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african prince Dominique Saatenang

As a young man Dominique Saatenang followed his dream to journey to China’s 1500-year-old Shaolin Temple to learn Shaolin Kung Fu, and became the monastery’s first African disciple. He trained in ice and snow, and far from home, missed his sunny village in Cameroon. The experience of becoming a Kung Fu monk would transform him. But little did anyone know – even Dominique himself – that he would someday be the one to bring the first satellite branch of the Shaolin Temple to Africa.

African Prince Dominique Saatenang

african prince Dominique Saatenang
african prince Dominique Saatenang

Born in the village of Bafou, Cameroon in 1975, Dominique Saatenang showed early prodigious promise in soccer, so his parents sent him to the nation’s capital, Douala, to fulfill this destiny. But destiny appeared to have other plans, and the young soccer star soon discovered Kung Fu at the age of 10 when he saw Bruce Lee in Enter the Dragon. After piecing together whatever training he could manage in Chinese martial arts in Africa, his one dream was to go to Shaolin Temple to become a real martial artist. He sold everything he owned, and through perseverance and personality, was accepted at Shaolin Temple to study.

Becoming a real Kung Fu monk proved a difficult struggle, as Dominique arrived with no Chinese language skills and found the food, loneliness, freezing winters and hard training to be formidable challenges. But over the course of four years he eventually became fluent in Chinese (and chopsticks) and formed an enduring brotherhood with his fellow Chinese Shaolin disciples. The Abbot of Shaolin Temple, Shi Yongxin, took a special interest in this student who had the potential to spread the art of Shaolin to the continent of Africa and beyond.

Dominique Saatenang the first African Disciple

african prince Dominique Saatenang
african prince Dominique Saatenang
african prince Dominique Saatenang

Dominique Saatenang subsequently became the first African, and only the fourth foreigner, to be designated as an official member of the Shaolin Temple, and was given the 34th generation name of Shi Yan Mai by the Abbot of Shaolin Temple. Since then, Dominique has brought African culture to China and enjoys minor stardom there.

He is a hero in Cameroon. His larger mission is to bring Shaolin Kung Fu, pilosophy and Chinese medicine to the African continent to improve the lives of many struggling people. His more personal, pressing and immediate mission is to bring his tiny rural village of Bafou up and out of poverty, give it electricity and running water, and keep the school he went to as a child from closing. Kung Fu is the vehicle which unified his vision, and his mission, and helped him achieve all of this.

african prince Dominique Saatenang
african prince Dominique Saatenang

Dominique’s biggest struggle came with the choice he had to make to become a religious monk and take a vow of celibacy, or to honor the parents he bitterly disappointed earlier and carry on the ancestral family lineage. His grandfather was the king of Bafou, and Dominique Saatenang was thus a prince. So he chose instead to leave Shaolin Temple to marry, spread Shaolin Kung Fu to Africa and help his village thrive.

In 2011, the Abbot Shi Yongxin appointed Dominique as the Cultural Ambassador of Shaolin Temple, further solving his dilemma. Dominique’s mission would subtly transform to help spread Shaolin Kung Fu and culture around the world – and particularly on the continent of Africa.

African Prince Dominique Saatenang will Build

the First African Shaolin Temple Satellite in Cameroon

african prince Dominique Saatenang
african prince Dominique Saatenang
african prince Dominique Saatenang
african prince Dominique Saatenang

Today Dominique lives in Paris with his wife Delphine and three children. But his zen heart, he says, is also still in Shaolin and in Cameroon; he goes back as many times each year as he can, carrying on his work to develop both Kung Fu in Africa and help his village escape the poverty he was born into.

Dominique is fluent in Mandarin, is a certified IWUF traditional wushu judge, and from his Parisian office on the Champs Elysees, runs his business, the China-Africa Investment Federation which is helping him achieve his next biggest goal – building the first African Shaolin Temple satellite in Cameroon, which is approved by the Abbot of Shaolin and set to break ground in 2018.

african prince Dominique Saatenang
african prince Dominique Saatenang
african prince Dominique Saatenang
african prince Dominique Saatenang

Simultaneously, Dominique has brought Shaolin Kung Fu and culture to France, and Europe. Today he is also a French citizen; he’s a celebrity often seen on French TV, he’s friends with Gerard Depardieu (who he brought on a visit to Shaolin Temple), Nicolas Sarkozy, and has staged a successful show in Paris called Shaolin Black and White. But what has French media buzzing about right now is the publication of his new autobiography, Dominique Saatenang: Open Your Hand and You’ll Possess the World, put out by France’s top publisher Robert Laffont.

This inspirational story, told in Dominique’s own words, will soon be available in English and other languages. If you’re lucky enough to be a Francophone, you can order the book now at www.laffont.fr. If not, stay tuned for an exclusive excerpt right here on Jetli.com.

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