Ran Tao, 1st Dan – Quebec, QB, Canada
Ran Tao, 1st Dan, started training in 2012, in Quebec City, under Shihan Périard.
“The dojo’s name was “Le club de karaté de Sainte-Foy”, and the classes were given in the dance rooms of a local college.”
In summer 2017, at the Quebec provincial summer camp, Ran successfully tested for Shodan in front of Shihan Maureen Woon-A-Tai and Shihan Shim.
Her first instructor was Shihan Périard. She trained with him from white to 2nd kyu (2012-2016). Ran then moved to Montreal and trained under Shihan Mattias for one year (2016-2017). The year after, she went to Toronto and trained with Shihan Joe Woon-A-Tai, Shihan Maureen Woon-A-Tai, Shihan Frank Woon-A-Tai, and Shihan Keith DaCosta (2017-2018). Presently, she is back at Shihan Mattias’ dojo in Laval, a city north of Montreal.
Ran has competed in several regional and provincial tournaments in Quebec since she was a green belt. Last year (2017), she won the Brown Belt Best Female Competitor plate at the Quebec provincial tournament, after placing first in individual kata and second in kumite. Recently, she participated in the IKD World Cup in Barbados.
“[This was] the first World Tournament I took part in. Opportunely, I ended up being on the Ontario women’s team, having Michelle Woon-A-Tai and Aiai Quigaman as teammates. Together we placed second in the female adult team events of Kata, Enbu, and Bunkai. Moreover, my individual kata performance was rewarded with a bronze medal, in the Youth 17-19 category. The Barbados World Tournament was such a memorable experience for me. I got to compete and have fun with my friends from both the Ontario and the Quebec team.”
“I always thought people who practiced martial arts were ‘badass’ just like in movies.”
After watching Karate Kid in 2012, she decided to give it a try. Since then, she hasn’t spent a week not doing some karate. When there is a break at the dojo, she trains on her own at home.
“Sometimes, I don’t even realize I am doing techniques or a kata unless someone points it out. It has become part of me.”
Ran is a full-time student at the McGill University. She is completing her undergraduate degree in mathematics, computer science and philosophy.
Other than karate, Ran enjoys taking walks on her own and admire the beauty of nature. She likes to have moments to herself to reflect on the ups and downs of life.
“It allows me to reconnect with myself, as everything is just moving so quickly around me.”
“Also, I am a foodie. I love to try all kinds of different food throughout the city. I especially love Asian food. Bubble teas are also my favorite snacks.”
After realizing that there is no Shotokan karate club at McGill, Ran has decided to try to start one. She is currently in the process of applying for the club status under the McGill student governance. If it is successful, the club will start its activities in January 2019.
“Karate has been so important in my life, I can’t even imagine nor remember how boring it was before I started practicing this martial art. As a child, I was very quiet. My teachers at school would tell my parents that everything was great about me, except the fact that they couldn’t hear me when I talked, if I talked at all. I was such a shy kid that I would spend days, sometimes weeks without talking. I was not very confident at that age and was afraid that I would bother someone by speaking too loudly. As ironic as it might sound, it was the truth. When I started practicing karate, people said that my kiais were so soft they sounded like mouse squeaks.”
“Karate pushed me to overcome many of my fears and slowly built self-confidence in me. It has also allowed me to make many true friends, with whom I am still in touch today. I am grateful to all the instructors and mentors that I have encountered in my karate path so far. All of them made an impact on me in a good way. Without them, I would not be who I am today.”