The differences between combat skills and martial art skills may be compared to the differences between listening to a band in concert and listening to the band from a recording using headphone. When listening to the band using the headphones while sitting in your recliner, all extraneous sounds are blocked and you hear the nuisances of the music. You hear picks scrapping the strings of a guitar and you hear the fingernails of the pianist tapping on the keys. You may appreciate the music and appreciate how well the musicians perform. You hear the music of the band in its purest form, but only after it has been modified by numerous sound technicians. After listening to the music, you feel satisfied and, if you want to feel satisfied again, you just put on the headphones and play the music again.
When listening to the band in concert, you are immersed in the music. You not only hear the sound, you feel the sound over your entire body. You are jostled by the crowd; you hear them and feel their emotions. You in the mist of the action, experiencing the music of the band in its rawest form, you hear all the mistakes and off-key notes but you "feel" the music. After a concert, you feel alive and fulfilled, but the only way to achieve the feeling again is to attend another concert.
Martial art skills are satisfying and the satisfaction may be attained from merely performing the skills. Martial arts seek perfection of movement and, once satisfaction is attained, the movements that lead to the satisfaction may be easily replicated.
Combat skills are fulfilling, but to feel fulfilled, fighters must fight and they usually they must win. Perfection is neither sought not desired, winning is the goal. Each fight is different and cannot be replicated. One fight may be a good experience, the next bad. Fighters are addicts, they are only satisfied with they get their "fix."
A martial art is a way of life that may be used for self-defense. Easily 95% of the people in the United States will never be in situation where they are forced to defend themselves, so, if they spend their entire lives training to use their martial arts in a fight, they will be wasting their time. However, if they spend their entire lives training in their martial arts to improve their lives, then all the work will be worth it, even if they never have to defend themselves. People, who train in a martial art to fight, are disappointed if they do not get to fight. People who train in the "way" or the "do" of a martial art are disappointed when they must fight.
Martial arts are not something one does occasionally for self-defense or to improve physical fitness, rather, they are a way of living ones life in a way that enriches its enjoyment. This is the true secret of the martial arts.
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