Since about the time I was eight years old, I've practiced, at one time or another, a variety of martial arts; mainly Taekwondo, Praying Mantis, and Taijiquan. Different flavors of the same thing, in the end.
My introduction to martials arts were films like The Karate Kid and Bloodsport. My best friend also had a VHS of How To Become a Teenage Ninja, which we watched as though we were on a mission to wear out the tape.
The real attraction of it, to me, was the master/student dynamic. I envied Daniel's relationship with Mr Miyagi. Probably something to do with the need to fulfill my subservience.
I certainly benefited from having trained for all those years. The structure it provided my hyper, hormonal, adolescent self was pretty much invaluable. But as I approached middle-age I came to be at odds with it. It took me a while to understand why.
In the latter phase, my participation was anchored more in a quest for spiritual endowment, as the mastery of external endeavors left something for want. So, to help me find my way out of my existential crisis, I turned to a Sifu (Master) who proceeded to have me paint the fence and sand the floor.
Here, also, it wasn't long before I realized that trying to "improve" my spirituality was like trying to springboard off a cloud. There is no solution; a good master knows this. In that sense they are professional carrot danglers – there to keep you busy and persisting in your folly, because that's essentially what you're asking of them. I waxed on and off a lot before recognizing I was the one holding the stick the whole time.