Actually, violent interpretations of the Tao are perfectly fine. The only problem with them is one that humans have; the universe has no problem with it. It is called 'violent', so humans view it as 'bad'. The Tao is not about 'good' and 'bad'. There is no 'pure' and 'impure'. There is no 'right' and 'wrong'. There is only 'is' and 'is not'.
Your earlier view of striving for improvement vs. striving for perfection is much the same. One who strives for improvement can eventually look back upon his journey and think to himself, "OK. I have improved enough. I can feel comfortable with stopping now." However, one who strives for perfection never takes that moment to look back. His journey is an eternal one, and so he never stops. You could say he stops at the point of death, but again, 'death' is a human concept, a counter to 'life'; 'life' is seen as 'good', while 'death' is seen as 'bad'. It is the duality of the human experience that keeps many from reaching enlightenment, and it is this duality that must be transcended to truly begin walking the path of Way and No way.
A simple way to view the Tao is this: Observe a block of wood. Within the wood may sit a cup, a bowl, an ornament, or a chair. The wood is uncarved, and so has no form but its form, and so can take any form.
A simple way to view the Tao is this: Observe a doorway. The door is made of wood. The door frame is made of wood. The hinges are made of metal. But the doorway is made of nothing, and it is the nothing that makes the doorway useful.
A simple way to view the Tao is this: Observe water. On its own, water simply is. Pour the water into a cup, and the water becomes the shape of the cup. Pour the water into a pitcher, and the water forms to the pitcher. Pour the water into the ocean, and the water becomes the ocean.
These ways are not the Way. But like a traveler lost in the forest, if he takes the wrong path often enough, eventually it will lead him to the right path.