There are two things that can happen with people in the martial arts. Obsession can consist of over zealously, or mania, leading to a lack of efficiency and effectiveness. The other word, dedication, is more about willing and wanting to learn to get the best out of what they chose to do. Obsession can lead to undesirable consequences as opposed to dedication. Everybody admires a person who is dedicated but is weary of a person who is obsessed.
Obsession leads to emotional over reaction in what they do and you will know when you meet these type of people who have nothing else to talk about or do. This can lead to dire consequences such as self injury, hurting other people physically and mentally, and they will probably burn out pretty quickly. They spend more time talking about the martial arts than actually doing it.
During the dark ages a person with an obsession or an extraordinary skill was cast a ‘witch’ resulting in execution. It was not hard to start up a rumour about someone you didn’t like resulting them being branded a witch without that person knowing about it. No judge, no jury, just execution. The Kings would often eliminate anyone who had extraordinary skill or knowledge; this is why this period was called the Dark Ages. There was no technological progress because anyone dare come up with a discovery or information would be executed.
The best advice if you are doing martial arts is dedicate yourself and not worry too much about what the other person thinks or says. They are probably the ones who are obsessed and will not be around long enough. They are not martial artists in the true way of the Budo spirit.
I think this is a good message to all our students and parents why the martial arts are important to us. Anybody who has extraordinary skill or knowledge are encouraged to come forward and help others.