Southern Praying Mantis system


Introduction to Southern Mantis Kung Fu :
Southern Praying Mantis systems are much respected styles of Kung Fu with simpler, more effective techniques than the Northern Mantis variations - designed to inflict maximum damage on an opponent.

Southern Mantis Kung Fu uses a strong stance from which to defend against aggressive attacks. The wrists are used to manipulate the opponent's attack, forcing an opening in their defence allowing for a lethal & devastating counter attack targeted to vital points of the body, destroying nerves, organs and breaking bones - effectively rendering the opponent defenceless. This makes Southern Mantis Kung Fu very dangerous.

The Mantis systems of Kung Fu have developed in both the north and south of China, and are now renowned and practiced world wide. The southern Mantis Kung Fu systems have only recently travelled to the west, where their impact has been quite dramatic. There are four southern mantis systems of Kung Fu.

1) Chu Family Southern Mantis Kung Fu

2) Chow Family Southern Mantis Kung Fu 

3) Iron Ox Southern Mantis Kung Fu 

4) Bamboo Forest Temple Southern Mantis Kung Fu

Bamboo Forest Temple style of Southern Mantis Kung Fu has only recently been taught to westerners. Before this, the knowledge of this mantis system was always kept among the Chinese. Consequently, its fame has mainly been contained within the Chinese community. 

Bamboo Forest Temple Southern Mantis Kung Fu was founded by Red Eyebrow Taoist during the Ming dynasty, around the year 1523 AD and was first practiced in the Kwong Sai Bamboo Forest Temple.

After Red Eyebrow passed away, his Southenr Mantis Kung Fu knowledge and skills were passed down to his student Buddha Lee, from Buddha Lee, the teaching was passed down to Cheung Yiu Chung. Cheung Yiu Chung developed himself and skills in Southern Mantis Kung Fu to remarkable standards, and was known through China as the first of the great Canton Tigers ( 10 best fighters in Canton).

On passing away, Bamboo Forest Temple Mantis Kung Fu was taken over by his top student Wong Yu Gong. Wong Yu Gong himself specialised in the training of Iron Ribs. It was said that, during demonstrations he would let someone strike him vigorously in the ribs with an iron bar until the bar bent. Quite a task with a one and a half inch thick bar! On passing away, the secrets of this unique Southern Mantis Kung Fu style were taken over by his student, whose name was Yang Yin.

In the early 60's, Yang Yin emigrated to England. His skills in Chinese cuisine gave him a chance to open a restaurant. In his spare time he would teach Bamboo Forest Temple Mantis Kung Fu.

Around the age of 45 Yang Yin decided to open an alternative medicine practice in London's Chinatown.

The Bamboo Forest Temple style of Southern Mantis Kung Fu involves the knowledge of many medicines. During his life in England, Yang Yin picked up many recommendations and became Sifu to many people across the country whether in teaching Kung Fu, medicine or the spiritual 'Sun Dar'. 

Grandmaster Yang Yin was a very respected man in Chinese circles and taught this style of Southern Mantis Kung Fu to over 1000 students (but did not teach Westerners). Unfortunately Grandmaster Yang Yin passed away on October 29th 1997 at 1.00 am in Brompton Hospital, Fulham.

His death brought great sadness to many people and his wisdom was sorely missed. To his son, Fun-Kit Yang, he left the medicine practice and spiritual Sun Dar and the Bamboo Forest Temple Mantis Kung Fu was left to his most respected student, Kim Law.

Priior to this, Kim Law was helping his Sifu teach and now all the generations of responsibility were left to him.

Master Kim Law - The Southern Mantis Fighting Machine

When Yang Yin was alive, he would have had great concern about teaching Kim Law the devastating tequniques of this Southern Mantis Kung Fu style because of his passion for fighting and challenging other styles and masters. Sometimes Yang Yin would stop teaching him until he realised what he was doing was wrong and changed for the better. Although head of Bamboo Forest Temple Mantis, Kim Law has now chosen not to teach. Many masters respect him still because of his years of fighting experience and his physical ability. Master Law still cares about the promotion of Bamboo Forest Temple Mantis and holds meetings with classmates regularly.

In Master Law's short time teaching he did pass on the Southern mantis secrets of Yang Yin to one student, Simon Wong.

Southern Mantis Master - Sifu Simon Wong

Sifu Simon Wong - a 7th Degree Black Sash with the AMA - is the founder of Yellow Dragon Fist Kung Fu; a 7th Generation Master of Bamboo Forest Temple Mantis Kung Fu and the U.K. representative of 100 Day Chi-Kung. He is also the founder of the Rainbow Chi-Kung Institute. He has also mastered both the Small & Large Circle styles of Yang Family Tai Chi Chuan. and has studied Wing Chun, Pak Mei & Hung Gar. Sifu Simon Wong has been studying the Martial Arts and Chi-Kung for over 25 years and has been teaching this knowledge to people for over 15 years.

The Fighting Methods Of Bamboo Forest Southern Mantis Kung Fu 

Bamboo Forest Temple Southern Mantis Kung Fu is a much advanced and perfectly developed combat system. It is designed around the centreline theory, which forms the basis for its attack and defence strategy. The body is divided into three main regions, the upper, lower and middle regions, and each of these is divided into three further regions, a total of nine target areas. These are known as the "Nine Gates of The Mantis''. This southern mantis kung fu system involves the use of both elbows as a protective shield for the practitioner's upper body, and allows the distancing of the vital organs from attack, by the arching of the back and rib cage.

