OF THE MANTIS
style known as Praying Mantis was created by Wang Lang. Born in Shan
Dong Province, Wang was is said to have gone to the Shaolin Temple.
While there he met defeat by a Shaolin monk which inspired him to
leave the Temple and travel around adding many arts to his martial
experience. (Other versions claim his defeat at the hands of Han Tong
on the LeiTai or fighting platform). He gained much knowledge but
it was the sight of a Mantis battling a cicada which inspired the
that was to become TangLang Quan (Praying Mantis boxing). Most accounts
place Wang towards the end of the Ming Dynasty (around 1644) while
others position him in the Song (969-1126). In the Song Dynasty version
Wang, already a master was invited to Shaolin by Abbot Fu Ju to instruct
the monks along with 17 other great teachers. Because there were 17
other friend it is said that the many styles contributing to Mantis
came from this association. Whatever the reasons Mantis is said to
be inspired by:
"Long-range Boxing" (Chang Quan) style from Emperor Tai Zu.
2. Through the Back" (Tongbei) boxing from Han Tong
3. "Wrap Around and Seal" (Chan Feng) from Zhang En
4. " Close-range Strikes" (Duanda) boxing from Ma Ji
"Blocking Hands and Following Through Fist" (Keshou Tongquan) from
6. "Hooking, Scooping and Grabbing Hands" (Gou Lou Cai Shou) from
7. "Methods of Sticking, Grabbing, and Falling" (Zhanna Diefa) from
8. "Short Boxing" (Duan Quan) from Wen Yuan
9. "Monkey Boxing" (Hou Quan) from Sun Heng.
10. "Cotton Fist" (Mien Quan) from Mien Shen is lightning fast.
11. "Throwing-Grabbing and Hard Crashing" (Shuailue Yingbeng) from
Leaking and Passing through the Ears" (Gunlou Guaner) from Tan Fang.
13. "Mandarin ducks" kicking technique (Yuanyang Jiao) from Lin Chong.
14. "Seven Postures of Continuous Fist Strikes" (Qishi Lianquan) from
15. "Hand Binding and Grabbing" (Kunlu Zhenru) from Yang Gun
16. "Explosive Strikes into the Hollow Body Parts (Woli Paochui) from
Master Cui Lian.
17. Huang You's "Close Range Hand Techniques" (Kao Shou).
18. "Praying Mantis" (Tanglang) from Wang Lang absorbed all these
this version all the information, then known as MiShou (Secrets Hands)
was gathered by Abbot FuJu and passed to Taoist prieat ShenXiao DaoRen
only to disappear until the Chien Lung period of the Ching Dynasty
practicing for years and fully formulating his new style Wang Lang
returned to the Temple and soundly defeated all comers. He then returned
to ShanDong and taught his new style to Taoist followers from Lao
Shan (Lao Mountain). Among his student there were Li SanJian and ShengXiao
who transmitted his art to future generations.
to the 1800's the Praying Mantis was a single linneage. At that time
LiuHe Mantis Ð a combination of Six Harmony Boxing and Praying Mantis
was formed. LiuHeTangLang is popular in ZhaoYuan and HuanXian provinces
It is considered "soft style mantis", with primarily soft movements
and density within. This is sometimes described as a needle in cotton.
The founder of the branch, Lin ShiChun, studied from his grandfather
(6 Harmony) and Mantis from Wei Xian - a direct descendent of Wang
Lang. Lin then taught Ding ZiCheng who had many students.
lineage is from Zhang XiangSan who was a direct student of Ding ZiCheng.
Zhang XiangSan had many students. In the United States Shih BoRon
(Boris Shih) is the present lineage holder of the line. Lin ShiChun
developed LiuHe TangLang as it is taught today. The style is a hybrid
of Six Harmonies Fist (LiuHe Chuan) and Seven Star (ChiHsing) Praying
are six mantis routines and one routine of Six Harmonies Short punch
(LiuHe Duan Chui), in addition to a number of compulsory lines which
are similar to Tan Tui (Spring Leg). In addition to these forms students
are also taught a certain amount of Seven Star Praying Mantis performed
in the Six Harmony manner.
style is named after a principle, which is separate from the style
itself. It can be argued that without the "Six Harmonies"
there can be no conscious movement and therefore no true Kung Fu.
