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Instructors and partners

Miriam Marsolais Tai Chi Instructor

Dr. Miriam Marsolais

Founding Instructor

Dr. Miriam Marsolais, founder of White Magnolia Tai Chi School, is a certified Tai Chi Instructor in the Plum Blossom International Federation of Choy Li Fut/ Tai Chi. She began her Tai Chi/Chi Kung practice in 1996 as a pathway to recovery from the effects of a nearly–fatal burn injury. She has trained under Sifu David Dong in Albany, California.; Sifu Yadollah Moghaddam in Sausalito and Kensington, CA; Sifu Munzer Dajani in Sausailito, CA;  and at Grandmaster Doc-Fai Wong’s studio in San Francisco. 

She has participated successfully in martial arts tournaments both as a competitor and judge.
Miriam is also a Jungian Analyst and licensed psychologist in private practice specializing in the treatment of trauma and a faculty member of the Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy Institute based in New York City.  She is a student of Dzogchen teacher James Low, a student of Kum Nye at the Nyingma Institute of Tibetan Studies, and has practiced traditional Chinese Brush Painting under the instruction of Master Yun-Chung Chiang.  As hobbies she enjoys dogs, hiking, gardening, and eating.

John Luna Sparks

Head of School

John Luna-Sparks, who has taught at White Magnolia since 2010, became director of White Magnolia Acupuncture and Tai Chi in 2020. He began his Tai Chi practice with White Magnolia founder Miriam Marsolais in 2005, seeking recovery from a severe neck injury when conventional medical treatments offered no relief. His neck got better and he happily continued because he slept better, got more flexible and found a great way to manage the stress of life. He became a licensed acupuncturist in 2015.

At White Magnolia John teaches restorative, beginner, intermediate, and advanced classes and also offers quarterly wellness events. He continues his work as a licensed clinical social worker specializing in child sexual abuse recovery and trauma recovery for people with developmental disabilities. He is also a senior instructor with Kidpower Teenpower Fullpower, International. He enjoys spending time with his husband, son, and dogs, and listening to music.
Yadollah Moghaddam Tai Chi Instructor

Yadollah Moghaddam

Yadollah Moghaddam is one of Grandmaster Doc-Fai Wong’s most advanced students and one of Miriam Marsolais’ teachers. He is a master-level practitioner of Choy Li Fut Kung Fu, Tai Chi Chuan and Push Hands.  He has been training, teaching and serving as a judge at martial arts tournaments for more than 30 years.


Yadollah teaches push hands and integrative martial arts practice classes at White Magnolia.  His integrative practice classes are open to students of all levels. Push hands classes are open to intermediate and advanced students, and to beginners with special approval.

Kitty Calavita

Senior Instructor

Kitty attended various Tai Chi schools when she lived in San Diego and commuted to U.C. Irvine, where she was a professor of criminology, law and society. When she retired in 2010, she and her husband moved to Berkeley to be near their children and grandchildren. Soon after her move, she discovered the White Magnolia School of Tai Chi and began taking beginner classes with Miriam, and, later, Peter and John. 

Although she had taken Tai Chi classes off and on in San Diego, this was different. She knew right away that she wanted to deepen her practice. She finds the focus on intention and precision in all our Tai Chi classes at White Magnolia fully engaging of mind, body, and spirit. She teaches beginners and continues to practice Tai Chi every day. She enjoys travel, writing, piano (just learning!), and outdoor activities of all kinds.
Margaret Moreland, Guest Tai Chi Instructor

Patrick Wilson

Guest Instructor

Patrick was introduced to the martial arts at a young age through the study of Judo, which encompasses grappling, sweeps and throws, and submission holds. As a teenager, he rounded out this training by changing his focus to Karate, which includes open-handed and fist strikes, kicks, and blocks, further developing accuracy, timing, and distance management. Later, he began cross-training in the Chinese arts of Choy Li Fut and Tai Chi Chuan. The former is a fast-paced external martial art, with an extensive variety of striking techniques, pressure point attacks, and joint locking applications, accompanied by the study of many single and double-handed short and long weapons. Tai Chi Chuan was his initiation to the powerful internal energies, and how to harmonize the “hard” with the “soft” to maximize the potency of all techniques.

Margaret Moreland

Guest Instructor

Margaret Moreland began her Tai Chi practice in 1994 at the Golden Lion Martial Arts School with Tom Parenty, continuing to study with David Dong when he took over the school.  

Margaret and Miriam were classmates at Golden Lion, for a while the only two students in the advanced class. Tai Chi is an essential part of Margaret’s life; she tries to practice at least five days each week no matter where she is. In the fall of 2018 it seemed like time for a change, so Margaret came to White Magnolia to participate in the advanced class and try her hand at regular teaching. She teaches the Thursday afternoon intermediate class and offers private lessons at all levels.


Ikebana with Yusui Joan Suzuki

Yusui Joan Suzuki, a White Magnolia Tai Chi student, teaches Sogetsu Ikebana (Japanese flower arranging) classes at White Magnolia on the first Sunday of each month from 1 to 3 pm. (Please check our events calendar as sometimes the date shifts.) Mrs. Suzuki began studying Ikebana in Tokyo in her early teens and in 1968 was awarded Sogetsu’s Model Teacher Award. In 1978 Sofu Teshigahara, Sogestu’s founding headmaster, conferred the rank of Riji on Mrs. Suzuki, the highest ranking in Sogetsu, short of Headmaster.

For more information about Sogestu Ikebana visit For information about Mrs. Suzuki’s classes at White Magnolia please email her at
Partners | Ikebana with Yusui Joan Suzuki

White Magnolia Acupuncture and Tai Chi | 2806 San Pablo Ave. | Berkeley, CA 94702 | 510-570-8195
Servicios en Español | Wheelchair accessible

510-570-8195 Directions Contact/Schedule