As mentioned before, martial arts could be used as a means of achieving knowledge and development within the realms of spirituality and even religion. Especially since many of them are widely known for having been, developed, practiced and passed on by monks and nuns. Such is the case with Buddhist Shaolin monks in temples all over China, Nepal, Tibet and Thailand, who practice an art form known as Shaolin Kung Fu, which is probably one of the most popular Chinese martial art forms in the world.
In fact, all over the Asian continent, the act of meditating plays a fundamental role in religion as well as the process of training in some sort of martial art. Especially in many countries that have Hindu and Buddhist roots, as mentioned before, practicing martial arts can be employed as a means of achieving enlightenment. For example, Japanese martial arts have also historically been affected by philosophy standards that have their roots in many Mahayana Buddhist concepts and proverbs, such as emptying one’s mind. In Aikido, also a Japanese art form, for example, there is a well founded philosophical principle about energy, peace and the way they both flow from one’s mind and serene soul out to the world, and how it can be used to influence others, whether it is an opponent or simply a regular person.
In Korea, for example, martial arts also emphasize the growth of the apprentice’s psyche, spirit and the establishing of moral principles etc. In many of their most renowned combat arts, such as Tae Kwon Do and Tae Kye On, the achievement of inner peace is primordial and can only be attained by perseverance, deep meditation and hard work. One of the most interesting things about these Korean art forms and their practitioners is that they endorse that the use of physical force can only be justified as a defense mechanism.