The Canadian fighter is a heart-pounding talent, and could become a huge star in countries where martial arts are a huge part of the culture
Angela Lee wants people to think of her as a typical young woman, but thats difficult to accept considering what shes already done.
Im a normal person who happens to be a fighter and a world champion, Lee, 20, tells the Guardian. The Canadian-born, Hawaii-raised fighter says this with a giggle and undeniable sincerity. Many people in her life, including those who make money off her, paint a picture of an athlete poised to breakout big in Asia her father is from Singapore and her mother is South Korean at a time when the continent is beginning to follow mixed martial arts in ways it was unable to before.
Asian audiences are just now starting to engage in Asian content. All weve ever had access to was North American and European content. We were not prolific in producing quality Asian content. Im talking world-class content. Sports or soap operas, its very new, said promoter Victor Cui, the CEO International of ONE Championship, an MMA promotion focused on building stars such as Lee in Asia. The way I look at it is this: Asia is very used to seeing global icons in martial arts, like Michelle Yeoh in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Seeing a talented female martial artist is not something foreign in Asia, which is why I think Angela is so readily accepted.
I dont think theres a ceiling to Lees potential, added Cui, a former ESPN executive.
Lee, who is unbeaten seven fights into her professional MMA career, deserves at least a mention alongside the most heart-pounding prospects in the sport. Lee captured the championship belt in ONEs atomweight division last year, and after defending it for the first time in March she is positioned to become the first breakout fighter of Asian descent in many years, with the potential for widespread fame looming.
At the start of Lees career in Asia she was quizzed on her background and heritage. Soon she learned how to respond. She was half-Korean, half-Chinese Singaporean, she told people, born in Canada and raised in Hawaii. Thats kind of a mouthful, Lee explained, but as the media and fan bases in different parts of Asia began to understand her story they quickly accepted her. Im a mix of everything and I think thats a plus. It gives me more experience culturally knowing that Ive been to these different places around the world.
Lee was also shaped by the women pioneers who came before her Gina Carano, Cris Cyborg and Ronda Rousey. It made me want to pursue this even more, Lee said. I was training and competing and seeing them do their thing on TV and being able to travel and do what they love, it just really inspired me. I never had a thought in my mind that I wasnt going to make it.
My great grandma actually watches the fights. Shes not scared of anything. I think thats why it kind of runs in our blood in my family. Were all fighters in some sense.
Unlike Carano, Cyborg and Rousey, from her earliest experiences in martial arts Lee was molded as a competitor with a full arsenal. That foundation produced a dynamic and aggressive fighter, who to this point has sought to finish her opponents in a variety of ways.
Coming from a martial arts family and being introduced to the sport at such a young age, I just kind of grew up in it, Lee said. This is all I kind of knew. Martial arts is a huge part of my life it always has been. I didnt have a second option when it came to career choice. I didnt see myself being a teacher or a doctor or something like that. I knew I wanted to do something MMA related.
Observers of mixed fighting have anticipated an emergence of young competitors who would be well versed in all aspects of MMA from striking to wrestling from the moment they first stepped into the cage. Lee is certainly an example of that, and her talent has been a boon to ONE Championship. The promotion, a partner to the Singaporean government, signed Lee ahead of her professional debut in 2015 and quickly doubled down with a contract that made Lee among the highest paid female fighters in MMA.
My advantage is that from the beginning I learned mixed martial arts as a whole, Lee said. You can see it from the transition from the standup to the ground and everything in between.
Because of Lee and their stable of 450 fighters, ONE has experienced explosive growth over the past five years, claiming between 10 to 50 times the exposure in Asia compared to the industry leading UFC.
We have been more fortunate in that there is one common denominator in our world, which is martial arts, said Cui. Its the only sport that is truly Asian. Its been the home of martial arts for the last 5,000 years. Every country we go to at its core has some form of martial arts that theyre fiercely proud of.
So we actually go into a country and we dont need to teach anybody that sport, whereas if we were bringing ice hockey to every country we would need to teach them who the Edmonton Oilers were everywhere we go. But whether youre a five-year-old kid or a 105-year-old grandmother you know what the best martial artists are like and when two people come together theres nothing to explain.
Considering MMAs business model is less than a quarter century old, the potential for Asia to challenge UFCs dominance should not be dismissed.
Were at the very early days, literally scratching the surface of what the opportunity is, Cui said. I think youre going to see more and more our content and TV ratings starting to dominate because of the combination of our live broadcast, the sport, our local heroes and the simplicity of the rules. If we continue to to exponentially grow on social media with content, man, for us to hit a billion impressions in the first quarter and it took us a year last year I was really shocked.
