I think the dichotomy comes about when the word is applied in different contexts. The understanding of the word has diminished/warped over time. It has specific religious understandings, and at one point all those martial arts allusions/secrets were also tied to a religious/spiritual understanding of the world. The attempt to find rational and scientific proof of these 'old world' ideas is like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole, and mangling the language at the same time to redefine the result.