There are many ways to consider applications for the martial arts we practice today. I am specifically asking about their use in pre-firearm times, on the battlefield.
It does not really matter whether one uses a Chinese term, an English term, an Arabic term, or an Incan term. Groups of armed men have fought groups of armed men since the beginning of man. Warfare is warfare. In pre-firearm times, successful armies trained their soldiers to use their weapons, primarily spears, effectively.
Some have been taught that the movements in Okinawan kata have been combat tested, that they enabled one to have success on the battlefield. This thread asks the question "how effective were Okinawan empty hand kata movements (at least those that have Chinese origins) for use on the battlefield, where large groups of armed men fought each other."
One answer might be "not very effective". One might argue that the movements of Chinese kata practiced in Okinawa had little use on the battlefield, where large groups of armed men fought each other. One might argue that the movements of these Chinese kata would were strictly developed for empty hand fighting and would only be useful in the rare circumstances that two soldiers might face each other, when neither had a weapon.
Another answer might be "somewhat effective". One might argue that in the event a soldier lost their weapon, their empty hand movements would be effective in overcoming the attacks of multiple armed enemies.
Both of these answers might imply that Okinawan kata have movements different and distinct from weapons movements. In these cases, soldiers would have separate training for weapons movements and empty hand movements, with at best, modest overlap between the two.
Another answer might be "effective". One might argue that Okinawan empty hand kata contain some movements that provide for effective use of a spear-like weapon.
And yet another answer might be "very effective". One might argue that Okinawan empty hand kata contain many movements that provide for effective use of a spear-like weapon.
I would appreciate, cxt, if you would share whether in the course of your martial arts training, you were taught that kata movements practiced today had been effective, many years ago, on the battlefield. I have heard this argument many times. And I believe it to be true. For those that believe it, I am interested in how they would consider these movements effective, according to the various circumstances I have described above.