Foreigners at no disadvantage… Gaijin Complex by Stanley Pranin

My main purpose here is really to bring up the subject of a mentality prevalent abroad concerning Oriental martial arts instructors. For want of a better term, I will call it a “gaijin” – the Japanese term for foreigner – complex. I think this is clearly a factor in the mind of the letter-writer, who though critical of the Japanese teachers, still seeks their recognition. This mindset clings to the idea that Japanese, and Orientals in general, possess some sort of innate affinity for martial arts which enables them to achieve superior skill levels compared to Westerners. Naturally coupled with this way of thinking is the assumption that Oriental teachers have a deep understanding of the esoteric aspects of their arts to which foreigners may only aspire with great difficulty…

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