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About Great Bay Tai Chi

Great Bay Tai Chi is a group of tai chi instructors teaching in the Newburyport and Hamilton, MA, Woodstock, VT and Lebanon, NH areas. We share common teachings, techniques and styles, but offer our own classes and schedules. Internal Arts of New England LLC DBA (doing business as) Great Bay Tai Chi MA and Great Bay Tai Chi North are independently owned and operated. We have trained together under Master Paul Mahoney, founder of Great Bay Tai Chi. We continue to learn from him and each other, and we support each other in our efforts to share our knowledge and continue to offer quality instruction in the art of tai chi. 

Meet The Instructors

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Paul Mahoney

Paul is the founder of Great Bay Tai Chi. He is a Taijiquan and Qigong (Chi Kung) master and an expert in martial Taijiquan which includes Pushing Hands and Chin Na as well as other related practices. 


Paul spent a decade studying hard style martial arts, including Korean Tae Kwon Do and Okinawan Uechi Ryu in the 1970’s before discovering the internal martial arts. After attending a seminar with Dr. Yang Jwing Ming in Boston in 1982 he was hooked and has been fascinated with the internal styles ever since, and now has been a practitioner of the internal martial arts for well over thirty years. He was an assistant instructor of Dr. Yang Jwing Ming (founder of Yang’s Martial Arts Association) for Tai Chi and Shaolin Chin Na for many years. He is a former winner of the USA championship push hands competition for the 170 lb division at the 2000 “A Taste of China” tournament in Winchester, Virginia.


Paul has had the good fortune to have trained with some top internal martial arts masters.  He incorporates these experiences into his teaching style. Because of Paul’s connection to YMAA he had the opportunity to take many seminars and classes with Master Liang Shou Yu, Wei Lun Huang and others. 

Paul was a regular Taijiquan and Qigong student of Master Ramel Rones for several years and has had the well known Master Rones visit Great Bay to offer qigong seminars. 

Paul also studied Xingyiquan with Tai Ngo through YMAA. 

In 2009 Paul studied Wudang Natural-Style Martial Art under the late 25th generation master Shan Gui Wen when master Shan spent the summer in NH to teach Great Bay students his arts including   Wudang Taijiquan, a blend of Taijiquan , Xingyiquan and Bagua Zhang with roots that go back 600 years. 

Paul has taught classes in many locations under the name Great Bay Tai Chi since 1996 including Salem, Hamilton, Newburyport, and Amesbury, Massachusetts, as well as New Hampshire classes in Stratham and Newmarket.  


These days Paul is semi-retired from teaching. He serves as a mentor and teacher to the Great Bay Tai Chi MA instructors and students. He teaches a limited number of classes in Woodstock, Vermont, and Lebanon, New Hampshire, under the name Great Bay Tai Chi North.


Chris Himmel

Chris began his study of martial arts in the early 1990s. It was not until he discovered Taijiquan that he truly found what he was searching for. Currently, Chris studies the Yang Style Short, Long, Ball, Saber, and Sword forms along with Push Hands and the Taiji Fighting Set. In 2010 Chris added the study of Wudang San Feng Natural Style Arts under Paul Mahoney and LuAnne Pigeon, which includes the arts of Xingyiquan, Baguazhang, and Taijiquan. Chris has also taken seminars with Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming and his disciples, as well as with the late Master Shan Guiwen, Master Ramel Rones, and Sifu Gary LaChapelle. Chris’s passion for Tai Chi is evident in his classes as he likes nothing better than sharing his knowledge with others. Chris has experience teaching Qigong to patients recovering from addiction as well as in assisted living facilities. Chris received gold and silver medals for form performances and a gold medal for push hands competition at the 2019 International Chinese Martial Arts Championship tournament in Marlborough, MA.

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Austin Murray

Austin found martial arts in his early teens. Traveling 50 miles to find the nearest Kung Fu school, he began his practice in Boston right before the start of high school.

There, he studied Long Fist, Praying Mantis and staff weapon styles. Six years later he discovered Tai Chi under the instruction of Paul Mahoney where he focuses his studies on Chin Na and Tai Chi Applications.

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Kevin Comeau

Kevin has been a student of Sifu Mahoney for the past 6 years.  He comes to tai chi from an extensive background in martial arts, holding advanced rank in karate, Japanese jujutsu, and judo.  Kevin is director of massage therapy at Open Door Integrative Wellness in White River Junction, VT.  In addition to his private practice, Kevin teaches continuing education seminars for bodyworkers and is senior instructor for the massage therapy program at River Valley Community College.

He currently teaches short form classes: Mondays at 9 am and Fridays at noon (Open Door Integrative Wellness, White River Junction VT)

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John Donaghy

Twenty-five years ago John held rank in both Goju-Ryu Karate and Nihon jujitsu, but a dismally prolonged, two-decade siege of Lyme disease forced him to abandon his studies. When, eventually, he turned to Tai Chi for his health, he was lucky enough find Great Bay and to learn from Paul Mahoney and his instructors. John found that not only did Tai Chi make him feel better, it gave him new and deepening ways of understanding movement, energy, and the practice of the martial arts. He enjoys sharing what he discovers with other practioners.


Ken Bladyka

Ken Bladyka has practiced martial arts since 1983. He founded Okinawan Karate Academy in Lebanon in 1994, where he has trained thousands of students. Ken has a deep appreciation for internal martial arts, which profoundly affected his karate practice. As a competitor, Ken won two AAU national karate championships. He has also coached dozens of OKA students to AAU championships and served as assistant coach for the AAU/USA Junior Karate Team on two occasions. Ken has studied tai chi with Paul Mahoney since 2018.


Jan Salstrom

Jan fell in love with tai chi at first site when she was 20 in Berkley, CA. Due to living in a

remote part of WV, she was not able to start learning the practice until 1996. Her first instructor was

Ron Wilkerson, who is currently the director of the Chi Lin Tai Chi in WV. After moving to NC, in

1999, she was able to continue growing in her practice through offerings at the Magic Tortoise

Taijiquan School in Chapel Hill, run by Sifu Jay Dunbar and Kathleen Cusick, and had a

steady practice partner and longtime practitioner, Mitch Stroud. She was fortunate as both schools she

attended followed the  lineage of Master Jou Tsung Hwa.

Mitch and Jan taught tai chi classes in Greenville, NC, at a Yoga Center and the Bushido

Martial Arts studio for several years. Jan then became the faculty advisor for the East Carolina

University Tai Chi Club for 10 years. They offered weekly practices and were able to bring in

outside instructors for seminars in tai chi fan, sword, wing chun, eight pieces of brocade

qigong, five animal frolics, and more. This club became a favorite of many international

students and faculty. They provided demonstrations in the community and participated with the

Chinese Association for New Year celebrations.

Upon retiring from East Carolina’s Brody School of Medicine, Jan moved to Vermont, and took

a job at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center. Once she retired, she restarted her tai chi

practice with Paul Mahoney through Great Bay Tai Chi. Jan says, "Paul's extensive knowledge and expertise

of the movement’s martial applications and of qigong has greatly deepened my practice. I am

forever grateful for everyone’s willingness to share the knowledge and play of this ancient,

powerful and healing practice. It is a lifetime art that can continually be internally refined."

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