NOT A RESPONSE TO DUANEW--OOPS
"Traditional martial arts instuction does not encourage critial thinking"
Maybe, I would suggest that depends on whom is teaching it. As it it sounds a little to clase to a generalization for my taste.
"the idea is that the art was perfected at some point in the past and the task today is to preserve the sacred tradition."
So you would walk into a MMA gym and or maybe a boxing gym and start telling the person teaching class that he was doing the upper cut or the right cross "wrong" because doing it that way is just some "sacred tradition?"
I think a distinction needs to be drawn between what is a "sacred tradition" and "this is how we do it." The former is often too much for me--but the latter often makes sense. It is why we have different arts--people do things in diffrent ways and some ways work better for some people.
"People just assume that just because those silly movements are in the are, they must have a practical purpose. They don't."
Again, not that such a statement is entirely wrong---its NOT. Just lacks some analysis. As an example:
1-How exactly would a newbie at pretty much anything know the difference between "silly movements" and something important?"
2-"Silly movements" kinda (IMO) depends on whom exactly your talking about--watched the last seasion of the Ultimate fighter and saw some people getting pretty badly messed up with techniques that would be pretty much sucicide for less skilled folks.
3-"They do't." Again, maybe, maybe not. I'd say that depends on exactly what you are talking about instead of blanket statement.