About Rothrock's Kung Fu & Tai Chi Academy

I started my learning martial arts when I was 15 years old. At the time, there were a few Judo schools in the area, but few Karate schools… and no Kung Fu or Tai Chi schools at all. And just as an aside, gas was .25 a gallon.

I always had an interest in martial arts from the time I started grade school. There were always your typical bullies growing up that would pick on you, take your lunch money, and threaten you with physical harm. I was a small skinny kid and tried to avoid them at all costs… even to the point of walking home from school following different routes.

Then one day I was watching the Olympics and saw a Judo match on the old black and white TV. I was intrigued and wanted to learn more about it. I rode my bike to the local W.T. Grant store (the Walmart of that time) and went to the book section. I found a book by Bruce Tegner on Judo, bought it, and hurried home to study the moves.

In my room, I opened the book and began to try to mimic the pictures. The techniques made sense, but I had no idea if I was doing the moves right without a partner. What I learned was leverage and using your opponent’s aggressive nature against them. Though the biggest thing I learned was, you can’t learn from a book.

When I was 15 a karate school opened in Allentown, PA. Me and several of my friends decided to go and check it out. It was somewhat scary because we didn’t know what to expect. It helped though because we did know someone at the school. We all took our first trial class together and I fell in love with the martial arts.

Later, I was introduced to a master of martial arts.  At that time, it was a big deal because there were only about 3 masters in the entire state of PA. It was scary and his classes were tough.

Now here was the amazing thing, I still never knew anything about Kung Fu or Tai Chi. One day during a training session with the master, he introduced us to a few Kung Fu techniques. We used these for self-defense and he stated that this was the origin of all martial arts.  I could not believe how easily these techniques could handle attackers and Kung Fu used the same principles that I learned studying that Judo book: use the opponent’s force against them.

I've been teaching & training for over 50 years.

In 1980, I had the honor of traveling to Hong Kong with Grandmaster Shum to meet his teacher the Great Grandmaster Ng Wai Nung. He took me to the school where he trained.  It was on the roof of a four-story building. There were several students there working out. The Great Grandmaster asked me to perform several routines and other tests of strength and endurance.

When I was finished, he asked me to come back the next day.  He awarded me my Master’s Certification. Unlike most certificates on paper, this one was a handmade cloth scroll.

In 1986, I moved to Pittsburgh and opened my third school. Eventually, I opened schools in Wexford and West Mifflin. I've also helped some of my other Black Belts open schools, the latest being in Butler.

More Info

  • I've Written these Books

    The Beginner’s Guide to Kung Fu

    The Secrets of Kung Fu

    Kung Fu for Little Dragons

    A Simplified Guide to Tai Chi

    A Master’s Handbook on Eagle Claw Kung Fu

    An Instructor’s Teaching Guide for Kung Fu & Tai Chi

  • We are Voted the Best

    2005 – Voted Best Martial Arts School – (readers of the Gateway Star)

    2006 – Voted Best Martial Arts School – (readers of the City Paper)

    2007 – Voted Best Martial Arts School – (readers of the Tribune Review)

    2008 – Voted Best Martial Arts School – (readers of the Tribune Review)

    2009 – Voted Best Kung Fu School – (readers of the City Paper)

    2009 – Voted Best Martial Arts School – (readers of the Tribune Review)

    2010 – Voted One of the Kung Fu & Tai Chi School – (City Paper)

    2010 – Voted One of the Best Martial Arts School – (Tribune Total Media)

    2011 – Voted One of the Best (Gold) Martial Arts School – (Tribune Review)

    2012 – Voted the Best Martial Arts School – (readers of the Tribune Review)

    2013 – Voted the Best (Gold) Award – (readers of Trib Total Media)

  • We are Members of the these Organizations

    The National Association of Professional Martial Artists

    The Martial Arts Teachers Association

    The Martial Arts Industry Association

    The Ying Jow Pai Association.

The Chief Kung Fu & Tai Chi Martial Arts Coaches

  • Sifu Bill White
    Sifu Bill White - Started training in 1994 under Master Rothrock in Pittsburgh. He’s been teaching and managing the Pittsburgh Academy for over 22 years
  • Sifu Dave Belsky
    Sifu Dave Belsky - Started his training with Master Rothrock in 1975 in Wilkes Barre, PA. He’s been training and teaching for 41 years. He is currently Master Rothrock’s oldest training student. He’s a disciple of Master Rothrock and runs the Wilkes Barre academy.
  • Sifu Alan Pesotine
    Sifu Alan Pesotine - Started his training under Master Rothrock in 1980. He’s been teaching and operating the Scranton/Duryea area studio for 36 years. He’s Master Rothrock’s second oldest training student and is a disciple.

  • Mike Solito
    Mike Solito - 5th Level Black – Studied various styles of martial arts before finding a home at Rothrock’s Kung Fu in 2003. He manages the Wexford studio.
  • Rhett Lauffenburger
    Rhett Lauffenburger - 4th Level Black – Began his training with Master Rothrock in 2000. After earning his first Black sash, he decided that he wanted to help pass on what he’d learned. He manages the West Mifflin academy.
  • Rob Pagonis
    Rob Pagonis - 2nd Level Black – Began his training with Master Rothrock in 2010. After earning his first Black sash, he decided that he wanted to help pass on what he’d learned. He now owns Rothrock’s Kung Fu & Tai Chi in Butler.