Grandmaster Ma Hailong was born in 1935 into one of China’s most distinguished
martial arts families. His great-grandfather, Quan You (1834 – 1902), was an officer of the Imperial Guards Brigade in Beijing’s Forbidden City. At this time, Yang Luchan (1799-1872) was a martial arts instructor there and for many years Quan You studied with Yang Luchan and his eldest son, Yang Banhou.
Grandmaster Ma’s grandfather, Wu Jianquan (1870-1942), was a cavalry officer who subsequently taught Tai Chi Chuan and developed from his father’s art what is now the Wu style. Utilizing the “small frame” his father had learned from Yang Luchan, he made important modifications utilizing narrower circles and the distinctive footwork and body positions now seen in Wu style Tai Chi Chuan. In 1914, along with his colleagues Yang Shaohou, Yang Chengfu and Sun Lutang, he began teaching publicly at the Beijing Physical Culture Research Institute. As he taught to the general public, he continued to make modifications to his style, refining the more overt martial techniques in much the same way that Yang style has, making the motions slower and smoother for a wider appeal. In 1928, Wu Jianquan moved to Shanghai and formed the Wu style Tai Chi Chuan Association in 1935.
Grandmaster Ma’s father, Ma Yuehliang (1901-1998), began studying with Wu Jianquan at the age of 18. In 1930 he married Master Wu’s daughter, Wu Yinghua (1906-1996), and served as deputy director of the Shanghai Association.
From the age of 6, Grandmaster Ma began learning Tai Chi Chuan in this especially rich environment. Both his parents were accomplished teachers and his uncles had studied intensively with his grandfather. He remains dedicated to this day to sharing his family’s traditions.
For over 70 years Grandmaster Ma has been practicing his family’s techniques and is now President of the Shanghai Wu Style Tai Chi Chuan Association. His traditions emphasize focused, tranquil and consistent practice. Master Ma’s performances are characterized by a high degree of expressed equilibrium and natural calmness. He holds a doctorate in Chemistry and since his retirement as a professor, he dedicates his efforts to expanding the practice of Wu style Tai Chi Chuan.
It is an honor to have Grandmaster Ma Hailong at the 2014 Symposium.