Is anyone else as struck as I am by the similarities between Western Religion, and the Western Versions of Eastern Martial Arts? They both promise a way to prepare for an event that can't be absolutely predicted, and can't be understood until it's been experienced. (Death/afterlife for Religion, and "Street Fights" for MA). Those who have experienced said event can't explain it to those who haven't experienced it. No matter what actions are taken, at the point of trial, the "win" is determined more by attitude than training. The teachers are too often more obsessed with personal gain than actually training others, so they water down the teachings to make them more palatable. Belittling of other denominations/styles is accomplished by over-generalization and straw man attacks. The insecure often find refuge in either, and often become aggressive and hostile once they are in "the club." For those who are confident, they have little problem interacting with others that don't agree with them. Some teachers find pupils because of the lineage of their teachers, others find them by having a less-than-perfect lineage, but by teaching the truth. The majority of people join so that they can remove their basic fears, and feel safe. The minority join so that they can improve their own selves, and be able to accept their responsibilities. Although I believe that my own training hall is the best, ultimately, the best answer for those looking for a place to learn is, "The one that will help you improve." You have to have a proper attitude of learning/submission before you can get any benefit. You still have to realize that while being respectful to your teacher, and taking what they say in an attitude of trust, ultimately, it is up to you to teach yourself. Once a week is not enough to improve. It has to be a daily pursuit. Your personal journey may be like many others, but what helped you may not be the answer for another, and vice-versa. Depending on where you are in your journey, the answers to the same questions may be different at different times, without being wrong. What may appear as "Secrets" to the beginner are really just truths that cannot be understood until other, more basic truths are accepted. Simply repeating and repeating sayings are not enough, they have to be internalized to be useful. You never know when you will need it, or what form it will take. While you are excited about what you are learning, many people, even your close friends, won't understand, or care. Politics and Titles can be extremely helpful, or extremely frustrating and distracting. It's not a journey that can be made faster by training harder, it is a journey that takes time to come to maturity. It is useless if the lessons are forgotten as soon as the student leaves the presence of the teacher. Simply sitting in the training area does not make you improve. You have to participate to get the benefit. Wearing the uniform or taking the name alone, does not make you a true student. Sometimes the hardest part is not learning new things, but unlearning old things. Instinct is a lousy teacher for how to be the most effective. You have to train against your natural thoughts to find the effective way. You will be judged by the actions of others who have mis-represented you. It is very hard to demonstrate your effectiveness in an on-line forum. ?????? Any more thoughts to add?