View Full Version : is mantis enough?

laughing tiger
06-20-2000, 03:17 AM
Greetings! I am curious as to whether you believe that your own Mantis art is comprehensive enough, by itself. Do you think it is a complete system, or an aspect of a larger collection of arts? Thanks, friends! :-)

Red Masque
06-20-2000, 06:23 PM
It is one of the diminishing systems of a complete fighting art.

bamboo_ leaf
06-23-2000, 07:48 PM
Yes, it seems to be a very complet art, with a wide range of movements and ideas.

enjoy life

bamboo leaf

06-23-2000, 08:02 PM
Wow! What a question! There are so many different styles of mantis, and each one covers different aspects of fighting. All focus on trapping, and are most effective in that area. Some are more acrobatic, some have more or fewer kicks, most have weapons as well.

I'm limited to experience in Northern Praying Mantis of the Wah Lum variety, so I can't speak for all mantis systems, but I found Wah Lum to be pretty darned comprehensive. The workouts were quite challenging, and the emphasis on flexibility and developing your agility and body control through forms was great. The only place I found anything lacking was in groundfighting and grappling. There were tons of throws and takedowns and sweeps to put your opponent on the ground, but it seemed to me that unless they stayed there, unconscious, you might have to venture into unfamiliar territory.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: knowledge of other systems is a good thing. It's far better, IMHO, to be acquainted with other techniques and styles other than your own so that you will have more tools at your disposal, rather than fooling yourself into thinking your style is the 'be-all-end-all' of styles. I've been at this for 18 years, and I feel like I'm just starting out.

Overall, I think that the various Mantis styles are fantastic, but could benefit from some additional emphasis on grappling.

Red Masque
06-23-2000, 08:38 PM
Any & every art is "lacking" in one area or another. Please deffer back to the original question.

06-23-2000, 10:39 PM
Huh? I thought I did answer the original question. And I certainly agree with you about any and every art lacking something. Most grappling styles aren't that handy with many of the primary fighting tools of striking systems, and that's a disadvantage.

I'm curious about your answer, that mantis is a 'diminishing system' of a complete fighting art. If you mean that it's been diluted or has lost something in the translation over time, then I suppose I follow you, but please elaborate. And please understand that I'm not bickering or trying to pick a fight. I just enjoy the discussion. Peace, brother!

Red Masque
06-23-2000, 11:50 PM
I mean by diminishing is; Through the last 20-30 years or so there has been a great knowledge loss. The "Me Too!"/need more stuff/partial-artists in "todays" society have caused a great enough frustration in many traditional instructors to make them say, "Why the hell should I bother teaching you what I know?? You will be gon in 3 years anyway to find an art to "fill the gaps" that this system has....so you think, because you didn't stay here long enough to be taught fill in the gaps with this system.". Enough of this has gone on long enough for many modern schools to specialize in something ie., the latest thing that makes money, & not even skim the surface of what the original art had to offer. I mean, ground fighting existed back when the older arts were created! They had to deal with them on one level or another. You can generaly see how well a country did with its fighting by looking at the current world map. It hasn't changed a whole lot in the last hundred or so years by the way of cultural population pertaining to martial arts.
Sorry about taking offence, this is a point of historical, social & cultural irritation for me.

mantis boxer
06-24-2000, 10:54 AM
Praying Mantis is a complete style. It absorbed a little bit from 17 other styles. Just because someone can't fight with the style means they aren't training correctly. Don't blame it on the style, blame it on the practioner. It takes 2 lifetimes to master a style. Any style of kung fu is "good enough." I think it's silly to " Learn mantis for the quick strikes" and" Learn Hung Gar to develop incredible strength." That's ridiculous.

06-24-2000, 05:15 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Red Masque:
It is one of the diminishing systems of a complete fighting art.[/quote]

I have to agree, and I'll give two examples.

1) For disciples before the Wong, Hon-Fan generation, it was not uncommon for all mantis students to practise "iron body." In the old days, when chinese martial artists would travel thru out China to match skills, you never knew if your opponent used Iron palm. In the Shaolin Temple movie, Jet Li fights a drunken sword opponent. That opponent is a well-known mantis guy. He has confirmed that iron body was standard practice by the old-timers.

2) Anyone with an old text of Bung Bo Kuen with the old-time master holding a closed-clenched fist. Notice that the thumb is adjacent to the index finger and NOT underneath the index and middle fingers. Just a little thing like this, but it meant that the clenched fist could not only punch, but also be used to graze an opponent's temple or eyebrow w/o changing hand form. The thumb could suddenly stick out and jab into the eyes, ears, or throat. Check out the old editions of Ching Mo books and notice how mantis, sil lum, and eagle claw held their fists... Interesting stuff.

06-25-2000, 11:21 PM
Northern Praying Mantis is considered complete system. It is not the only one and nor do I believe is the "end all, be all", a lot of it will depend upon the practioner and his/her ability.
Northern Praying Mantis contains various empty hand and weapon sets and practical drills on how to use each. Groundfighting is not unheard of, in fact my understanding of it is, that it's quite brutal. However Mantis practioners do not prefer to be there.
Chi-gung is also be a part of some linages, as is the "Iron-Body" and "Iron Palm". It is said that the two create a better balance within a practitioner.
It is as Red Masque pointed out, unfortunate that through the years bits and pieces have been lost to some. Not only from Sifu not finding any students they deemed worthy, but also from people that learned the art and never passed it on. Unlike other MA styles in which you can be considered a "master " in 2-4 years, (because the style has become Americanized with an attitude of quick to instant gratification) Mantis takes much longer. Personaly I was told to expect 6-10 years and even that depended upon my learning abilities. So I decided to enjoy the journey and learn as much as possible however long it takes.


