Daring to take flight
Updated: 2013-07-16 11:24
By He Na (China Daily)
Photo Provided to China Daily
"I kept saying no and begged him to find the flying people for me. So he took me to Beijing Film Studio where I saw actors flying, hauled into the air on ropes," he says.
He was disappointed and after just two months in Beijing, decided to go to Shaolin Temple in Henan.
"There were few foreigners in China in the 1980s, especially black people from African countries. Wherever I went people pointed fingers at me like I was from another planet, but I wasn't annoyed because they were all very friendly," he says.
"The people at Shaolin Temple were really amazing. Although they couldn't fly like in the movies, still their martial arts made a deep impression on me. I told myself I had gone to the right place."
Bendza's Mandarin still wasn't good, so after less than a year he left the temple and returned to Beijing where he studied Mandarin at university for a year.
After that he enrolled at the Beijing Sport University studying traditional Chinese martial arts.
"I stayed at the university for more than 10 years and finished both bachelor and postgraduate studies," he says.
"I really need to thank those teachers who not only taught me Chinese martial arts history and other subjects, but also helped me build a solid foundation for being a real martial artist."
Bendza's natural aptitude for martial arts, and hard training saw him progress rapidly and won him recognition from many martial art masters.
"The teacher would put a nail with the sharp end up under your bum when you were practicing a stance so if you lowered yourself too far the nail would hurt you," Bendza recalls.
The tough training paid off though as Bendza won awards in China and abroad.
He also attracted the eye of directors and he went on to play roles in both movies and television series.