Martial arts have evolved, or at least should be evolving. From their origins to today, the purpose and power they hold for their practitioners are changing. Martial arts have always been about "blocking", changing the fate of the warrior for the better. This fundamental principle has not changed. What is changing is the focus of the warrior's effort, what he or she is focused on blocking. This focus needs to change to match their environment for the art to remain relevant and effective.
Originally the martial arts were little more than the codified methods of fighting that kept particularly successful warriors alive. The "arts" were being taught as fighting methods with little thought to, or development of, morality or concepts of how one should live. They were focused only on blocking the potential of death for the warrior. As times changed and the world became more "civilized" and rule shifted from warlords and small kingdoms to that of countries the need for this type of training faded away.
Today's "traditional" martial arts focus on physical development as well as helping students develop a better way of life. The best schools available today are teaching a new type of "blocking", and a new way to look at self defense. These schools help students understand that helping others, building a stronger community and developing leadership skills is the best way to "block" the bad things that haunt the modern person's life. Students learn that the best self defense, the best way to "block" some threats, is to reach out and change the world to reduce the threat before it happens. "Blocking" in today's world must include becoming involved in activities designed to build stronger, healthier communities if it is to be effective.