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An Indian man's Kung Fu connections with China

(China Daily)

08:07, July 30, 2013

Chaudhari Dilip Giridhar shows his kung fu moves at his rented apartment in Beijing. (China Daily/Katherine Rodriguez)

He straddles two cultures and plays a bridging role, and his introduction to all things Chinese was through a legendary kung fu hero. He tells Sun Ye who and what brought him to China.

Chaudhari Dilip Giridhar was short and puny, and bullied even by his own sister back home in Maharashtra, India. Now in China and under the name Chen Ailong, he's a sought-after Bruce Lee impersonator, handy with the nunchakus, swords and sticks.

And while he has never appeared on TV in India, he is a regular CCTV variety show celebrity guest.

Kung fu and the spirit of Jeet Kune Do brought on the changes, he tells us in his rented apartment in suburban Beijing.

A full-sized mirror stands on the balcony and Chaudhari tells us that this is his sparring partner. When he cannot find someone to practice with, he learns by looking into the mirror.

His fascination with kung fu began some 20 years ago when a friend teased him: "Look at you, how could you protect your family?"

That's when the scrawny art student turned to studying fighting methods and was soon rewarded.

"In two months, I suddenly grew a foot taller and a lot stronger," the 39-year-old says, "and I realized I can actually kick and punch someone down. So I started to walk with my chest up."

He was then drawn to Bruce Lee's films and a book that dissects the man's martial style, The Tao of Jeet Kune Do.

He would read and improve his English with the book, looking up unfamiliar terms, and reflect on them until the book became a revelation of a whole new philosophy. He became convinced of the kung fu master's way and traced his footsteps to China.

"The purpose of life is this — seek the truth by yourself," Chaudhari says that's Jeet Kune Do's first creed and he had hoped to understand more from its place of origin, Shaolin Temple.

He ignored his mother's plea ("What should I do if my only son leaves?"), disregarded a friend's warning ("Only Chinese can do kung fu well") and put aside his own sketchy understanding about China ("I thought it would be like the movies").

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