Anyhow, one of the issues that I have had with "conventional" martial arts is that it survives/thrives in a culture of dependency thus leading to a lack of creativity. The art part has vanished.
Many view martial arts as a toolbox, and have termed it martial sciences, which I respect, and ascribe to...but the thing is this - if you explore science deep enough, it starts becoming art. And if you explore art deep enough, it starts becoming science. In other words, science and art are not mutually exclusive, although we tend be socialized into thinking so.
The challenge becomes at what point does one take creative liberties? If you become creative too much too soon, you risk losing developing an integral foundation. If you stay within the boundaries too often, too long, you'll have a very difficult time trying to break out to find yourself, and have doomed yourself into roboticism.
The truth is, as it tends to be, somewhere in the middle. I would say, if you keep a creative spirit while learning the technical foundations, and try to play with the variables given to you (and showing your creativity to a mentor for feedback), you can effectively do both.
The trick is for the instructor to promote this idea. Traditionally, in martial arts, the integration of mental disciplined was a component that really aimed at shaping character. However, in that process, there was a lot of getting yelled at and physical abuse for doing things wrong. In other words, fear-based discipline...this was the method employed at developing mastery over technical content.
In this framework, however, it does not lend itself to a safe or conducive atmosphere to develop the right hemisphere of the brain.
There have been schools labeled as McDojos, that developed a reputation for not developing enough of a technical foundation...however, it is not an opposite scenario, because I doubt that they are actively seeking to develop much creativity either.
The creativity that I see basically revolved around marketing, such as XMA, camouflage colored belts, etc.
Martial sport is what is currently popular, with the rise of the Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) industry. Sport is good for zeroing in on a handful of techniques, and developing high levels of proficiency, in order to compete.
In the Chinese martial arts, martial arts as choreographed performance art was in vogue. So, it was used to a great extent in film and television, and raising the bar for what stunt people have to go through in their training curriculum.
As the popularity of the Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) is leveling, what we'll be presented with are a lot of options in terms of where one wants to take their training.
I, for one, love the perfection of technique through sport, some of the mental discipline of the traditional ways to develop a deeper sense of investment into the art, and also exploring and encouraging creative energies within the art, without loosing a footing on the technical side.
Okay, that's enough for now! :)