All defence and attack techniques of this Southern Mantis kung fu style, originate from one main stance from which the southern mantis system draws its strength. It allows a firm foundation for the dominant power and skill of the southern mantis kung fu system, and is used to manipulate an opponent's attack and to force an opening in the defence allowing for reprisal of lethal and devastating effect and permanent damage.

Bamboo Forest Temple Mantis Kung Fu Training Methods

This style of southern mantis kung fu is purely for street fighting, and is not designed to create the particular look of a bodybuilder It is a dangerous and cruel kung fu combat system, relying on internal power and external toughness, which is developed by training and refining the required muscle, bones and power areas in order to achieve the necessary results in every technique.

The southern mantis kung fu training is such that the power of the practitioner cannot be appreciated until physically experienced, a mere visual interpretation of his ability would be most inaccurate. The body is conditioned, in much the same way as that of a prize fighter in bare knuckle boxing, to absorb full power blows.

The whole body is toughened and strengthened with much effort spent on the conditioning of the arms, the main defensive and offensive weapon of the southern mantis kung fu system. 

This is achieved by the use of metal rings which are placed around the arm, during training, having the same effect as constantly smashing the arm against a scaffolding tube. This type of kung fu training is required, in conjunction wth special medicine, to create strong bones, tendons and skin , which in turn will create a vicious fighter - the body is conditioned into a deadly southern mantis fighting machine, inspiring the practitioner to greater courage and feeling no pain.

This is not like Karate or Tae- kwon- do practitioners, who build up the dead skin on their arms and legs to deaden pain; in Mantis Kung Fu the skin is still soft and sensitive. It is also unlike the boxing practitoner, who during training retains his gloves and the result is soft bones and skin. For example, when the boxer Mike Tyson punched another boxer off-stage, he broke his opponent's jaw but he broke his own finger too. This is why, when you have strong bones, tendons and skin, you can make yourself into a vicious and determined fighter.

Powerful Southern Mantis Kung Fu Forms

There are but a few fighting forms in this style of mantis, such as Dang Jong, Sheong Jong, Fatsow. Sang Jing Yeul Queue, Say Moon Ba Qua ancd Ba Moon San Sow.

They involve the incorporation of the main stance Ding Ba Ma with Sang Sow set movements numbering approximately 36, and comprehensive combinations of kicks. The stance is designed so as to distribute bodyweight evenly between both legs so that the point of balance is stably positioned in the middle of the stance. This in turn allows for the possibility of shifting the body in any direction, allowing for both defensive and offensive postures. 

In this style of Southern mantis kung fu, Kicks are used in conjunction with arm movements so that the opponent is exposed to simultaneous attacks from both arms and legs, or if need be the practitioner can defend and attack at the same time, blocking upper region attacks, and striking at the opponent's vulnerable lower regions. Emphasis is placed on the use of the low kicks which are most effective and least likely to place the practitioner in a vulnerable position. 

The set movements of Bamboo Forest Mantis Kung Fu, make use of short and long range strikes using both combined and single hand techniques. The combination of all these factors produce a system of Kung Fu whose applications can effectively be applied to today's street fighting situations.

Bamboo Forest Temple Mantis Kung Fu Advanced Training Methods

As in all systems of Kung Fu, Bamboo Forest Temple Mantis has its many secrets of which only its most basic will be spoken. Doyi Jong for example is a form of sticking hands often referred to as tempting hands.

It is used to build up power in the arms and also as training to increase sensitivity, so as to feel the direction of an opponent's attack. This system also has its own form of Chi Gung, a form of breathing designed to massage and strengthen the internal organs; with more advanced techniques it is used for IRON PALM. IRON RIB, and IRON SHIRT training which are but a few of its many possible applications.

Mantis power originates from Tan Ging, also known as spring power. It allows immediate release of previously restrained energy in the form of an attack, released in a mere fraction of a second. This form of spring power allows the student to use it as a corresponding response to shock stimulus such as a sudden attack, or as a controlled method of striking an opponent with devastating power. Though powerful and most effective in its own right, this form of spring power is quite basic compared to the Bamboo Forest Temple's own form, which is known as Kin Tan Ging. Kin Tan Ging - The Ultimate Power Of The Mantis.

Kin Tan Ging is a more advanced form of spring power. Few understand its meaning, let alone its application. Some Mantis masters assign specific set movements to develop Kin Tan Ging, but this is totally misleading. Even young children and old people, upon touching something hot, will withdraw their hand very quickly in a reflex action.
The real Kin Tang Ging training involves the training of the nervous system so as to increase the reflex and reaction times of the human body.

Further training in Bamboo Forest Temple Mantis Kung Fu is designed to develop and shape the mind through meditation, to bring out one's sixth sense. By achieving such a state of mind control, one can manipulate the body and call up previously untapped resources. In human terms, this means unlimited power.

An example of Kin Tan Ging is when someone goes crazy. In such a state, even a slightly built women is capable of great power and may need several people to restrain her. However this is not the state we are trying to achieve in our mantis training as in such a state the person has no control of themself. Kin Tan Ging on the other hand, will harness them same power but in a controlled way so that your mind is totally focused.

To achieve this is the ultimate goal of Bamboo Forest Temple Mantis Kung Fu; to master it, is to master the most advanced weapon and most guarded secret in the martial arts.

The power of this system was once demonstrated by Master Kim Law who smashed small stones by merely striking them with his index finger. Imagine then, what such a man could do to a human body, if he so desired. As already mentioned, Sifu Simon Wong is Master Law's only student, and he feels very honoured to be taught by such a great man.

