Roland Lavigne began training in martial arts in 1979, with various forms of wrestling, particularly Greco Roman. 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 Tai Chi Chuan and Chi Kung classes with Master Mark Tolstrup. In 2003 his four-year-old nephew challenged him, “Uncle Roland, you should take Karate, too…or are you chicken?” Later that year, Master Jeff 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 2005, with the support of Master Tolstrup, Roland began studying Tai Chi with Grandmaster William C.C. Chen.
Roland established Eight Star Martial Arts in 2011, the same year Grandmaster William C.C. Chen awarded him the title Sifu. In December 2015, Master Jeff Melander passed Red Dragon Karate School to Sifu Lavigne; as his instructor, Master Tony Irvin (who founded Red Dragon Karate School in 1981), passed the school to him. The merging of ESMA and RDKS has created Eight Star Martial Arts Red Dragon Karate School… one community, two locations.
Roland currently holds a third degree in Pukulan Kilat Pentjak Silat under Master Jim Devoe, through the Cemo Sai Temple and The Institute of Pentjak Silat and a two-star certification in Tai Chi Chuan and Push Hands under Grandmaster William C.C. Chen of New York City.