I believe martial arts should be approached as a sub-type of the healing arts: to prevent harm through preemptive action in a violent situation.
I first met my teacher, Grandmaster Dr. Zeusan Yen, in his traditional Eagle Style Qi Gong class. I was teaching computers at the local library when I met his wife who used to come in for computer help quite often. One day she saw me researching healing and meditation online and shared that her husband was a Chinese doctor who taught qi gong as well. He had a course starting soon so I jumped right in and the rest is history (or at least another article).
After a while, Sifu started dropping hints and links from the traditional eagle style qi gong of his family to the eagle style martial art often taught along with it, and how they compliment each other. It turned out that in addition to the eagle style qi gong and kung fu passed down through his family, he had studied many different styles and integrated them into a unique fighting style that incorporated striking, grappling and fluid, 8-direction movement; an early mixed martial artist, just like Bruce Lee!
I went on to study hard with my master for the last 10 years of his life. I earned my black belt in his system: Yen Qi Do, which combined the eagle qi gong and kung fu, with many other styles of kung fu, taekwondo, and hapkido. Upon earning my black belt, which my teacher equated with graduating college and going into university, he taught me Chinese medicine and acupuncture. So I started with healing and ended with healing.
My teacher would point out that in our current society (especially here on the west coast of Canada) things are fairly safe, and that one could go through their entire life and not ever have to use their martial arts training in a real self defense situation, but that everyone, including oneself, needs some sort of healing or balancing.
This is why he would start with qi gong, to get one started on healing themselves. In his qi gong course students would learn the basics of Chinese medicine philosophy, including Tao & Yin/Yang theory, an explanation of the 3 Treasures and how they interact, 5 Element theory, organ functions, meridians, acupressure, and diagnosis. This was in addition to the eagle qi gong form (sitting or standing), 3 breathing techniques, and a 20-30 minute healing visualization that cleansed and energized all the organs, meridians and body.
The qi and body awareness of qi gong would lead nicely into a healthy kung fu foundation but my teacher’s focus was on healing. Martial arts was mind and body health and hopefully would never have to be used, but if it was, to prevent harm, and the need for healing, one needs to be sharp and ready to protect themselves and those around them.