The potential audience in Asia has Cui most excited. During a panel discussion on Asias entrepreneurs earlier this month in Los Angeles, Cui noted that China was poised to spend $18tn on sports in the next 20 years. In 2016, Cui moved his office from Singapore to Shanghai to focus on developing their Chinese business.
The advantage with Asia is the rest of the world does want to see who the next Bruce Lee is, Cui said. They want to see who the next Asian athlete is [in combat sports]. There is a legitimate interest among fans to see what Asians are going to be the best in the world. Thats not common in any other sport. No one is waiting for the next Chinese champion in tennis.
In March, Lee visited Shanghai to conduct a workshop with Nike. Unlike in the US, where big brands have remained reticent to fully support MMA especially after embarrassing mishaps with the likes of troubled former UFC champion Jon Jones that prompted Nike to pull back from MMA in North America the Asian side of the business has been ripe for promotion. Disneys Marvel, for example, partnered with ONE Championship to launch its films to Asian audience.
Lee is also a big plus for any promotion intending to make inroads in Asia. [Brands] are much more inclined to have an Angela Lee working with them, said Cui. If she was fluent in Chinese that would be amazing.Continue reading
Riverside, California (CNN)As she has trudged toward the Democratic nomination, Hillary Clinton has struggled to find a message that could impassion her Democratic voters the way her rival Bernie Sanders has.
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On the eve of his 90th birthday, one of the most influential writers of his generation talks about migration, Brexit, growing old and his fondness for texting
On 5 November, John Berger will turn 90. As I travel to Paris to meet him, I carry a bagful of books. There are recently published art historical writings, Portraits, and, to coincide with his 90th birthday, Landscapes (judiciously selected by Tom Overton for Verso), a fascinating series of encounters with the thinkers who have mattered to Berger, from Brecht and Walter Benjamin to Rosa Luxemburg. A marvellous miscellany of more recent work, Confabulations, has just been published by Penguin, and A Jar of Wild Flowers: Essays in Celebration of John Berger(including tributes from Ali Smith, Sally Potter and Julie Christie) is coming soon from Zed books.
The homage continues on film in The Seasons in Quincy: Four Portraits of John Berger, shot during his late 80s a collage of informal conversation and political discussion, with offerings by Tilda Swinton, the writer and producer Colin MacCabe and others. It was shot in the hamlet in Haute-Savoie, in the French Alps, where Berger lived for more than 40 years. These jostling admirers show not only that the man is greatly loved, but an intellectual indebtedness behind the wish to say thank you. Critic, novelist, poet, dramatist, artist, commentator and, above all, storyteller Berger was described by Susan Sontag as peerless in his ability to make attentiveness to the sensual world meet imperatives of conscience. His book Ways of Seeing, and the 1972 BBC television series based on it, changed the way at least two generations responded to art. And his writing since then especially about migration has changed the way many of us see the world.
Berger now lives in Antony, a suburb seven miles outside Paris, where he stays with his old friend Nella Bielski, an actor and writer who grew up in the Soviet Union. They open the door together, and as we sit down to lunch, she turns to me and says: The thing you have to understand about John is that he is not interested in talking about himself. While the chorus of approval gets louder on this side of the Channel, he is, unlikely as this might sound, barely aware of any fuss brewing. When I produce a proof of A Jar of Wild Flowers, he turns it over in his hands in delighted surprise. That is a drawing by Melina, he exclaims, surveying the flowers with spindly stems on the cover, my granddaughter. He gets up from the table and returns with an oil portrait, the size of a sheet of A4 paper. It is of an ageless face and yet Melina is only 13. (Berger has three children Katya, Jacob and Yves and five grandchildren.) He props it next to us and we look at her, as if she had joined us for lunch. If you ask me who I am, Berger says, Id like to see myself through her eyes, in the way she looks at me. Her stare is disconcertingly level. She looks, we agree, as if she knows more than she could possibly know or have seen.Continue reading
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On the path to becoming successful, you can end up chasing the wrong goals for the wrong reasons.Often goals are associated with making money or achieving a high level of status.
While there’s nothing wrong with wanting either of the above, you can be led astray by chasing after them.If money and fame weren’t part of the equation, how would you define success?
When you see someone who is wildly successful, you look at their success in terms of the rewards it’s granted them. It might even lead you to believe they’re greedy or selfish. But often their wealth and status came from working on something that meant a great deal to them.
