Many of ONE Championship’s world-class martial artists dedicate their lives to the pursuit of greatness.
It is a tremendous undertaking that tests the resolve of even the finest athletes. As such, having close support from family is an invaluable asset.
However, only a select few are fortunate enough to have parents who were martial arts practitioners themselves – those best able to guide, influence, and develop them.
Here are nine famous athletes in ONE who have been the lucky beneficiaries of parents who were martial artists.
#1 Stamp Fairtex
Two-sport ONE World Champion Stamp Fairtex’s journey into martial arts began as a child growing up in a big Muay Thai family in Rayong, Thailand.
The youngster was inspired to try out the national sport of Thailand after seeing her brother and other kids training at their family’s small gym.
Tired of being bullied, Stamp learned Muay Thai and leaned heavily on her father and uncle for guidance.
Their faith in Stamp gave her the confidence she needed. She claimed the ONE Atomweight Kickboxing World Title in October 2018, and then she captured the inaugural ONE Atomweight Muay Thai World Championship in February.
The 21-year-old Rayong native, who now trains at the legendary Fairtex Training Center in Pattaya, is aiming for a third World Title — this time, in mixed martial arts.
#2 Amber “AK 47” Kitchen
Her mother, Julie Kitchen, is widely recognized as the UK’s most decorated combat sports athlete of all time. The undisputed queen of Muay Thai, Julie is a 14-time World Champion in “the art of eight limbs” and also an International Kickboxing Federation Champion.
The youngster’s father, Nathan Kitchen, is the founder of Touchgloves Gym and trained Julie himself.
Under the influence of her parents, Muay Thai became a big part of Amber’s formative years. She was undefeated as a junior and represented England in international Muay Thai tournaments.
“AK 47” earned two gold medals and one silver medal at the IFMAs, and she signed with ONE earlier this year.
Amber continues to train with her parents in Cornwall, England, and she is building upon her family’s martial arts legacy on the global stage.
#3 Rika “Tiny Doll” Ishige
She was heavily influenced by her father, a judo practitioner, to take up martial arts, and at 14 years old, Ishige started training in aikido and karate for self-defense.
Thanks to her dad’s support, the Bangkok native excelled in “the art of eight limbs” and became Thailand’s first female mixed martial artist.
Unfortunately, “Tiny Doll” lost her father to cancer seven years ago. Nonetheless, she strives to honor his memory by continuing to represent Thailand in the world’s largest martial arts organization.
- Roshan Mainam Dared To Dream Big To Provide For His Family
- Samy Sana Wants World Grand Prix Victory To Help His Family
- Saemapetch Fairtex Provided For His Family With Muay Thai
#4 & #5 “Super” Sage Northcutt & Colbey Northcutt
Mark, who is a karate black belt, built a training room in the house for his children, and also served as their coach for all their karate tournaments.
Both Sage and Colbey would become multiple-time karate World Champions and get inducted into the Black Belt Magazine Hall Of Fame.
Now, both are looking for mixed martial arts superstardom on the global stage.
#6 Arjan Bhullar
The Bhullars have a family history of great Indian wrestlers, and Arjan “Singh” Bhullar is continuing that legacy.
His father, Avtar Bhullar, moved from India to Vancouver in 1971. He was a decorated Indian wrestler who nearly represented India in the 1988 Summer Olympic Games and Canada in the 1998 Commonwealth Games.
From a young age, Arjan grew up hearing the tales of his father’s success. To this day, Avtar is his son’s harshest critic, but also his child’s strongest supporter.
Even though “Singh” feels the weight of expectation, the heavyweight is determined to make his father proud and represent his ancestral homeland in The Home Of Martial Arts.
#7 Thanh Le
Thanh Le’s father made huge sacrifices so he could have a better life in the United States. He immigrated to America and settled down with a family. There, he laid the foundation for his son to become a successful martial artist.
Le’s father owned a martial arts academy, Moon College Taekwondo, where he began training when he was 8 years old.
The Vietnamese-American was a childhood sensation. He competed in martial arts tournaments throughout the country and went unbeaten.
Le has achieved similar success on the global stage. A Legacy Fighting Alliance Featherweight Champion, he is undefeated in ONE and on is his way to becoming the top contender for the ONE Featherweight World Title.
#8 & 9 Angela Lee & Christian Lee
Ken Lee introduced martial arts to his eldest daughter, ONE Women’s Atomweight World Champion “Unstoppable” Angela Lee, and his oldest son, ONE Lightweight World Champion Christian “The Warrior” Lee, for self-defense purposes.
The Lee family patriarch holds black belts in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, pankration, and taekwondo. He is well respected within the martial arts community, and he was even named the President of the Canadian Pankration Federation and the head coach of the Canadian Jiu-Jitsu Association.
Jewelz Lee, Angela and Christian’s mother, is an accomplished martial artist as well. She is a black belt and two-time Canadian silver medalist in taekwondo.
Under the tutelage of their father – their head coach and owner of United MMA in Hawaii where they live and train – the Lee siblings excelled on the international stage of competitive martial arts.
Angela started her professional mixed martial arts career with ONE in May 2015 and made history when she defeated Mei “V.V.” Yamaguchi to become the sport’s youngest World Champion a year later.
Christian hit peak form and won the ONE Lightweight World Title after a second-round TKO of Japanese submission legend Shinya “Tobikan Judan” Aoki in May 2019.
In doing so, they became the first brother-sister World Champion duo in mixed martial arts history.
Read more: The Lee Family Is Bonded By Martial Arts