His rags-to-riches life story has inspired millions around the world on BBC, CNN, Financial Times, Bloomberg, and other media. At his lowest point, Chatri survived on $4 a day in the US. His only suitcase contained everything he owned, and he lived on one meal a day. He didn’t grow up in poverty as a child in Thailand. In fact, Chatri grew up in a loving, well-to-do home. Life only changed when his parents lost everything in the Asian Financial Crisis. Poverty ripped his family apart. And his father abandoned the family, leaving Chatri to pick up the pieces as the oldest son.
A man is not what he owns. A man is what he loves.
A Mother's Love
As much as Chatri was ashamed of his family’s background, he believes that he would have never achieved anything in life without his mother. She gave him courage when he had fear. She gave him strength when he had doubt. She gave him belief when he had insecurities. Above all, she gave Chatri love when he had nothing. Chatri’s mom pushed him to apply and attend Harvard, even though they did not have the money for school fees or living expenses. In his final year, his mom came to live with Chatri in his tiny dorm room at Harvard. And when Chatri moved to Silicon Valley after graduation, they slept on the office floor in sleeping bags so that he could chase a crazy dream and launch his 1st startup. They lived on $1.50 microwave meals. Through a combination of luck, perseverance, and determination, Chatri pulled his family out of poverty. Along the way, he also earned an MBA from Harvard Business School, helped to put his younger brother through school, bought his mom a home, provided for his mother financially, and became a self-made entrepreneur.
A Warrior's Tears
In the Thai language, his first name (Chatri) means warrior. Chatri was not a warrior when he first started Muay Thai as a kid at Sityodtong Gym in Pattaya, Thailand under the legendary Kru Yodtong Senanan. After years of training, Chatri eventually received the ring name, Yodchatri Sityodtong, or the Extraordinary Warrior, from his teacher. Unfortunately, he did not live up to that mighty name in the ring, but Chatri has always done his best to live up to it outside of the ring. For more than 35 years, Chatri has been involved in martial arts in some form or another – as a student, a fighter, a teacher, a coach, and now a CEO. For Chatri, the biggest misconception about martial arts is that it is about fighting. He believes that the true essence of martial arts is the journey of continuous self-improvement mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Through the practice of martial arts, Chatri inherited integrity, humility, honor, respect, courage, discipline, and so much more. Above all, it empowered him with an unbreakable warrior spirit to conquer adversity in life. Chatri truly believes it is one of the greatest platforms to unleash human potential. Martial arts is about unleashing your true greatness as a human being in every area of your life. Without martial arts, Chatri really doesn’t know what would have happened to him. Martial arts made him a warrior in life.
Inducted into the Black Belt Hall of Fame (Class of 2019) alongside legendary martial artists such as Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, Demetrious Johnson, Georges St Pierre, and many others, Chatri has over 35 years of martial arts experience as a student, a fighter, a teacher, and a coach. He is a certified senior Muay Thai instructor under Kru Yodtong Senanan. He also holds a Brown Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Master Renzo Gracie.
Power of ONE
Chatri doesn’t believe that we were put on this Earth just to pay bills, buy a big home, and drive a nice car. He believes that we were put on this Earth to unleash our greatness so that we may give back to the world more than we receive. 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. Chatri’s mission in life is to unleash greatness in the world through the power of martial arts. Through his companies and charity work, Chatri hopes to alleviate some of the injustices of poverty and inequality throughout the world.
In October 2010, Chatri started ONE to celebrate Asia’s greatest cultural treasure and its deep-rooted Asian values of integrity, humility, honor, respect, courage, discipline, and compassion. As a lifelong martial artist, Chatri has always wanted the world to experience authentic martial arts from its birthplace.
Today, ONE is Asia’s largest global sports media platform with a worldwide broadcast to 179 countries. According to Nielsen, ONE ranks amongst the world’s top 10 biggest sports media properties (alongside NBA, Champions League, EPL, F1, etc) in terms of viewership and engagement. Since Day 1, ONE’s sacred mission has been to unleash real-life superheroes who elevate the world to dream more, do more, and be more in life. Through the power of media and the magic of storytelling, ONE unleashes role models, celebrates values, ignites dreams, inspires nations, and changes the world.
Chatri is also the star of the first-ever global edition of The Apprentice, the award-winning reality TV series on Netflix.