An Exclusive Interview with ONE Founder and CEO, Chatri Sityodtong

ONE Championship Founder, Chairman, and CEO, Chatri Sityodtong embodies the spirit of martial arts. A lifelong martial artist, Sityodtong has embraced the ethos of martial arts to overcome poverty, bankruptcy, and a broken home to build one of the biggest and most successful martial arts organizations in the world. 

When HYPERFLY was offered the opportunity to work with such an inspirational figure in Chatri, and the rising ONE Championship organization, we knew it was a match from the start.

As we look forward to the HYPERFLY x ONE collaboration release on June 17, including gis, rashguards and combat shorts, we invite you learn a bit more about the man behind the brand that is taking over martial arts, and spreading the values that have driven his success.

You’ve studied many martial arts for years. What is your story, how did martial arts find you?

I’ve practiced Muay Thai since I was a young boy in Thailand. To this day, I still train almost on a daily basis. There’s nothing like the adrenaline rush of Muay Thai. I also picked up Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu over a decade ago and I think it’s a beautiful discipline. So, my quest for greatness never ends. I’m on this amazing journey of striving to be the best martial artist, the best human being I can be. A fighter does this for money, but a true martial artist does it for love, and that’s the difference.

After more than 35 years of doing martial arts, I can tell you that the true essence of martial arts is continuous self-improvement in all aspects of our lives – not just in the self-defense aspect. Through the practice of martial arts, we inherit confidence, mental strength, courage, tenacity, work ethic, humility, compassion, integrity, kindness, respect, honor, discipline, and much more.

How have martial arts contributed to your success as a businessman and entrepreneur?

Martial arts has been my life’s greatest passion. I’ve loved it since I was a kid. I’ve been a part of the martial arts ecosystem in different capacities, as a student, a teacher, a coach, and now Chairman and CEO for the largest martial arts organization in the world in ONE Championship. Without a doubt, I owe a lot of the success I have enjoyed and the experiences I’ve had to martial arts.

As a businessman, many of the lessons martial arts taught me, I’ve been able to apply every single day. Martial arts gave me mental strength, integrity, humility, courage, compassion, fearlessness, and just so many things I apply in the business world. All of the thousands of hours in the gym and in training forged in me a warrior spirit to conquer adversity. All of the lessons I’ve learned through training have helped me get through the most difficult junctures of my life.

In the business world, the only way you can deal with obstacles and failures is by putting yourself through that fire, taking risks and making mistakes, and learning from them. One thing that people don’t realize about World Champions in martial arts is even though they’re the toughest people in the world, they’ve come from tremendous adversity.

You talk about the Japanese principle of “Ikigai” in your Ted Talk. Can you explain that and how it’s influenced your life?

“IKIGAI” is a profound Japanese concept on the art of living. The fundamental belief is that life only truly begins when you discover your IKIGAI and start living it with honesty and authenticity. The direct translation for IKIGAI is “reason for living” in English. The Japanese believe that everyone has an IKIGAI, but that it requires deep soul-searching and true self-reflection to find it.

My IKIGAI is to unleash greatness in the world through the power of martial arts. Since day one our mission at ONE Championship has been to unleash real-life superheroes who ignite the world with hope, strength, dreams, courage, and inspiration. Ultimately, I want to help alleviate the injustices of poverty and inequality around the world.

What makes ONE unique compared to the other combat sports organizations out there?

 

ONE Championship is The Home of Martial Arts. We don’t just offer mixed martial arts, we offer the full spectrum of martial arts disciplines like Muay Thai, kickboxing, submission grappling, and the like. That’s what fans can expect from us. They can expect an exciting and polished product. They can expect ONE to bring them the action and excitement they crave.

We also focus on unleashing greatness in human beings, and we strive to give our athletes a platform to showcase the strength of the human heart and spirit. Where other organizations focus on negativity and drama, we focus on positivity and authenticity in the spirit of global competition.

What is the long-term vision for ONE for the future?

I truly believe that ONE Championship will eventually become the largest sports media property in the entire world. We’re already the biggest in Asia, and when more fans are able to understand and become familiar with what we’re all about and what we offer, I believe ONE Championship will just explode into even more of a global phenomenon than it already is.

I’m talking about multiple events every week showcasing the very best of martial arts, unique and compelling shoulder programming that will inspire and unite audiences, and stories that will ignite and bring out the best in humanity.

“You Can't Teach Heart” is the slogan of Hyperfly. What do those words mean to you?

If you are unwilling to fight through the worst days of your life, you do not deserve the best days of your life. That’s what this line means to me – it’s developing the fighting spirit to power through any adversity in life. You can go to school and learn, and while that’s very important, experience remains life’s greatest teacher. When we are put into uncomfortable and adverse situations, that’s when we discover what we are capable of.

What advice would you give to a young entrepreneur or martial artist looking to achieve success like you have?

While you have your youth, take the biggest risks. Don’t be afraid of failure, because it’s only success in disguise. Go out there and put it all on the line, and don’t short-change your greatness. There is greatness in all of us, and all we have to do is unleash it.

Find your passion and chase it to the ends of the world. Insane work ethic is the key to success. You have to be willing to work harder than anyone else in the room to achieve your dreams.

Seek others for help. No man is an island, and you can’t do it all alone. If you fight for only yourself, it is possible to quit. When you fight for others, it is impossible to quit. 

At the end of the day, we all die. Nothing remains, except for the impact we make on others. If we leave this Earth better off than how we found it, then we have truly lived.

Stay tuned for the ONE X HYPERFLY combat collection on June 17th and go behind the scenes for the photoshoot with Flyweight GOAT, Mighty Mouse Johnson here.

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