Baguazhang's Two Ma's

by Chen Rongliang

Ma Kuei

Ma Gui (1857-1941) was from Shandong.  He was also called Shiqing.  Early in his life he moved to the capitol. At the age of 18 (1875) he asked Yin Fu to be his teacher in Baguzhang.  He recieved all of Yin Fu's teachings and at the same time was coached by Dong Haiquan.Thus his skills in Bagua were very deep.  His outstanding use of the straight arm wrist strike was well known in the martial community.  Using the wrist to strike men is a high skill of Yin Style Bagua.  The wrist strikes are: Cutting Wrist, Intercepting Wrist, Stroking Wrist, Top Wrist, Plucking Wrist, Pulling Wrist, Hooking Wrist, Seizing Wrist, and Pushing Wrist.  In using the Cutting Wrist, for instance, should the enemy attack with a straight strike, I use my front hand, little finger side, to cut down on the incoming wrist, then use the rear hand to attack. With the Intercepting Wrist, should the enemy use his hand to attack my head, my front hand turns inward, using the little finger side to make a strong point intercepting cut on the wrist and foil the enemy.  Ma Kuei practiced his wrist striking kungfu for many years and ultimately became quite famous.  Near the end of the Qing Dynasty he used his cutting wrist in the Langong Palace to break the arm of a martial arts teacher.  He was made head of the palace's many martial arts instructors.  He became famous in the capitol and people called him "Little Kunlun Ma Gui".

When he was 23 (1880) he started a business as a lumber merchant.  When not occupied he practiced martial arts.  He set up a studio where students could exchange skills.  At that time Cheng Tinghua's and Liu Fengchun's men were in the capitol and would come to the Lumber shop to practice.  Ma Gui also got these seniors to coach him many times. Thus his martial skills quickly advanced and became pure.

Ma Kuei did not have many  students. Only one man, Cao Zhong Sheng (Yin Fu's student), recieved some tutoring .  Mr Cao, with his student Lu,  wrote a book in 1932 with a short chapter on Ma's life.

Ma Weiqi

In the old Bagua records, not much attention is paid to Ma Weiqi.

Ma Weiqi (1857-1886/7) was a Beijing man.  As a young man he liked to fight.  When Dong Haiquan became famous, Ma visited him in order to compare skills.  Dong used his Bagua to defeat Ma.  Ma then threw himself down in front of Dong's school and begged to be taught.  Among the students of the Bagua Zhang school, Ma was known as a person of outstanding talent. He had a fiery temper and was arrogant.  He liked to make men fight.  Except for teacher Dong, he regarded men as nothing.  During the Qing Dynasty, Ma ran a coal shop in the capitol.  Business was brisk and he earned the appelation " Big Coal King Ma". Ma was an expert in  Baguazhang, Baguadao, and Bagua Turning Spear.  He was famous for his spear technique.  According to rumor, one year the Su Wang Palace advertised for martial arts teachers.  Ma was the first to go.  Su Wang ordered him to demonstrate his martial skills. Ma picked up a Big Spear and moved into the prince's practice hall to begin.  In the hall were many antiques and precious wall hangings.  If Ma was not careful he could damage some pieces and loose a fortune.  They were so valuable that Ma would never be able to pay for them.  But Ma took his spear in hand.  Using the Eight Gate Eight Spear, the silk tassel was never random.  He used the 12 character song.  He came like a flying phoenix and went like a comet. The spear strikes were straight. He was the acme of perfection and caused Su Wang to be profuse with praise.  Su Wang wanted to give him the appointment, only he felt that if this man were to get angry and violent, he couldn't be controlled.  He awarded Ma 1000 double silvers, and ordered him to return home.  Also at that time, in the NE was a famous caravan escort named Zhao Keli.  Out of admiration for Ma's fame he paid him a visit.  Ma only heaped insults on Zhao and as Zhao was young and had a fierce nature the two men fought.  Eventually because Zhao was not an enemy, Ma used a heavy hand to wound Zhao but did not kill him.  These two stories show that this man's virtue was small.

Ma did not develop virtue, consequently all the Bagua students were not pleased that he would come and go.  One time he had a fight with a man and was injured again and again.  He went to Dong for healing, but the poison from the wounds had entered his bones.  The evil couldn't be cured with accupuncture or herbs, so he couldn't be rescued. He was 30 years old when he died.  Ma had 10 students, the most famous was Liu Zipei, and he only  got a little of the transmission, no one got it all.  Because he had no virtue, he earned the rebuke of the entire martial community.