(Might as well get that started again)
If y'all will look up master in the dictionary...it might be surprising that master does not have connotations of super human competency.
Take for example "masterpiece." This comes originally from the apprentice system of yore. After the apprentice studied the curriculum for some years he reached the level of journeyman. In most crafts, the journeyman was ready for independence. In some crafts he was required to study further, in others he chose to continue under a master or even continued to study to advance his skill on his own. In the formal study
areas the piece of work that-as judged by his master-elevated him to master status was known as his "masterpiece."
Basically, by the traditional definition applied to all other arts, crafts, and sciences, if you are intimately knowledeable of the entire curriculum of your style and can execute the various specifics at a high level of competency then you have mastered that style.
Does this mean you are invincible? No. Does it mean that you have reached the ultimate pinnacle possible in your style? No. Does it mean you walk through walls and meditate while levitating? Not in my style. Is mastery possible to the average diligent student by this definition? Yes.
What do I do? Nowadays, I carry a Kimber and a Spyderco. If I see trouble coming soon enough...I leave. If leaving is not feasible...I go open my trunk where the HK91 resides.
Let me explain. While I still practice a martial art; I no longer have the confidence that my body can stand the strain and damage that unarmed combat inevitably incurs. Not only am I 47 years old but I have an open laminectomy of the verterbral column. What this means is that the upper arch of four vertebrae were removed so that the surgeon could reach a tumor. The spinal cord is only covered by muscle, fascia, and skin. The structural integrity is intact but a fairly light blow to this area with an open palm has the same effect on me as a vigorous shuto to the neck would have on you. I can remember fights I've been in where the impacts to this area without injury would probably result in my being unable to defend myself today for several seconds. And that's all it would take to be defeated or killed.
The final result of all that is this: I go to lethal force at a much lower level of threat than I would if I were completely hale. I WILL use lethal force against an unarmed attacker whom I cannot escape. And I won't dither about it either. I'll let the jury-after looking at my medical record and listening to the testimony of expert medical witnesses-decide if I was reasonably in fear of death or grave bodily injury.