History of Mantis Kung Fu

7starmantis

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This may be a hard topic as there are many different beliefs as to how this system was actually developed.

History of Mantis Kung Fu
Preying Mantis originated towards the end of the Ming dynasty. Prior to the Ming dynasty, Chinese martial arts were on a downward trend, possibly due to the prohibitive influence of the Mongol invaders. The Ming dynasty became a period of rebuilding for Kung Fu in China. Martial arts had become vague and dance-like. So Kung Fu masters studied many different systems and blended them together in order to improve their Martial arts and increase their knowledge for fighting. Preying Mantis was a result of this period of rebuilding. According to tradition, preying mantis originated in the East Shan-Tung province of China. Its founder was a master of a very high level in Kung Fu named Wong Long. Wong Long studied the insects fighting techniques, and from them developed the trademark of Preying Mantis: the mantis claw (tiao), a grabbing motion that derives all of its power from the wrist and forearm. Wong Long also observed the manner in which monkeys move and from that created the mantis "monkey step", a quick and balanced method of footwork. When attacked, the mantis practitioner can move easily in any direction with amazing speed and balance. The mantis style that Wong Long founded is called "seven-star preying mantis". In Chinese martial arts, seven-star means, "always moving and changing your direction, in order to break down your opponent's guard".

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Rich Parsons

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I enjoyed the quick history there. Thank You.

A couple of questions:


Ming Dynasty? Please excuse my ignorance, could you list the dynasties and approximate western time frame associated with them?

Monkey Step? - Could you go into further detail on this or will it require seeing it to understand? I was curious if it was similar to somethign else I might have seen or learned.
:asian:
 
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7starmantis

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From what I understand, he was a fighting monk at the Shaolin temple, but I just assume that is a generic temple style. I'll have to try and look deeper into that now. I know he often left the temple to study abroad, to increase his skill, so I would imagine he had maybe many systems.

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KENPOJOE

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Originally posted by 7starmantis
This may be a hard topic as there are many different beliefs as to how this system was actually developed.

History of Mantis Kung Fu
Preying Mantis originated towards the end of the Ming dynasty. Prior to the Ming dynasty, Chinese martial arts were on a downward trend, possibly due to the prohibitive influence of the Mongol invaders. The Ming dynasty became a period of rebuilding for Kung Fu in China. Martial arts had become vague and dance-like. So Kung Fu masters studied many different systems and blended them together in order to improve their Martial arts and increase their knowledge for fighting. Preying Mantis was a result of this period of rebuilding. According to tradition, preying mantis originated in the East Shan-Tung province of China. Its founder was a master of a very high level in Kung Fu named Wong Long. Wong Long studied the insects fighting techniques, and from them developed the trademark of Preying Mantis: the mantis claw (tiao), a grabbing motion that derives all of its power from the wrist and forearm. Wong Long also observed the manner in which monkeys move and from that created the mantis "monkey step", a quick and balanced method of footwork. When attacked, the mantis practitioner can move easily in any direction with amazing speed and balance. The mantis style that Wong Long founded is called "seven-star preying mantis". In Chinese martial arts, seven-star means, "always moving and changing your direction, in order to break down your opponent's guard".

7sm

Hi Folks!
I read the history listed and i wanted to give some different perspectives into praying mantis history...
Wang Lang was a shantung born ming daynasty soldjier [sp] who , upon the fall of the Ming Dynasty and the rise of the Ching Dynasty [the mongols] Wang Lang sought "sanctuary" at the Shaolin Temple. [NOTE: The reason this was allowed was a phrase in buddhism that stated that "If the buddha should rise up against my country, i must kill the buddha" meaning that national pride superceeded religious fevor] He was inducted as an "unshaved monk" with meant he was not required to do all the religious aspects associated with "secular monks". Legend states that wang lang was a proud man who challenged the head abbot upon wang's arrival to shaolin, wang lang was defeated by a "martial monk" of the lowest level. He then resigned himself to training in the shaolin system. Three years later, he challenged the abbot once again, and was defeated by a middle level "martial monk" and went back to his training for another 3 years. During that time, he had his famous "encounter" watching a mantis fight a cicada [beetle] for which he founded the 4 basic blocks [go,lo,tsai,gua] and the 12 "technique" formula, which is based on adding the "monkey" footwork to the mantis handwork [which some say was due to wang lang being put in charge of caring for one of the "natural alarm systems" of shaolin, local monkeys that were used on the temple grounds Wang Lang also looked for flaws in the shaolin system and took advantage of those aspects by focusing on diagonal footwork and trapping actions. Wang Lang for the third time challenged and defeated the head abbot. The new style was incorporated into the shaolin curriculum. However, once Wang Lang returned home, he opened several schools and even advertised "I BEAT SHAOLIN" on placards in front of his schools! legend goes that as wang lang lie dying he asked his students to capture a mantis and to see what they returned with...
the story goes that one brought back a mantis with no marks [bare back] another with 7 marks [7 stars] and others as well...
[it is a legend,after all"]
Wang Lang was not the founder of the seven star system specifically and even the "go,lo,tsai,kua" change from style to style. some of the mantis styles are six harmony,seven star,eight step,secrect door,jade ring,plum blossom,wah lum,bare back to name but a few...
I hope that I was of some service,
KENPOJOE
 
