Sifu Guy C. Prentice has studied the martial arts since 1969; at first in the “hard” martial arts of Karate and Kung Fu. In 1987 he tried T’ai Chi Ch’uan and never went back to the others. He began his work with Master Jampa Mackenzie Stewart DOM at the Rochester T’ai Chi Ch’uan Center. He has taught at the Center since 1990 and in Continuing Education Departments, Recreation Centers, Corporations and Senior Centers. He has served on the Board of Directors since 1990 as a member, officer and was president from 1997 to 2000 and is the current RTCCC Treasurer. Sifu Prentice is a lifetime member of the United States Chinese Kuoshu Federation.
He has studied under Grandmaster William C. C. Chen, Master Jampa Mackenzie Stewart DOM, Dr. Sonam Willow DOM, Dr. Ken Slining, Master Peter Ralston, Grandmaster Dr. Tao Ping-Siang, Charles Pearce, Nathan Managed and Dr Paul Lam MD.
Sifu Prentice teaches beginners through advanced classes in Yang form, Chen Pan-Ling form, applications, form refinements, Classic Principles of T’ai Chi Ch’uan, and the Classes for Seniors.
He holds the highest certifications from:
· Grandmaster William C. C. Chen-Yang Style
· Master Y. W. Chang-Chen Pan-Ling 99 LF
· Master J M Stewart-Chen Pan-Ling SF
· Dr. Paul Lam-Tai Chi for Arthritis and Tai Chi for Diabetes
· 2002 - Bronze Metals International Form Competition.
· 2002 - Certified as an International Referee and Judge for Chinese Martial Arts and Life Time Member of USCKF.
· 2003 - 2 Gold Metals International Form Competition.
Master Kathleen M. Gill, Ph.D. Dr. Kathy Gill is a retired clinical psychologist with forty years of experience in stress management and health promotion. She tells her clients and students that the best method of relaxation is the one you practice every day - and tai chi is that method for her. She became familiar with tai chi in the mid-70’s on her internship in California. Her Training Director, Dr. Donald Lim, laughed and empathized when she said she hadn’t yet achieved balance, but supported her interest in continuing. She began to study the form regularly in 1980, when she lived in the Boston area. She keeps learning that tai chi is increasingly subtle and richer the longer you play it, and was reassured by Master Ken Cohen that as a practice, it’s a process rather than something you ever “get”. In 1997, Grandmaster William C.C. Chen suggested she should teach it, and in sharing it with others, she continues refining her own practice. When she returned to Rochester in 1999, she began to add more layers of martial application to her practice, with the help of the Rochester T’ai Chi Ch’uan Center teaching staff. She is continuing to practice the William C.C. Chen short and long forms, William C. C. Chen sword form, many types of qigong, and a fan form.
1981 - 1999 Individual instruction with Sifu Alan Shapiro, Newton, MA, a graduate of the William C.C. Chen Tai Chi Chuan school.
1992 – present Workshops with the Grandmaster William C. C. Chen’s senior students as well as with the Grandmaster himself. Devoted student of QiGong Master Ken Cohen, Gao Laoshi. Multiple workshops with Yang, Chen, Chen Pan Ling and Sun stylists
1997 Certificate, William C.C. Chen Tai Chi Chuan
2003 Diploma, William C.C. Chen Tai Chi Chuan
2012 Certified Tai Chi for Arthritis Instructor, Dr. Paul Lam’s Tai Chi for Health Institute; recertified 2013 & 2017.
2012 Certified Evidence-Based Qigong Instructor, Dr. Yang Yang’s Center for Taiji Studies; recertified 2016 and continuing study with Yang Laoshi toward certification in Evidence-Based Taiji.
2014 Received title of Master from Grandmaster Chen
Kathy was a member of the Rochester Tai Chi Chuan Center Board of Directors from 2001-2017, Secretary from 2001-2010. At the Center, she teaches William C.C. Chen short and long forms, beginners through refinement and principles, as well as qigong meditation, movement and standing. She was also on the Board of Trustees of the Friends of Ganondagan, and is a trail guide and docent there. When she worked at the VA Outpatient Clinic in Rochester she taught Taijiquan and qigong to combat veterans with PTSD as part of their healing, and continues to teach a free class to all veterans at RTCCC. She also teaches individuals and groups in the community.
