Daring to take flight

Updated: 2013-07-16 11:24

By He Na (China Daily)

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Daring to take flight

Photo Provided to China Daily

He did not tell his mother about these successes, and she only found out when she read about him winning an international martial arts competition in France.

Bendza began to gain recognition for his achievements in Gabon, but the media there were initially unkind. One newspaper ran a front-page cartoon of him standing with two suitcases, a foot in China and a foot in Gabon, but with his head turned toward China. The insinuation was that he had turned his back on his homeland.

"The media used the cartoon to show their dissatisfaction," he says. "When I returned to Gabon my mother told me I had to do something to change this bias against me. She took it very seriously."

Bendza organized a free martial arts show as a way of changing opinions and media coverage become more positive.

"When I left, my parents saw me off at the airport and told me they thought I was great. When they said that and my mother hugged me, I cried like a baby. That was the first time in 10 years I had won recognition from my mother," he says.

Martial arts changed his life and he has hopes to promote it across Africa. But his work has also moved away from purely performing toward promoting cultural exchanges.

As a member of International Martial Arts Association, he organizes Chinese martial arts teams to perform and teach in Africa.

Bendza has been in China for 30 years and witnessed the country's reform and opening up process. He married his Chinese wife in 2007 and they have a 16-month-old son.

"I have become used to life in China and enjoy being here with my family very much," he says.


Daring to take flight

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