Sai Tin San Dar - (Spiritual Style)

There is another side to Bamboo Forest Temple Mantis Kung Fu, we have looked at the physical aspects of the style and we now arrive at the spiritual side of things. This style of training is known to the Chinese as Sai Tin San Dar (33rd Heaven). It taps the most mysterious and secret side of the martial arts, of which much is said, but little is known.

San Dar, also known as San Gong involves the use of meditation and religious incantations to communicate with spiritual forces. These forces are harnessed by the practitioner so that in times of need the spirits enter the body and protect it from harm, these spirits are the constant guardians of the practitioner, and practitioners of the highest levels of San Dar and have often demonstrated their invulnerability to wounds from weapons such as knives. Knives have been shown to cause no harm to their bodies. San Dar also being used to heal otherwise fatal wounds and to cure many severe illnesses

This style is so potentially dangerous, that only a select few of those study Bamboo Forest Temple Mantis Kung Fu will ever reach this stage of training. Only those students with the highest sense of morality and honesty, and with impeccable characters will ever be considered to be taught this spiritual style.

Traditional Mantis Kung Fu Training

Bamboo Forest Temple Mantis Kung Fu also has a comprehensive weapon training programme, involving the study of the pole form and other weapons such as the broadsword and tiger fork (otherwise known as the Dai Pa). On the more traditional side, a few of the more skilled students are taught the unicorn dance, found only among the Hak Gar dialect people in China, in whose region this style of Kung Fu was founded. It is by tradition totally different to the lion dance.

The lion, an aggressive animal is not allowed to perform its dance within the house as the Chinese consider it to be unfriendly. The Unicorn, a lucky animal in the eyes of the Chinese community, is welcomed into their homes, and is said to bring the occupier good luck and fortune for the future. The Unicorn Dance is often performed in the New Year and during special events and celebrations.

Until recently, Bamboo Forest Temple southern Mantis Kung Fu was only taught and practiced by the Chinese. However, after the death of Grandmaster Yang Yin, westerners were presented with opportunity to study and learn this system


In 1644 AD, the Manchurian tribe had invaded China and defeated the Ming dynasty rulers. Ming loyalist, nobles and soldiers, escaped and went south. As pointed by the Wushu historian Salvatore Canzonieri, many of this rebels relocated in the The Honan Shaolin. The Ching rulers discovered the temple was a focus of resistance and they burned Songshan Shaolin in 1768.

After the destruction of the temple many of the Chu family and other nobles and also many Shaolin monks from Honan moved to the South Shaolin temples (Fujian and Jian Shi). The Chu Gar style legend mentions Tang Chan, (his real name was Chu Fook Too or Chu Fook To), who belonged to the Ming Imperial court (1) as one of this rebels that emigrated to the Southern temples.

At the Fujian temple (located in the Nine Little Lotus Mountains) the monks and rebels shortened the time it took to master the boxing styles from 10 years to 3 years with the purpose of train quickly the fighters to overthrow the Ching rulers and restore the Ming dynasty. The Chu Gar legend says that Chu Fook Too became abbot in the Fujian temple and changed his name to "Tung Sim" (anguish) due to his deep anguish and hatred for the Ching's reign of terror and suffering. In the style's legend he was the person that developed the Southern Praying Mantis style.

The monks (or Chu Fook Too himself) developed kung fu fighting styles that were faster to learn, based on close range fighting, designed to defeat a martial art skilled opponent (Manchu soldiers and Imperial Guard) with fast, powerful chains of attacks that left no time for counter-attacks. If we take as an example of those styles the Southern Praying Mantis one, we will see that it is a way of boxing developed with one purpose in mind: destroying the enemy. Restore the Ming; overthrow the Ching, was the primary purpose of the Southern Praying Mantis and the slogan of the day. It was violence of the Manchu rulers as they hunted down and destroyed revolutionaries of the Ming dynasty that caused Southern Praying Mantis to develop into a direct, deadly fighting style --- destroy the enemy before being destroyed. Some of the Fujian styles were actually used in battles against the Manchu and also in the Boxer Rebellion, and many of the southern styles originated from this common root, for example:

  • Wu Zu Quan or Go Cho Kune (Five Ancestors Boxing)
  • Yong Chun Quan (Wing Chun)
  • Fujian Bai He Quan (Fujian White Crane Boxing)
  • Bak Mei (White Eyebrow)
  • Lung Ying (Dragon boxing)
  • and the styles we are interested in, known with the generic name of Southern Praying Mantis.

Some of these styles are so technically related that seem to be just variations of each other with different legends about their origins. There is not to much difference between most of these southern styles, the differences are small and they share lots of technical similarities, for example the starting stance, chain punches, rounded shoulders stances, elbows kept close to the body protecting the ribs, tight stance protecting the groin, the use of whipping power, the use of phoenix eye fist (except for dragon style).

Against this theory of the common root in the Shaolin Fujian temple, I was told that Sifu Chueng Lai Chuen (Bak Mei master), Sifu Lam Yuei Kwai (Lung Ying Pai) and Sifu Lao Sui (Chu Gar/Chow Gar Gao) used to visit the same master in a tea house in Hong Kong in the late 40's. That would suggest all this new branches were originated in the XX century. In addition, some Lung Ying practitioners say that Bak Mei is just Lung Ying with a nice legend Sifu Chung Lai Chuen attached to this new style to differentiate it from the original one. This theory would easily explain the similarities of this styles, but it is difficult to explain such an amount of differences in just one generation. That is the reason I tend to think the most appropriate theory is the one that establishes that this styles have a common root, but they have been differentiating each other with the transmission from generation to generation during centuries.

