One Liner: This book should be required reading for white belts...for all martial artists, really.
Learning any complex trade and especially martial arts is a lifelong process and you're going to spend a long time on the "plateaus" where it seems like little or no progress is being made. Leonard argues that not only is that the truth, but that's what makes training worthwhile.
You've heard most of the information in this book before, but the thing is that you probably heard it second- or third-hand. Which means you probably got the heard-it-from-the-friend-of-a-friend sorta way where most of the nuance of the original was distilled into bromides. Reading this book will rectify that.
The path of mastery that Leonard discusses is neverending. There is no ultimate goal, except to stay on the path. Progress is slow as one moves up from plateau to plateau, spending most of their time doing and redoing the same tasks - practicing (and to the master, practice is both a noun and a verb).
So, if the path is the goal and the goal is the path... Why even bother if you'll never get..wherever it is you're going? Because mastery (that is, the path) is it's own reward. Mastery is a process, not a destination. This is not to say that goals are irrelevant to the master - goals are helpful and useful, but goals are a byproduct not an end.
The first part of the book discusses three types of people who try to compensate by other means - the roles are broad, but you'll likely recognize yourself as one of the three. Leonard then discusses how to get on the path of mastery, stay there (that's important!) and enjoy doing it.
Part Two discusses "The Five Master Keys" of mastery. These are the elements that masters use to practice and further their mastery. The nuances of these keys should
- Short and to the point, but rewards multiple readings
- Maybe not as detailed as some people might like, but I think it does exactly what it needs to and lets you go on doing your thing