Why do so many Westerners have a "Paris Syndrome" to style's origin country (often laser focused)?

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Talk' started by Bullsherdog, Dec 26, 2019.

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  1. Bullsherdog

    Bullsherdog Yellow Belt

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    Very important links to the topic at hand.

    Do many Westerners have a skewed perspective of … - Reddit

    Do many Western MMA fans (especially from America) have a skewed perspective of Thailand and Muay Thai? : MuayThai

    Why are so many Western martial artists often atheist or nominally religious (if they even attend spiritual ceremonies at all) but often treat fighting arts with far more importance,often like a religion? Ignoring the countries arts originated from treats spirituality far more importantly? : martialarts

    And this thread I created over a week ago is quite related to this topic.

    Back in Asia, just how concerned are they with customs like gi clothing and meditation? Esp in TMA?

    Be sure to read the three links because they are essential to understand this topic I'm posting about.

    A quick FYI Paris Syndrome is a word referring to a weird trend that happens to Japanese people in which they go to a shock, even PTSD like state, upon visiting France for the first time because France isn't a rich fancy country full of sophisticated people. Japan's media and pop culture tend to portray Paris as the most beautiful cleanest city in the world and French people as a sophisticated gorgeous suave and refined race.

    Because pop media has portrayed France this way for years in Japan, many Japanese tourists visiting France literally expect to meet people who can discuss literature everywhere in Paris and to see every French girl wearing fancy expensive bags and other displays of intellectualism and high culture.

    So when they finally enter the city from the airport they see Paris and France more like a dirty city full of rude people (at least rude by Japanese standards) and full of slum buildings and other signs of lower class white American culture as portrayed in Japanese pop media. This shatters the Japanese that they ahve to get psychiatric aid. The Japanese embassy literally has a special section to help tourists who get Paris Syndrome upon seeing the realities of France.

    I notice many martial artists esp white Westerners often wank of o the foreign cultures of the styles they practise. Like I cannot tell you how many white Americans I know who want to go to China because they expect to live the life of a Wuxia and Kung Fu action film and how many MMA and kickboxing fans want to visit Thailand because they picture the nation being full of tough badasses with the gyms being the harshest in the world. Don't get me started on the Samurai fetish many weaboos and neckbeards have.

    Even martial artists and western practitioners with a more grounded view have an interest in the style's origin homeland almost exclusively revolving around martial arts. Very view know about the country's history outside of its relations to martial arts and perhaps the nation's military history. Most don't care about trying out local delicacies and 99.99999% are ignorant of basic manners and social expectations of the style's home country outside of what they practise at their school. The only reason they care about going to Israel or Korea is only to practise Krav and other styles. And when they go to the country thats the only thing many martial artists often do. They don't bother visiting monuments or watching local TV, etc stuff say actual Indonesians would prefer doing rather than practising Silat or how the typical Thailander lives his life.

    Why do many martial artists tend to have this strange behavior towards the country they dream of going and training in? I mean sure many otakus solely want to Japan for anime/manga but most come out of japan with a bigger appreciation of the country as they visit historical places and learn its history, try local restaurants, etc as a result of trying out stuff in Japan beyond anime/manga. Many tourists only have an Americanophilia because of Hollywood but many become fans of American music, eaters of staple foods, etc once they go back home after tasting America's culture beyond cinema. I can go on and on.

    But why do so many martial artists have a narrow Paris Syndrome behavior towards their style's culture (even if they actually have visited the country once)? Esp Westerners? I mean there's so much more to China than just Kung Fu such as fine literature and medicine. Korea has very rich dramas and great movies that one should explore if they wish to call themselves a true lover of Korea. Thailand has a rich wilderness as well great locations for hunting wildlife.

    Why do many martial artists have an extremely narrow interest in the country they claim to be so interested in that is their style's birthplace?
     
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  2. skribs

    skribs Senior Master

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    Because that's what they're interested in.
     
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  3. drop bear

    drop bear Sr. Grandmaster

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    The idea is that if you immerse yourself in the culture of your current martial art you will drink from a purer source and therefore be better at it.

    I do know some guys who went to the place of origin to train. Karate for Japan, thailand for Thai.

    This seems quite an attractive option for a lot of people.

     
  4. Bullsherdog

    Bullsherdog Yellow Belt

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    Except they aren't even really getting deep into the culture but only a fantasy version revolving completely around the style and not the actual culture. For example guys who go to Korea to take advance TKD but don't know a single speech of Korean or everyday social customs like what not to say to a girl or how to eat at restaurants, etc.