Of course there are differences. When we talk particularly about the Southern Praying Mantis, the Hakka Southern mantis looks a lot closer to the Wu Zu Quan (Go Chu Kune) root than the Southern mantis that comes from Chu Gar and Jook Lum. Southern mantis looks like a refined version of the Wu Zu Quan movements. At the same time, the stances, footwork and weighting are different when we compare the Jook Lum to the Chu Gar. Many times it has been said that Fujian Bai He Quan (Fujian White Crane Boxing) and Wu Zu Quan are the origin of the Japanese Karate. It is true that Wu Zu Quan style has exactly the same Sanchin form that the Uechi Ryu and Goju Karate styles (with some differences in the tension, and the Chinese version includes two-man version). But Uechi Ryu has a form called Som Bo Gin (Three Arrow Fist), the most famous southern praying mantis form, and both form have similar movements and also the Uechi Ryu foot movements mimic those of Southern Mantis. In addition most Okinawan and Japanese forms follow the same numerology, such as, San Chin Kata (3 steps), Seipa Kata (18), Sanseiru kata (36) and Pechurin Kata (108). May be these similarities between Karate and Southern Mantis are due to the common origin in the Fujian temple, but may be was Southern Praying Mantis, and not Wu Zu Quan the style that originated the Okinawan Karate...

The relation, or should be better to say the lack of relationship between Northern Mantis and Southern Mantis is similar to the Fujian White Crane and Tibetan White Crane. They seem to have absolutely nothing in common but the name. Why the southern style took the Praying Mantis name will be discussed later.


The Jew (Chu, Chiao, Ju, Choi, Tsoi, Gee in Toishan, Zhu in Mandarin etc., all variations of the same name!) royal family was descendant of the Sung Dynasty by bloodline, and their members were by uncles and cousins related to the Ming Dyansty royal family (2)

The Jew Gar (Royal Family style) was a collection of techniques used by the Ming royal family. Emigrated Monks and rebels worked in the Fujian temple to develop a new style based on those techniques, but following their new concepts (no fancy movements, few forms to be learnt in a three year period, etc.). They created the new style combining the Northern Jew Gar techniques with the Southern Five Animals style. Therefore the new style has a southern flavor, but the remanent from the Chiao Northern family style is the phoenix fist punch, it is used in many northern styles, especially in the military ones (it is considered the hidden or special fist of some of these styles).

This style had at that time three forms and the name was changed to Praying Mantis to hide it from the Manchu spies. It was called mantis hoping to trick the Manchu guards making them think that the style was the same as the more popular Northern Shandong Praying Mantis. If the manchu soldiers knew that they were practicing the Ming royal family style, then they of course would be surely killed!

Later on, the south Shaolin temples where also destroyed and the surviving monks and rebels dispersed again. This original Jew Gar (already known at that time as Praying Mantis) split in three branches. The style was kept secretly during generations by the Hakka Chinese, considered to be outsider by the other indigenous peoples of Kwansi province. Hakka ("kejia" in mandarin) means "those who came" or "guests" (3)

The style was taught in the secret anti manchu societies during the XIX century, which is further reinforced by the secret nature of the style and difficulty to find a qualified master willing to teach openly, even nowadays. In spite of being taught in the rebel societies the Southern Praying Mantis styles, seem not to have been used in battles against the Manchu or the Boxer Rebellion.

In Hong Kong Chu Gar was only taught to Hakka descendants. Later this rule expanded to trusted members of only Chinese heritage. It is only within the last 15 years that western students have been taught the Chu Gar art.

Under the umbrella of the name "Southern Praying Mantis (Nan Tang Lang Quan)" we classify three styles of boxing (Chu Gar, Jook Lum Mantis and Hakka boxing).

1)Zhu Jia or Zhou Jia (chow gar). Also known as Chu Gar Gao (Chu family religion).

Rebels and Shaolin monks went to another (Shaolin ?) temple in southern China, where one of them (Wong Dao Yun) taught the style to Chow Ah-Nam, who added more forms to the original three and founded the Chu Gar Southern Mantis. He was also the first person to teach the style outside the temple.

Chow Ah-Nam in turn taught it to Lau Soei, who was responsible for bringing Chow Gar from China to Hong Kong. One of his best students, Ip Shui, changed the pronunciation of Chu to Chow as a result of a dispute over the proper dialectic pronunciation, establishing what is currently known as Chow Gar.

For more detailed information about the Chu Gar legends and their students and disciples please refer to the Chu Gar section in the "Southern Praying Mantis Family" section below.

2)Hakka Boxing

We find a different evolution in the Chinese Martial arts that emigrated from China with the Chinese communities to different Asian South East regions. Let's see two different cases. In the first one we find a considerable influence of the indigenous arts on the Chinese Martial Arts we find today in the Indonesian Archipelago. The Kun Tao style (translated as "fist way"), trained by the Hokkien (4) Chinese descents, has a strong influence of Indonesian styles (Silat, Pukulan, etc.) On the contrary, some of the old Chinese cultural and religious practices, as well as the older Chinese traditions are more prominent in Malaysia and Singapore than in China. Many of these practices are quite specific to Cantonese and Fujian culture. Most Chinese came to that area in the late 1800s and the Malaysian Chinese segregated themselves. Malay is not spoken, and very few Malay things are found. They are all Chinese communities and maintained the natural course of development. One of the main Chinese communities in Malaysia is the hakka one. Some other descendants of the Ming royal family supporters, already known as Hakka, moved to Malaysia. They continued in Malaysia to develop southern mantis in what is known as Chuka kune or hukka, which also uses the phoenix-eye fist but different stances from the Chinese mainland southern mantis. As a proof of the common origin of this style with the two mentioned before we could mention that the Malaysian Chinese Hakka call their style "Chu Gar Chong Gar Chuen" translated Chu's family Middle Range that is the same Jew Gar style !!! The style legend transmitted by oral tradition says that a Buddhist nun hiding out after the burning of the Fukien Shaolin temple was the founded the style. Her name was Leow Fah Chih Koo and she passed an amalgamation of what she know to two sisters who's family was killed. They were also part of the royal ming family: Chu Miao Eng and Chu Miao Luan. They passed the art only to one disciple: Ooh Ping Kwan, who passed it to Lee Siong Pheow (1886-1960). Currently one of the most famous masters of the Chuka kune style is Sifu Cheong Cheng Leong Later the Hakka Praying mantis would be one of the sources for the creation of the Qwan-Ki-Do (Vietnamese style). Tracing the Qwan Ki Do lineage we discover that the founder of the style (Pham Xuan Tong) studied under Chau Quan Ky, that was one of the Hakka (He Gia) population that migrated to Vietnam in 1936. And Chau Quan Ky studied under the tutelage of his uncle Chau Nam the southern praying mantis.

