The Protector Class
Think of the Military, the Police Force, the Spartans, the Kshatriya, the Medieval Knights, the Samurai - these were all facets of what I would call the Protector Class; that segment of the population that stood between the wolves and the sheep.
Centuries ago, people had much more clearly defined roles within society; today this is not the way. In today's world, the roles are less clear - the choices infinitely more numerous, the responsibilities that much more shared.
The martial arts phenomenon is to some degree, a reflection of people's need to take self responsibility for their own protection. The martial arts offer a means by which an individual can become a member of a growing new protector class - the self protector. The world is too large, society too complex for the average person to be able to rely fully on the professional protector classes (military, police, etc) to look aftre their safety and security. With most of the sheepdogs over the hill at war with the wolves, more and more sheep are growing fangs and gearing up for battle. The martial arts are an integral part of this phenomenon - and are not only here to stay - but show all the signs of becoming increasingly popular with the mainstream of society.