It's a funny world, and sometimes (OK, all the time) our outlook is affected by which "hat" we are wearing. If I'm wearing my mortgage-payer hat I complain about interest rates. If I'm wearing my karate hat I might view the art as something special.
It's often seen. Somehow, in training karate we improve our minds and bodies, but people participating in other physical activities are missing out. "Athletics is good, but you just don't get the full spiritual experience you get in karate".
Right. I used to enjoy long distance running. There's more Zen after 5 miles than you ever get in your average karateka's little finger. Trust me on this.
The human body does not operate to a different set of parameters if you're training in martial arts. The body that performs kata and meditates is exactly the same body that runs, throws a ball, hits a return on the tennis court, plays music, dances or anything else.
It's the intensity and clarity of the experience that counts. Mincing around a school all in a karate suit doesn't automatically put you into a state of satori. Indeed, in many dojos the karate is so bad that you're better off going for a run (it's healthy, it's a zen experience and it gives you valuable personal protection skills).
I actually do like karate. Not everyone does - they pick different activities. I'm all for people engaging in physical activities of any kind. No one activity is superior to another. Do what you takes your fancy. If you want to quit karate and take judo or golf - it doesn't matter. Find the path that suits you best.
The point is, karate is not superior to other forms of movement. Umm, yeah OK. There are places where karate is most definitely inferior because of the dressing up, servitude and bad science being passed off as efficient body movement.
Is golf a Zen art, by the way? ;)