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May Rahnema, Ji Hong Tai Chi Mississauga

I started learning karate in Singapore when I was nineteen and continued my training when I came to Canada. In 1990, I accompanied a friend to the Ji Hong Tai Chi school in Edmonton to watch a class. I had no intention of learning tai chi, I was busy enough studying for my post-graduate degree and teaching karate on the side. But after watching Master Luo Yuan Hong perform just the basic exercises, I was very impressed. I could not get over how he was able to exude so much power from such simple slow movements. I started taking tai chi lessons from Master Luo and was able to do it for only 6 months, as I needed to finish my studies and get a job. My first job brought me to Belleville, Ontario and I lost touch with Master Luo. Two years later I moved to Toronto and I still could not find a good tai chi master. By chance I was given a ticket to watch a Martial Arts show and I could not believe it when I saw Master Luo on stage performing. I left the show immediately after his performance and ran backstage to meet him. He put me in touch with a Ji Hong Tai Chi school and finally I was able to get back on track and continue my tai chi learning. The more I learn, the less I seem to know about tai chi, each level of progression just motivates me to learn even more, this is still true even after more than 20 years of practice.

Through all my years of practice, I always enjoy competing. Competition motivates me to train harder, to learn from my mistakes and to keep myself humble. I started with local and National competitions, slowly moving up to International competitions. One of the highlights of my life was competing at Jiaozuo, China, against some of the best in the world. This biennial competition is where the best athletes from Chen Village (the birthplace of tai chi) all come to compete. I look forward to returning to Jiaozuo one day to test my skills again.

My passion for teaching developed only after Master Liang Bao Sen gave me the opportunity to teach in 2004 at the Richmond Hill school. Teaching tai chi brought a different level of understanding and knowledge that I otherwise would not have gained. I learn as much from my students as they learn from me. My greatest joy is watching a student finally understand a concept both in mind and body.

Being an active person all my life, I did not practice tai chi because of health issues or a need to find an exercise. However a ski accident in 2007 seriously injured my sacrum and I could barely move without extreme pain. As I tried to recover from my injury, I continued to practice and teach tai chi. Doing tai chi actually caused me less pain compared to other activities like driving or walking. I strongly believe that my speedy recovery was due to tai chi and I hope that my experience dealing with such an injury can help others too.

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