The Hagakure says the following:
In China there was once a man who liked pictures of dragons, and his clothing and furnishings were all designed accordingly. His deep affection for dragons was brought to the attention of the dragon god, and one day a real dragon appeared before his window. It is said that he died of fright. He was probably a man who always spoke big words but acted differently when facing the real thing.
This passage makes me think about the tendency to confuse the trappings and the skills involved in “warriorship” with the deeds that are the REAL substance of it. How many times have you seen the IT/web professional who accumulates helmets, plate carriers, chest rigs, 2K carbines and attends 3-5 “tactical carbine” courses a year? Nothing wrong with that, but don’t confuse the trappings with the “doings”. And beyond that, to me this passage talks about the difference between the “appearance” and the “guts”. The webdude with the tactical firearms hobby who “dies of fright” when the Tactical Gods drop him into a real firefight illustrates that skills and mindset/attitude are two different things.
It’s the same with the martial arts, strutting around like you are “SOMEBODY” because you have a black belt shows me that you have a self-esteem problem. You are a person with a skill. Your skill is no more or less important than a person with a skill in carpentry, dance, accounting or electrical engineering. Show me what kind of person you are by what you do in the world. You don’t have to be a SEAL or a tactical guru to be “someone”. The type of person you are will always be more important than the skills you acquire.