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7starmantis

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This is deffinatly one of the many legends of the founding of mantis kung fu. Its hard, being that there is not much written proof of many creations of systems in kung fu. Some say the different systems of mantis are from the different students who returned with the different mantis'. Some don't accept even the story of the different students bringing the mantis' back, after all, one was supposed to have had a ying yang on its back.
I think its widely accepted about the creation of the hand movements, although many believe there were a differing number of hand movements created. I personally dont get to wrapped up in whos story is more or less correct, its interesting to study, but not neccesarily important to studying the art itself.

Its nice to see someone outside of CMA who has studied up a little on kung fu. I was beginning to think that CMA were becoming ignored.

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7starmantis

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Why the Preying Mantis?

According to Legend, Wong Long was a very accomplished martial artist. While training to improve his abilities he noticed an unusual struggle. In the field where he was resting he noticed a preying mantis being attacked by a much larger cicada. Wong Long was sure the larger insect would quickly overpower the frail mantis. To his surprise however, the mantis quickly defeated the much larger insect and Wong Long captured the mantis. He spent much time studying the insect and how it moved and attacked, poking at it with reeds. He imitated the ability of the mantis to quickly latch on to its opponent, use their energy and quickly release to overcome much larger and more powerful opponents. This proved extremely helpful in increasing Wong Longs skill and so he created the Preying Mantis System.
 

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Ming Dynasty? Please excuse my ignorance, could you list the dynasties and approximate western time frame associated with them?
Thats the dynasty before qing that ended around 1645. Unless I am mistaken.
 

arnisador

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Is it known whether all praying mantis styles (other than Southern mantis) came from a single source--the original praying mantis style--or if perhaps more than one person had the idea to model an art on the movements of the mantis?
 

someguy

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Ming Dynasty? Please excuse my ignorance, could you list the dynasties and approximate western time frame associated with them?
heres a list
Xia 2205-1818 BC
Shang 1523-1027 BC
Zhou 1027-256 BC
Warring States perriod 403-221 BC
Qin dynasty: 221-207
Han Dynasty: 206 BC- AD 220
The Sui Dynasty 581-618
The T'ang Dynasty 618-907
Yuan Dynasty 1280-1368
ming 1368-1644 AD
Qing (Manchu) Dynasty1644-1911
I am missing some I know
 
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7starmantis

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Originally posted by someguy
heres a list
Xia 2205-1818 BC
Shang 1523-1027 BC
Zhou 1027-256 BC
Warring States perriod 403-221 BC
Qin dynasty: 221-207
Han Dynasty: 206 BC- AD 220
The Sui Dynasty 581-618
The T'ang Dynasty 618-907
Yuan Dynasty 1280-1368
ming 1368-1644 AD
Qing (Manchu) Dynasty1644-1911
I am missing some I know

I was saying ??? because I didn't see what you were answering, or where your post came from.
Sorry.

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7starmantis

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Originally posted by arnisador
Is it known whether all praying mantis styles (other than Southern mantis) came from a single source--the original praying mantis style--or if perhaps more than one person had the idea to model an art on the movements of the mantis?

It is generally agreed upon that all mantis kung fu came from the same source. Including southern. The details of how the inspiration came are different, and the way the systems devided and spred are different, but the source is generally accepted by everyone in mantis.

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