Liu He or Six Harmonies means the uniting of 6 principles. There are
three internal (nei jia) and three external( wai jia) principles,
which cannot be separated from each other. The three internal are:
Mind in harmony with intent, intent in harmony with chi and chi in
harmony with force. The three external are: the shoulder in harmony
with the hip, the elbow in harmony with the knee and the hand in harmony
with the foot. The Six Harmonies are the foundation of all good martial
arts practice and also good health. From the very beginning body mechanics
and structure must be established. When the body is in alignment the
chi will flow. The chi does not flow well when the alignment is off.
traditionally Mantis, any Mantis except Southern, introduces the students
to Long Fist at least for a while; Six Harmony may also use other
Mantis fists and Linking forms to round out its training. The core
fists can be shown simultaneously or separately and, really, can go
in just about any order. One of these orders is the following:
Jie Shou Chuan
2. Tie Ci
3. Xian Shou Ben
4. Shuang Feng
5. Tuan Chui
6. Zhao Mien Deng
7. Tsang (Cang) Hua
Mantis then split into two other branches, both quite popular and
large. The first of these is QiXing TangLang (7 Star Praying Mantis).
ShengXiao transmitted Mantis to Li SanJian (also known as ZhiZan)
who instructed Wang YongChun. Master Wang combined his style with
Chang Chuan and created the Seven Star Mantis which still teaches
beginners Long Fist as an introduction to this day.
Here is a partial list of
Seven Star forms...
other style, MeiHua TangLang, derives from Li BingXiao who instructed
Zhao QiLu (also, Zhao Zhu). Li himself was the son of an official
who had moved to ShanDong in the LaiYang Ð HaiYang (Xiao ChiShan village)
area. Li became the founder of Mantis in that region particularly
inspired when, as legend states, his official career did not pan out.
Again, legend confounds claiming that Li actually learned his Mantis
from a local bandit whose life he had saved. Whatever the source Li
had one disciple, Zhao ZhuIt is said that Li "ErhGou) "Two Hooks"
so influenced the LaiYang area that for eight generations it has been
handed down there with few outsiders learning anything. Zhao Zhu was
from Da ChiShan village near Li's Xiao ChiShan. Very little is known
about this generation disciple other than he ran a slaughter house
and did actually live. Continuing the tradition Zhao Zhu had only
few disciples, Liang XueXiang (1810-?) and it was he who was the formal
originator of Plum Blossom (MeiHua) Mantis. Zhao also taught his son,
according to some research, and the style was retained in the family
to the fifth generation and Zhao QingZhi. Liang XueXiang, an inhabitant
of YuShan village— an important Mantis location—was also known
as Liang ShuPu. Liang was a professional bodyguard who, upon retirement,
devoted the rest of his life to promulgating the art. Liang authored
at least three boxing books:
"Boxing, Staff and Spear Fencing Book" (Quan Gun Qiang Pu) This contained
the names of three Mantis Forms: Beng Bu, LuanJie and FanShen BaZhou.
Quan Pu (1853)
Chang Qiang Pu (Long Spear Manual) only recovered publically in 1999.
Tai Chi Mantis is said to contain the following sets and methods:
Eight Elbows an old form supposedly from Wang Lang himself but insufficient
without MiShou or Secret Hands and
BengBu Crashing Step
Also LuanJie Chaotically Connected hands
Finally ZhaiYao or "Essentials" in a number of versions
Later additions include the 7th essential version
MeiHua Lu Plum Blossom Road
And DiGong Quan or Ground Fists
Shou (Flicking Hand) Praying Mantis is a member of the Praying
Mantis Boxing group. It is said to be dervied from Mei Hua
Mantis and then further developed, and is therefore also known
as "Mei Hua (Plum Blossom) Shuai Shou Mantis." the essence
of this boxing is the employment of the Flicking Hand for
self defense. The hand if flicked laterally to explore, with
a shivering hand flick at the wrist, back of the hand foremost
as a main distance strike. Then it issues energy like a chicken
pecking rice or a hummingbird lightly touching water. The
flicking action is loose and soft, then firm and crisp. It
goes out as a palm and returns as a hook.
translated by Debbie Shayne Information
from professor Kang Ge Wu.
