Mark Jones has over 30 years of martial arts experience, and is still constantly exploring and learning on a daily basis. As a child, he bought a book called “Combat Judo,” and used to practice throws on his unfortunate little brother. His father would never let him take lessons, but in 1971, in his second year of college, he joined the Kent State Karate Club, and studied Ishin-Ryu Okinawan karate under Sensei Ron Mohr. At that time, he was also introduced to Zazen meditation. By 1973, he had become fascinated with Eastern philosophy, reading all the classics, and the following year, began the study of Shaolin kung fu, paqua chang (baguazhang) and chi-kung (qigong) with Sifu Wei-Chen Ni, also in Kent, and attended kung fu workshops given by students of Master Feeman Ong. After having moved to Youngstown, Ohio in 1975, Mark studied Poekoelan Tjimindie Indonesion Kung fu with Mas Bill Dobich, a top student of the late Guru Willy Wetzel.
After moving to New York, Mark became intrigued with the Chinese Internal Arts, and in the early 1990’s, began studying with a senior disciple of B.P. Chan, and with Mr. Chan himself. He was one of the highest level martial artists, philosophers and human beings of the 20th century – a Zen master who actually lived what he preached and taught by example. Mark studied with him for 7 years until his death, and with one of his senior students for 14 years. He continues to train and learn together with other senior students, as well as with his own fellow students.
At present, Mr. Jones does not teach publically, but has given private workshops. He is working on a forthcoming book called “The Principles of Body Mechanics,” after he discovered that the internal arts teach how the body was designed to operate safely, without getting injured, and to most efficiently maximize strength. The one factor that unites all movement are the principles, which are immutably dictated by nature, and which most practitioners seem oddly to be unaware of.
The arts that Mark practices are as follows:
Chi-Kung (Qigong) – “Working the vital breath,” a series of exercises which are considered to be “the mother of the martial arts,” as well as for therapeutic healing value. They include standing, sitting, lying down and walking meditation postures and transitions, body strengthening, stretching, visualization, healing sounds for internal organs, cancer healing and prevention, tui-na accupressure massage, and systems that include Yi-chuan (Yiquan), Chi-kung, Nei-kung, Tung-kung, Ching-kung, Tai-chi ruler, Tai-chi Chi-kung, and 5 Animals Frolic.
Tai-Chi Chuan (Taijiquan) – “Grand Ultimate Fist,” a self-defense system that retreats, neutralizes and advances against an opponent. The body is trained to be like steel wrapped in cotton, and fascilitates the opponent to defeat himself. It includes forms, 2 person self-defense and sensitivity exercises, fighting forms and energy awareness. Benefits include improved balance, learning how to avoid injury, how to relax, and to overcome stress. Mark practices the traditional Yang Family long form, short form, san-shou fighting form, the old frame Chen form, Tung Ying Ch’ieh fast form and san-shou, push hands, Chen advance-retreat, chi-na grappling, silk-reeling exercises and 7 stars exercise. Weapons include the Shaolin sword form of the 8 Immortals, and tai-chi staff.
Paqua-Chang (Baguazhang) – “Eight Trigram Palm Boxing,” a walking, weaving circular art that neutralizes the opponent and advances. This extremely complex art includes mud walking with scissor legs footwork, while walking, twisting, turning and maintaining 3 folds of the body. Mark practices the dragon-claw style which includes standing Chi-kung sets, circle walking, inner meditative palms, the 8 outer palms, push hands, fighting applications and chi-na grappling.
Hsing-Yi Chuan (Xingyiquan) – “Mind Form Boxing,” a very direct, explosive art which diverts the opponent and advances in a straight line direction. Mark practices the 5 elements, 12 animals, advance – retreat, linking form, chi-kung standing meditation, 2 person exercises, fighting applications and chi-na grappling.