Cord -- it saddens me that you view it that way. But maybe some of us need to train, and others don't. All I know is that I owe a lot of my spiritual and mental development to the Japanese arts, far more so than to the philosophy classes or the sessions at church, or the hours of volunteer work.
My point is that Martial arts are a selfish preoccupation. Now if you want to dress it up as a journey to self enlightenment that makes you a better person, then fair enough, but for the most part, it just isn't.
Don't believe me? Go find someone who has trained 'Art X' for 20 + years, and question it.
The response you get will
be defensive. They may get upset, maybe even angry.
Why? If the art has truly made them grow devoid of ego, and opened them up to spiritual enlightenment, then why do so many of them get hot uder the Gi about it?
Because, whilst they are fond of going on about how they have no ego, they do, its just that they have directed it into the art they have devoted themselves to. To question the art is to question the person, and thus the ego emerges, just as strong, if not stronger, than in many non MAists.
skill requires dedication, practice, self awareness, the ability to overcome obsticle, and the readiness to fail repeatedly in the attempt.
That is true for everything from Karate to decorative cake making.
The trouble is that MA tends to attract people with low self confidence and a feeling they need to prove something, either to themselves or to others. Its a world of self percieved weaklings and victims, trying to change that perception of themselves.
If it works, then great, but dont kid yourself that it leads to some kind of altruism, because it doesnt. Its group therapy through nosebleeds