Take Bill Gates for example. Many people dislike him because he’s filthy rich, but do you think his primary aim in creating Microsoft was getting rich? No. He loved computers and loved building things.
Steve Jobs is another useful example. Jobs became incredibly wealthy and famous from founding Apple, but his goal was never to become rich; it was to make world class products. The love for design came first. The money and fame came second.
Sure, there are some people whose primary aim is to make money and nothing more like Wall Street executives, but those types of people can actually end up being more miserable than us all.
Today I’m going to share some clear cut signs of success that have nothing to do with money or fame.
Success happens when you quit living your life to please everyone around you. Success happens when you quit listening to the noise of the world and focus on what’s important to you. Success happens when you quit thinking reality is anything but what you want it to be. Quit viewing the world with the preconceived notions you were taught growing up. Quit being “realistic.” Quit worrying and start living.
All of the worlds most successful people had to try something with an uncertain outcome. Even if things don’t go your way, you learn a valuable lesson;it’s not the end of the world.You can try again and again. Success and failure are intertwined with one another. Find someone who’s achieved success and you’ll discover a string of failures along the way.
“It doesn’t matter how many times you have failed, you only have to be right once.” – Mark Cuban
One of the most successful self-help books of all time, “How to Win Friends And Influence People,” offers these simple pieces of advice for being successful.
It’s astonishing how many people don’t have good manners. Treating people the right away pays dividends. Every person you encounter is the most important person in the world in their eyes; successful people know to treat them as such.
A life well lived has many moments in a state of flow, otherwise described as being in the zone. Doing this type of deep work will leave you feeling fulfilled afterward. Think back to a time where you’ve lost track of several hours while doing something;that’s flow. Your mission is to find work that allows you to experience that feeling as much as possible. The value of engagement trumps the value of money. Search for work you get completely lost in.
Has anyone ever gone out of their way to thank you for your work? That’s success. No matter how bad you want success for yourself,you’ll never get it until you find a way to provide value to other people.
Your business isn’t about you; it’s about your customer. Your creative work isn’t about you; it’s about touching others. Every time someone leaves a kind comment or sends me a message thanking me for sharing with them, it gives me more motivation to keep creating.
Find success by giving.
Because you believed in something. Because you have a (well-informed) opinion that others may disagree with. Because you had the audacity to say what we’re all afraid to say. Successful people don’t seek to maintain the status quo. When they see that the system is broken, they look for ways to change it and find like-minded people to help them.
The opposite of love is indifference, and the opposite of happiness is boredom.- Tim Ferriss, “The 4-Hour Work Week.”
Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them. – Henry David Thoreau
Most people’s lives aren’t necessarily bad, but they’re terribly boring. This is why they need constant entertainment via the television. You’re successful if you trade comfort for excitement, a job with decent pay and benefits for a vocation, a monotonous existence for a life filled with rich experiences.
Successful people collect memories, not dollar bills.
That’s happiness in a nutshell: The only thing you have do to to be successful is live up to your own standards. Not the standards of society, or the standards of your friends or family members.
Your dream doesn’t need to be predicated on money or status; being able to do what you enjoy and afford to go on the adventures you seek is all you need.
If your dream is to be a world class chef, then cook your ass off. If your dream is to be a writer then write. If your dream is to raise a family and you do that well, then you’re successful.
We all deserve to be fully present, and to live in a way that’s satisfying more often than not. Money and status are great, but as I said before, they’re usually byproducts of working toward something with meaning and doing it well.
Define what success means to you and do what ever it takes to become it.
If this post resonated with you, please subscribe to my blog. You’ll receive the first chapter of my best selling book, “The Destiny Formula,” plus tips, tools and resources to help you live your dream life.Continue reading
Singer-songwriter Nao has taken third place on the BBC Sound of 2016 list, which highlights the most exciting new music for the coming year.
Part of a large family from Hackney, she studied jazz at the Guildhall School of Music before dreaming up her own style, which she calls “wonky funk”.
“It’s just a fusion of everything,” she says. “I can’t tell you what, really. It just is.”
Speaking to the BBC, the singer discussed her influences, her musical education and why she does not want to reveal her surname.
Were you surrounded by music growing up?
There were five children in my mum’s house and we all shared rooms – so it was very tight circumstances, but we all loved music and we were all playing it every day, from morning ’til night.
Everyone was into different things. My brother was really big into US hip-hop, my other brother loved UK grime, pirate radio stations, jungle. So all of this was going on in the house and now, with hindsight, I can see all of it was a really big influence on me.
Did you have to fight for control of the stereo?