Personal Statement: “My main interest is in Taiji and qigong for health and relaxation, though I reluctantly admit that studying the martial application does improve my form and my grasp of the internal principles. I encourage the RTCCC to continue an atmosphere of physical and emotional security that promotes learning. I thrive in that kind of atmosphere, and believe it embodies the Taoist precepts that underlie taiji and qigong. It’s very moving to me that indigenous cultures have developed these profound and effective systems of health promotion. The importance of breathing, connection with Nature and its cycles, and directing healing to self and others, which is so much a part of Taiji, is just being recognized by Western science. Personally and professionally, these principles are invaluable to me for promoting balance and awareness.”
John Wagner began to study T’ai Chi at the Rochester T'ai Chi Ch'uan Center in 1996 and was certified by Grandmaster William C. C. Chen in 2003. In 2009, he received his diploma to teach Grandmaster Chen’s T’ai Chi short form, sword form, push hands and applications. He became a Cheng Hsin trainer in 2010 and is working toward his Chen Pan-ling certification.
John has been an active member of the RTCCC Board of Directors since 2000, serving as Treasurer (2000–2003) and Vice President (2003–2005). In 2005, he resumed the role of Treasurer, a position he continues to hold.
John’s teachers include Grandmaster William C. C. Chen, Grandmaster Dr. Tao Ping-Siang, Master Peter Ralston, Y. W. Chang, Master Chen Yun Ching, Ken Cohen, Frank LaManna, Peter Herman, Guy Prentice, Brian Bruning, Kathleen Gill, Ph.D., Kate Shannon, Carol Mancusso, Ed Mathews, Alex Hing, Pin Zhu Cheng, Bob Loce, Master Chen Youze, Dr. Sonam Willow, and Jim Holz. Through diligent study and exploration, John has become experienced in the 18 Healing Therapies Qigong exercises and Swimming Dragon exercise. He is certified to teach Dr. Paul Lam’s T’ai Chi for Arthritis form.
John earned his BS and MS degrees in Chemical Engineering from the University of Notre Dame. He fenced epee and was co-captain of the varsity fencing team. During his two years of graduate school he was an assistant fencing coach.
John worked in the plastic processing industry for 34 years, retiring from Mobil Chemical Co. in Macedon in 1998. He holds 24 patents and has presented papers at national and international seminars. John remains involved in the plastic processing industry by serving as the Treasurer for the Society of Plastics Engineers Extrusion Division and the Flexible Packaging Division. He is the editor-in-chief for the Journal of Plastic Film and Sheeting. Currently, he is the President of Crescent Associates, Inc., a consulting firm that specializes in plastic processing.
"I have benefited greatly from T'ai Chi in that it has improved my general health and well being. I enjoy the inner peace and power that comes from practicing T'ai Chi, as well as the improvements my T’ai Chi practice has made in my squash game. Most of all, I love being able to help educate others so that they, too, may benefit from T'ai Chi and together we can grow in our practice."
Frank LaManna began his work in the martial arts in 1968 with his study of Tae Kwon Do as taught by Duk Sun. He continued in this pursuit for two years, until he moved to Rochester, New York where he obtained a Black Belt in Shito Ryu from (Karate Hall of Famer) Ted Ricketts. During that time, he became interested in T’ai Chi, but had no opportunities for study. When Ted Ricketts left and closed his school, Frank worked independently for a number of years before studying Hsing I with John Icone, a student of Hung I Shian. In 1987, Frank began working with Mackenzie Stuart on the short Yang style, as taught by one of Cheng Man-Ching’s students, Grandmaster William C. C. Chen. Frank’s teacher at this time was one of Grandmaster Chen’s most senior students, Carol Mancuso.
In the years since he began his study of the internal arts, Frank has also studied with, or attended workshops by:
· T.T. Liang
· Stuart Olson
· Heiko Rommelman
· Charles Pearce
· Ping Cheng
· Nathan Menaged
· Dr. Tao Ping Hsiang
· William C. C. Chen
· Peter Ralston
Frank received his certificate and diploma from Grandmaster William C. C. Chen.
Brian Bruning has been associated with the Rochester T’ai Chi Ch’uan Center since 1989 and instructing since 1999. He started studying Shaolin Kung Fu in 1974 and switched to Yang T’ai Chi Ch'uan in 1978 under Reggie Jackson, senior student of Da Liu, a Master teacher from mainland China. He continued his studies under Jampa Mackenzie Stewart of Rochester in 1989, in the Chen Pan-ling style. Further instruction continued under Chen Pan-ling’s senior student, Y.W. Chang of New Orleans, Jim Ransom, senior student of RTCCC's founder Kai Sung, and Grandmaster Chen Yun Ching, son of Chen Pan Ling, and heir to his father's Martial Arts legacy. He became Master Chen's Inner Door student in 2009. Visiting instructors add to his knowledge base. He has served as Vice president, Secretary, and three times as President of the Center's Board of Directors. He has served as the Coordinator of the Center's annual World T'ai Chi and Qigong Day event since 2001. He currently studies and teaches Chen Pan Ling's martial arts of T'ai Chi Ch'uan, Bagua, HsingI, Feng Ch'uan, Shaolin, and traditional Chinese weapons, the 24 mainland form and Da Liu's T'ai Chi Ch'uan.
