Photo Credit:  ms.akr

Photo Credit: ms.akr

Learn a wide range of taiji (Tai Chi) empty hand and weapon forms.  While the majority of classes focus on a traditional hand form, these offerings are rounded out by two other hand forms, several weapons forms, and different approaches to push hands.  Taiji classes are offered on weeknights as well as longer seminars held every Saturday.

 Mongo!  The black bamboo pavilion school's mascot!   ...."rest posture" on stone pathway...

Mongo!  The black bamboo pavilion school's mascot!

...."rest posture" on stone pathway...


The Magic Tortoise Taijiquan School has always stood for the rich experience that study with teachers from various styles and backgrounds can offer. Dr. Jay began teaching in the Triangle area in 1979, and adopted “Magic Tortoise” as his dba (doing-business-as) after co-teaching a workshop in 1984 with LaoMa, then founder and chief instructor of the Tidewater Tai-Chi Club in Norfolk VA. LaoMa's 26 years teaching career as a Magic Tortoise Senior Teacher began in 1989 after returning from a 3 year sojourn of working, training and living in Wuhan, Wuchang, Hubei China.  (Kathleen, coming from Illinois, became the third Magic Tortoise teacher in 1990.) It has been a fruitful association. In this Monkey year, LaoMa has decided to step back, accept a new role as Teacher Emeritus, and entrust much of his teaching burden to Violet Anderson, his “number one,” and other senior students.

In consultation with Dr. Jay and Kathleen, LaoMa has also decided to continue his legacy by establishing his own school. Therefore, we jointly announce the formation of his Black Bamboo Pavilion Taijiquan School, which will function independently, yet as a brother/sister school to Magic Tortoise. We will co-host the annual Chinese New Year/Spring Festival family potluck, and continue the established tradition of encouraging students to study with both schools.

To keep up with LaoMa’s classes and activities, you may “like” the new Black Bamboo Pavilion Taijiquan School’s Facebook page, and visit his new website, To stay informed about Magic Tortoise classes and activities, you may “like” the Magic Tortoise Taijiquan School’s Facebook page and visit



LaoMa was introduced to the art of Chinese calligraphy in the New York Chinatown studio of Taiwan artist Ho Tit Wah in 1964.  Later on that same day, he had his first experience of the art of Taijiquan in the nearby Training Hall of William C.C. Chen.  Though he began formal training in Taijiquan first, study of Shufa followed a few years later while earning a Master's Degree in Asian Studies.  

Not only have the two arts been closely connected in his own life, but in Chinese culture the two art forms are considered complements to each other, and there is a long tradition of transferring the principles of one to the other. The beginning Chinese calligraphy student will be introduced to the "Four Treasures" -- the ink stick, ink stone, brush, and rice paper.   In the introductory seminar, their first task will be to make their own ink.  The grinding of stick on stone is the all-important, meditative warm-up process of brush work.  Next comes instruction on holding of the brush in a unique 3 finger/thumb grip.   The student will then learn the five basic strokes used to create a substantial number of Chinese "picture words". These basic strokes; dot, horizontal, vertical, left and right sweeps are also used in traditional Chinese painting themes of "Bamboo," "Orchid," "Plum Blossom" and "Chrysanthemum".

The Introductory Seminar concludes with character formation combining the 5 strokes, using the sequence "left to right, top to bottom," on an underlying grid to create the beautifully balanced and graceful system of Chinese Shufa...Beautiful Writing.

Throughout the Seminar an added benefit for the Taijiquan student is exploring some of the principles that unite the two arts, from breathing to posture to whole body movement!