If you are a fan of such things, you'll probably enjoy this, go have a look.
An example: the illustration above, is from Nicholaes Petter, circa 1674 CE. Anybody have any trouble recognizing a sweep? Foot going one way, arm going the other? Opposite levers?
My fellow MA allowed as how the Europeans used platform training -- in the footwork-sense, and how it was amazing how much of the stuff they did looked familiar. I've seen some of this stuff before, especially in fencing. Various Spanish, French, and Italian schools used quadrants and patterns on the floor to teach swordsmanship.
Sir Richard Burton's book on swords has illustrations in it taken from the pyramids. The Mayans had beaucoup carvings on their pyramids and stella showing how they swung their blades, as did Indian temple carvings, as did the Chinese, as it ... well, you get the idea.
Actually, what would have been amazing would have been if it hadn't looked familiar.
This is a subject upon which I have touched before, but it's been a while, so I thought it might be worth visiting again.
As human beings, bipedal creatures evolved -- or created, if you'd rather -- to live at the bottom of a gravity well, there are only so many ways we can articulate our upright frames. Muscles work a certain way, joints do, and that pesky gravity sets limits on both.
Take a man from the African veldt and plunk him down in New York City, he will have no trouble at all recognizing what the folks on Fifth Avenue consider to be walking. There are only so many ways to walk, and it's pretty universal, with only slight variations. That's because there are limits as to how creatures with two legs that bend at the back can ambulate efficiently and every human culture has a version that is not far away from it.
Somebody tells you he has a new way of walking? Hang onto your wallet, or put in a call to psychiatric services.
In martial arts, as in other physical activities, there are only so many possibilities in toto, and fewer as you head toward safe, effective, and efficient ways to move.
A fist is a fist. There are variations, of course, but only so many ways to make and use one. If you eliminate the methods that will immediately damage the user and whittle them down to those that will likely cause more harm to the recipient, then there are really only a few ways left. It's the nature of the machine that it only works in certain manners, and the possible ranges of motion are going to be strait-jacketed by that biped-at-the-bottom-of-the-gravity-well and the hinges and levers and all.
It's all pull, though we call some of it push. It is how things work. Form follows function.
If you lived in India a few thousand years ago and you were fooling around with ways to punch, you'd eventually come up with something that looked like what the Chinese fellow came up with, as did the Australian aborigine, as did the Viking, Eskimo, or First Americans. Especially if you actually hit something instead of shadow-boxing.
The question isn't how could you? but -- how could you not?
As art forms, the chief differences are going to be in ways of combining such techniques; the strategy and tactics of when and where to use them; how one focuses on the overall pattern of activity; and whatever cultural or religious or physical limitations one brings to the table.
Something in the Chinese character veered into kung-fu and found resonance; and something in the Japanese liked what became ju jutsu; and something in the cold Northlands brought up their version of how to beat an enemy with whom you are standing toe-to-toe. And eventually they started swapping them back and forth.
But they were all using the same basic hardware that is the human body.
The stuff that worked got kept, and most of the stuff that didn't got you maimed or killed, so you didn't pass that along. If you are expecting kung fu and you get judo, you might not be able to adjust on the fly. If you survive, you can learn from that and be ready next time. You train for what you think you are going to run into. You can debate what that part might be, but you are bringing the same wind-up doll to the game.
A slight digression: This doesn't mean that things can't be recombined or altered to fit new circumstances. How you'd fight underwater or in zero gravity would lend themselves to somewhat different expressions. And technology can be thrown into the mix.
Consider the track event, the high jump. Up until the late 1960's, the way you went over the bar varied, from a straddle to a scissors, and eventually, a crab-like roll, but that was it, and the reason was simple. The landing surface was usually a pit dug into the ground filled with sawdust or thin mats. However high you leaped, that was how high you had to fall, and landing on your feet was the safest way. You could do a gymnastic roll and come up, but it was still hard on your body. (I knew a gymnast when I was in junior high who claimed he could set the world record in his age group in the high jump if they allowed a two-foot take off. During his tumbling pass, his back layout, if timed right, would easily clear a seven-foot bar. Ever watch those little girls do free exercise in the Olympics? They fly higher than that.)
Enter Dick Fosbury, who came up with a way to go over the bar lying more or less flat on his back. This was only possible because of thick foam rubber padding which brought the landing surface up higher and made it much softer. Doing the Fosbury Flop onto sawdust six or seven feet down would be a method you might try once, maybe twice. After that, you would doubtless wonder if high jumping was worth pursuing as you lay in your hospital bed nursing your busted spine ...
Um. Back to to the main point. As soon as I hear that somebody has come up with a radical new movement system, unlike anything anybody has ever seen, my bullshit detector goes off.
No, I am here to tell you, they have not. They might have taken a direction maybe nobody has thought about recently; or perhaps combined some things that hadn't been combined just that way before, but I can guarantee you that in however many millions of years the hairless monkeys have been dancing, and however many centuries since they started writing it down or chiseling it onto walls, whoever is offering the new, never-seen-before! system of exercise, fighting, or whatever, is building it on the bones of those who have gone before.
They might have come up with a new mix 'n' match. And maybe it works better than either one alone. But that high-tech-eccentric-pulley-computer-monitored weight machine is, in the end, just a variation on the big rock. And most anything that is going to tone your muscles is something that we were doing in the trees and on hillsides and plains and in ponds two million years ago, and written down into systems since we came up with writing.
Caveat emptor ...