How Martial Arts Gave Chris Nguyen Confidence And A Dream To Chase

Chris Nguyen will debut at ONE: IMMORTAL TRIUMPH against Yukinori Ogasawara

Martial arts has given Chris Nguyen so much already, and next Friday, 6 September, it will elevate him to the global stage at ONE: IMMORTAL TRIUMPH.

In Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, the 27-year-old will face off with Japan’s Yukinori Ogasawara in a ONE Super Series Muay Thai showdown.

The bout also gives Nguyen the chance to compete in front of the largest audience of his career and put on a show for fans from his motherland.

Before he steps into the ONE ring for the first time, the man from Australia reveals how he has built a career and made his dream come true.

Vietnamese Character

Nguyen was actually born and raised in Melbourne where his parents and grandparents settled after they left their home nation.

“My family fled over here during the Vietnamese War to seek refuge. I was born here [in Australia], and I went to school down this way,” he explains.

Life was not easy for immigrants who had to start their lives over again in a foreign land, but Nguyen’s parents did everything possible to give his family a good life in their new home.

Both his mother and father worked in auto factories in Australia, and their drive and commitment taught their son about the dedication he needed to succeed in his own life.

“My family worked really hard to support each other,” he adds.

Confidence Through Kickboxing

Chris Nguyen will debut at ONE: IMMORTAL TRIUMPH against Yukinori Ogasawara

Nguyen’s days at school were marred by several children bullying him before and after class that had a severely detrimental effect on his confidence.

The abuse got so bad that his parents were called into the school by an administrator, and they sought answers to help him stop the constant abuse from his classmates and improve his self-esteem.

“I was having problems concentrating in school, and they called my parents in to ask what I could do outside of school that would interest me,” Nguyen explains.

“I always wanted to try kickboxing, and that planted the seed with my parents.”

At first, Nguyen says his mother and father were not thrilled with the idea of martial arts out of worry he would get hurt.

Finally, he was able to convince his father to allow him to go to a local gym with one of his best friends.

“At first they were like, ‘No, it’s quite dangerous,’ but I begged my parents. I begged my dad, and then I actually cried. I fell asleep, and when I woke up, he said, ‘All right, let’s go,’” Nguyen says.

“When I went to my friend’s fight, I saw how happy he was after he won. He was my next-door neighbor, and I was always going over and holding pads for him, and I saw how hard he trained. He put in all that work – it was just amazing, and then that was his reward.”

Breaking Down Barriers

Nguyen immediately found a passion for kickboxing, but his mother took some convincing that he was going down the right path.

No matter how much her son tried to explain the values instilled in practitioners, the rules, and safety precautions that went along with martial arts, she did not change her mind.

“My mom was very adamant, ‘I don’t want you to be a fighter,’” he says.

“She paid for my membership and stuff to get me out of trouble, not to get me fighting. The whole thing for her was, ‘I gave birth to you and you had no scars. You were a healthy baby, but now you want to go to a sport where you’re going to potentially get hurt.’”

At first, Nguyen admits that his mother’s admonishments discouraged him, but over time, he realized he loved martial arts too much to quit.

While she may never sit ringside for one of his bouts, she eventually accepted that the 8 Blade Warriors representative could make decisions for himself, and she could not stop him from chasing his dream.

“Obviously, my parents would love if I was working in an office, but they’ve taken a backseat to my approach in life,” Nguyen says.

“They support me to this day, but it’s hard because they don’t want their baby boy to get hurt.”

Going Home

Chris Nguyen will debut at ONE: IMMORTAL TRIUMPH against Yukinori Ogasawara

He may not have grown up in Vietnam, but Nguyen learned all about the culture from his family, which is why he was so excited to travel there for the first time just three months ago.

Now he returns as part of the first-ever all-ONE Super Series card in Ho Chi Minh City armed with a 19-7 record and WMC Victorian Title, and he cannot contain his excitement about this opportunity.

“To go back to Vietnam, and for the first show as well, I can’t explain how absolutely thrilled I am to show what Vietnamese fighters are capable of,” he says.

“To be on a card with other Vietnamese fighters is amazing. When I first started, there weren’t many Vietnamese fighters – only in the past couple of years have people started trying this sport. I’m so proud to go over.”

This stage also gives the Melbourne native a chance to start working towards his long term goals, which include World Titles and a résumé that will make his family proud.

“I know my parents have worked hard, but I can create a legacy,” Nguyen says.

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