Who We Are

Great Bay Tai Chi is a group of affiliated Tai Chi instructors teaching the Newburyport and Hamilton, MA and Woodstock, VT areas.  We share common teachings and styles, but offer our own classes and schedules. We have trained together under Master Paul Mahoney, founder of Great Bay Tai Chi.  We continue to learn from him and each other, and we support each other in our efforts to share our knowledge and continue to offer quality instruction in the art of Tai Chi.  You can see our instructor profiles below.


Paul Mahoney (Head Instructor) Paul is the founder of Great Bay Tai Chi, a group of affiliated instructors teaching in the Newburyport and Hamilton, Massachusetts and Woodstock, VT areas. Paul is a Tai Chi and Qigong (Chi Kung) master as well as an expert in martial Tai Chi, which includes Pushing Hands and Chin Na. Great Bay Tai Chi offers instruction in Tai Chi for health as well Yang style Taijiquan (Tai Chi as a martial art).

Paul spent a decade studying hard style martial arts, including Korean Tae Kwon do and Okinawan Uechi Ryu, before discovering the internal martial arts. He has been fascinated with the internal styles ever since, and now has been a practitioner of the internal martial arts for more than thirty years, including over twenty years studying Yang Style Tai Chi Chuan (Taijiquan). He was an assistant instructor of Dr. Yang Jwing Ming (founder of Yang’s Martial Arts Association) for Tai Chi and Shaolin Chin Na for many years. He is a former winner of the USA push hands competition for the 170 lb division  at the 2000 “A taste of China” tournament in Winchester Virginia. Paul has had the good fortune to have trained with some top internal martial arts masters in this country. He incorporates these experiences into his teaching style. Paul has studied Qigong and Tai Chi with several masters (including Da Peng, Ermei Style Qigong, and Push Hands with Master Liang Shou Yu), and has taken courses with master Wei Lun Huang and others. He continues to study healing Qigong with Master Ramel Rones and has Master Rones visit Great Bay to offer seminars. Paul studied Xingyiquan with Tai Ngo and studied Wudang Natural-Style Martial Arts under the late 25th generation master Shan Gui Wen, which includes Wudang tai chi that combines tai chi, Xing Yi and Bagua. These days Paul is semi-retired from teaching and teaches only a few classes a week and  prefers to be a mentor and teacher to the Great Bay Tai Chi instructors.

Marna Badavas (Lead Instructor)  Marna's long-held interest in Chinese culture and Traditional Chinese Medicine led her to pursue the health benefits of Tai Chi practice. After having practiced Tai Chi for several years at other schools, Marna began her Tai Chi training with Paul Mahoney of Great Bay Tai Chi in 2003. She continues her ongoing training with Paul in Yang Style Short Form, Classical Yang Style Long Form, Tai Chi Ball, Tai Chi Qigong, Taiji Fighting Set, and Chinese Fan Boxing. Marna is a firm believer that one’s Tai Chi training never ends. In 2005, Marna became an instructor at Great Bay Tai Chi.  She teaches Yang Style Short Form and Yang Style Long Form. Marna has also taught several special classes for Great Bay Tai Chi including the Flowing Water Fan Form, Tai Chi Ball, and Introductory Push Hands.

Chris Himmel (Lead Instructor) Chris began his study of martial arts in the early 1990s. It was not until he discovered Taijiquan that he truly found what he was searching for. Currently, Chris studies the Yang Style Short, Long, Ball, Saber, and Sword forms along with Push Hands and the Taiji Fighting Set.  In 2010 Chris added the study of Wudang San Feng Natural Style Arts under Paul Mahoney and LuAnne Pigeon, which includes the arts of Xingyiquan, Baguazhang, and Taijiquan.  Chris’s passion for Tai Chi is evident in his classes as he likes nothing better than sharing his knowledge with others.  Chris has experience teaching Qigong to patients recovering from addiction as well as in assisted living facilities.  Chris received gold and silver medals for form performances and a gold medal for push hands competition at the 2019 International Chinese Martial Arts Championship tournament in Marlboro, MA.  Outside of his Tai Chi practice, Chris runs HimmelMusik, an instrument repair business based in Amesbury.

Petra Horgan Petra began her study of Yang Style Tai Chi Chaun Short Form at the School of Tai Chi Chuan in New York City. She has also studied with Wolfe Lowenthal at Long River Tai Chi Circle in Manhattan, New York. Currently, she studies and teaches at Great Bay Tai Chi with Paul Mahoney, adding Traditional Yang Style Long Form, Qi Gong and Pushing Hands to her interests.

Kate Heckman Kate trained for several years in the martial art of Muay Thai kick boxing. Kate now enjoys studying and practicing Tai Chi at Great Bay Tai Chi. She enjoys all aspects of this fascinating martial art from practicing qigong and meditation to learning the martial applications of the forms. She currently teaches classes for Great Bay Tai Chi at the the Community House of Hamilton/Wenham.

Austin Murray Austin found martial arts in his early teens. Traveling 50 miles to find the nearest

Kung Fu school, he began his practice in Boston right before the start of High School.

There he studied Long Fist, Praying Mantis and Staff weapon styles. Six years later he discovered

Tai Chi under the instruction of Paul Mahoney where he focuses his studies on Chin Na and Tai Chi Applications.


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