1. When you come into the martial arts, study it, whatever aspect that appeals or is available to you, whatever style, with the kind of vigor only a novice can bring to the table.
2. When you’re young and able, but yourself through the fire of the smartest and hardest training you have the resources and ability to endure. The more you heat and fold and workthe steel, the stronger the sword.
3. Stay a student –and for God’s sake, don’t mistake the car for the trip. The martial arts is the car you might be driving, but the car is just a tool; the trip is why you’re in the car. And, if God has graced you with any brains at all, appreciate that the trip is not about the destination, alone; appreciate the scenery and the tourist stops along the way.
4. Teach like a maniac; teach until you break thru the barrier’s of your own stupidity. Teach until you’ve finally taught yourself that you don’t know much –and that the process wasn’t about what you know/knew at all, but what your students came to teach you.
5. Finally, when you’re finally ready, realize it’s not about the martial arts at all; not one little iota. Being a martial arts master is easy, disgracefully easy. The whole damn thing has been about getting out of the dojo, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, physically, socially –on every level –and into the world. The goal is not “martial arts mastery,” the goal is to become a compassionate, awake, participative, engaged, cognizant human being.
6. When you come into this awareness, even if only momentarily or in waves, study it, whatever aspect that appeals or is available to you, with the kind of vigor only a novice can bring to the table.