I got into a discussion with my colleague at work the other day about Martial Arts and Fencing. He asked me if they were similar and I said that based on my experiences with both that I didn't think so.
Martial Arts is about the harmony between mind and body. Different Martial Arts stress different skills and techniques but there is always the spiritual side, and with your mind focussed and at peace you can do almost anything. I remember some of my first Kung Fu lessons as a teenager when I was taught that my first reaction to a fight situation should always be to find a quick way out of it. Fighting should only be the last resort.
Fencing, on the other hand, is like both a Science and an Art. I remember learning the blocks (the "parries"), the lunges, and all the other technical maneuvers, but I also remember that when I was in an actual duel my mind almost forgot everything and I went with my instincts. You see, an actual duel is *much* faster than you can imagine. You almost don't have time to think or you're toast. With lots and lots of practice the technical moves become part of your instincts and then you become better at fencing.
So what about Software Testing? Despite the fact that some people amicably refer to it as a Martial Art, I don't see the spiritual side of it. When I see a bad application my first reaction isn't to run away. ;-) I dive in and go with my instincts. And project schedules are almost always faster than you'd like them to be.
With lots and lots of practice, my testing techniques have become part of my gut reaction now, so I usually make my own luck when it comes to dealing with bad programs.
Perhaps Quality Assurance is more like Martial Arts. You need a belief system to keep you motivated when you do *real* QA. You need to believe that you can eliminate the defects, the inefficiencies and the variances from the development process by applying certain methods and models.
I don't believe that. Not for a moment. We could stand here and talk about how we're going to do something or we could just do it and tweak things as we go along. Me? Let's dive in and do the best we can because time is running out. =)