Features

The Amazing Fathers Who Raised Our Heroes

June 16, 2018

Fathers play a crucial role in their children’s lives.

These are the men who guide, inspire, protect, and support their kids. Also, they cultivate good values into their sons and daughters, and teach them right from wrong.

In celebration of Father’s Day, we learn how five of our martial arts heroes had their lives shaped by their dads.

Aung La N Sang

Two-division ONE World Champion Aung La N Sang did not have too much ambition, when he was a teenager attending the Yangon International School in Myanmar.

However, as he reached adulthood, “The Burmese Python” matured, and he looked to his father as his primary source of inspiration.

“What inspired me about him is that he is not educated — he only had an elementary school education — but he always sought learning,” the Myanmar hero recalls.

“He speaks seven different languages, including Burmese, English, Thai, Cantonese, and Mandarin. For somebody who has very little education, speaks that many languages, does business, and is able to succeed? That inspires me.”

That will to succeed rubbed off on Aung La N Sang, who is now the reigning ONE Middleweight & Light Heavyweight World Champion.

“The Burmese Python” will defend his middleweight belt at ONE: SPIRIT OF A WARRIOR against Ken Hasegawa in his native Yangon on Friday, 29 June, and looks to succeed in his first World Title defense.

Xiong Jing Nan

Xiong Jing Nan has always pointed to her father as a huge factor in her many successes.

“The Panda” is quick to admit her dad is not the best at expressing his emotions, but he was phenomenal at teaching her life’s most important lessons — even if some of those lessons were harder than others.

“My dad taught me a lot, including his life experiences growing up,” she explains. “From when I was a little girl, my dad told me never to run away when facing difficulties, and to always take responsibility. Most importantly, he taught me to be brave and confident.”

Those values shaped Xiong’s warrior spirit, as it led her to a spot on China’s national boxing team, a China BJJ Open Title, and the inaugural ONE Women’s Strawweight World Championship.

She will attempt to make her father even prouder on Saturday, 23 June, when she defends her belt for the first time against Laura Balin at ONE: PINNACLE OF POWER in Macau.

Angela and Christian Lee

ONE Women’s Atomweight World Champion Angela Lee and her brother, Christian, have always cited their father as one of their biggest influences.

Ken, along with his wife Jewelz, are lifelong martial artists who trained their children from an early age. They decided early on that they were going to equip their kids with proper self-defense skills, as well as the virtues of martial arts.

As Angela and Christian got older, however, they wanted to compete in various disciplines, and their dad agreed to coach them. Not only has he given his two oldest children the skills necessary to succeed on the global stage for martial arts, but he has also provided them with much-needed guidance.

Christian sums it up best when he says: “He has taught me everything I know since I was a little kid. He really helped mold my career in ONE, and he is constantly training me — not only in the physical aspect, but also the mental.

“I really feel like he is a special human being. He thinks differently than other people, and that is where the edge really comes into my game. It comes from my dad.”

Martin Nguyen

Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen knows just how much his father sacrificed to give him and his siblings the best life possible.

When the Vietnam War came to a close in the 1970s, his mom and dad courageously left their home country to start anew in Australia. The patriarch got a job in the tiling and carpentry industries, and worked endlessly to support his growing family.

Although “The Situ-Asian” was a self-proclaimed ‘wild child’ during his adolescence, he always admired his father’s impeccable work ethic, which he emulated later in life.

“My dad worked hard just for us to get by. We were not the richest family, and we were not as poor as other people out here, but we got by,” Nguyen says. “He was my sole inspiration to work hard, just the way he was able to provide for his family.”

Nguyen applied that principle to everything he did, especially martial arts. Tremendous dedication to his training at KMA Top Team led him to the ONE Featherweight & Lightweight World Championships.

On Friday, 27 July, he challenges Kevin Belingon for his third belt – the ONE Interim Bantamweight World Title – at ONE: REIGN OF KINGS. There is no doubt he will work harder than ever to capture another piece of gold.