Martial arts to not teach violence nor do they preach "thou shalt not" enter into violence. Instead, they recognize that violence exists, and must be dealt with on a daily basis in one way or another. Martial arts teach how to protect yourself against violence and how to control violence, but they also teach how to use violence when appropriate. They make dealing with violence a way of life. Many things may be considered "martial" in nature, such as firearms, knives, swords, and bombs, but the use of these things does not require one to dedicate his or her live to it, although it is possible to do so, as has been done with some forms of sword fighting. Likewise, one who is proficient in empty hand fighting does not have to dedicate his or her live to it; street fighters are proficient fighters but they do train to control violence, they merely training to inflict it. Martial artists consider their methods of fighting to be a part of their lives and they train to integrate their arts into their lives.
A desire for heightened enlightenment is often what attracts people to the martial arts. While it is true that students usually join a martial arts school to become physically fit and to be able to defend themselves, they often want something more than that as well. They want to bring some dignity and honor back into their lives, and they believe the martial arts offer such qualities. And they are right; the martial arts do offer these things, provided the instructors retain a respect for tradition and do not restrict their teaching to only fighting techniques.