the origins of martial arts come from oppressed people who were prohibited from using weapons and possessing tools (by political, military or religious decree), to prevent rebellion/assassination attempts against the king-emperor-high priest oppressor. Forced to use their minds and find new ways to protect themselves, the people created and mastered the art of fighting without conventional weapons by using their complete bodymind. See also Bruce Lee's Jeet Kune Do.
The great master of Judo and a founder of Kodokan Judo School, Mr. Jigoro Kano. I was moved by the story of him; as he was very old and close to death, he called his students around him and told them that he wanted to be buried in his white belt. This world's highest-ranking judoist asked for the emblem of the beginner as his last will. What a deep dedication into the martial art and humbleness!