“Dead with the illusion of “honour,” or actually living an honorable
and respectful life doing useful and constructive things instead.”
There is no rank. Merit is as merit does. Respect is a mutual thing otherwise its just an act. Skill levels do not arise from the colour of a belt, a hakama, a lineage or other names to be dropped or a certificate.
Real and actual skill is its own reward. A badge, name dropping and other devices denote insecurity and doubt about one’s own real skill level. In the field of battle, the warrior does not look for your signs of rank but for openings. If you have them he will utilize them. Despite all the tinsel accolades you will die.
If you stop training, as the certificates and medals gathers dust, you will get fat, lazy, soft, uncoordinated and you will forget. And die more slowly but nevertheless, die.
I suppose it depends on where your sense of values lie. Dead with the illusion of “honour,” or actually living an honorable and respectful life doing useful and constructive things instead.
Skill arises from dedication to regular and sincerely attentive practice and living a constructively useful and productive life. There is no glory whatsoever in being a pawn for madmen and dying young for nothing. None whatsoever. And that’s one lesson when learn the hard way does not beget any useful and practical wisdom, except for perhaps the onlooker.
Skill arises from meeting demands in a balanced and skilled manner. If you don’t use it you lose it, and a little bit of something is better than all of nothing. Do what you can. That’s all a human being can do. Trying to do what you can’t is a waste of time, but setting it as goal and adding regular manageable installments is a gold mine of transformational potential which unleashes slowly and surely.