This will be a bit of an ad hoc post rather than anything planned. So going along with the title of the overall blog this will be a bit of my ramblings. The focus of this one as is indicated is looking at the view forward overall.
In my view I see two ways forward, following the manuals and recreating them as they are, and taking what we can from the manuals applying these techniques and developing our own ways. In some ways this is like the emergence of eastern martial arts in the 70's and 80's. What needs to be realised by all is that both approaches have their benefits and issues.
The first is an historical recreation of skills expressed by previous masters which keeps the examination of period masters alive and the history associated. In many ways this provides some of the fuel for the second approach. These investigations provide examinations of period masters and thus reproductions of techniques developed.
The second approach uses manuals but in a different manner taking core principles and techniques in order to enhance new approaches. This is more focussed towards the western martial arts approach and thus a much more practical one. The investigations are focussed toward how the techniques apply as applied to an opponent before them.
What is important in this is that both approaches need to be encouraged as each one fuels the other. The first approach finds period manuals and investigates them to see how the techniques work, the second uses the techniques and encourages further investigation. In both approaches the investigation needs to be a broad overlook, not narrowing into a singular school or approach. The only way for all to benefit is for all to share with one another and thus benefit all.