Martial artists are an ornery lot. They dedicate themselves to discovering their own way. In this modern world where rewards are social and ridiculously exaggerated, it’s hard to follow a very faint voice at the back of your mind. But every time you practice you are taking the teacher’s words and transforming them into your own journey. Every time you do a form you are taking hundreds of years,—a tapestry of shared experiences,—and finding our own thread.
I could be wrong about this but it seems like a lot of people are becoming more docile while pretending to be radically original. From my experience in life, I tend to trust those people who seem to be listening to their own voice, even if all the music is trying to drown it out; whether that voice comes from their martial arts, their invention, their poetry, their rarely-shared passion. I am grateful there are such listeners. Whether I agree with them or not, I trust their integrity.
And I trust the martial artist who can never explain to his family why, at 7:00 at night, after dinner, he goes out in the back to do his form one more time.