“The reason I started studying T’ai Chi Ch’uan was to learn a more interesting and efficient martial art that was also very effective for maintaining health. My focus is health because it affects your quality of life. However, I also study the martial aspect for a more complete and deeper understanding of the art. The nuances of T’ai Chi are always revealing themselves as time goes on, as are the flavors of the different styles of this unique art."
Jim Ransom started his Martial Arts training as a 7 year old, wrestling in AAU Junior Open Division until he was 15. While in high school, he switched to Kudukan Judo. In 1969, Jim began training in various schools of karate-do, including Chito Ryu, Uechi-Ryu, Shotokan, and Tae Kwon Do. He was a member of the Purple Dragons, a Wu-Shu Karate club.
In 1971, he began training in traditional Northern Shaolin Kung Fu and Yang Style T'ai Chi Ch'uan with Perng Shing in Rochester, NY and was given permission to teach in 1973. In 1974, Jim instructed T'ai Chi Ch'uan at the University of Rochester Club. In 1979, he began training with Sung Kai in Wu Shu and Chen Pan-ling style T'ai Chi Ch'uan. As Assistant Instructor, he taught classes at the University of Rochester Medical Center, the Rochester Museum and Science Center, and at Rochester Institute of Technology.
In 1982, Jim was a founding member of The Rochester T'ai Chi Ch'uan Center and the center's first President.
Through the years, Jim has studied and practiced with many teachers and friends, some famous and some not. His teachers have included Perng Shing, Sung Kai, Ping Zhen Cheng, Yang Jun, He Wei Chi, Chen Yun Ching, Chen Yun Chao, Ray Heywood, Steve Martin, and Nick Gracenin.
In May 2000, he participated in the 5th Grand World Wu Shu Festival in Shanghai, China as a member of Coach He Wei Chi's team. He won two 1st places and two 2nd places in traditional forms.
In September 2006, he began his training with Chen Yun Ching, Chen Pan-Ling's son, in Rochester. In January 2007, Jim participated in a training tour in Taiwan, training with Chen Yun Ching and Chen Yun Chao, and was given permission to teach.
Jim was inducted into Chen Yun Ching's Ling Yun Pai family during a traditional Bai Shi ceremony at the Confucius Temple in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, on January 21, 2009.
Jim is committed to sharing the knowledge that his teachers have shared with him. His classes are lively and varied, including instruction in:
· T'ai Chi Ch'uan (Yang, Chen Pan-ling, 24 Mainland)
· Taiji Qigong and traditional health exercises
· Hsing-I Ch'uan
· Ba Gua Zhang
· Weapons Instruction: Stick, Staff, Spear, Sabre, Broad Sword, and Sword
Jim can be reached through The Rochester T'ai Chi Ch'uan Center; directly at home: 585-267-7257; cell: 585-200-2861; or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nina Varon had found T’ai Chi Chuan fascinating as a college student but did not have any opportunity to learn it until she settled in Rochester where she discovered the Rochester T'ai Chi Ch'uan Center. She began her studies with William C.C. Chen’s form in 2004, continued taking classes in push hands, 4 directions form, WCC sword form, Swimming Dragon exercise, 18 healing therapies and more. Nina's teachers include Grandmaster William C. C. Chen, Frank LaManna, John Wagner, Guy Prentice, Brian Bruning and Jill Heath.
A great admirer of beauty and harmony, Nina was compelled to incorporate T'ai Chi Chuan into her everyday life and share its benefits with others. She started teaching the classes at the center on Saturdays in 2006. She maintains and expands her skills by studying other styles and martial aspects of this art as well (Chen Pan Ling, Ba Gua, Tai Chi for arthritis, etc.). In her opinion, T'ai Chi as a holistic exercise has a tremendous impact on physical, intellectual and spiritual levels of human life.
Originally from Slovakia, Nina relocated to the U.S. in 2002 from Germany with her American husband and children. Her European college education was focused on economics, tourism and languages, which enabled her to develop a career as a freelancing translator and interpreter, after spending some years in administrative positions in corporate and educational fields.
In addition to playing T’ai Chi and taking care of her family, Nina is active in the music community, sings in choruses and attends classical or jazz concerts.