Today at training - when I say today, I usually mean the day until I go to sleep, so it may be 2am now, but I still mean Wednesday, not Thursday - today at training, Damian sensei asked us, "Do you believe in the Kendo fairy?" Who is the Kendo fairy? Well, if the Kendo fairy can magically level me up a few kyus and a few dans, then yeah, I believe in the Kendo fairy. I'll sleep with a few quality shinais under my pillow, and when I wake up in the morning and find them gone, that means the Kendo fairy has just levelled me up.
You know that previous paragraph is all crap, except for the "Do you believe in the Kendo fairy?" bit. Here's why he said it: If you only just hear/read the things that you're supposed to do, then you'll always be stuck at whatever level of Kendo you're at (unless, of course, you believe in the Kendo fairy). The point is, there is no easy way to improve yourself other than to actively change yourself during training. You have to consciously aim to improve rather than hope that some fairy dust will land on you. There is no point in nodding your head and going, "Hai!" whenever someone tells you something. You have to seek to change it, through practice. There is no other way.
Kendo philosophy only brings you so far. The perfect men cut only exists in your head if you don't practice. The ippon you think of scoring is only in your dreams if you don't train. You may think you're the fucking best kendoka EVAR if you know how to do all kinds of waza and all the kendo kata in your head. Well, that's the only place you'll be the best - In Your Head. So you can talk and talk about how to do the perfect rei, the most cheem waza you can think of, the rightest state of mind to do kendo in, but you'll never improve if you don't think of your own kendo and how you can change it.
"Do you believe in the Kendo fairy? I have been training for over twenty years, and I still haven't seen the Kendo fairy."