I agree with you Johnny. I think a lot of people get into martial arts for rank. They want to reach black belt, then quit, just to say they did that and never really make an attempt to fully understand the principles. Many, I think, just go through the motions because they are not really there to train. They have some interest in the art but their using it as a social place to make friends. I dont think theres anything wrong with that as long as you train at a place where they arent that serious. But to use the martial art effectively you have to train hard and understand how to apply the princples to every situation.
Your comments on clarity and mindfulness apply greatly to Aikido and this is probably the main reason why I'm involved in it. The techniques, principles, etc. all apply directly to everyday life. For example when dealing with a problem, dont fight it and let it build up within, blend with it and find ways to manipulate the outcome so it benefits everyone. In the end you will be a much more balanced person physically, martially, and most important psychologically.