View Full Version : Mantis fingers...

laughing tiger
06-17-2000, 03:54 AM
Got a question for you Mantis practitioners. Since my years of training have been in 2 southern styles and I am new to Northern Mantis, I would love some feedback. In my new school, my Sifu teaches us to perform a mantis hand (in forms) a bit differently than what I see some others do in pictures. I see people with their pointer and middle fingers opened up...and their thumb behind them about halfway up the fingers. My Sifu has us put the fingers together, with the thumb just about a 3rd of an inch from the fingertips. He claims it's less pretty, but more application-ready. I am not saying someone is wrong, I am just curious as to your thoughts on this. Thanks! :-)

06-17-2000, 04:09 AM
hi laughing tiger! In my school it is the way you described in the pictures you've seen. Thumb is placed about half way up between the index and the middle fingers with the two fingers spread apart. Now the way you do it might be part of your style. Every style has its own thing including mantis. That's just my opinion i tried doing mantis the way you explained and found it rather hard. But i'm no expert.

06-17-2000, 08:29 AM
Laughing Tiger:

I too use the mantis hand you first described. It looks sort of like a hand with faned out fingers. Who is your sifu?
I've seen Raul Ortiz use his mantis hand like your sifu described.

YES says, "You, yourself are your only Teacher."


Paul Skrypichayko
06-17-2000, 09:32 AM
I have been told that the reason for the typical northern mantis hand being the way it is, is because the index finger is used more in sensing and point striking. A grab with all 4 fingers is very strong, but a little slow compared to a mantis grab which is much faster and a little weaker.

Maybe Mantis108 or Mr. Dasargo can clarify for us?

laughing tiger
06-17-2000, 01:29 PM
Thanks for the cool posts! My new Sifu is Master "Duke" Cheung in southern Calif, who comes from Shandong, fled to Korea due to the cultural revolution perescutions, and then here. The forms are done two finger, but together. Reminds me of a peck (for strikes such as to the armpit) that I was taught in a southern style, but that used 3 fingers and a thumb...this is 2 fingers and a thumb, but the thumb is just ahead of the first bend in the finger. I believe it is due to the open fingers, or the use of just one finger, are more subject to breaking in a fight.

laughing tiger
06-17-2000, 01:33 PM
mantisgirl...nice to see now TWO women artists on the boards.

I also noticed that the Mantis practitioners are a rather intelligent and friendly bunch :-) (passing out cookies to my friends).

06-17-2000, 07:47 PM
For my school it depends on the situation, as part of a block, we do it the "pretty" way, using the fingers as talons. As a strike, we have our fingers the way you describe. We also have them the "pretty" way when it's a backfist-type of strike (with the middle knuckle)--this is to keep the rest of the hand relaxed allowing for all of the energy and power to come through in the strike.

06-18-2000, 09:45 AM
Laughing Tiger, I have asked my Sifu the same question. He said the reason for the "pretty" mantis hand is that when you are practicing very fast with hard grip, the three fingers will kind of slip on each other and you will end up not with three fingers bunched together, but with the "pretty" hand. I believe it because it's almost impossible to do the mantis hand fast and hard and still keep all three fingers bunched together like they're suppose to be.

06-18-2000, 11:45 PM
Hi All,

Nice discussions. I'm glad to see more "Yin" in the Mantis family. Yes, thanks Paul, I would like to share my view with everyone. I hope to hear from Michael, too.

The hand, we call it "Dill Sau". IMO, Tai Chi Praying Mantis is a hard and soft system; whereas, 7 star addresses the hard aspect more. This is not to say which is better but to say that there are different approaches to the same problem. The Dill Sau in TCPM (fanned out and looked like the Mantis's talons with spikes) emphasize on sense of touch and timing (caden, etc...)- the soft aspect. The 3 fingers tucked in as seen in many 7 star schools, I surmise, can be view as a conditioning hidden in the form. When gripping with the pinky leading, you are in effect practicing the gripping power and technique of the hand. Try that grip (leading with the pinky) on a straight rigth. You right hand lands the pinky at the wrist where you find the pulse. The rest of fingers follow with the thumb by the side of the index (otherwise it will become a full grap). Twist and snap. If executed correctly, your opponent can be in enormous pain. Of course, you will thank all those finger push ups and wrist execerise that you've been working on giving you this sweet kick to the technique. There are more ways to apply the grip both defensively and offensively. So brothers and sisters: think think think and practice practice practice. Mantis is more than meet the eyes.


p.s. Remember relax and don't force it. Don't try to bull fighting someone. Alway observe the techniques in the moves.

Michael, your thoughts?

Contraria Sunt Complementa

laughing tiger
06-19-2000, 01:21 PM
I'm learning a lot...thanks, everyone. :-)

07-19-2000, 08:37 PM
My sifu teaches both styles of hand placement that you have mentioned. The "pointing" of the index finger is used in most of the empty hand forms, while the other more open style you described is used in our Tai Chi forms, known as Tai Chi Ja'ang or "Palms" style tai chi. Either in my opinion is effective in grabbing and locking (which is the fighting application that I have been explained thus far) I am by no means an expert, but I pay attention when Sifu speaks : )
I have to because his english is so poor : )

07-31-2000, 01:31 AM
In 8 Step praying mantis Master Wei Tsiao Tang can be seen in pictures using the more bunched up mantis claw. The current Grandmaster Shyun Kwan Long teaches the more splayed out version. I was taught that mantis claws have their time and purpose, but in 8 step sets, when you see a mantis claw, expect it to represent a fist. As a rule for 8 Step Praying Mantis "Claws for sets, fists for fighting" (especially w/ gloves.

8Step Sifu

07-31-2000, 01:47 AM
So, you use full-hand grabs in lieu of mantis grabs in fighting???