Six Harmony Praying Mantis (Liu He Tang Lang)

Six Harmony Praying MantisSeveral months ago, Plum published Sifu Adam Hsu’s significant book, “Life Is Too Short For Bad Kung Fu,” in which he outlined some crucial methods to save traditional Wushu from extinction. He might have had Sifu Tsai Yong Huang’s new DVD on Liu He Tang Lang (Six Harmony Praying Mantis) in mind when he reiterated the dire need for more attention to basics; a ‘graduated’ curriculum; and a serious respect for traditional forms (but not to the exclusion of modernization). So it comes as no surprise that Sifu Hsu, in his lengthy introduction to this 3-disk set, recommends Tsai Sifu’s DVD and his approach to developing and teaching this lesser known soft mantis style.

In this remarkable DVD set, Sifu Tsai presents the six simplified forms he developed based on the traditional principles of Liu He Tang Lang incorporated in the original routines. These routines create step-by-step accessibility for students to bridge the basics of the system and the more advanced forms. He then demonstrates generous usage from each of the new forms, again, maintaining techniques specific to Liu He Tang Lang. Finally, Tsai Sifu honors the traditional by demonstrating the six original forms.

There are many uncommon aspects to this DVD set, not the least of which are the two meaty introductions by both Sifu Hsu and Sifu Tsai. One aspect of the introductions that particularly struck us was the emphasis by both Sifu Hsu and Sifu Tsai that this is an ongoing project—still in developing stages— and that both are actively seeking both contribution and criticism. This refreshing humility is rare these days, and encourages us even further to recommend this DVD.

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