Master Ma Bao Guo
I first met Master Ma 3 years ago in Newcastle. He was living there while his son Michael was finishing an MBA. Master Ma had built up a core of dedicated students and through Chris Chappell I had heard of his existence.
I was staying with his top student Robert McAlpine for the night, and Robbie showed me what Master Ma’s form was like. Instead of a normal slow tai chi form, I witnessed something like a revelation. Robbie burst into an explosion of coils and twists. Every movement was spherical, connected and deeply martial. I was dumbfounded. I hadn’t seen anything like this since watching BK Frantzis perform Ba Gua. And this was the student! What level of mastery could the Master have? I was deeply nervous at my first meeting, because my own deficiencies bleated their presence. But I needn’t have worried. Master Ma is a born teacher. He is patient, he is attentive, he explains everything clearly using martial techniques, even allowing himself to be pushed or hit, in order to make the student understand. There is no ego here, so unlike many masters I have trained with. Master Ma has spent his life researching and looking for the errors which inhere in many martial arts, but which are not pointed out for fear of making other teachers “lose
face”. This approach, allied with his cross-training background in Xing Yi, Chen Tai Ji, Daoist Gong Fu and Chin Na, has turned him into the softest, fastest, most dangerous manifestation of the Internal Martial Arts that I have ever witnessed. But he is more than just a brute power. His capacity to tune his power to your level is astonishing, he can control his power and turn it up or down like a dial. When I first trained with him, he showed me a fraction of what he can do. 4 years later, I still believe I have only seen a fraction. More than this though, is his humility, his concern for your progress, his seamless blend of Confucian and Daoist principles in his devotion to his family and country or his desire to manifest the Dao De Jing in his practice. It will take me years to reach the levels of Master Ma because my mind is too distracted, and I do not possess his singular vision, Herculean training discipline, and utter humility. But I am learning from the Master, so I am confident. Master Ma is a master because he has mastered himself. This is what signals a true Master, and distinguishes him from the merely competent, who often call themselves masters. Our society is narcissistic, physically weak, and mentally confused. The Internal Martial Arts, and especially Master Ma’s Hun Yuan Chi Gong and Tai Ji, a synthesis of everything he knows, is a method of reversing this decline in our collective society. Strong body, strong mind, health in equilibrium; this is the ideal of Chinese Medicine, which calls it Jing Shen, a robust, splendid manifestation of human potentiality. Hun Yuan Tai Ji and Chi Gong can change the world, one person at a time.
“Wise souls are good at caring for people, never turning their back on anyone. They’re good at looking after things, never turning their back on anything. There’s a light hidden here”
Lao Zi, Dao De Jing