Japanese Martial Arts are different in that they share a common culture, customs and background. Outside Japan Martial Arts are often westernized to fit the needs of foreigners. Others strive to remain as Japanese and traditional as possible. Most of us are non-Japanese and pretending to be Japanese would be silly. Hence, it is essential to find a respectable balance without harming yourself, the Dojo or the art you are practicing.
Although no serious Martial Art should expect you to become a ‘wanna be’ Japanese, you should study the Japanese backgrounds and basic concepts regardless. That is, if you really want to understand the art as it is intended to be. Unlike most Japanese in Budo, we westerners often seem to be in a hurry. We want quick results and have high expectations.
Most of the time we are focused on useful and practical stuff and seem to have less patience for the principles that underlie them. However, when you look at Martial Arts as a way of life, you are in no rush and details do matter. For many of us it has been a wonderful and life-changing experience already, but do realize that working on your better self is not a piece of cake, so remember …
Go fast or go slow, what matters is the journey.