Since arriving in the United States, Mark has continued to study with her teacher Fu Yung-Hui during periodic trips back to China. Her first return trip to China was in 1981 for an International Wushu Competition. After the competition, she spent four months studying at the Beijing Physical Culture Institute. During this trip she met the renowned martial artist Li Tian-Ji (see Volume 2, Number 4, page 13) and spent time studying with him to improve her Combined T'ai Chi Ch'uan and Wu Tang sword skills. Both Li Tian-Ji and Fu Yung-Hui studied Wu Tang sword with the same teacher, General Li Jing-Lin.
Li Jing-Lin learned Wu Tang sword from his teacher Shuen Wai-I, the recognized founder of the style. The earliest known book on Wu Tang sword was published by Shuen Wai-I in 1920. Li Jing-Lin, who was called "Magic Sword" Li, was well known throughout China for his skill with a sword. General Li made significant contributions to the research, promotion and expansion of the popularity of Wu Tang sword. He routinely invited the most well known sword masters in China to gather at his house to research and study sword techniques and skills. Two prominent martial artist who attended many of General Li's research sessions were Fu Chen-Sung and Li Yu-Lin. When these highly skilled masters visited General Li, they both brought along their sons, Fu Yung-Hui and Li Tian-Ji respectively. Both of these young men were able to learn directly from General Li at his residence.
As mentioned above, Bow Sim Mark has studied Wu Tang sword from both Fu Yung-Hui and Li Tian-Ji. In 1984 when Mark was back in China for the International T'ai Chi Ch'uan Invitational Tournament held in Wuhan, Li Tian-Ji passed on his family's sword to her in appreciation of her sword skill, signifying that Mark is the inheritor of the Wu Tang sword style of General Li Jing-Lin.
Li Tian-Ji, who is highly skilled in Hsing-I, Pa Kua, and a number of T'ai Chi styles, was responsible for developing the Combined T'ai Chi Ch'uan system which is popular in wushu competitions in China. It was after observing Bow Sim Mark demonstrate this form in 1981
that Li Tian-Ji became interested in working with her. In a letter written as a preface to the second edition of Bow Sim Mark's book on the Combined T'ai Chi Ch'uan style, Li Tian-Ji had this to say about Bow Sim Mark:
Ms. Bow Sim Mark devotes herself to Chinese wushu. She has researched it extensively and has achieved a great deal over the years. She is especially superb at the art of T'ai Chi Ch'uan. By perfecting and adopting the best features of other styles, she has become unique in her personal style and shows distinct characteristics in her performance. She has not only attained a solid wushu foundation, but has also complemented her art with sound theories. As a wushu teacher, she is systematic and extremely experienced. In 1975, she single-handedly wrote the book Combined T'ai Chi Ch'uan to describe the new Combined T'ai Chi Ch'uan form created in our country. The book has since circulated among a wide range of readers. In 1984, she led a team of athletes to participate in the International T'ai Chi Ch'uan Invitational Tournament held in Wuhan. Her team members competed in the Combined T'ai Chi Ch'uan event. Their performances were well received by both the tournament officials and the audience. She herself won a gold medal. Bow Sim Mark is one of the precious few who are both enthusiastic promoters and outstanding practitioners of Chinese wushu.
Combined T'ai Chi Ch'uan is a new T'ai Chi Ch'uan form that was created in the 1950's by analyzing, researching, and synthesizing the best features of other styles of T'ai Chi Ch'uan. It was created as a step towards the establishment of a wushu event classification system. Subsequently, two training classes were given to the country's outstanding athletes. The experience gained from the actual practice of the form led later to further revisions and improvements. In order to accommodate the different performing needs of both athletes and the general public, a decision was made not to have rigid rules regulating those movements that involve focusing chin. This decision allowed the practitioner the flexibility of applying either a firm or a supple approach, according to individual preference. However, because the establishment of a wushu event classification system was later postponed temporarily, a book describing the new form was never published. Ironically, Combined T'ai Chi Ch'uan has instead flourished abroad due to the tireless effort of Ms. Mark over the last ten years to promote and spread the new form. Today an increasing number of T'ai Chi Ch'uan connoisseurs have learned and practiced the art. The fact that wushu, the jewel of Chinese culture, has been spread to serve the people of all nations for the benefit of their health is itself a significant event. Even though I was originally in charge of creating this new form, my efforts in promoting and spreading it have been much less significant than those of Ms. Mark. Whenever I think of this, I feel greatly ashamed.
The special characteristics of Chinese wushu lie in the fact that it not only comprises abundant and distinct fighting techniques, but also contains precious sporting value and high artistic value. This many faceted nature of wushu works wonders in satisfying the needs of practitioners. In addition, wushu does not force its followers to practice the art rigidly according to a narrowly prescribed model. As soon as one attains a certain level of proficiency and grasps the essence of the art, he or she is free to expand according to individual merit and unique personal style. In performing Combined T'ai Chi Ch'uan, Bow Sim Mark moves steadily and precisely. Her postures are upright, revealing her inner vitality. When she executes a vigorous movement, her focusing chin is powerful and swift. Firmness is always supplemented with softness, and vice versa. She demonstrates her grasp of subtlety of Chinese wushu and T'ai Chi Ch'uan, and shows her own distinct personal sttyle and characteristics. I am very impressed by her superb ability.
On this occasion of the publication of the second edition of her book, I am delighted to write this forward.
Li Tian-Ji Beijing, China May 1985
Bow Sim Mark has been teaching Fu style martial arts and traditional wushu in Boston for sixteen years. The majority of the students at her school begin their training with the Combined T'ai Chi Ch'uan form. Mark also teaches a weekly class which emphasizes wushu basic training and she encourages all of her students to attend this class. She is a firm believer that the fundamental skills of flexibility, leg strength, and body control which are trained in the wushu basic class are essential for development in any of the other arts which she teaches. She also encourages other athletes, no matter which sport they participate in, to join the wushu basic course as she feels these skills will help an individual's development in any sport. In 1981, Mark published a book on wushu basic training which presents a systematic approach to increasing flexibility and strength.
After her students have a firm grasp of the fundamentals through the wushu basic training and the Combined T'ai Chi Ch'uan form, the next art she encourages them to study is Liang-I Ch'uan. The Liang-I Ch'uan that Mark teaches was developed by Fu Chen-Sung and is a synthesis of T'ai Chi Ch'uan and Pa Kua Chang. In
A young Bow Sim Mark with her favorite weapon, the straight sword
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