BACK CONNECTED (Tong Bei) MANTIS
Tong Bei Tang Lang is a much lesser know style of the Mantis school. To some the union of the two might not be very propitious. However, through careful selection of techniques of Tong Bei (as contributed to the Ba Bu Mantis) those Long Art features which did not clash with the Mantis theory were selected. We should never forget that Long Arm training is often madatory in different Mantis styles and, indeed, the style itself came from Long Fist. The generations of Tong Bei Mantis are considered as follows:
WANG LANG (founder)
YANG JUN PU
YANG JUN PU
MA DA HAN
ZHOU CHANG CHUN
SUN SHAO WEN
GUO DA XING
YANG YONG BIAO
WANG BO REN
YANG JIN YUAN
WANG BO REN
LI FENG SHAN
YANG JIN YUAN
YANG CHUN LIN
SUN ZHI PU
YANG DE FU
YANG DE QING
YANG DE YU
YANG CHUN LIN
YANG LE SHAN
SUN ZHI PU
SUN WEN BO
YANG DE FU
YANG JI SHAN
YANG DE YU
LI YU SAN
YANG JI SHAN
YANG JI E
LI YU SAN
ZHAO JIN CAI
Special Characteristics of Tong Bei Tang Lang include the Rake Fist (like Baji's), Fish Scale stance, the Claw hand, the Luo Han stance, the Sixty Forty stance and many changes of height (levels).
Our VCDs on this style...
student of Liang's named Jiang HuaLong also studied Monkey (HouQuan),
TongBei (from Wang Zhong Qing) and both BaGua and Xing Yin from Chen
DeShan. From this he developed BaBu TangLang or Eight Step Praying
Mantis. The core of this style is six forms but other sets were also
brought into the system. The next generation rested on Feng HuangXi
who added Chin Nah from Eagle Claw and wrestling moves from Shuai
Jiao to the system. Feng passed the art onto Wei XiaoTang (1901-1982)
who taught the Chinese army self defense. After staying in Korea in
1948 he moved to Taiwan and became the undisputed master of BaBu Mantis
style is known as ChangQuan TangLang or Long Fist Mantis. HuangYongKai's
student, Ji ZhongDe taught Wang SuTing (1884-1964). The creator of
MeiHua Mantis - Liang Xue Xian- had a son: Liang Zhong Quan. He taught
Huang Yong Kai the Mantis. Huang's grandstudent, Wu Su Ting, taught
in Qing Dao at Guo Shu Institute and was a friend of Seven Star master,
Luo Guang Yu and his disciple Huang Han Xun. Wang combined his MeiHua
back with Seven Star and added different Long Fist methods to create
ChangQuan (Long Fist) Mantis which, on Taiwan, is still known as Seven
Star. Wang himself named his style Shuai Shou Tang Lang or Thrown Hand
style is known as MiMen TangLang or Secret Door Mantis. This was created
by a student of Wang YuShan who himself was a student of Jiang HuaLong
and Song JiDe. This student, Liu DoSan created the Secret Door then
taught Zhang DeKui (1907-1991) who moved to Taiwan where the formal
name of the style officially became Mi Men of BiMen (Closed Door)
Mantis. But basically this is still a version of Mei Hua Mantis.
NOTE ON TAI CHI MANTIS
ambiguities of name occur commonly in the style and its branches.
For instance Hao LiangRu was a student of MeiHua Mantis from both
Liang XueXiang and Jiang HuaLong. He taught his six sons. The official
inheritor, Hao HengLu formally declared this branch to be Tai Chi
Praying Mantis (no relation to the style Tai Chi other than the shared
principles of Yin and Yang). However the name Tai Chi TangLang is
rarely used outside LaiYang County, ShanDong, where the Mantis first
took root. More commonly this branch can still be refered to as MeiHua.
Often only the practitioners themselves call this branch by the "Tai