The evolution of a practicing martial artist’s techniques is reflected in the ongoing development of skills against the backdrop of the human aging process. The martial artist is forced to continually adapt training regimen and techniques in response to physical restrictions of the aging process. In the same way that the aging of a normal person corresponds to the adaptive cycles of an ecosystem, as martial artists age, the arts they practice mature over time.
The personal ecosystems of martial artists (their internal and external physical functions and actions) and broader ecosystems, of which martial artists are component parts, similarly go through adaptive cycles in response to new events (or the introduction of new techniques). Image 14 below shows the adaptive cycle and the cyclical phase it goes through.
Image 14. The Adaptive cycle in two dimension “A stylized representation of the four ecosystem functions (r, K, α, Ω) and the flow of events among them. The arrows show the speed of the flow in the cycle, where short, closely spaced arrows indicate a slowly changing situation and long arrows indicate a rapidly changing situation. The cycle reflects changes in two properties: (1) Y axis-the potential that is inherent in the accumulated resources of biomass and nutrients; (2) X axis-the degree of connectedness among the controlling variables…The exit from the cycle indicated at the left of the figure suggests in a stylized way, the stage where the potential can leak away and where a flip into a less productive and organized system is most likely.” (Gunderson p.34 2002) The r box represents the part of the adaptive cycle occupied by exploitation phase. The K box represents the part of the adaptive cycle occupied by the conservation phase. The α box represents the part of the adaptive cycle occupied by reorganization. The Ω box represents the part of the adaptive cycle occupied by release phase.