You need more losses! That is one of the best tips I can possibly give you to become much stronger. You want as many as you can possibly accumulate. The main reason why this benefits you is due to the bonus XP you will gain from fighting others who are more balanced. Bonus XP helps in every imaginable way, from stat gains, principle gains and easier creature upgrading.
If you are not permanently balanced, I would suggest staying online as much as possible and setting self-martyring rituals for defenses. This game is strange indeed, and it almost punishes those who do not have many losses. You never get to enjoy the stat gains like the permanently balanced people do, and you never get to enjoy the bonus XP (which translates to more stats) from having so many losses. In addition, you may experience honor problems. When your honor is below -500 you will not gain stat points, experience, or creature wins. Having many losses allows you to train all day, on any opponent, without losing honor.
Therefore, I am saying quit fighting the way the battle system was made! Stay online a lot and gain those losses. Being close to balance does nothing for you. If anything it makes it harder for you to train efficiently. You might have to avoid attacking certain people that give you too much negative honor. Many of these people will have high XP rituals set up that you will be missing. Since you will not be gaining bonus XP either, some fights will reward you with, little, if any stats. A training nightmare i assure you.
I hope that this tip proves helpful for many of you. I promise it will help you out more than you can imagine. Feel free to PM me if you have any questions. I can most likely be of great assistance.