I was a partially blind teenager.

That is, I had come to the awareness that I had little, conscious spiritual sight. Yet, by contrast, I somehow intuited that we are all born with the light inside us. It just didn’t lie near enough at my hand when I reached the beginnings of adulthood.

Looking back, reclaiming my spiritual footing was a hard won reward. I call it a reward, because I would not trade my martial insights for any material profit. It’s hard to put a price on enriched life meaning. This is a particularly difficult reality to convey to young people who have become increasingly focused on measuring the value of their lives solely by material standards. “When do I get my next belt?” (or when do I get my reward?)

Don’t get me wrong. Material gratifications are very satisfying. They just don’t paint the whole picture.  The challenge awaiting today’s teachers is conveying the message to the younger generation that although insights are invisible, and often unquantifiable, they offer immeasurable satisfaction and a healthy counter to materialism’s stranglehold. Spiritual insights are almost always useless to those trained only to evaluate the tangible. Where the externalist needs trophies or a raise to move forward and too feel good, the internalist needs only to feel ‘right’ or attuned to know that he or she has made the correct choice.

During my forties my life had become full of internal changes, new awareness, and expansions, so much so that I felt myself spilling my overfull martial plate and making a mess of the dojo. It’s strange to feel clumsy one moment and superbly agile the next.

Anyone who has developed a calloused foot on the rock strewn martial path will eventually arrive at an inner road sign. It will point to the Do and the Jutsu. I recommend the road less traveled—the Do. But be forewarned. This path comes with some tag along sidekicks called doubt and confusion. Robust fellows, they will be your frequent and agile sparring partners.