My Favorite Memory Of 2016
After all of the festive NYE partying, I barely survived today through my first training session of 2017. I managed to bang out 5 rounds x 5 minutes with multiple-time Muay Thai World Champion Penek Sitnumnoi, as well as 500 situps. It wasn’t pretty, but the good news is that there is always tomorrow.
In reflecting deeply over 2016, I am full of gratitude for all of the precious lessons and memories. Like everybody else, I had my good, bad, and ugly days. For me, the most poignant memory of 2016 was ONE Championship in Bangkok, Thailand. It was one of the most emotional days of my life. I remember standing by myself at one point during the night, looking up in awe at the stadium full of 15,000 screaming fans, and thinking how blessed I was to receive so much love and support. The entire week was a media frenzy due to our live global broadcast to 1 billion homes around the world alongside the live performance of Thailand’s two biggest pop bands (Bodyslam and BIG ASS) as a part of our event. Many years ago, I left Thailand in poverty and shame when my family went bankrupt, penniless, and homeless. And my father eventually abandoned us. When I was surviving on $4 a day in America, I never thought that I would return home to Thailand. I certainly never imagined that I would return home to throw the largest sports entertainment event in Thailand’s history. The evening was punctuated though by a single mom and her two young daughters who rushed over to have their photo taken with me. The mom told me, with tears in her eyes, how my life story inspired all of them to work hard to escape poverty too. They had never had any interest in martial arts, but they came to the event because they wanted to meet me. I almost never cry, but I had tears in my eyes. I hugged them tightly, and told them to fight for their dreams with everything they had, and to never, never, ever give up. Life might be full of suffering, but it is also full of beauty and love. I am truly blessed with this precious opportunity to live my dreams and to serve as an inspiration to others. I can’t wait to chase more dreams in 2017!