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  1. TheMyst7885

    TheMyst7885 Member

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    How to avoid white washing if my MC's caucasian martial artist?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by TheMyst7885, Sep 17, 2019.

    In my three main stories planned my MC's have grown into martial artists, mastering kung fu and other various martial art forms. Would this b considered white washing? Actually one of them may end up being either half or quarter Asian of maybe Chinese descent. And another one may have some Japanese ancestry dating back from WW2. But one of them will be fully caucasian.

    This one particular story, the MC is a caucasian male, he was picked on as a child and had little to know friends. His father had left him as a child as both parents would fight eachother and his mother met someone else who had lots of money. He finally got signed up for this martial arts school which was run by an evil instructor that made it seem nice and exciting but had secret ruthless intentions. He's also caucasian and was a special forces Army veteran. The MC heads down a wrong path all his life and was sort of brainwashed and mind controlled but decades later as an adult he figures out why his life turned sour and realizes what the bad instructors cruel ways have done, eventually getting out of it and finding a new path of martial arts, finding his good way.

    I'm worried this will sound whitewashing, because it's basically an adventurous story of a caucasian martial artist. Or am I just thinking too much into it?
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2019
  2. The Dapper Hooligan

    The Dapper Hooligan (V) ( ;,,;) (v) Contributor

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    Whitewashing is replacing traditionally non-white characters with white equivalents for no reason. Since there are tonnes of Caucasian people today that study martial arts, and there have been tonnes of white martial artists in media, (eg. Johnny Cage, M. Bison, Zangeif, The Karate Kid, etc.) you should be good. Just remember to treat the white and non-white characters relatively equally to avoid the White Saviour or Mighty Whitey trope. Also, just a heads up, but not all Caucasian people are white and not all white people are Caucasian. Caucasian refers to people from the Caucasus, a portion of land between the Black and Caspian Seas Anyone not from this area is technically not Caucasian regardless of how widespread this use of the term is.
     
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  3. TheMyst7885

    TheMyst7885 Member

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    Ah I get it. It's more about when somone takes existing non white characters from a story and replaces them with white characters? Oh and you're right. I meant to say white and not caucasian. I realize now the difference as those from the Caucasus mountains are of a different race.

    Also those characters you mentioned are classic icons that have been around since the 80's and early 90's. If I'm starting this from scratch, could I still have the same positive effect they had, considering the generations today are a lot more strict with these outcomes?
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2019
  4. ElConesaToLoco

    ElConesaToLoco Active Member

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    I would worry more about his backstory being almost the same as Johnny Lawrence's from Karate Kid, and most recently Cobra Kai. Look it up, it's strikingly simmilar, down to the instructor being ex-military and the MC going down the wrong path because of his teachings. There's also the mother marrying a rich guy and then as an adult he realizes his master was a bad person. I don't mean to be mean, but the brief bio you've given us could be applied 100% to Johnny Lawrence.
     
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  5. Naomasa298

    Naomasa298 Member

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    JCVD.
     
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  6. Naomasa298

    Naomasa298 Member

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    You know, you're worrying about entirely the wrong things. Can you base the character on a real person, can you use a lion, can you make the character white...

    It's YOUR story. It's fiction. Write what you want to write. Justify it in your story. Your character can be white, black, orange, green, purple, whatever you want as long as you give him a believable backstory. Are some people going to complain about a white martial artist? Probably. So what? If they're so worried about it, let them write their own book.

    I'll repeat - it's YOUR story.
     
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  7. TheMyst7885

    TheMyst7885 Member

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    There is some similarities. Maybe I need to change it up a bit. Or I could combine an idea similar to both the guy Johnny and Daniels story into one? Or I'll just mix something up and co.e up with something. I always liked something like Jet Lis characters. Maybe something like from The Black Mask.

    That is true. But nowadays you dont see many white martial art stars. I know he was big in the 80's. Something like Blooodsport and Kickboxer had cool storylines.

    Agreed. I may just be feeling a bit insecure with all the things I've been hearing is how many complain about white washing these days and having a non Asian character trained in martial arts and oriental culture.
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2019
  8. Naomasa298

    Naomasa298 Member

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    Don't feel insecure before you even start.

    There'll be plenty of time for that later.
     
  9. exweedfarmer

    exweedfarmer Contributor Contributor

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    A little off topic but maybe you can answer something that I've always wondered about. Martials arts are interesting and a great way to stay in shape, but if you actually use them you go to jail. So, why spend all that time learning something you can't use?
     
  10. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    heres a thing martial arts are not an exclusively asian past time... there is also Savate (french), Sambo (Russian) Krav Maga (Israeli), BJJ (Brazilian) Capoeira (Afro Brazilian) Wrestling (Multiple but started Greco Roman), Canne de Combat (french), and of course boxing (origin British)... ergo having a non Asian practicing martial arts isn't exactly revolutionary
     
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  11. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Actually probably not - because martial artists learn proportionality and self control they are far less likely to cause lethal or serious harm unintentionally than an untrained person in a good old Friday night ruck.

    and if someone comes at you with a knife and you 'only' break his arm when you could easily have killed him, it makes arguing reasonable force much more straight forward.

    That aside there's also the sporting aspect - most martial arts have national and international contests and many people who get seriously into them compete and represent their countries
     
  12. TheMyst7885

    TheMyst7885 Member

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    Thanks, I try not to. Hopefully when I go into more details about the characters this will be a minor issue.

    Good question. A lot of it can be used for self defense but there's also use for focus and self-improvement and not just good for the mind and body but to keep that self-confidence to avoid fighting. Other ways that someone can train for it if they want to go for competition and as use it as a sport which is good for that training and then some will use it for the wrong reasons.
     
