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Laurence Sandum – history, dedication to, and love of martial arts

Laurence Sandum – history, dedication to, and love of martial arts

Sifu Sandum has spent more than forty years exploring the world of martial arts. He’s travelled thousands of miles to train with some of the world’s best martial artists and, from his experiences, has developed a hugely diverse programme at his Kelvedon based academy that’s the envy of academies throughout the UK.

Through a lifetime of work and dedication to learning and practising the arts, Laurence and the academy have picked up numerous national and international awards including ‘Instructor of the Year’, ‘Most Successful Academy of the Year’, and ‘Top Martial Arts School of the Year’ – achievements Laurence and the team are extremely proud of.

Having the instructors, together with the academy’s programme and philosophies, recognised for these awards by the world’s leading martial arts organisations is most certainly an achievement in itself, but Laurence’s real reward is deep rooted in his own learning and philosophy and being able to pass his expertise and teachings onto others.

“It is also important to study the philosophy and history behind the art you practice, understanding the culture of the people from where the art originates. It makes you appreciate the value of it, respect it, and pass on the knowledge to others in the correct way.”

Working with his team of professional martial arts trainers and seeing the benefits for those that visit the academy, watching them develop and hone their skills, is also hugely rewarding for Laurence. His continued desire to train with the very best and the benefits this brings, makes the academy a rather unique entity in the world of martial arts.

The list of people Laurence has trained alongside (and continues to do so today) is long and enviable… in Laurence’s words

“I surround myself by what I consider to be the best martial artists in the world. I am fortunate that for the past twenty years I have been able to concentrate full time on my training and studies, and pass this onto my students.”

An enviable list of great teachers

Laurence’s training most certainly involves some of the world’s most respected martial artists including Guro Dan Inosanto, Guro Daniel Lonero, Guro Terry Barnett and Guro Ralph Jones (Jung Fan Gung Fu, JKD, Filipino Martial Arts and Maphilindo Silat), Grand Master Martin Clarke, Sensei John Clark and Sensei John McCarthy (Judo), Professors Marc Walder and Mark Phillips (Brazilian Jiu Jitsu), Sifus Jim Brault and Francis Fong (Wing Chun), Master Simon Wells (Muay Thai, Boxing, Kali). The list of people is a ‘Who’s Who in Martial Arts’, and it is most certainly not restricted to those mentioned above. Laurence continues to travel throughout the UK and overseas to train with the very best. Through these associations, the Kelvedon based academy is affiliated to many other academies around the world, with Laurence holding certifications and qualifications to train in a huge variety of martial arts. Hence the wide and enviable variety of arts available at the Kelvedon academy.

When you dedicate your life’s work to learning martial arts, this inevitably leads to others wanting to work with you, taking advantage of your teachings. Over forty years of dedication to the arts has also seen Laurence train many individual sports stars and teams along with hundreds of individuals who want to explore and enjoy the world of martial arts and each unique discipline.

What does the future hold for Laurence and the academy?

Laurence is passionate about teaching the people of Essex about the arts and is quite clear in his goals for the future of the academy…

“A popular misconception of martial arts academies is that they are a place where testosterone overflows. This couldn’t be further from the truth. At the academy we have people that join us for many reasons, it could be to improve fitness, confidence, flexibility, coordination and most importantly a sense of wellbeing. Our academy members consist of all age groups and both sexes, and although we have a few members who are training for competition, most are with us for self-improvement. Our recent launch of ‘S-Defence’, our very own self defence programme, is to encourage more ladies to get into martial arts, but importantly learn how to defend themselves should they come into harm’s way. We believe we are an important part of the local community by supporting them with a place to escape, learn and enjoy all that martial arts has to offer. This is at the heart of what we do!”