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The 'Afghan Bruce Lee' Inspiring His Nations' Youth

Using His Famous Looks For Good

By LA Muscle on 25.10.2019 01:44 pm

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At just 18 years of age, Abbas Alizada from Kabul in Afghanistan took a picture of himself posing like Bruce Lee and posted it on Facebook. Little did he know that people would be so amazed at his striking resemblance to the Chinese actor that he has since become a social media star.

Fast forward seven years and the ‘Afghan Bruce Lee’ as he has come to be known, is now using his new found fame to inspire young fighters and promote Afghanistan’s rapidly developing martial arts scene. When he’s not training and honing his skills, he spends his time using his worldwide profile to help his homeland overcome its reputation as just a warzone and proving that Afghan athletes and sport can thrive there.

As a child, Abbas became interested in martial arts and even though DVDs featuring martial arts had been banned by the Taliban, he was still able to obtain them and his fascination grew. Bruce Lee became his favourite star and after years of watching countless hours of Lee’s movies, Abbas started to master his idol’s moves.

Coming from a poor background, he wasn’t able to train professionally as his family could not afford the fees for the only Wu Shu school in the city. With luck though, the teacher saw Abbas’ passion and potential, and invited him to train at the school for free.

He began to study martial arts seriously when he was 14 and within just six months he had won two local Wu Shu championships. From the age of 16, Alizada trained without a teacher, undertaking gruelling workouts in the basement of his family home using simple but effective homemade equipment.

It was not long after this time that Abbas started to become noticed on social media and he decided to take time out to work on developing and perfecting his resemblance to the martial arts hero. He increased his training intensity and started dressing and styling his image to that of Bruce Lee’s. His efforts were soon rewarded as Abbas not only looks like the martial arts legend with impressive moves and shredded physique, but he also mastered one of Lee’s favourite weapon; nun-chucks.

Alizada’s fame hasn’t come without any risks as he has come under persistent threat. Although the Taliban haven’t ruled in Kabul for over a decade, fundamentalist Islamic ideas still hold sway over a large portion of Afghan society. Muslim clerics began to denounce Alizada for emulating Western celebrities and adopting their values. Threats against both him, his family and friends have been an on-going issue for him. Sometimes even venturing out onto the street can even risk violence or attempts on his life.

Abbas’ dream is to use his worldwide image to break into Hollywood and finish some of Bruce Lee’s unfinished movies, such as Game of Death. For the time being, he is content with using his worldwide publicity to help his homeland overcome its reputation as a warzone by proving that sport and sportsmen can thrive there.



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