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James Donnelly began studying Tai Chi in 1999, at the legendary 103-acre Tai Chi Farm, school of the late Tai Chi Master Jou, Tsung Hwa. After marrying his teacher, a senior student of Jou’s, he began teaching in 2001. That same year he was instrumental in the donation of a memorial to Master Jou, in Warwick Town Park, in Warwick NY. There it remains the only public monument to a Tai Chi master anywhere in the U.S. In 2002, he founded the American Society of Internal Arts, also known as A.S.I.A., an educational organization whose mission is to promote the internal arts through workshops, seminars and events. In 2003, James revived the annual Zhang San Feng Festival, which had been on hiatus since the passing of Jou, Tsung Hwa. James has been published in several newspapers and magazines including Tai Chi magazine, Inside Kung Fu and TCM World newspaper, among others. In 2007, he was inducted into the USA Martial Arts Hall of Fame for his contributions to the internal arts. In 2009, he was inducted into the Action Martial Arts Hall of Fame as event promoter of the year. In addition to training in the Jou Tsung Hwa methodology, James also studied with select instructors including Dr. Gary Torres, chief disciple of Grandmaster Peter Kwok, and Dr. John Painter, chief disciple of the Li family lineage of kungfu, and Shifu William C. Phillips, senior student the legendary Cheng Man Ching. Today, James continues his work with the annual Zhang San Feng Festival, and teaches in private lessons in New Jersey.
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