Daring to take flight
Updated: 2013-07-16 11:24
By He Na (China Daily)
Luc Bendza practices the Chinese martial arts with a sword. Photos Provided to China Daily
A young African boy came to China to look for the flying heroes he had seen in kung fu movies. He did not learn to fly, but other lessons had made him a hero in his own homeland, and an ambassador in China, where he has stayed for the last 30 years. He Na finds out the details.
Children often have big dreams, to stand in the limelight in front of the cameras, the football field, or even in politics, but perhaps Luc Bendza had the grandest dream of them all. He wanted to fly.
It was a special kind of flight he dreamt about - to be able to float through the air like all those heroes he saw in Chinese kung fu movies.
While flight has proven impossible, the 43-year-old from Gabon's fascination with Chinese kung fu did lead him to great things. He has won several international martial arts awards, he speaks fluent Mandarin, and he has appeared in several movies and made numerous appearances on Chinese television.
In addition to his acting, Bendza now works as a cultural consultant at the China-Africa International Cultural Exchange and Trade Promotion Association in Beijing.
Kung fu movies were popular in Gabon in the 1980s and Bendza was a huge fan.
"I really admired those people in the movies who could fly. They were able to fight for justice and help the poor. I wanted to be just like them, but when I told my mother I wanted to go to China and learn to fly she thought I was crazy," he recalls.
Bendza began by studying Chinese with the help of Wang Yuquan, a translator working with a Chinese medical team in Gabon. Sometimes he skipped school to study with Wang, and also called him in the evenings to talk about China.