One thing that always haunts me is that the longer your train, the more your view might become hypocritical to an earlier version of yourself. This is much like comparing your current ideology to your own as a teenager or young adult. However, you will be the product of your commitment just the same. You might have thought you had it all figured out only to look back on yourself shaking your head. This is all natural as humans learn best from hindsight. It’s not hypocritical because you have merely experienced growth and understanding. So in the end the best solution is always to train often.
You have to be satisfied with the results from the level of commitment you’ve put forth with your training. Delusion can exist on either side of this fence. Delusion sets in easy for the civilian martial artist due to the fact that, unlike the warrior, there is no constant feedback for your tactics, strategies, and abilities in actual war. Ego also hits all of us in the martial arts sooner or later. Sometimes it drives us early on; sometimes intermittently, sometimes consistently. It takes concerted desire to push past its threshold, whether it be high or low.
The most dangerous place to exist in the martial arts is to have one foot in and one out. Train or don’t train. Anything in the middle can have disastrous consequences. You have to figuratively and metaphysically digest your style, lest your practice falls into little more than exercises of pantomime repeated for years worth of time. Your goals in the martial arts will not line up with everyone else’s goals. You will find others with similar ideologies, but not everyone trains for the same reasons. There is room for all of us in civilian life, from the athlete to the holistic-minded, the fighter, to the self defense practitioner. Some people just appreciate their teacher, and that’s why they keep coming back. Sometimes it’s a combination of many things. Sometimes the reasons change. What drives us to train is a very diverse field of inspiration.
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