Jorina Baars!

Rugby coach meets world champion kickboxing Jorina “Jojo” Baars.

By coincidence I learned about this Muay Thai and Kickboxing Champion and was fascinated by her style and approach to her sport. Later I learned that we both know Tim Schumacher and he kindly set up a meeting.

Who is Jorina?

She is Muay Thai and Kickboxing world champion with an amazing record that has resulted in nobody wanting to fight her anymore. She is also proud owner of a gym where she and her team now prepare for her upcoming fight in April.

She was more than happy to talk and invited me to her gym in Den Helder!


Jorina has a whole team of coaches around her and she and this team work closely to built the best possible program. The whole environment is very friendly, open and based on a fantastic work ethic of Jorina. Did I tell you all the coaches are volunteers? Jorina too is not in it for the money, she loves the sport and she is a perfectionist who thinks she still can develop her skills. Her earnings go back into the gym that now attracts even kids to her sport. A truly inspiring culture.

She has achieved the highest in her sport but has a clear understanding what made her successful. She and her team build on this success. It was great to talk to her and one of her coaches about their program and how this is ever evolving. How much do us coaches keep running the same drills over and over and how little do we dare to stray away from what we are comfortable with!

Comfortable with herself

For Jorina it is all comes naturally: I think it is because she has learned that her success is built on hard work and the help of a lot people. It is because she knows what she is good at and how to beat an opponent. This is why I like this interview after her win on Cyborg. Jorina oozing self confidence.

My takeaways

What did I learn talking to her?

The dialogue between the athlete and the coaching team is key. Jorina is in tune with her Self, and her coaches have found that delicate balance between listening to their champion and also challenging her to do more. They talk about injuries and strains and plan around it. There is a lot of love and mutual trust.

What relation do we rugby coaches have with our players? Can Jorina’s approach to training be transferred to a rugby setting with weekly matches and teams of twenty + players? That will take some organising!

Perfectionism and putting process before outcome? Why not, we can talk about taking the next step all the time in rugby too. Jorina is extremely in the “now” and “what is next”, we can create this at our club for sure. The big difference is that unlike Jorina we can only trial-and-error our road to success…..

Always questioning what you are doing is giving the best possible outcome sounds scary and perhaps creates uncertainty, but Jorina clearly thrives in this setting.


We now pay some money to coaches and players and like to call it professionalism (I am not talking about Super Rugby Franchises and the Top14 / Premiership teams). Jorina and the people at the SportsArt gym have found another way that not only develops themselves as elite athlete and coaches but also kickboxing in Den Helder. This is perhaps the most impressive thing I learned, thanks Jorina for your time!

Related information

Learn everything about Jorina Baars and follow her professional career on her website


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