Dr. Jay Dunbar, founder and director of the school, began Taijiquan studies in 1975 with Ruby Blaurock, a student of W.T.R. Chung, who was in turn a student of Kuo, Lien Ying, who brought the Guang Ping lineage to this country. In 1976 he traveled to San Francisco to study with Chung and Kuo, and met Henry Look, his primary Yiquan teacher, for the first time. In 1978 he began a discipleship with Jou, Tsung Hwa which was to span the next 20 years, until Master Jouís tragic death in an automobile accident on August 3, 1998. Dr. Jay has also studied with Dr. John Painter, and taken workshops with many teachers, including Zhu, Tian Cai; Liang, Shouyu; Yang, Jwing Ming; Yang, Zhenduo; Shi, Zheng Zhong; Huang, Chien-Liang; Paul Gallagher; Susanna DeRosa; and Sam Masich.
In 1982, with Almanzo Lamoureux, Pat Rice, Steve Rhodes, Cas Overton, Kim Ragland, and others he founded the Southeastern Taijiquan Society to promote sharing among players from all schools, and served as editor of its newsletter, “Changes,” for six years. In honor of his teacher, he created the 100-Day Program in 1999 to help participants make personal progress through applying Taiji principles in daily life, and in 2001 he established the Jou, Tsung Hwa Memorial Dantian Challenge and designed and produced the bronze medallions which are awarded to those who meet the challenge criteria.
He has served as judge and referee in numerous tournaments including ATOC, USWKF, USCKF, and the Taiji Legacy since 1989, and has developed tournament rules for form competitions that encourage interaction between judges and competitors, and for push-hands intended to foster and reward good Taijiquan. He was technical editor of Tai Chi for Dummies (Hungry Minds, 2001), and contributed the foreword to Exploring Tai Chi, by John Loupos (YMAA, 2003). Dr. Jay now practices Qigong Therapy under the mentorship of Lisa B. O'Shea, director of the Qigong Institute of Rochester. His first DVD, on the 18 Luohan Qigong, is currently in production. He has presented courses or workshops at the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health, the N.Y. Open Center, The American Dance Festival, the Guang Ping Annual Conventions, Peaceful Wolf Taijiquan in CT, the Qigong Institute of Rochester NY, etc., teaching knee safety, qigong, Yi Jing divination, straight sword, Taiji Ball, and Chen and Wu/Hao styles of taijiquan. With his wife, Shifu Kathleen Cusick, he has team-taught over 50 intensives in "san shou," the traditional 88-movement two-person set.
He graduated summa cum laude from Colgate, received an M.A. in English Literature from Duke, and a Ph.D. in Education from UNC-Chapel Hill in 1991, with a dissertation entitled "Let A HundredFlowers Bloom: A Profile of Taijiquan Instruction in America". His daughter Katharine, now married to Reid Linker, graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill, where she was Music Director of the womenís a capella group, the Loreleis.
Kathleen Cusick has studied taijiquan since 1984 with a variety of teachers,
including Greg Mucci, Jou Tsung Hwa, and Yang Zhen Duo. She teaches classes and
seminars in Yang style, qigong, push-hands, san shou, and taiji staff with the
Magic Tortoise Taijiquan School. She has also taught workshops in England, France,
and Mexico. She has been a featured instructor at T'ai Chi Farm, the Zhang San
Feng Festival, and for the Southern Women's Martial Artists' Network, and the
National Women's Martial Arts Federation's Special Training. She is a certified
judge of Chinese internal martial arts (ATOC 1993), and has judged in tournaments
for A Taste of China, the U.S. Wushu Federation, and the U.S. Chinese Kuoshu
Federation. Kathleen received her M.A. in Technical writing and multicultural
literature from East Carolina University, and is a guild certified Feldenkrais
Almanzo "Lao Ma" Lamoureux is Teacher Emeritus with
the Magic Tortoise Taijiquan School in the Triangle area of North
Carolina. He has practiced Chinese arts for over three decades,
and was the founder and chief instructor, from 1975, of the Tidewater
Tai-Chi Club (and a co-founder of the Tidewater Tai-Chi Center)
in Norfolk, Virginia. From Oct-Nov 1975, LaoMa made his first visit
to China, traveling to various Minority Chinese Regions, and having
the grand opportunity of playing taijiquan with groups of ordinary
people from Beijing to Xian to Kunming, Xishuangbanna, Changsha
and Shanghai. He received his M.A. in Asian Studies at Old Dominion
University in Norfolk, Virginia in 1980. Living and working in Wuhan,
Hubei Province, China from 1985 to 1988, he was the first and only
foreign student at 91 year old Grandmaster Ding, Hong Kuai's Wuchang
Snake Hill Pavilion School. Under Ding "YeYe's" tutelage, LaoMa
placed first in weapons competition in Hankou's Hubei Provincial
Wushu Tournament in 1987 where he demonstrated guaigun (hooked cane).
In May of 1986 LaoMa made his first pilgrimage to Wudangshan in
western Hubei Province, the sacred Daoist Mountains of Taijiquan's
origin. He has returned to China often, studying with many teachers
and visiting sacred sites. LaoMa has served as form and push-hands
judge in numerous tournaments sponsored by the U.S. Wushu-Kung Fu
Federation, and as chief judge in the U.S.C.K.F.'s United States
International Kuoshu Championship Tournaments. Through the Magic
Tortoise Taijiquan School, LaoMa has taught taijiquan and qigong
at Duke University's Center for Living and Duke Diet and Fitness
Center. Since 1994 he has also been the principal internal martial
arts instructor at the United Martial Arts Center, Raleigh NC, and
the U.S. Tae Kwon Do Institute, Durham NC.
See "Hei Zhu Tingzi Pavilion" Photos.