Humans of Wing Chun:
Sarah Berends

Sarah Berends Wing Chun Wooden Dummy

Being different

From the age of five I had the feeling that I was different from my sister and the girls in my class. While they were talking about The Backstreet Boys, I was secretly in love with all five women from a popular 90s girl band. Every time their video came on TV, I was secretly watching with the remote in my hand so I could zap away if someone entered the room...
On July 1, 2009, when I was 16, I came out. Although I had decided to take it to my grave out of shame, I couldn't keep it to myself that day. I told my mom that I liked girls, I cried because I didn't want her to be ashamed of her children. She responded with: "Well Saartje, that's not bad at all, is it?"

Sarah Berends Wing Chun Kung Fu

Ten year anniversary coming out party

Exactly 10 years after I came out, my mother texted me a heart, congratulating me on the fact that I had done something very special at the time. I have always been very grateful to my parents, sister and brothers for accepting me for who I am. That day made my mother extra special. She had invited all of my friends and family to a surprise "ten year anniversary coming out" party.

Learning moments

In the period that followed, I noticed very clearly who my real friends were. My expectation was that my friends would come along if I wanted to go to a gay club for the first time, for example. For me it was a period of doing and discovering new things, exciting of course, so I could use their support then. In practice, this turned out to be difficult for many people. There have been people afterwards who said they regretted not being there for me at the time. While a lot of friendships have bled to death as a result, I'm glad they took the trouble to say so.

Bird phobia

I have always feared that something would happen to my siblings, but the only real fear I have ever had is bird phobia. If I heard those beasts flutter when they approached me, I was about on your neck.

Last year that fear disappeared. I was on vacation in Zanzibar and was standing at an ATM when suddenly a man approached me. With his hand outstretched he walked over to me “money, money”, at the same time he was tapping the ground with a machine gun. Just then a chicken bumped into my leg. Then I had to choose: "Who am I afraid of and who is really dangerous?" I got rid of my bird phobia immediately.

Sarah Berends Wing Chun WuDae shirt

100% plant-based

All my life I have been busy with my body and health. When I started to eat 100% plant-based food, I also started looking for a sport that could give me peace of mind. After being overwhelmed from kickboxing for a while, I watched a movie with Ip Man with my girlfriend. This film introduced me to Wing Chun, which happened to be near me at WuDae!

Sarah Berends Wing Chun Dragon

A technical martial art

Even the first time I noticed what a technical martial art Wing Chun is. Precisely because of the combination of attacking and defending at the same time, I noticed that I became calmer. This allowed me to really let go of work for a while. For me that was exactly what I was looking for. A sport that makes you physically and mentally stronger.

The atmosphere at WuDae is fantastic. We have exactly the right balance here between laughing together and serious training. Within this group you can really be yourself. Without the obligations of a team sport, I have the feeling that at WuDae we really are part of a team. No matter how hard the lesson goes, I always feel zen at the end.

The philosophy of Wing Chun at WuDae

Thanks to the philosophy behind Wing Chun training courses at WuDae, you learn to be better balanced. It helps you focus, calms you down and gives you more confidence. This makes me feel safer when I walk alone on the street at night. For me that is also the reason that I recommend WuDae to everyone!

Get mentally and physically stronger... sign up here now for a free trial class! We are open 6 days a week. There are more than 20 Wing Chun classes a week (in the morning, evening & weekend), in our own school, centrally located in The Hague. The personal attention you receive enables you to work at achieving a strong, healthy and fit body and mind, at your own level of experience. Click here for more information.

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