Religion or Art ???

This is a question that I have heard more than once. I have been told by different people that someone who learns a martial art, even Tai Chi, is worshiping the devil and must go into an unholy trance. This, of course, is ridiculous! Only someone with a very limited thought process could think this way. On the other hand, I do know of groups who have used a martial art to con the gullible. Some of these groups have grown to be quite large. How do you tell if you are being conned? It is not that easy, as they are extremely good at story telling. They generally have a very strict rule system with grand titles. The teacher is made unavailable to the student, except by going through a legion of hierarchy. Some will not speak with you directly, but will only communicate through someone else. After a length of time, they convince the student to move…sometimes thousands of miles away, where they become cheap labour. I have seen different “religions” or “quasi philosophy” mixed into an art, which in some cases, is not real. I had students who related some tales that were hard to believe. They claim to be monks or any number of holy men. People, particularly those who are looking for some magic in an art, fall victim. Some, wise up too late, only to discover that they are in too deep and by then, do not have the courage to get out. Or, they have a vested interest….money! I am glad that I am not starting out now, as the search for a real teacher is much harder. In the early days it was easier to find a real teacher, as the “fakes” didn’t last long. Now, they hide behind the law or locked doors. They have huge titles and are spoken about in hushed tones…or any number of other such behavior. I am a Buddhist. I do not teach Buddhism or suggest it or mix any religion into my art. The only philosophy is the way to do battle and what I expect of my students. Their beliefs of religion are not my business.
Pak Mei Pai