There are two paths to take when one studies the martial arts. These directions are art and sport. One of these methods leads straight to decay, the other leads, ultimately, to enlightenment.
If one does the martial arts as a sport, he engages in contest, and that actually defines the difference between sport and art. If one practices the martial arts as art, he is attempting to conquer himself. Subdue the self, or subdue another, the difference is easy to see.
If one is attempting to subdue another, he is holding the world responsible for his problems, fighting the world, not taking his own responsibility. Wether the accumulation of wealth, or just trying to beat somebody into a bloody pulp, the student is not using the art the way it was designed, as a mirror for the soul. It is the soul, the individual, the spirit, the I AM that is the point of the martial arts, not the smacking down of somebody else.
When one is doing the art as sport, he is making a strong body, and then risking that body to destruction. When one is doing the art as art, he is obsessed with finding out the truth about himself. He is engaged in defining what impulse is behind the muscle and quiver of fighting.
This all said, the True Martial Way can be defined by the degree of motion within the art. A young man indulges in the large motion of Karate and Shaolin and that type of art. As the student ages, he practices tai chi, slowing his motion down, looking at it, trying to take responsibility for his every action.
Eventually, man becomes tired, still, and begins to think about what it all means. At this point he has become motionless, a person who watches the movement of the universe, and this is where he finds the truth. In motionlessness, he sees the truth of who is behind all motion.
When one does Yoga one is making the body strong, but not through the game of combat. This does create a weakness, as the universe is motion, and we should duplicate that motion if one is truly going to see through to the source of that motion. That one weakness aside, yoga does open up and explore who one really is.
Putting the body in an asana, breathing, watching, we slowly become aware of who is doing the watching, who is creating the asana. We find the I AM that is behind all the motion of the universe, and thus we become who we were meant to be, spiritual, souls, individuals unique and creative and filled with passion. We could wait, and grow old through lack of a method, or we could pursue violence through the martial arts until we run out of violence, or, we could just accelerate the process with yoga, through posture and slow breathing, and find out who we really are.
Al Case has studied the martial arts for over forty+ years. He has written for the magazines,, including his own column, Case Histories. He is the developer of Matrixing Technology and Neutronics. You can get a free ebook at his website, Monster Martial Arts.