There is only one thing that holds a martial artist back from reaching the True Martial Art. That one thing has one name…distraction. To the degree that one is not distracted, to that degree he will realize his goals, and to that extent he reaches the True Art.
When one learns the martial arts one learns these training routines called forms. On the surface, the form is a dictionary of applications, of having a curriculum which will teach him higher and higher ranges of art. It is under the surface, however, through the refusal of distractions that one must apply himself in searching for the True Martial Art.
When one can refuse to let his attention wander in the middle of the practice of kata one is cultivating his discipline. When one concentrates only on the unique moves within the kata, and does not allow himself to be led astray, then he is enhancing concentration. The end result of these endeavors is to be able to keep awareness in the martial universe, and not in the universe of trees and bushes and rocks and twigs and such.
The pieces of the form, the applications, are the middle arena of refusing to be distracted. This area, applying technique to a willing opponent, leads one from perfect thought to the execution of perfect idea even in the middle of chaos. When one holds to the physics of combat, holds to his mental focus, holds to the truths he has gleaned concerning his fellow man even in combat, then one is approaching a distraction free existence.
It is in the fact of kumite, however, that one must determine his most adamant refusal of the distractions of the real universe. One must focus on the other fighter, refuse the intrusions of a random world, and build the truth of his own awareness. When one lives as if in a tunnel when fighting his opponent, and can hold to the construction of that tunnel no matter the occurrence, then one has found the True Martial Art.
These three arenas, kata, technique and kumite, are the true gladiatorial property of the True Art. To the extent that one refuses to be distracted, that one becomes pure in the focus of awareness, to this extent one enters the True Martial Art. The real key, to all this, however, lies in the achievement of one singular and important fact.
The universe travels backwards. It is not the flotsam and jetsam of the universe that offer distraction, it is the knowledge that one must not actively go towards a distraction free existence, but, rather, relax so that no distractions can take hold in the soul. It is the emptiness of the universe, perceived by the unimpeded individual, that makes up the Path of the True Art.