It’s called moderation. There are a few saying about moderation:
-Everything in moderation
-Moderation is the key to longevity
-There is such thing as too much of a good thing.

It’s all part of the way things work naturally in just about everything. Fast and intense beginnings tend to have very quick endings.

Compare these two people:
The person who has a fast and furious career, where they trained intensely, advanced quickly through ranks, competed in all sorts of events, and year after year gained a lot of notoriety, eventually comes to a point where they stop it all together VS The person who came to class twice a week, took a long time to earn ranks, never won any trophies or received much public notoriety, never really competed, but does it to a ripe old age. The second person is the one who never quit. They were committed, but, they were moderate. Martial art has become part of their weekly routine for life.

They pace themselves. They don’t get overly enthusiastic or overly ambitious. They don’t lack those things, but they moderate it. They may not be the most physically talented with all the executions all the time, but they can do everything technically correctly. These are the people who pass on the art to others. They never quit. They never burn out. Martial arts is their routine for life - they have committed 100% to it, and they stay with it all they way because they moderated their involvement with it.

Indeed commitment requires a great deal of self-evaluation. As well, moderation also requires a fantastic amount of self-evaluation and understanding of the overall goal..

Incidentally, the concept of moderation is not very widely promoted in American culture. Our society values hard work, so by default, the idea of the harder you work, the more you will be rewarded.  This concept is not necessarily mutually exclusive with the concept of moderation, but when moderation is not discussed, then anything short of all-out, full intensity can be viewed as being lazy. We see many images in the media of the person who is rewarded for “going full tilt”, but not very many images of people who exercise moderation and still reach the goal.

Finding the right balance of commitment and moderation is the key towards understanding the true path of martial arts.
And, it starts with the teacher.


One of the things I hear repeatedly from people who USED to do martial arts is that when they would train, they would go (what they called) hardcore, and do full intensity, full contact, full body conditioning, etc, etc. And they end by saying, “When I do something, I want to do it all the way and commit, and not do anything less. Otherwise, I just don’t do it.” They wind up not following through on much because they obviously missed step one.

These same people usually feel the need to learn something new whenever they train in the martial arts. This immediately tells me, or anyone that understands the martial arts, that they haven’t developed an understanding of the concept of Mastery. To me, that is failing to understand what the true lesson of martial arts is.

Martial arts training centered around developing self-knowledge. This includes strategies of consistency & longevity. It’s about preservation. It’s about perseverance over the long term. It’s about discipline.

Just as we typically think of a lazy person who lacks motivation to do any work as someone who has no discipline, the person who is a workaholic is also one who lacks discipline. They lack the discipline to stop themselves, switch gears, and round themselves out so they don’t burn out.

Martial arts training definitely requires commitment. But how do you commit to something like the disciplines of the martial arts?