3)Zhu Lin Shi Tang Lang Quan

Also known as Kwang Sai Jook Lum (Bamboo Forest) or kwong sai jook lum gee tong long pai, also known as mui fa tong long. There are conflicting stories about the origin of Bamboo Forest. Although Chu Gar and Chow Gar masters do not agree in the original name of the style both Southern Praying Mantis branches do agree when they talk about the Bamboo Forest history mentioning that it comes from the Lau Soei teachings. Chow gar masters say that the Bamboo Forest creator was a friend of Lau Soei that came to stay with him in China and later in Hong Kong, and after Lau Soei died, he formed his own style. The Chu Gar masters say that Kwong Sai Jook Lum Southern Mantis was created when a student of Lau Soei in Hong Kong wanted to make a movie in which the South Mantis would be defeated. As Lau Sui did not approve this, the student broke away and created the Bamboo Forest style. Neither the Chu Gar, not the Chow Gar exponent mention the name of this supposed student of Lau Sui. Supporting this theory they say that is the reason why the Bamboo Forest style has less forms that the Chu Gar style, the student simply did not learn all the style's forms. I consider this an inaccurate theory made up to discredit the Southern Mantis sister style (sad to say this, but it is a common practice in the Chinese Martial Arts).

The history closer to the reality is that some rebel Mings and monks from the South Shaolin temple moved to the Jook Lum temple after the destruction of the Fujian one. In the Jook Lum temple they taught the original Southern Praying Mantis to the monk Sam Dart (the Abbot of the temple). Sam Dart expanded the original three forms, adding some new ones, founding the Zhu Lin Shi Tang Lang Quan (Bamboo Forest Temple Praying Mantis) about 1835 AD. According to the Jook Lum legend (Lam Sang See), the original source of this style of Kung Fu came from Shaolin Kung Fu and was based on the root of Shaolin Gum Jung Jow Dit Bo Yee.

Additionally, Jook Lum is probably closer to the original Fujian style. Most Fujian/Guangdong arts seem to have only a very small number of core forms, with expansion happening later as they spread. Jook Lum still has that "core" system of forms (8, 18, 108), that would be similar to the Chu Gar's root.


Generation - Name

    01 Som Dot or Sam Dart (Red Eyebrown) from the South Shaolin Temple
       02 Sin Ko Tan Yang (some branches skip this master)
          03 Wong Dao Yun or Sim Yan
             04 Chou Ah Nan or Tung Chan or Chu Fook Too
                05 Wong Fook Go
                   06 Lau Sui or Lau Soei
                      07 Chu Kwong Hwa or Chu Gun Wah
                      07 Chu Yu Hing or Sun Yu Hing
		08 Tong Yat Long or Dong  Yet  Long
		08 Choi Gam Man or Choy Kam Man
08 Chen Ching Hong or Gene Chen (USA)
    09 Norman Lee
    09 Roger Hagood
          07 Lum Hwa
                      07 Wong Go Chang or Wong Hong Kwong (died in 1964 or 65)
          	         07 Yip Sui or Ip Shiu
08 Ip K
     09 Yew Tung
			10 Alastair Bourne
08 Ho Ju  Yuan
		08 Choy Kam Man
		08 Paul Whitrod (England)
08 Nelson Chui (England)
08 Eric  Tsang
08 Lee  Kwun (USA)
08 Nat Yearng (Australia)
09 Malcolm  Sue
09 Denis  Suetin
09 Brett Thedike
          03 Don Yen Fai
          03 Lee Sam See or Lee Siem or Lee Sum See
             04 Chung Yei Jung or Chang Yu Chung
                05 Wong Yook Kong or Wong Yoke Gon
                   06 Wang Yu Hua or Wong Yu Hwa (People's China)
                   06 Li Kwok Liang or Lee Kwok Liang (Hong Kong)
                05 Lum Sang See or Lum Wing Fay (USA)
                   06 Wong Bak Lim
	           07 Richard Ong
                   06 Ah Leung
                   06 Ah Hing
                   06 Ah Sun or Harry Sun
	          07 Rocky ?????
                   06 Ah Kai
                   06 Chen Ho Dun
                   06 Lee Boa
                   06 Chuk Chin
                   06 Ng Sho
                   06 Gin Foon Mark
	          07 David Moragne
	          07 Roger Hagood
	          07 Dr. Eisen
                   06 Ah Bing
                   06 Ah Chen
                   06 Ah Louie or Louie Jack Man
                   06 Henry Poo Yee
	         07 Jeff Larson
                   06 Ah Kin
	      06 Ah Wong
	      06 Ah Lee
	      06 Ah Soo
	      06 Ah Eng or Jessie Eng
	      06 Ah Moy
      06 Ah Poon Fan or Tien Zan Men Hay Kung
         07 Yeung Yum Sun
         07 Wong Hoi Ping (Ireland)
         07 Lee Kok Man (England)
08 Khing Cam Lui (England)
    09 Chang Tak Ming (Australia)


1)Chu Gar/Chow Gar

Chou Ah-Nan or Chu Fook Too (in Chu Gar)

To write about the life of Chou Ah-Nan, we have to listen to the oral tradition. As we have seen, the Chu Gar legend says the was related by blood the Ming Imperial family, but the Chow Gar legend says that Chou Ah-Nan was the son of a rich farming family from the province of Canton (Quanzhao). Both legends mention him as the founder of the Southern branch Tong Long.

