Eight Star Martial Arts and
Red Dragon Karate School

About Our Schools


About Eight Star Martial Arts

Sensei Lavigne and Eight Star Student, Cole.

Sensei Lavigne and Eight Star Student, Cole.

Eight Star Martial Arts is located in Warrensburg, New York and was founded by Roland Lavigne in 2011. 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”.

Yang Style Tai Chi/Qi Gong
Roland took his first Yang Style Tai Chi/Qi Gong class from Master Mark Tolstrup in 1994 and continues to study various internal martial arts and Qi Gong sets with him to this day.

In 2005, with the support of Master Tolstrup, Roland began studying Tai Chi with Grandmaster William C. C. Chen.

Grandmaster William C. C. Chen awarded Roland his “two-star teaching certification” and the title, “Sifu,” in 2011. Roland continues to train with Grandmaster Chen various times throughout the year; at his school in New York City and at workshops throughout the state.

Pentjak Silat Karate
Roland began training in Karate under Master Jeff Melander, as a way to spend time with his nephew. In 2003, Master Melander named Roland, “Red Dragon Karate School’s Student of the Year” (an honor, which has been awarded three times in the school’s 30 years of operation).

In 2004, Roland successfully tested for Black Belt and was certified Shodan (1st Degree) by Master Michael Campos and the Zen Do Kai International Martial Arts Association (ZDK).

In 2009, Roland successfully tested in front of another ZDK test board and was awarded Nidan (2nd Dan) by Master Campos and the ZDK.

About Red Dragon Karate School

Jeff Melander with Tony Irvin

Jeff Melander with Tony Irvin

The Red Dragon Karate School was established in Ballston Spa, New York in 1981 by Mr. Tony Irvin. The style that we practice is an “American Freestyle System” with influences found from many different styles including Tae Kwon Do and our base style of Pentjak Silat. Red Dragon Karate School and its students are members of the Zen-Do Kai Martial Arts Association. We continue to update and improve our teaching methods so that we can better help our students reach their goals.

Sensei Jeff Melander - 11 years old.

Sensei Jeff Melander – 11 years old.


Jeff Melander began his training in the martial arts in 1982. At just eleven years of age he earned his Black Belt, becoming the youngest to do so in the Zen-Do Kai Association and New York’s Capital Region. Presently a 5th degree Black Belt, Melander is a tournament veteran, both locally and on the national karate tour. Twice he has earned the “Competitor of the Year” award and has also been awarded “Instructor of the Year” & the Bushido award by the Zen-Do Kai Association.


SenseiLavigne photo by Kick Pics

Sensei Roland Lavigne

In December of 2015, Sensei Jeff Melander turned over the reigns of the Red Dragon Karate School to Sensei Roland Lavigne. Roland, who had already been running Eight Star Martial Arts since 2011, took on the additional responsibility and challenge of a second school. This new chapter of the history of the Red Dragon Karate School will be added here as it unfolds. For those interested in following Sensei Melander who has gone on to teach at Safety America in Sugar Land,Texas, please use the link on our homepage to check out his Facebook page.

Red Dragon Karate School Video by Josh Rask of Josh Rask Films.

Why Karate?…

Karate training is so popular because no other activity can provide the same positive results, on a personal level, for each individual participant. Whether your goals are self-confidence, self-defense, personal development, fitness, flexibility, or to earn a Black Belt – our school will take you there. From our pre-school program to our Black Belt Club program, our instructors are dedicated to helping you and/or your family, achieve your individual goals.

Red Dragon Karate School Black Belts after testing (2010).

Red Dragon Karate School Black Belts after testing (2010).

Karate is Great for Children…

Red Dragon Karate School Student - Kennedy photo by Kick Pics

Red Dragon Karate School Student – Kennedy

Because of all the character building qualities to be gained, millions of parents are using martial arts to supplement their children’s education. Our reward system improves children’s self-esteem. The belt system is the key to building confidence. When kids earn their next belt, it gives them a great sense of accomplishment that improves the way they feel about themselves. Our program teaches children discipline. Our trained staff of patient instructors love to work with children, but are also very clear about limits. We enforce good rules of behavior in class, and we expect the same good behavior at home and in school. Many doctors have prescribed Karate training because of the positive outlet it can give kids to channel some of their excess energy. And, because our program teaches practical, proven self-defense methods, we instruct them not to go home and try them on their family, friends, or neighbors.

Karate – A Fun, Fulfilling Workout for Adults…

Red Dragon Karate Student - Kevin

Red Dragon Karate Student – Kevin

Karate is an exercise with a bonus! You learn to defend yourself while you get in great shape. Our work-outs can help you relieve stress. The emphasis on mind – body training goes far beyond the benefits of standard health club type exercise programs. Nothing is as self empowering as knowing you can defend yourself when needed. At our school, everything we teach is reality based. We ensure that most any situation you may encounter is covered in the classroom under safe learning conditions, so that you will be prepared. Another reason our program is so successful is because we make the classes fun and exciting. We believe that when people are having fun, they learn much faster and we want every participant to go as far as possible on their journey towards martial arts excellence.

Benefits of Practice

“About the 8 Pieces of Brocade:
There has been no single thing that has so positively impacted my health as much as Qi Gong’s 8 Pieces of Brocade. As a type 1 diabetic who trains in the martial arts and maintains a high level of fitness, I’ve been astounded at what the 8 Pieces have done for me. Despite years of excellent blood sugar management, my A1C did not reach normal level until I began practicing the 8 Pieces of Brocade. My cholesterol, vitamin D, and blood pressure numbers also came in better than ever before despite having always had a healthy diet and an active lifestyle. Also as a diabetic, I tend to have dark bruises on my thighs from insulin injections that last for days. When I practice a set of the 8 Pieces of Brocade, the bruises fade in 24 hours or less.

Furthermore, I have used the 8 Pieces of Brocade for injury management. I managed to cause such strain to my upper back muscles that I could neither turn my head nor lift anything without excruciating pain. Sleep, Ibuprofen, and massage made little difference. I practiced the 8 Pieces of Brocade for 30 minutes, and regained full shoulder and neck movement free of pain.

That being said, my practice did not start this miraculously. When I began practicing the 8 pieces, I noticed little things. I could see colors more vividly, my walk was more natural, balanced, and relaxed, and my body felt in line with itself in a way it never had before.

The 8 Pieces of Brocade have worked wonders, and if you’re reading this, you should try it. Try it for 100 days, and see if you feel as good as I do.”

~ Gennady J. (Tai Chi/Qi Gong student)