Christian “The Warrior” Lee will always remember a moment from his recent past, when he realized that he was more than just a 19-year old kid living his dreams by competing in ONE Championship.
Lee and his sister Angela, who is the reigning ONE Women’s Atomweight World Champion, were attending a show in Manila, Philippines, when they stepped outside the Mall Of Asia Arena to get a cup of coffee.
Within seconds, the siblings were mobbed by fans who wanted to meet two heroes they not only admired, but saw as an inspiration for their own hopes and dreams.
“It is a crazy experience,” Lee says. “For me, as a 19-year-old, it is a very humbling experience. A lot of people would take it the other way. I am just in awe of how much my work has affected other people in this world.”
When “The Warrior” started training martial arts as a child, he immediately fell in love with every aspect of the culture. But also, he had the perfect guide to make sure he stayed on the right track when it came to his own aspirations.
Lee credits his father, Ken, as his biggest influence. Not only is Ken the family’s patriarch, but is also the children’s head coach, mentor, and best friend.
It is not every day you get to compete in a world-class organization like ONE, and Lee knows he has been able to become successful thanks in large part to his dad.
“My father has been the foundation for my entire career,” the featherweight sensation explains.
“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. I cannot say at 19 years old that I’ve got it all figured out, and that this all comes from me. It comes from my dad, and I am able to implement it.”
While his father has obviously been the biggest influence on him, Lee has recently started training more at Evolve MMA in Singapore. There, he works alongside his sister and a slew of Muay Thai and BJJ world champions, as well as several top ONE contenders.
Of course, “The Warrior” is anything but a novice when it comes to his experience inside the cage. Still, it is immensely valuable to have veterans surrounding him at Evolve MMA, especially as he continues to develop as an athlete and star.
While Lee has worked with almost every trainer and athlete at the famed gym, it is the intense grappling sessions he shares with Japanese martial arts legend Shinya Aoki that often leave him awestruck.
“It is always a great time whenever I get to work with Shinya Aoki. He is one of my good friends down there. We always have great rolls together and great training, and he is always someone I look forward to working with,” Lee says.
“The thing that a lot of people do not know about him is when you are in a training room or working with him, he is actually the nicest and friendliest guy out there. It is a real pleasure to work with him.”
“The Warrior” has quickly become one of the fastest rising stars in ONE, and it is not lost on him that many people throughout the world are beginning to look up to him as a role model for what they hope to become one day.
That could be a lot of pressure to put on the shoulders of a teenager, but Lee has demonstrated maturity beyond his years, and proudly accepts this particular responsibility with pride.
“I take it as a privilege,” he says. ”I take it as an honor that at my age, I can be a positive influence to other people. I just try my best to put out a good word and just share the positivity.”