With his shock of black hair and calmly handsome features, 20-year-old Abbas Alizada is the spitting image of a certain famous martial artist and film star — and armed with some nunchuks and a vest, he transforms himself into Bruce Hazara, Afghanistan’s premier Bruce Lee impersonator.
The photographs and videos he posts on his Facebook page, executing high kicks and looking intensely down the lens, have now earned him viral fame. He has amassed more than 50,000 followers on Twitter, al-Jazeera has filmed him in action and Reuters has gone to Kabul to interview him.
“I want to be a champion in my country and a Hollywood star,” he told the latter. “The only news that comes from Afghanistan is about war... I am happy that my story is a positive one.”
He stages pictures amid the ruins of the Darul Aman Palace , and he takes the name Hazara from his tribe.
“The destruction here makes me sad, but it also inspires me,” he says.
Inspired by his “childhood hero” Lee, Alizada has learned the art of nunchuku as well as wushu, coming top of his category in a recent martial arts competition.
Strangely enough, he is not the first Afghan to be seduced by Lee’s righteous fighting style. Hussain Sadiqi, another Hazara tribe member, began martial arts as a child after seeing a photograph of Bruce Lee. He fled the Taliban in 1999 and took up a nomadic lifestyle, eventually settling in Australia, dreaming of a Hollywood career as a martial arts star. A short documentary was made about him in 2011 by Alex Barnes, earning screenings at various film festivals.
Chen Jifang hits the gym for at least two hours every day and has the physique to prove it. At nearly 70, she is being held up as a shining example as China orders its vast population to get fit and lose the bulge. The grandmother from Shanghai has become a minor celebrity in in the past few months after her newfound and unlikely love for working out made national headlines. After becoming a gym regular in December 2018, Chen lost 14kg in three months, and now sports the kind of flat stomach and toned muscles that people decades younger aspire to. She
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