Well a little background on myself.. I've had a pretty rough life, a lot of things haven't gone ideally from me from literal birth and I've had it tough throughout. I've always been the type of person that believed in persevering and it's a powerful motivation in my life, I've never really had a 'normal' life and it got worse as I got older as more bad luck seemed to fall onto my shoulders and I ended up a lot different from the average person.. I ended up what I am today and who I am today.
I am a Chan Buddhist and a practitioner of Chinese Shaolin Kung Fu likewise, I believe in cultivation and training of the Body, Mind and Spirit and for me Martial Arts since an early age have always been a way to taper and control my hatred and anger.. Unfortunately as ashamed as I am to admit it, I have a lot of it but through Martial Arts and my devotion I control myself.
To those unaware Shaolin Kung Fu is a Chinese Martial Art, the originator of all Martial Arts in the world or at least the first Historically Recorded Martial Art in the world and the Martial Art from which it would seem all other Martial Arts branched from. The Shaolin Monks to those unaware are also Monks of legendary status who are known the world over for their strength and devotion to the Martial Arts. In China having an education in Shaolin is better than going to college.
..Interestingly enough you may find that Yu Yu Hakusho is heavily inspired by Buddhist beliefs as well as many of the ideas and beliefs behind Shaolin Kung Fu and Kung Fu in general. The series revolves around it's hero, Yusuke Urameshi, an average fellow with troubles galore and a life that isn't that great and has it's fair share of problems and unfortunate circumstances..
Many people would claim that Yu Yu Hakusho was inspired by Dragon Ball Z, I'd simply state to them that they were incorrect because of one fact.. Dragon Ball and Yu Yu Hakusho are two very different Anime with very different inspiration and very different directions. Particularly it's nice to note that although Yu Yu Hakusho characters become powerful enough near the end to devastate entire cities single-handed they do not have the power to destroy the entire damn planet with a flick of their fingers like the characters in Dragon Ball Z end up able to. Also unlike Dragon Ball Z, Yu Yu Hakusho in my humble opinion has better developed characters, more interesting action as well as fights and much better humour. Those who compare Yu Yu Hakusho to Dragon Ball Z I believe should receive a harsh slap to the face because Dragon Ball Z can't hold a candle to what Yu Yu Hakusho was.. Sure Dragon Ball Z was good for intense fights but that's all it was good for, it didn't have the emotion, humour or depth that Yu Yu Hakusho did.
As a point Vegeta also pretty blatantly copies Yusuke's signature attack, the Rei Gun (Spirit Gun)
Now.. In actual Shaolin Kung Fu the energy known as Qi is utilized typically to increase your prowess and attributes both physically and spiritually, real techniques found in Qigong can range from simply hardening of the muscles with the Tie Shan technique (Iron Vest)
Or to strike with, though the striking is not something typically used these days since there's little reason to need to strike in such an excessive fashion even against an attacker. A favourite quote regarding this of mine is "Strength in Restraint", this is true in such a situation. It takes more strength and skill to restrain your strikes so to minimize injury on an opponent than to excessively strike them and inflict potentially grievous injury upon them when it is not necessary.
Qigong is also seen in this as one of the concepts presented is that the power of your physical muscles and strength exist only to a certain point before teetering out but through Qigong you can achieve more, you can transcend what is thought to be possible by humans and achieve feats some would likely consider to be 'super human'.
So we've established the fighting is inspired clearly by Shaolin Kung Fu and obviously the Reiki or "Spirit Energy" is inspired by Qigong, what else though?
Interesting these are not the only Buddhist connections in Yu Yu Hakusho, both the characters Hiei and Kurama are partly inspired by Buddhism.
Hiei is inspired in the Third Eye that he has, the Jagan Eye which is partly inspired by the Third Eye in Chan Buddhism, a point of powerful Qi flow in the human body utilized in Qigong to gain advanced levels of meditation as well as heightened senses other than sight, the intention in using the Third Eye being that through Qigong you form a stronger connection to the vibrations and Qi of the Universe and therefore a stronger Spirit.
I also identify with many of the characters and traits in this show, what has become 'cliche' in Anime was largely first done by Yu Yu Hakusho, the traits of a tenacious 'never say die' attitude, only getting more determined the harder things become and are and shining in moments of pain or extreme stress. These are traits I myself exhibit and in fact when I began training in Shaolin Kung Fu there was no 'middle ground' for me, I simply threw myself into it and started with it as hard as I could, going so far as even causing personal injury to my own body when I was first starting. Now I just train through injuries, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger after all.
In the end there's a lot about this show I identify with and a lot of the characters I also identify with, I feel like there's a lot of me in this Anime and that's largely why I enjoy it so much.. Of course it does help that I'm a little simple minded and this Anime is chock full of bright lights, vivid colours and big noisy explosions and yelling, huh? Heh..
Best attacks of the series, by the way..
Yusuke Urameshi's Rei Gun
Finally Kazuma Kuwabara's Reiken Nitoryu