I've watched Kung Fu movies since I was a lad;Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung, Jet Li, Donnie Yen (< he is in the first book as a kind of nod, just spelled the name slightly differently). I studied Kung Fu for a bit as a lad, and some Judo.
But, more than that, Europe has been explored by so many fantasy authors in the past and now. We are comfortable with it, we know the tropes, the standards, the structures of its society... it is all so normal.
I wanted to write something a little different, even if I follow a similar structure of story. The different culture, the different foods, tastes and scenery all make it more interesting for me to write.
It is a kind of niche (did myself out of thousands of sales that way) that is explored too little... I wanted to discover a new country, a new society.