Martial arts was originally intended to be about developing the body and the mind and perfecting one's self. It was not designed for war. It was unfortunately used in that manner down the road (the japanese and koreans took the hard styles from watching chinese styles - removed all the soft, and were aggressive and used these in wars). This aggressive nature then passed on to other martial arts, and it is this aggressive nature that has nothing to do with what the original intent was.
I don't take muay thai. I do capoeira and wing chun. However, I am considering muay thai, not to use for defending myself, not to use for wars, but to learn the art, and to develop my physical being in conjuction with my mind. We do live in a physical world, and focussing on physical improvement is not a bad thing! Problem is finding a non-aggressive school to learn at - as most are all filled with aggressive guys that just want to fight and have bad karma. I would not compete in sports or tournaments though. I'm against that. I am OK with training with a friend as that is all in good fun and for improvement. Even animals in the wild have mock fights to improve their physical ability to defend themselves and condition themselves. So they use less force than they would and draw a line (ie; dont' kill each other)', but still give a serious bashing to each other and bleed etc, to make sure they are conditioning themselves.
My major theme throughout this thread is that real life self defense is not something that can be made a sport out of, and is also not something regularly taught, as it would injure those that you train with. It's much harder to teach, and also less financially prosperous for a business (ie: most martial arts that make you run around for the first 45 mins of a class and then only give you the last quarter of the class of "real" instruction, which is totally useless in real life scenarios, ie: taekwondo. If you teach someone basic essentials and just run those through routinely, it makes for far fewer classes and less income.
I'd have to say I disagree with the idea that having a gun protects you from having values or rules forced upon you. Just look at all the evil american ways of life forced upon society, and your guns are not doing anything to stop it! Are you pro the Iraq/Afghan wars? Are you pro patriot acts? Are you pro Bush? Are you pro corporate/cruelty/environmental disaster policies? Are you anti-kyoto? Are you pro being the number one environmentally damaging nation in the planet? Probably not! But I don't see all of you that have guns using those to do anything to stop it. And if you did, you'd all be shot dead or put in jail anyway. The guns you have do nothing and are no match against military controlled societies (which you are by the way). The solutions lie in creating an educated compassionate uniform society that shapes their civilization in a peaceful manner. Using a gun is no way to shape society. People outside the USA believe the US is one of the most brainwashed and supressed and dangerous societies in the world to live. If having guns meant less oppressive and safer nations, then the USA should surely be ranked amongst the top in the world since it's gun ownership percentage is the highest. I myself have not been to the staes in 18 years, and have no plans of ever going there, based on the mentalities of your society. It is far too dangerous, people are brainwashed, and far too aggressive a society for me.
However, I would like to cease and desist on this debate about guns. Trying to convince americans not to have guns is a more daunting task than convincing them to go vegan, so I'd just rather not continue it.
I'd give my life to see a law passed that would protect the rights of animals, and make them equals to man, and stop the suppression. To see the world enforce this value upon the ignorant and suppressive human beings would be a beautiful day, and I couldn't care less about respecting those humans personal beliefs/values. They are simply wrong, and there is nothing more to it, just as the racists and sexists must be abolished, so too must the speciesists.