Monk was considered a Psionic class in 4e, not a Martial class
My point was that before 4e, Monks were considered an expert class. A thief class.
When 4e, every class had to become more than just combat capable. So the Rogue and Monk became ful fledged warriors.
To me, the monk is more define be it lack of armor than their use of unarmed Strikes. Staff monk and and short sword monk training to be deadly and defended when in situations when they can wear even leather or padder armor hits the monk flavor to me.Of course Monks have a place in D&D. D&D is heroic fantasy. Monks are, in my opinion, best represented at their core by Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. That includes no-armour billowing-cloak martial artists who can fly from bamboo to bamboo and are equally proficient in unarmed strikes as they are with a swirling a sword or glaive, who can leap into battle and slice through hordes of fully armored soldiers without getting a stratch. They're artsy in their martialness. They do things that Fighters can't do because they capture the fiction of flowing movement in superhuman ways. Fighters are more Die Hard determinators who make it through despite the odds.