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Watch CBC: Night Strike

 

We would like to invite you to watch this inspiring story from CBC: 

 Johnny Tai is a blind martial artist and self-defense instructor. Underneath his independence lies an instinct for survival that sustained him throughout his tumultuous and abusive family lifeNight strikes

Click the link below to watch:

https://www.cbc.ca/shortdocs/shorts/night-strike

 

Johnny Tai is a blind martial arts instructor. He teaches self-defense classes to other people who are blind and visually impaired.

Born in 1981 in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, Johnny lost both his eyes and one ear at the age of three to Stevens-Johnson syndrome, a life-threatening skin disorder.

As the son of his father’s mistress, he was especially vulnerable to his family’s turmoil. Johnny was shuttled back and forth between Vancouver and Taiwan; at different times, he lived with his father, his mother, his father’s wife and foster parents. For a brief period he was homeless and lived on the streets of Vancouver.

Johnny now lives by himself in a basement suite in Richmond, British Columbia. He has a BA in Social Work, runs his own counselling service and volunteers for several telephone and internet crisis hotlines. He leads a full life, dividing his attention between his job and volunteer work, his longtime girlfriend Liz (who is also blind) and his passionate commitment to practicing and teaching martial arts.

Johnny jokes that he is “growing an army of the blind” through his workshops and advocacy work — but he admits that his motivation has less to do with self defense and more to do with empowering other blind people to feel a strong sense of independance.

The presence of martial arts in Johnny’s life has been a constant in an otherwise precarious existence. From the age of eight, Johnny trained in various martial arts — first, as a way to connect with other children and boost him with confidence, and later as a means of survival inside his family. He now represents Canada in international martial arts competitions.

Johnny’s ambition is to make martial arts and self-defense widely accessible to other blind and visually impaired people. What started as a gathering in his basement has now become an organized movement to bring people in the blind community together for specialized training and to open doors to martial arts and self-defence training in community centres and gyms.

Underneath Johnny’s passion and independence lies an instinct for survival that sustained him throughout his tumultuous and abusive family life.