    And even the versions of martial arts they practise is either a fantasy version or a specific ruleset and training style and not what most people in the country actually practises. I cannot tell you how many Americans go to Thailand thinking that they'll get championship level skills of Muay Thai and suddenly get shocked when they visit the closest gym near the airport to discover most MT practitioners use padded elbow gloves and knee gloves (in some cases even full body armor) as they spar. And how your average gym member is far below even amateur tournie levels of kickboxers and MMA in the USA. Because they were expecting all Thai gyms to have brutal training where they break objects, people get KOd from sparring and blood is spilled everywhere, etc. Only to be surprised most MT practitioners in Thailand just practise it as a hobby or exercise system and are not even an inch serious committed to practising it like many Westerners are.

    Don't get me started on how people expect to see big palaces and temples when they visit China to emet a master and are taken aback when the typical Kung Fu instructor teaches outside his home and is simply wearing a t shirt and not fancy garments.
     
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  5. skribs

    skribs Senior Master

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    Is it really "so many"? Or is it just noticeable because those are the videos or stories you find? It's kind of like customer support surveys - those who want to train in China, and know Chinese culture, don't really have much to write about when they go. Or they may not even want to write.
     
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  6. Tez3

    Tez3 Sr. Grandmaster

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    Wank of ? Really? Are you sure that you mean they masturbate to the foreign cultures etc?

    How very strange.

    In fact they are very strange posts, a generalising rant. Odd username too, perhaps the Op has mistaken the site he's on for another?
     
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  7. Rusty B

    Rusty B Green Belt

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    When I was a child... and I mean before second grade, I pictured China as place where literally "everybody was kung-fu fighting."

    But... this was me as a child, in the mid-1980's watching Bruce Lee movies and "Kung Fu Theater" every weekend.

    However... I can't imagine this continuing into anyone's pre-teens, much less beyond them.

    Samurai fetish? Like, do American neckbeards think they're going to see samurais in Japan?

    That would almost be as hilarious as the Japanese going to Italy or Greece, and expecting to see men in togas practicing pederasty.
     
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  8. Rusty B

    Rusty B Green Belt

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    Oh, and... interesting thing about this topic.

    There was a video game article I read awhile back, that spoke of how video games like Punch-Out!! and Street Fighter were racist, because the characters from various countries in them were caricatures and stereotypes based on how the Japanese perceive them.

    For example... Glass Joe is French, and is portrayed as a weak and cowardly. Don Flamenco and Vega are both Spaniards, and are portrayed as effeminate and obsessive over their appearance. Von Kaiser is German, and implications are made that he's a militant Nazi. Great Tiger and Dhalsim are both Indian, and have mystical and mysterious powers (i.e., both are capable of teleportation, and Dhalsim can extend his limbs to attack someone across the room).

    Interesting stuff.
     
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  9. Danny T

    Danny T Senior Master

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    I think there is a bit of exaggeration in your...opinion.
     
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  10. drop bear

    drop bear Sr. Grandmaster

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    Well of course. People only want so much of a different culture. That is why tourist destinations exist.

    But look the tourists are happy and the locals are getting paid.

    Otherwise martial arts can be a very good way to learn a new culture because you associate with like minded locals.

    So there are definitely nuances to this concept.
     
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  11. drop bear

    drop bear Sr. Grandmaster

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  12. skribs

    skribs Senior Master

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  13. Tony Dismukes

    Tony Dismukes MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Romantic stereotyping. Most people in China have never hunted a Megalodon bigger than 60 feet.
     
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  14. Rusty B

    Rusty B Green Belt

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    Wait... so when the Japanese think of the US, "white trash" immediately comes to mind?
     
  15. drop bear

    drop bear Sr. Grandmaster

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    No they just make the movie a bit chinesey to sell it overseas.
     
  16. drop bear

    drop bear Sr. Grandmaster

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    Ramsey dewey on cultural appropriation.
     
  17. BrendanF

    BrendanF Green Belt

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    Can you provide a single example of this?

    I think you're inventing nonsense. Why are most PEOPLE - not just 'Westerners' - misinformed and/or ignorant of most things? Because most people are uneducated and ignorant. The end.
     
  18. JowGaWolf

    JowGaWolf Grandmaster

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    From now on, I'm going to just come in on the tail end of every Threads.. It's entertaining to see the OP and then see where it ends up after a few posts. lol.
     
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  19. _Simon_

    _Simon_ Senior Master

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    YES, it is entertaining seeing not only the trajectory (whether a smooth curve downwards, upwards, a jagged rollercoaster, or spirals of circles), but the destination/s reached!
     
  20. _Simon_

    _Simon_ Senior Master

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    Yeah I'm puzzled as to why this seems to bother you... why do other people's inclinations and intentions to expand themselves, grow and learn trouble you?123
     
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