06-26-2000, 02:10 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by HKMantis:
[BIt is as Red Masque pointed out, unfortunate that through the years bits and pieces have been lost to some. Not only from Sifu not finding any students they deemed worthy, but also from people that learned the art and never passed it on.
HK [/B][/quote]

Which lead me to this question... Did Wong, Hon-Fan learned everything and document it or was he given the grandmaster position even though there were more senior sihings due to his attitude and politeness?
Given that Preying Mantis has over 100 sets, which of the old-timers actually learned everything?

06-26-2000, 05:18 PM
Given the fact that on the mainland there are nowhere near 100 forms in any one lineage of mantis, I would have to say that he learned them all, or he would not have been given the title & rank in the system. On the other hand, I am no great historian, so to get a better answer to your question there is a place where mantis people from all over the world converse online. Many of them are the top mantis sifu & historians in the world. Go to http://www.authentickungfu.com click on the mantis button & then join the mantis mailing list there. CCM & WHF lineages plus a few more are all represented by very knowledgable people. To get your best answer, repost your question there.

06-26-2000, 06:34 PM

OK, on the mainland Fan Xu Dong taught to Lo Kwang Yu 18 empty hand sets. Are you saying they weren't masters? I only ask this because of your criteria of having over 100 forms. As to the question of "Is WHF a Grandmaster?" Depends on how you answer my question. Did he document everything he knew? Only he could answer that.

Young Mantis
06-26-2000, 08:43 PM
I have a few questions:

Molum_Jr: Why do you believe PM having over 100 forms is a given? Only the CCM lineage claims to have over 100 forms.

HKMantis: How do you know Fan Yuk Dong only taught 18 forms to Law Gwong Yuk? What is your source? Curious.

As for the question of WHF being a grandmaster, I think it really comes down to your definition of GM. What does the title have anything to do with whether or not he published everything he knew? There are GM's that never published in their lifetime. WHF was asked by Law Gwong Yuk to teach for him at the age of 20. He taught for 40 years and was known as the Mantis King in HK. Whether or not he published everything he knew, which he did not, I believe he is still the most published PM GM to date.

06-27-2000, 03:04 AM
Young Mantis,

My source is one of the guys that trains on the mainland. I'm sorry I don't recall his name at the moment. It was published on Authentic Kung-Fus' mailing list. (BTW it's a great source of information) It was brought up during such claims as mentioned. It seemed to bring that whole discussion to a quick end.
I will be in Yantai in July meeting with Fan Yuk Dongs' decendents I would be more than happy to confirm this with them at that time and give you their answer.


06-27-2000, 11:32 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Young Mantis:
I have a few questions:

Molum_Jr: Why do you believe PM having over 100 forms is a given? Only the CCM lineage claims to have over 100 forms.

HKMantis: How do you know Fan Yuk Dong only taught 18 forms to Law Gwong Yuk? What is your source? Curious.

Sorry... When I mentioned 100 forms, that would not only include the mantis sets but also include mini-sets/auxillary exercises consisting of a few to less that ~ 20 movements, ching mo sets, and northern shaolin.

Young Mantis
06-28-2000, 11:26 PM
HKMantis: It sounds interesting. I would like to hear more of whatever you find out. I am aware that Lo Guang Yuk added a lot to the Mantis system but to have learnt only 18 from Fan Yuk Dong seems little. Have fun in Yantai.

Molum_jr: I thought you were referring only to empty-hand solo forms. Yes, if we include into the count all the ling forms, other two-man sets, weapons solo and sparring, we are also well over 100 forms. I usually don't refer to the drills though as forms and so don't include them in a count of forms.

06-28-2000, 11:51 PM
I am interested in knowing what Lou Guang Yuk added to the system. (Also, I think the 18 forms excluded the weapons forms)....Anyone?
-- Also, Young Mantis, how does your forms list break down number-wise?? ie, open-hand sets, weapon sets, etc...???
-- Anyone: where did the short sets come from?? Were they Chin-Woo sets?? or did the Master at the time create them for excersizes??(or whatever)...???
Thanks in Advance,

06-29-2000, 02:42 AM
I must say you have made me work for this one. I've had to go through many stacks of paper that have yet to be organized but I found I it. The list of empty hand forms in Yanti is as follows /infopop/emoticons/icon_frown.gifThese are the Mandarin terms given in the E-mail)
Cha Chui
Beng Bu
Shi Ba Shou
Cuo Kang
Fan Che (This covers both Da and Siu)
Lan Jie
Shuang Cha Hua
Rou Ling
He couldn't remember the ninth one
Bai Yuan Chu Dong
Bai Yuan Tou Tao
Bai Yuan Xien Tao
The Thirteenth through the Eighteenth are Yi - Liu Lu Zhai Yao

Then he lists two 2-man sets. They are:
Tiao Hua San
Zhai Kui

I know 18 sets doesn't sound like alot but if you look at the varity of techniques contained within each form you get a good grasp of Northern Mantis. This however is just an opinion and we know what those are like.


Young Mantis
06-29-2000, 03:23 AM
Go to www.northernmantis.com (http://www.northernmantis.com) for a list of the forms taught by my Sifu.