Being a Martial Artist is similar to being a marathon runner It requires a higher level of training that not many of the population is capable of. You cannot expect to complete a Marathon if you cannot even complete a 10K run! You cannot expect to be considered a high level Martial Artist if you have not even achieved or maintained a basic level of fitness development. A basic level of fitness in my eyes is a balanced development in your total body physical development.
And just because you complete one Marathon run it does not mean the journey is over. It is easy to achieve, but can you maintain? That is the hardest aspect of the journey. You can easily obtain a “black belt” or achieve a high level, but can you maintain that high level of achievement, not just for now, not just for a decade or two, but can you do it for your entire life?
Can you train day in and day out, not for money, fame, and glory, but because you simply love training? People who are serious about running Marathons do not do it for money, they actually have to pay much money out of pocket to run the race, but they still pay the money and they have great passion in being involved in such an event.
Martial Artists typically will not make money from training, many times they will have to spend money to enhance their training, but they spend the money and do it because they love it, not for anything else. It is a passion that is just in their heart. A marathon runner runs out of love, a Martial Artist will train out of love, not being motivated by money, fame, and women.
A Martial Artist simply trains because he loves to train, he is meant to train. He loves the Art, not the money, not the fame, not the women. He is in love with the Art and that is why he trains. Some are born to be Martial Artists, some are meant to be Martial Artists.
Imagine running marathons for 80 years straight. That is a real runner, not somebody who just runs it a few times and then gives it up. A real Martial Artist will train until his time is up, from beginning till end. He does not give up because he did not “win.” He does not give up because he does not make money from his training. For a true Martial Artist, practicing his Art is like breathing. If you tell him to stop practicing his Art, it is like telling him to stop breathing; his spirit will become very weak and eventually die.
A true Martial Artist cannot go too long without breathing, eventually he will have to come out and express himself. For a true Martial Artist, Martial Arts is life. It is everything. Martial Arts is his Way of Life, it is his real religion. Martial Arts is Meditation, meditation is the Way, it is the Key. There is no other Way but Zen.