Roland began training in martial arts in 1979, with various forms of wrestling, particularly Greco Roman. As a former member of ATWA (Adirondack Three Style Wrestling Association), he considers himself blessed to have had the opportunity to study and train with the likes of Joe Demeo, Joe Bena, and Jeff Blatnick. The summer before his junior year of high school, Roland was invited to live and train with Olympian Jim Peckham at his home outside Boston. It was through Mr. Peckham that Roland first came to glimpse the meaning of “Way”.
In 1994, Roland took his first Yang Style Tai Chi/Qi Gong classes from his current instructor, Mark Tolstrup. He continues to study many forms of internal martial arts with Mr. Tolstrup, including Tai Chi (long and short forms), Tai Chi Sword, Da Dao (Saber), Push Hands, Chin Na, and (most recently) Hsing-I Chuan. He also continues to study many Qi Gong forms: Eight Pieces of Brocade, Swimming Dragon, Allergy Qi Gong, Five Element Qi Gong, The Six Healing Sounds, Seasonal Qi Gong, and Taoist Meditation Practices.
In 2005, Roland began studying with one of Mr. Tolstrup’s Teachers, Grandmaster William C.C. Chen. Last year, Roland attended Grandmaster Chen’s Spring Intensive Seminar Series and completed his prescribed Instructor’s Course. In May, Roland expects Grandmaster Chen to award him his teaching certification. In the meantime, Grandmaster Chen wants Roland studying, practicing, and teaching “as much as possible.”
Roland has had the opportunity to train extensively with many great SMAF instructors. He is 2nd Dan in Pentjak Silat under Sensei Jeff Melander (certified by Master Michael Campos and the Zen Do Kai Association); is certified to teach Sun Style Tai Chi by Sifu Guy Prentice and the Arthritis Foundation; has studied Nemaru with Master Paul Munchbach (who is performing Roland’s wedding ceremony), has studied basic Iaido with Sensei Al Blakley, and attends as many of Steven Pearlman’s Study Groups as he is able.
Certified as a second level Reiki practitioner, Roland spends most of his free time studying/teaching at the Tai Chi Center in Saratoga Springs, teaching Sun Style Tai Chi at various locations throughout the capital region, and studying/teaching Pentjak Silat at Red Dragon Karate School in Ballston Spa.