No – we all had our own devices. Walkmen, portable CD players. I had a karaoke machine so I could play tapes on that! And we had a piano as well, which I spent a lot of time on jamming and improvising.
Did you take lessons?
I had lessons in classical piano but I quickly realised that wasn’t what I wanted to play, so I started teaching myself chords and harmony. I really loved gospel, so I ended up playing that.
What was the first time you thought, I don’t have to play other people’s songs – I can write something of my own?
I suppose I’ve always known that I could write – but I needed the confidence to actually step out of the shadows.
Before that, I’d always sung other people’s music – from doing Aretha Franklin at functions and parties, to singing music my friends had written.
You studied jazz at Guildhall. What did that teach you?
It taught me loads but, funnily enough, I don’t know if it taught me to be more creative. Jazz is an amazing language and musical form, but you need to study that, and only that, to get your head around it so I didn’t spend much time writing my own music.
But it taught me discipline. I needed to wake up at 5am each morning to practice theory, harmony, singing… everything.
Was there a lot of competition between the students?
I think so. You feel guilty taking a break – because in every room around you, you can hear someone practising and aiming to get better. But I think it’s a good thing. I became a better musician.
What happened after you graduated?
I was making my way as a professional singer – and that involved doing sessions or adverts or singing for other people.
I really loved it. I never thought I could make money just being a singer without being, like, a pop star.
How did you become a solo artist?
I happened to be singing for someone in a nightclub and my now-manager was there. He hit me up the next day and was like: “Have you ever thought about doing your own music?” So the stars aligned and I was able to put everything down and start writing.
The first song that got you attention was So Good – how long was it between that nightclub performance and writing that?
About four months.
Did you know it would take off the way it did?
No! I call that sort of music “wonky funk” and I didn’t know if people were really going to get it. I remember I put it up online and went into a rehearsal and turned off my internet and my phone’s 3G. When I turned my phone back on eight hours later, it literally exploded. I’d never seen so many messages.
Is wonky funk the dark side of Uptown Funk?
Haha! I’ve never thought about it that way – but I like that because Uptown Funk is so energetic and happy whereas Wonky Funk is a little bit left field, a little bit darker, even a little bit cooler… even if I do say so myself.
How well do you know your funk? Are you into George Clinton and Bootsy Collins and Donald Byrd?
Yeah, I am! I saw George Clinton this year in concert. It was absolutely crazy – about 100 people on stage. And I love Prince, I love Earth Wind and Fire, Sly and the Family Stone. All these bands.
You have a clear sense of your sound – but what sort of artist do you want to be?
I’m not sure if I’m the type of act who’ll dress up and wear loads of make-up. I’ve only just sorted out how to be myself, so I’m going to stick with that.
That seems to be a theme with the artists on the Sound of 2016 list… I wonder why?
We’re in an age where people have millions of followers on Instagram and they spend all their time taking selfies so they get that one perfect shot. But I think it’s nice that we see normal people, just doing stuff that’s good and cool without it being about the image.
And yet you maintain a certain sense of mystique. You don’t tell anyone your second name, for instance.
Yeah! I’ve been a singer for a long time, so I just wanted to have a clean slate. I wouldn’t say it’s mysterious, it’s just a way of keeping a clear line.
So there’s early, embarrassing stuff online that you don’t want people to find?
No! Everything I’ve done is fine But there’s a lot of it! I’m singing other people’s music and fans could misconstrue that as my own stuff. So for me it was about starting again. And because I’ve got such a distinctive name, it’s not hard for people to find me.
Except if you Google your name, you end up with a pages of results for the National Audit Office.
I know! People tweet me about the National Audit Office every day!
Your debut album is due in the summer. How close is it to being finished?
I wonder if an album is ever finished? If it was up to me, I’d keep writing.
You have a lyric on Golden: “Perfect is over-rated.” Is that how you feel about writing?
I think so. There is no perfect sound because, hopefully, you’ll keep growing and changing and learning. That’s why I said perfect is over-rated and that’s why I think an album can never really be finished. All you can do is capture the moment.
And presumably the music develops when you play it live.
Exactly. That’s so true. The songs on my EPs are totally different when I play them live because the bass player is changing his line and the drummer is doing some extra kicks and snares. So it’s always changing, it’s really cool.
Every date on your UK tour sold out last month – how did that feel?
I could understand it in London because that’s where I’m from and I could drag people along – but across the UK I didn’t know people would know the songs and come to the show. It’s really lovely.
The Sound of 2016 shortlist so far:
More on the Sound of 2016:Continue reading