[Portrait] From the office to the dojo: the dual life of Benjamin Lelu
Between numbers and judo holds, Benjamin Lelu does not count the hours. A finance apprentice at Safran Electronics & Defense during the day, he exchanges his suit for a kimono as soon as night falls. Oscillating between two worlds, that of finance and that of the tatami mats, this young man leads a double life that commands admiration. Dive into a portrait where ambition, passion, and discipline outline an extraordinary existence.
It was at the Eaubonne club in Val d'Oise, led by a former champion, that young Benjamin, aged 5, discovered judo. It didn't take him long to stand out, already collecting trophies at a very young age. "I did quite a few things, but it was judo that really let off steam," he confides. Joining the first division martial arts club of Saint-Gratien marked a decisive turning point. It was there that he unleashed his full potential, accessing international tournaments and even the title of French champion in 2017. Of course, the road to glory is never without obstacles. An injury slows him down but does not stop him. Today, he is back on the competition tatamis, resilience shining in his eyes.
Benjamin does not only shine on the tatamis. A student in economics and management at IAE Gustave Eiffel - Paris-Est, he is also an apprentice in Trade Finance at Safran Electronics & Defense. "I've always found school easy," he reveals, emphasizing that studies do not constitute an obstacle in his hectic life. He even manages to be the top of his class in his bachelor degree. His schedule is a finely adjusted puzzle: mornings at INSEP, then the Safran offices, and finally, back to the dojo. Safran has adjusted his schedule so that he can train, either by going to INSEP to practice judo or by doing physical preparation. All this adds up to a total of 15 to 20 hours of judo weekly, not to mention his academic and professional responsibilities.
The Secret to balance: goals and passion
"I am very goal-driven," confides Benjamin, a saying that resonates not only with his ambitions but also with the discipline and rigor that characterize every facet of his life. These values, forged on the tatamis, are found just as much in his studies as in his work in finance. The young man never misses a training session, a golden rule he has imposed on himself.
Even on days when motivation seems lacking, he forces himself to enter the dojo. Although the intense pace imposes sacrifices on his social life, he knows how to maintain a balance. "I managed this year, to go out to see friends, to have a social life," he admits.