Although the purple legends surrounding the Fujian Southern styles usually have little historic value, some readers could find interesting to read the Chow Gar legend to compare it to the Northern Tang Lang legend. According to the Chow Gar tradition, when Chou was a teenager, he developed a serious stomach complaint which would not respond to normal treatment. His father sent him away from home in hope that a change of climate would help his problem. But Chou became worse and he came across a good Samaritan who lent him money to see a friend of his, who was a monk. Under the care of the monk, Chou was healed. Chou was still in financial difficulties and as luck had it once again, he found work in the local temple as a cook. As all employees of the temple had to practice Shaolin boxing under the guidance of the high Monk Sim Yan. Chou started his martial arts training and practiced very hard. As in most good Chinese stories there was a temple bully who was fond of picking on Chou because of his small height. The bully was called Shee.

One day Chou was out for a walk when he heard the distressed calls of a little bird. Chou investigated this noise to find a Tong Long (praying mantis) lifting up it's arms for a final strike. In a blinding instance the little bird was dead. Chou could find no trace of the wounds and realized that there was something special in this method of attack. Chou decided to further study the mantis by poking sticks at it, to study it's little "fists" as they thrust outward to attack.

Because of his weak physic, he developed a system where he harnessed the hidden Powers of the body. This idea came about when he observed a Mantis insect overcome a bird twice its size. After years of patience and hard work and the help of the high Monk Sim Yan, Chow Ah Naam developed the Southern Praying Mantis system. He studied these technique's and used the technique to defeat Shee.

From that day Tong Long was on it's way to be a most potent martial art. Chou started teaching his new art and accepted a student, another Monk called Wong Fook Go.

As an anecdote we can mention that other branches of Chu Gar keep the similar legend, but mentioning that Chow Ah-Nam (or Chu Nan Cheh) was not a monk, but he was the first person outside the temple to learn the style of chu gar. He tried to organize an anti-Ching army and was discovered and barely escaped.

Wong Fook Go

Wong Fook Go, also a monk from the Southern Shaolin temple, was responsible for passing on this art to the common folks lived near the temple in the South East part of China. He traveled extensively to Kwangsi province (South West part of China). Wong Fook Go, taught the system to a young man named Lau Soei.

Lau Soei

At the age of 14 Lau Soei started his kung fu training. He pursued under seven well known Masters. Because he was very skilled in eight years he had learnt all what those instructors had to offer.

He lived in a small village called Wai Yearn in the East region of Canton, and although Lau Soei was brilliant at the Martial Arts, he was not famous until something happened to him.

Snakes and wolves were known to come out in the evening to look for food in and around the village area. One evening Lau Soei was walking home, when he was attacked by a wild wolf. The beast jumped sharply at him, however, Lau Soei was not an ordinary man, as soon as he heard the strange noise he quickly stepped aside and avoided this vicious attack. The beast turned sharply and attacked again. This time Lau Soei was ready, he thrusted his right leg directly at the beasts throat and he hit it so hard that it rotted several times on the floor. Lau Soei hurried forward and stepped heavily on the beast. It stopped moving completely.

Although Lau Soei was a young man in his twenties (too young to be sifu in the Chinese standards of that time), when the village people heard about this incident wanted very much to learn from Lau Soei and he agreed to teach them.

One fine day in the late years of the last century a group of village people (about twenty or thirty of them) were watching a spectacular Martial Arts show. Lau Soei was demonstrating various styles of Chinese Kung Fu (Tiger, Eagle and Monkey) as well as weapons. As Lau Soei used to teach his students in the open ground outside his home, many passers by would gather to see this well known young man demonstrate his Martial Art skills.

Suddenly, from the middle of the crowd, a monk stepped forward and said loudly... "Young man your Kung Fu is just a little bit better than NOTHING, how can you stand in front of people and teach them?" Lau Soei stopped his demonstration and looked at the monk from top to bottom. In this situation one would probably be very angry and would ask to leave. But Lau Soei was a very modest young man, he replied politely "From what you have said, your kung fu must be at top level".

The monk said "If you want you are welcome to try me and you may hit first". Lau Soei thought this may be a good chance for him to test his skills and learn more kung fu and so decided to give it a try.

They both squared off with, their adopted stances. Lau Soei suddenly attacked with a straight punch. The monk moved his shoulder slightly and used the Gen power, and Lau Soei was sent flying a few yards away. The monk shook his head and disappeared into the crowd. Lau Soei found out that the monk was staying close by and tried on several occasions to defeat the monk, and knowing his own standard realized that the monk was far superior. He knelt in front of the monk and begged him to accept him as his student. The monk agreed.

