Resilience academy Sando was founded by martial arts athlete Sandra Hoogerdijk Joannes. This is her story.
As a young girl, I was scared and shy. That is why my parents encouraged me to take up karate. And I am glad I did, because that is where I found my strength. From the age of nine, until I was about nineteen, I spent every day on the training mat. In addition to karate, I also found my way to judo and kickboxing. I won tournaments, achieved national and international titles, and I even became world champion in the women’s 50+ category. But still, even with all that experience, I had no idea how to defend myself in real life. That had to change. Not just for me, but for all the people who are feeling vulnerable.
With Sando, I want to prove that you do not need to be physically the strongest to stand up for yourself. What makes Sando different from traditional self-defence classes is that we also pay attention to awareness and prevention. We believe that there is more to self-defence than just hitting someone back really hard. You also need to increase your mental resilience, gain confidence and learn to trust your intuition.
If I could go back in time, I would reassure the insecure little girl that I was. I would tell her what I know now. That it is okay to say ‘no’. That it is important to set boundaries. And that it is possible to protect yourself from people who are physically stronger than you. I hope that, through my classes, many more children and adults will find their inner strength the way I did.