Dr. Jay Dunbar (Ph.D.), founder and director of The Magic Tortoise Taijiquan 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 Masters Chung and Kuo. In 1978 he began a discipleship with Jou, Tsung Hwa which was to span the next 20 years, until Master Jou’s tragic death in an automobile accident on August 3, 1998. Dr. Jay has learned from many teachers, including Zhu Tian Cai; Liang Shouyu; Yang Jwing Ming; Yang Zhenduo; Shi Zheng Zhong; Huang Chien-Liang; Henry Look, Dr. John Painter; Paul Gallagher; Lisa B. O’Shea, 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 (later renamed The T’ai Chi Exchange) to promote sharing among players from all schools, and served as editor of its newsletter, “Changes,” for six years. In 1999, in memory of Master Jou, he created the 100-Day Program to help participants make personal progress by 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 both form and push-hands competitions. He was technical editor of Tai Chi for Dummies (Hungry Minds, 2001), contributed the foreword to Exploring Tai Chi, by John Loupos (YMAA, 2003), and an article on Five Element Fajin to the Addendum of the newest edition of The Dao of Taijiquan: Way to Rejuvenation. He has produced and distributes a DVD on Shiba (18) Luohan Qigong, and created a sequence for Taiji Heavy Ball based on the traditional Chen family exercise. With his wife, Shifu Kathleen Cusick, he has team-taught over 65 intensives in "san shou," the traditional 88-movement two-person set. Dr. Jay's Ph.D. dissertation (Education, UNC-Chapel Hill, 1991), "Let A HundredFlowers Bloom: A Profile of Taijiquan Instruction in America" can be read on this site.


Kathleen Cusick
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 Method practitionercm.


Gabrael StClair is a teacher with the Magic Tortoise School.

“I started study with Magic Tortoise in 1998. My first form was the Chen style with Dr. Jay. I studied the San Shou 88 with Dr. Jay and Kathleen, and Taiji staff with Kathleen and Dan Pasek. I studied several weapons forms and a couple of years of push hands with LaoMa. In 2002, I started focusing on the WuHao 108 and the Old Yang Taijijian (sword) with Dr. Jay. I also study Push Hands with Violet Anderson and LaoMa of the Black Bamboo Pavilion School (2016-).

“The first tournament I attended was the 1999 U.S.C.K.F. championships in Towson MD. From 1999 to 2002 I attended several CACMA (Carolinas Association of Chinese Martial Arts) tournaments and several of Rick Panico's Fall Classics in Mooresville NC, earning over a dozen medals in form and weapons. I attended the 2000 and 2001 “A Taste of China” events in Winchester VA.

“In 2013 I attended CACMA again and won gold for Chen, silver for WuHao, gold in straight sword, and bronze in women’s push-hands. I served as a judge at Rick Panico's tournament in the fall of 2013.

“I began studying with Masters Rose Oliver and Wang Ming Bo when they were hosted by Magic Tortoise and at Jerry Diamond's school in Maryland. I attended the 10-day Double Dragon Alliance 2014 Martial Arts Training Camp in Shanghai PRC, where I was honored to learn the “12 Animal Xing Yi 3 Harmonies Broadsword” with Master Yan Cheng-De. In August 2016 I attended the 10-day Double Dragon Alliance Taiji Camp in Sweden.

“I've been co-teaching/teaching the Durham Center for Senior Life WuHao Beginners Class since 2006. I also teach privately. I hold a purple sash in the Magic Tortoise Taijiquan School. My goal in Taiji is to encourage others, make friends, and to keep beginner mind!”


James Sutton is a teacher with the Magic Tortoise Taijiquan School. He began training with his primary teacher, Dr. Jay Dunbar, in 2005 and has since also studied with many teachers, including Almanzo "Lao Ma" Lamoureux, Kathleen Cusick, Ethan Rasiel, Nick Gracenin, Wang Ming Bo, and Rose Oliver. He attended the 2009 International Tai Chi Chuan Symposium in Nashville, TN, and has won medals in several Taiji tournaments in NC and Maryland. He practices Chen and Wu/Hao styles of Tai Chi, Liuhebafaquan (water boxing), as well as push hands and some weapons including sword, stick, and dao.


Dan Partridge is a teacher at the Magic Tortoise Taijiquan School. He began his ongoing study of qigong and taijiquan at The Magic Tortoise Taijiquan School with Dr. Jay Dunbar in 2004. He has also studied for several years with Kathleen Cusick (Magic Tortoise), and Almanzo “LaoMa” Lamoureux (Black Bamboo Pavilion). Additionally, he has taken many workshops, including study with Dr. John Painter, Wang Ming Bo and Rose Oliver, Dan Pasek, Lisa B. O’Shea, and Chen Bing. Dan practices the Chen and Wu/Hao styles of taijiquan, push hands, and the traditional 88-movement two-person Yang “san shou” set. He enjoys learning and playing the straight sword, staff, and Magic Tortoise Three Powers Taiji Heavy Ball. His qigong studies include the Animal Frolics, 18 Luohan Qigong, and Rising Lotus medical qigong. He currently teaches in Durham at the Treyburn Fitness Center.


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.

As of 2016, LaoMa ended over 30 years of close association with the Magic Tortoise School and established the Black Bamboo Pavilion Taijiquan School, based at his home in Bynum NC. Please go to: http://www.blackbamboopavilion.com/ for information on their classes and workshops.

See "Hei Zhu Tingzi Pavilion" Photos.

The Magic Tortoise Taijiquan School
c/o Dr. Jay Dunbar, Director
15 Timberlyne Road
Chapel Hill, NC 27514-1522