Lau Soei invited the monk to his home, when the monk was sitting comfortably Lau Soei said "Every time I tried to hit you, it was as if I was hit by lightening, and how you moved so fast" The monk laughed and said "You have great strength but I directed it back to you, so your strength was used on yourself. The power I used to divert your strength is the type that comes from within called Gen or hidden internal Chi power. The shock you received was due the shock power I applied. Think about a Praying Mantis, an insect which has the power to overcome opponents three times its own size. This system is called Southern Praying Mantis and is designed to develop this kind of extraordinary power".

When the monk first saw Lau Soei he knew he had the potential to be a Master of Kung Fu, and later realized the Lau Soei had a humble heart. So made up his mind to teach this high level Kung Fu to him, and hope he serve his country.

In six years Lau Soei had learnt everything from the monk, and the monk told him that "It was time to go our separate ways". Being a lover of nature the monk Wong Fook Go went onto travel extensively, while Lau Sui moved to Hong Kong in 1913.

Lau Soei brought Hakka praying mantis to Hong Kong and taught the first Non-Hakka generation. He taught numerous people the style he called Chu Gar Gao, or Chu Family Creed. (Chu is a famous surname and is reoccurring throughout the history of China). Although, he had many students, he accepted only five disciples:

  • Chu Kwong Hwa (Hakka)
  • Chu Yu Hing (Hakka)
  • Lum Hwa (Lum Wha)
  • Wong Go Chang (Hakka)
  • Yip Sui (Non-Hakka)

Lau Soei died in 1942.

Chu Kwong Hwa or Chu Gun Wah

One of the Lau Soei five disciples, Chu Kwong Hwa was responsible of transferring his master teachings in Hong Kong under the original name of Chu Gar.

Ip Shui

Ip Shui lived with Lau Soei for 7 years. Yi Sui who married Lau Sui's daughter came the first Non-Hakka to learn the system of Chu Gar Gao. Ip Shui made his name in Hong Kong with his Gong Sau bouts in this system of Kung Fu, against other styles. Ip Shui always has a lot of respect for Hsing Yi, because in the sixties he had a fight with a Hsing Yi Master living in the USA. They clashed in Hong Kong, and they had a good battle that ended in a draw. It was a tough fight, and afterwards they congratulated each other, and Ip Shui always had respect for that style after that.

After Lau Sui's death Yi Sui, his son-in-law, created a new stream of the Southern Praying Mantis known as Zhao Gar (Chow Gar), named after Zhao An Nam (Chou Ah-Nan), the first ancestor of the style. Yip Sui and his disciples use to say that the style's original name is Chow Gar and not Chu Gar and as a proof of that they say that on Lau Soei's gravestone on a Hong Kong hillside, it says Grandmaster Lau Soei of the Chow Gar Praying Mantis system.

But the truth is that Yip Sui, chief among the Lau Soei's five disciples, changed the pronunciation of Chu to Chow because of a dispute that arose at the Lao Soei's death time over the proper dialectic pronunciation. He renamed the Chu Gar style to Chow Gar Tong Long (that means Chow Family Praying Mantis). Because of this difference in pronunciation, Chow Gar is often thought to be a third branch of Southern Praying Mantis. In reality, Master Yip Sui only teaches Chu Gar.

Yip Sui's Chow Gar has spread all over the world, having schools in Hong Kong, England, Australia and New York (USA).

Ip Chee Keung

Son of lp Shui, he learnt the style from his father. Ip Chee Keung visited London (England) in 1974 starting the spread of the Chu Gar/Chow Gar in Europe.

Paul Whitrod

Paul Whitrod began his training in London in 1974 under Ip Chee Keung. He went to Hong Kong for the first time in 1980, and he trained there with his kung tu brothers, Nelson Chui and Eric Tsang. He stayed at Ip Shui's house in Hong Kong for about six or seven months. He started teaching in England in 1981 and has returned to Hong Kong periodically and in 1987 Ip Shui and his son Ip Chee Keung went to London. They promoted Paul Whitrod as the UK representative of the Chows Family Praying Mantis Kung Fu. Currently, there is already 5 of Paul Whitrod's students teaching in England.

Dong Yet Long

Chu Yu Hing's top disciple

Choy Kam Man

In the 1950's, the Late Master Choy Kam Man was chief disciple of Yip Sui. An excellent martial artist of superb strength, he excelled at Yip Sui's Chow Gar.

Chen Ching Hong

Chen Ching Hong (or Gene Chen) was born in 1938 in Shanghai, China. A member of the Chen's family village, he is Master of the Chen Taijiquan and President of Chen's Taiji Assn. in the USA.

Chen Ching Hong began to leam the Chu Gar style in 1953 from Dong Yet Long, who was a cook at a local school. He was only a school boy then and when he approached Master Dong, he at once refused to teach, denying any knowledge of the art. However, through persistence and after approaching him again with his mother, and making offerings of chicken, pork and wine he was finally accepted and introduced to Chu Yu Hing. Under his tutelage for 6 or 7 years the learning was slow but precise and it was at this time Choi Gam Man, also student of Chu Yu Hing taught him Yang's Tai Chi.

In 1959, he moved to the USA, but in 1961 he went back to Hong Kong. There he met Dong Yet Long and the Chu Gar family. During the six months he spent in Hong Kong he trained with Yi Sui, Chu Yu Hing and Dong Yet Long. He returned to the USA

In 1962 he returned to Hong Kong and saw all the Chu Gar family but Yi Sui, spending several months there and coming back to the USA. In 1965 he visited Honk Kong again and saw all the Chu Gar family. While in Hong Kong, Dong Yet Long gave a big banquet and Lum Wha, Yi Sui and Chu Yu Hing were all in attendance. During the banquet Yi Sui invited Chen to visit him the next day and he did so carrying gifts of herbs and teas. Yi Sui passed Chen some Chu Gar sets on to me as a gift. His student Ho Ju Yuan was still around at that time and our friendships increased.

