn how to handle the conflicts and difficulties in life both within themselves and in the environment around them. Martial arts, for example, teaches us how best to adapt to circumstances that are happening in combat and that enables us to look at other difficult situations in our lives and gives us greater mental flexibilty to find the answers to our problems. That is only one of the countless ways that a study of martial arts has to help us in life. Good martial arts offers so many parallels to living a useful, healthy and happy life that go far beyond the ability to block and strike but the schools and teachers that can offer us these insights are rapidly disappeaaring.
Yes I'm afraid that in losing the arts that inspired our teachers teahers generations ago we may well be losing the original essence of our fighting traditions.