At the end of every year, I like to write down some of my key learnings about life from that…
The Biggest Lie
The biggest misconception about martial arts is that it is about fighting and violence. Unfortunately, some organizations in the West have tarnished the image of Asia’s greatest cultural treasure by turning it into a bloodsport spectacle fueled by hatred, anger, drugs, controversy, trash talking, humiliation, and even criminal behavior. It is disturbing to see these organizations espousing and rewarding corrupt values and showcasing it as “martial arts” in order to profit. As a lifelong martial artist, I am deeply saddened by the lack of integrity and authenticity. It is a mockery. It is a disgrace. It is a lie.
Asia’s greatest cultural treasure has been a way of life here for over 5,000 years. Through the practice of martial arts, we inherit the deep-rooted Asian values of integrity, humility, honor, respect, courage, discipline, compassion, and much more. Martial arts is the journey of continuous self-improvement mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. It is the warrior way of life. It is the teachings of philosophy and values. It is the bedrock of society and harmony. Equally important, martial arts empowers us with an unbreakable warrior spirit to conquer adversity. No one is perfect and no one is meant to be. We all fall down. We all make mistakes. We all fail. Martial arts has the incredible ability to change lives, to turn weakness into strength, to mold fear into courage, and to transform the ordinary into the extraordinary.
As the CEO of Asia’s largest global sports media property, I think deeply about my responsibility and ONE Championship‘s power to shape and influence values, culture, and society across our footprint of 138 countries. It is the reason why I personally select heroes who exemplify the best of humanity to represent the face of ONE Championship such as Angela Lee, Bibiano Fernandes, Rich Franklin, Renzo Gracie, Aung La Nsang, Eduard “The Landslide” Folayang, Giorgio Petrosyan, Brandon Vera, Martin Nguyen, Alain ‘The Panther’ Ngalani, Yodsanklai Fairtex, Amir Khan Ansari, and several others. It is not a coincidence that ONE Championship invests the vast majority of our marketing budget on these select few athletes. These men and women not only rank among the best martial artists on the planet, but they are exemplary role models for the world. When children put up posters of our heroes in their bedrooms, parents can feel safe and happy. Families can celebrate our heroes for their values, their achievements, and their life stories. You see, life is not about making money at the expense of humanity. No, life is about making the world a better place for humanity. For me, our mission is sacred at ONE. We have the precious opportunity to unleash real-life superheroes who ignite the world with hope, strength, dreams, inspiration, and courage. Through the beauty of storytelling and the power of media, we inspire millions (and eventually billions) to dream more, do more, and be more in life. We ignite hope, celebrate values, create dreams, inspire nations, and change the world. #WeAreONE
Chatri Sityodtong is a self-made entrepreneur and lifelong martial artist from Thailand. His rags-to-riches life story has inspired millions around the world on BBC News, CNN, Financial Times, Bloomberg TV, CNBC, Channel NewsAsia, and other major media. He is the Founder, Chairman, and CEO of ONE Championship, Asia’s largest global sports media property in history with a global broadcast to over 1.7 billion potential viewers across 136 countries around the world. Forbes most recently selected Sityodtong as one of Asia’s next generation tycoons. He was also named “Asia’s King of Martial Arts” by the Financial Times and the “3rd Most Powerful Person in Sports in Asia” by FOX Sports. He is an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at INSEAD, Europe’s top business school. Sityodtong holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BA from Tufts University.