Weapons were probably the first thing that was used to attack another human being. Defending without a weapon was probably never thought about until it became necessary.
The vast armies in ancient China used hand held weapons and bow and arrow. The hand-held weapons were mostly swords, long-handled staff, Kwan Dao, and spear. When a soldier was disarmed, training began in unarmed killing. These long-range martial arts were transferred to civilian use at some point and today, we have martial arts with long, low stances, originally designed for use with long weapons.