Guest Author - Caroline Chen-Whatley
If you study Wushu orTai Chi at all then you undoubtedly familiar with this famous Martial Arts woman, Bow-sim Mark. Both styles have a strong emphasis on appearing effortless in movement and fluidity. Master Mark is the definition of that grace and beauty. Even watching her today is breathtaking and brings one a sense of calm.
But do not let that calm deceive you. Master Mark has worked hard to achieve the level of skill she possesses. In an interview with the Boston Globe, she stated that for every minute of her performance represents 10-years of training. She is
Originally born in Guangzhou, China, Master Mark now resides in Massachusetts. She studied Martial Arts from a very young age and began her specialization in Tai Chi during her high school years. She was taught by Fu Wing-fei, one of the top Martial Arts teachers of his time in southern China and son of Grandmaster Fu Chen Sung. When she came to America, the style of WuShu was unheard of and the strength of TaiChi was unknown. She was one of the first to truly begin training Wushu in the Western world and founded the first Chinese Wushu Research Institute with the purpose of" promoting the study and practice of traditional and standardized Martial Arts from China." [Bow Sim Mark Tai Chi Arts Association]. She's won countless awards and recognition, including being named Inside Kun Fu's woman of the Year twice.
Master Mark is well-known for her combined tai chi and wudong swordplay that is part of the Fu style of Martial Arts. Even today, she exemplifies a level of flexibility, balance, and grace that few half her age could ever accomplish. In fact, it was watching Master Mark as a youth that inspired me later in life to take up Martial Arts and Tai Chi in particular. As you can see from this short video clip below, her forms are flawless and the perfect marriage of movement, weapons, and form.
Not only is Master Mark a skilled Martial Artist, she is a mother of two. Both her son and daughter have trained in Martial Arts under her as well. Many movie-goers will recognize her son, Donnie Yen. His sister, Chris has always had a growing movie career and has made appearances or assisted in many Martial Arts movies, working with some of the greats like her brother and Jackie Chan.