Most people get into the martial arts simply to learn how to defend themselves. Indeed, self-defense is a common euphemism for traditional martial arts (as opposed to the competitive variety or MMA). Sports such as wrestling or boxing will draw a camp that have natural inclinations to do battle. The peculiarity of the martial arts is that its adherents are taught to walk away from trouble. But we all have met those who actually enjoy a good fight. As an ethnic group, the Irish are likened to having a propensity to fight. Donnybrook, Ireland was the site of a fair held for centuries until it was discontinued in 1855 due to massive brawling. Hence, a donnybrook came to be known as any group-like melee. The Irish-Americans that I know relish their fighting heritage, so I can't be accused of stereotyping. That's not my intention anyway.
Students that enjoy kumite (sparring) tend to progress well with this activity, irrespective of any athletic deficiencies. They like to fight, ergo they experiment and research various methods, perhaps more than the next trainee. Technical ability is great, but it still takes guts (hara) to fight. A fine instructor once told me that fighting was 20 percent technique, 80 percent nerve. For some, getting up nerve is a major problem. For others it's a veritable party.
If fighting really appeals to you, doesn't this make you a potential troublemaker? Isn't this antithetical to the spirit of budo? A bushi is a warrior, which implies that combat has some higher, loftier purpose than just someone who engages in contests. Choki Motobu would routinely field-test his fighting skills in his pursuit of Okinawan karate. Clearly this man liked to fight, but his reputation denied his admission to nearly every dojo on the island. As youths, Ed Parker and Bruce Lee actively sought out street matches to gauge their progress. Certainly, their contributions are undeniable.
In John Stevens' Invincible Warrior there are a series of old photos in the back of the book that depict Morihei Ueshiba performing something called "Smiling Technique Variations". Sure enough, we see the master beaming as he throws one of his poor disciples clear across the room. The author didn't elaborate, but it reminds me of something Winston Churchill once said: "I like a man who grins when he fights."