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Veronica De Santos

Kwan Jan Nim


Grandmaster & Founder

8th-Degree Black Belt

Veronica De Santos is also known as Kwan Jan Nim, a Korean term meaning “master of one’s house.” Born in Prospect, East Bank Demerrara, Guyana, she moved to Canada when she was 16 years-old.  Working at a successful bank job, she was also studying martial arts and travelling across North America competing in martial arts tournaments. What she really wanted to do, though, was teach.


She started teaching martial arts out of a community centre, but in 1988 she wanted to open her very own martial arts studio. Unable to find the money to do so, she took her own next-month's rent and used it to travel to Boston. There she competed in a martial arts tournament, where only a win as Grand Champion would earn her the $5,000 prize that would allow her a plane ticket back to Toronto with enough money to pay her rent and open the school. Less than one month later, DeSantos Martial Arts opened its doors.

  • From 1982–1990 she was ranked Canada’s #1 female fighter.

  • In 1994 she represented Canada at the Goodwill Games in St. Petersburg, Russia.

  • In 1999 Kwan Jan Nim De Santos was the first woman to be inducted in the North American Martial Arts Hall of Fame.

  • In 2016 she was inducted into the Canadian Black Belt Hall of Fame.

  • In June, 2022 she was awarded the prestigious rank of 8th-dan.


“A woman does not practice martial arts so that she can FIGHT like a man. She does so in order to be free to be a WOMAN.”

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