  13. TheMyst7885

    TheMyst7885 Member

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    But the white characters in my story will be using an Asian martial art like kung fu styles and I'm afraid this will get called out for whitewashing. Even Karate Kid from time to time gets called out for it. Though back then I dont think anyone cared that much about it.
     
  14. The Dapper Hooligan

    The Dapper Hooligan (V) ( ;,,;) (v) Contributor

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    It depends on the lawyers.

    But conversely, if you train with only other martial artists but get in a fight with someone that isn't, you could do a lot more damage to than intended just because their bodies are more fragile and they don't know how to take a hit.

    Unless you go out of your way to use them and/or the other person(s) involved aren't consenting then you're not going to go to jail.
     
  15. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    I really wouldn't worry about it - tens if not hundred of thousands of non Asians practice Asian fighting styles ... i mean BJJ developed as a result of the Gracie family taking jujitsu and putting their own twist on it (and Gracie was Brazilian Scots)
     
  16. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Again not really - an awful lot of martial arts is about holds and throws and joint locks and so on, so a martial artist vs a non martial artist will be easily able to restrain them without causing them much damage at all
     
  17. pyroglyphian

    pyroglyphian Active Member

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    Ahh Daniel-san, you could use a non-Asian martial art, like Savate.

    ETA: Sorry, now that I've read the thread I see this has been suggested already.

    The answer is: You can use them. Maybe not for fighting. Maybe for stress relief, for cultivating a positive mindset, for building confidence & self-discipline, or maybe just for fun, etc.
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2019
  18. Naomasa298

    Naomasa298 Member

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    I'm going to repeat this again - so what?

    Look at this:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2018_World_Karate_Championships

    Look at who the medal winners were. How many of them are non-Asian?

    Do you know how many foreigners are in Thailand learning Muay Thai? LOTS.
     
  19. TheMyst7885

    TheMyst7885 Member

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    Yes true. In fact these characters fighting styles would be kind of a hybrid. For example, one of the bad guys that I'm creating may sound like John Kreese because he was a military veteran that became a martial arts teacher, actually he was a martial arts assistant instructor that became in charge of one location. The head instructor who ran the entire schools was also a jerk himself but was never in the military and practiced kung fu. The military guy in real life was in the Israeli IDF so I could say that he was from Israel and trained in Krav Maga? But also has some training and Kung Fu he learned from the head Chief instructor which is how this military guy in real life became a kung fu instructor for one location. Now considering this villain might sound too much like the real person who really was in the Israeli military and was a kung fu instructor, maybe I could say he was a US Soldier instead and had training in scars program while in the Special Forces and training from his father who was a Vietnam vet who learned some form of karate that they had during Vietnam when they were allied with South Korea. So this villain could of learned some dirty tactics from his Cietnam Vet father, learned combat skills in the US army or Marines, was in Operation Sesert Storm and then got hired by the kung fu chief instructor becoming one of his top trainers?
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2019
  20. The Dapper Hooligan

    The Dapper Hooligan (V) ( ;,,;) (v) Contributor

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    Most of Krav Maga is about defending against those with strikes. It's a proper self defense art in that it's meant to give people the opportunity to defend themselves and get away while grappling someone and putting them in a hold, by it's nature, means you can't get away from the person attacking you. It ties into the legal thing, when defending yourself there is something that's called duty to withdraw or something similar (legal things being legal I am not an expert and laws are different different places), in that you can be held legally accountable if you didn't make an attempt to withdraw from your attacker but immediately tore at them because it was an excuse to practice your martial arts. Also, trying to grapple someone in a life or death situation is kind of a bad idea because it puts you in stabbing range.
     
  21. TheMyst7885

    TheMyst7885 Member

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    These martial art discussions are great. And I'd love to go more into them in another topic, but are my ideas so far really that bad? :(
     
  22. The Dapper Hooligan

    The Dapper Hooligan (V) ( ;,,;) (v) Contributor

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    No. There's nothing wrong with your ideas. TBH, with the 80's nostalgia right now, having a story that's reminiscent of Johnny Lawrence or Street Fighter could make it a very marketable read. Just remember to make the story your own. Execution is more important than whether or not someone's done something similar.
     
  23. TheMyst7885

    TheMyst7885 Member

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    That's what I'd like to do. Accept I dont want him being a bully like Johnny Lawrence was but similar into how he was controlled and manipulated by a bad soldier turned bad sensei teacher and had been forced to do things he regrets from being brainwashed and knowing he had been trained by or worked for this bad mentor, his life crashed down.

    I vision something a cross between the character Johnny Lawrence and Guts from Berserk series.
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2019
  24. aModernHeathen

    aModernHeathen Banned

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    White washing is The Last Samurai starring Tom Cruise.

    Or if you made a story about the Xing dynasty where, for some reason, a white guy is the Emperor. LOL!

    Making a story where a character practices martial arts, but happens to be white, is not white washing.
     
  25. TheMyst7885

    TheMyst7885 Member

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    Thanks, I feel more confident now in understanding the difference more :)

    Oh and another interesting fact, I was reading up more on that new Kobra Kai series which is based on the Karate Kid and some have mentioned it being white washing but that's probably from a smaller crowd probably looking to nitpick anything.

    I don't mind using inspiration from those series but mine would be a lot more grittier in a sense. In fact, I want to add a bit of that nostalgia reminiscent of the 80's like Karate Kid, Rocky, Street Fighter, Bloodsport, Kickboxer themes and a mix of others, even Mortal Kombat. Hopefully this would be exciting. My MC may have some resemblance to Johnny's character from Kobra Kai so the MC would be the more anti hero or kept down kinda character rather than the original one dimensional bully version character of the first Karate Kid. Does this make sense?
     

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