Praying Mantis: Northern Branch
(Bei Pai Tang Lang)

Huang Han Xun- WANG HON FUN : The "Mantis King" Huang Han Xun was born in Guangdong province, Shun De county.

He joined the Hong Kong branch of the Jing Wu Association in 1932 where he started learning with the famous Mantis teacher Luo Guang Yu. Huang actually worked on the maintenance crew of Jing Wu which allowed him to take different classes from different instructors.

After training with Luo he was encouraged to open a Jing Wu in Macau. He taught in the Han Kou district there. Then his teacher asked him to move to teach at the Jing Wu branch in Szechaun province.

Shifu Huang Han Xun was a very traditional instructor who would not personally teach anyone who was not an "inner door" student. Like Yip Man he even preferred not to touch beginning students. He was also known to have a bad temper.

Though everyone admits that Huang was sanctioned to teach by his Master Luo some say he was not allowed to post the banner of the Seven Star because he did not receive the entire transmission. Those who consider themselves appropritate banner holds have been Shih Fu's Chui Chen Luen, Zhao Zhi Min and Lee Kam Wing.

Political squabbles over this lineage just add another dimension to the discussion. Huang himself never used the term "Seven Star" to refer to his system using instead "Northern Mantis." Some say that though he had the right to use the name he felt Northern Mantis represented the essence of the overall Mantis system. This is not without precedent in Kung Fu history.

The last of Huang's top disciples was the famous and well liked instructor Brendan Lai (Tat Chung). He, along with Lee Kam Wing, Henry Chung Jr, are "burying the hatchet" and calling the problem quits with their generation.

Other consideations occur, also in the political arena, in the fact that though Huang only licensed - that is, signed the banners of - twenty students he allowed other competent students to teach. He himself taught over 4000 students in his years as a Jing Wu teacher and was probably more concerned about creditable Mantis reaching out than necessarily perfect instruction. The 20 he designated are to be considered his "cream."

Huang was one of the most prolific Kung Fu writers of his time producing over 40 books. He meant them to be guides for future generations of Mantis practitioners and so they have become. According the Brendan Lai, who from our personal experience with the man shared this opinion, Master Huang was to spread the Mantis to all who were interested and had actually proposed documenting the entire system. His death in 1973 ended that dream.

Huang's publications include:
A series of Mantis books, some say it is now 24, covering hand and weapons forms. The original series did not contain Zhai Yao #2 and #3 or the Wild Goose Flying Palm but it does now.
He also published two books on theory and one on Healing (his Luo Han book) also now within the series.
All these books were collected by Yin Mei and republished but they are now out of print and Yin Mei has closed its door. Plum has been lucky enough to collected a number of these volumes and we are trying to gather the entire series from diverse sources.
There are also two special books:
1. 40th year memorial (with three high level forms and the Drunken Saber)
2. The 14 Road Tan Tui such as Brendan Lai taught in his school. This book even has some historical notes in English.

As a further note: you will find many spellings of Master Huang's name such as Wang Han Funn, Won Hon Fan, Wohng Han Fan etc. .


Plum Publications Praying Mantis Kung Fu Links:
Here are some links to items to the Mantis systems you may wish to investigate ...

Traditional Chinese Books on Praying Mantis start at Page One

VCDs on Seven Star Mantis
VCDs on Tai Chi Mantis
VCDs on Liu He Mantis
VCDs on Tai Chi Mei Hua Mantis
Info on Mantis in general