The Incredible Story Of ‘The Afghan Bruce Lee’

At first glance, I thought the “Afghan Bruce Lee” was just another story about a person taking their celebrity obsession too far. But his story is much more profound than that.


Image credit: Reuters

Growing up in war torn Afghanistan is synonymous with struggle. The country has a long history of conflict. It’s dangerous, unstable, and tomorrow is certainly not promised to anyone. So as you can imagine, many people feel trapped by their circumstances, and many of them dream of escaping. Abbas Alizada — The Afghan Bruce Lee — is one of them.

Image credit: Reuters

Born into a large family, with 9 brothers and sisters, Alizada grew up in poverty. But martial arts helped take his mind off of his difficult circumstances.

Image credit: Caters News Agency

“When I was eight years old I saw the Bruce Lee movies, and I was hooked… I said I will be the Bruce Lee of Afghanistan one day. I know I cannot be Bruce Lee, but I follow in his path.”

Unsurprisingly, Bruce Lee, was his primary inspiration. And he used this inspiration to not only transform his perception of himself, but the circumstances in which he and his family lived.

By simply watching video footage of the real Bruce Lee, Alizada began to teach himself how to do martial arts. His proficiency with the nun-chucks speaks volumes about his commitment. In fact, I would say he is masterful with them.

He created his own gym, in the rubble of Afghanistan, and even made himself makeshift dumbbells out of paint cans, cement, and wires.

Image credit: Stories

Although he was not able to afford attending a martial arts school, a local teacher named Abbas Rezaie saw that he had talent and uncompromising commitment, and was thus inspired to take him under his wing. And eventually, through hard work (practicing 5 to 6 hours a day, 6 days a week), Alizada not only began to earn a living through martial arts, but he was able to take care of his impoverished family as well.

A picture of Alizada with his proud father before he passed away/Image credit: Stories


“I want to help my people and my country.”

Ironically, whether the young martial artist is aware of it or not, he finds himself in a similar situation to his role model Bruce Lee — in that he wants to change the perception of his country and people, which is exactly something Bruce aspired to do.

What we can learn from the Afghan Bruce Lee

Although a cynic might label Abbas Alizada as nothing more than the common copycat, the practice of assuming a role model’s identity to give oneself a sense of strength when feeling lost or weak, is actually a useful practice to help build up confidence and rise above seemingly insurmountable circumstances. It is a practice not much different to identifying with any other religion or ideology. It serves as a source of strength when people are feeling weak. Today, for example, Alizada is able to take care of his family, is a successful martial artist, has gotten involved in making movies, and is changing minds and perceptions about his home country Afghanistan, all over the world. I’m sure if you asked him, he will say he was able to do that by identifying himself with Bruce Lee.

But no one else can make us work hard, or dream big. Bruce Lee didn’t make Abbas Alizada train for 6 hours a day, or teach him to make free weights out of paint cans, cement and wire. Bruce Lee didn’t make Abbas Alizada dream of another life, or pursue his goal even whilst feeling trapped and overwhelmed by poverty. In other words, no one can change our lives but ourselves.

It should also be said that Alizada is still very young, in his early twenties. And as he follows the teachings of the legendary Bruce Lee, what he will invariably come to find is that the final stage of his journey, is to actualize himself and bring fourth his own individual creativity — his own deeper message.

I am a firm believer that this is a lesson we must all learn eventually in life — To become ourselves, and not who the world tells us to be. It is the greatest journey of all, but also the most important.

You can watch a short documentary on the Afghan Bruce Lee below;

You can follow the Afghan Bruce Lee on Facebook HERE

Recommended Reading: Bruce Lee Achieved All His Life Goals By His Death At Age 32 Because Of These 6 Principles…



Written by Gavin Nascimento, Founder of

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Gavin Nascimento
My philosophy in life is very simple; "Do no harm but take no shit". My religion is kindness and integrity; and my purpose is to help create positive change. I am here to help my readers improve themselves physically, mentally and spiritually, which is why I created
Gavin Nascimento