In 1970 Master Dong Yet Long conferred him the title of Chief Instructor with certificate and Chu Yu Hing granted the title of Instructor with Certificate in 1971. He was the first certified teacher of Chu Gar Praying Mantis in the United States. The certificate was awarded by the Chu Gar Tong Long Guoshu Association of Hong Kong and the association Chairpersons were Sun Yu Hing, Dong Yet Long, and Zhang Sing. During the 1970's he visited Hong Kong several times to visit his old teachers, classmates and friends and during this period he began to teach Chu Gar in the USA to a few selected students. In 1975 he stopped teaching based on the fact that the style is primarily focused on fighting. Nowadays although Chen Ching Hong is one of only a handful of Masters recognized and certified as an Instructor by Lau Sui's Chu Gar Hakka family, he just teaches Tai Ji Quan.

2)Kwong Sai Jook Lum Gee Tong Long Pai

Sam Dart

The Jook Lum legend says that the system was founded 300 years ago by a monk named "Sam Dart" (Red Eyebrown) from the Southern Saholin temple.

Lee Sum See or Lee Shem See or Hung Mui Wo Shing

There is some controversy about the existence of master Sin Ko Tan Yang. Some branches just skip this master and say that Lee Sum See learnt the style from Sam Dart, making him the second-generation master (instead of the third one). Lee Sum See (or Lee Siem), traveled all around China building temples.

The monk Lee Shem See, nicknamed Hung Mui Wo Shing, from the Gung See province, often came down to Dong Gung in southern China.....Later, in Wae Young province, Lee Shem See took a student, Chung Yel Chung, back to the Jook Lum Temple in Gung Sai province to be trained. Lee lived until he was over one hundred years old.

Chung Yel Chung

After his training in the Jook Lum Temple, in 1910's Chung Yel Chung came back to Ping Som to open his first Kung Fu & Medicine Clinic. This is the first time the system title, Gung Sai Jook Lum Gee Tong Long Pai, was used. From then until World War II, the system became very popular and was nicknamed the Hakka Kuen.

Wong Yook Kong or Wong Yoke Gon

Wong Yoke Gon, in Ping Son province, and Lam Sang, in Kai Jung province, inherited the Jook Lum system. While Lam Sang moved to Hong Kong, Wong Yook Kong remained in Continental China, being the origin of the Jook Lum mainland China branch.

Lum Sang or Lum Wing Fay

At around 13 years of age, Lum Sang began training in the southern praying mantis system of kung-fu from then master Chung Yel Jung. (Lum Sang had already trained for many years in other systems by this time.) Lum Sang trained diligently for a number of years under master Chung Yel Jung until grandmaster Lee Sum See arrived at Chung Yel Jung's door. Grandmaster Lee Sum See informed, his student (Chung Yel Jung) that he was enroute to build a temple and asked that Lum Sang accompany him. A boy of 15 or 16 years of age would prove to be great help in building a temple and also supply him with a traveling companion, Lee Sum See suggested. Chung Yel Jung respectfully complied to his master's request and Lum Sang found himself enroute to build a temple with his sigung. For Lum Sang, training directly under the grandmaster would prove to be a golden opportunity. The time Lum Sang spent with Lee Sum See (the "Old Monk" as Lum Sang called him) both building the temple and training would run six years. During this period Lum Sang would achieve an extremely high level of kung-fu, including training in the southern praying mantis chi kungs (of which there are many whose purposes vary). But the training and friendship between these truly remarkable kung-fu men would come to an abrupt halt during the Japanese invasion of Hong Kong in 1942, when upon his teacher's insistence, he found himself enroute to Liverpool (England). While in Liverpool, England, Lum Sang trained the (hakka) dock workers in his most treasured art. Still in his mid thirties Lum Sang found his way to NYC Chinatown, he brought the art to New York (USA) in the 40's. During his 44 years in the USA Lum Sang accepted hundreds of students and 22 disciples, all Chinese (he never accepted non-Chinese as students or disciples). In New York, he began quietly teaching the Jook Lum Tang Lang at the Son Jung Woi (Hakka Chinese Association). Later at the request of another Chinese American Association interpreter, Lum Sang began teaching as chief instructor to the members of that association (Hip Sing Tong). Lion Dance and Kung-fu instruction was the method used by the associations to recruit new members, and hundreds of Chinatown's populace became students of Lum Sang during the 1950's and 60's. During this time Lum Sang chose from among the hundreds of Chinese students, his first disciple, Wong Bak Lim. Seven others were then chosen and accepted as "enter the gate" disciples (Ah Leung, Ah Hing, Ah Eng, Ah Wong, Ah Lee, Ah Kai, Ah Sun). These first eight disciples became the family of Lum Sang Sifu and the whole group would stand before the Ancestors and the Shun Toi (altar of the art) and make lifelong promises. They would occupy the third floor of #3 Pearl Street, NYC Chinatown for years to follow.

Such power the Chinese Associations yielded in Boston, Seattle, Chicago and San Francisco Chinatowns, that they sponsored the Lum Sang and his family of disciples and students during the late 1950's for Lion Dancing and Kungfu Demonstrations. The American economy was well enough that local Chinese Organizations could support each guest member up to $700 per week during such celebrations!

Although, at the time, ordinary circumstances of survival were more difficult than the yearly travel and celebrations, each of the Lum Sang's disciples supported their father/teacher and each other with daily jobs, often at menial wages. Each individual's money was laid on the kitchen (bread) table for the teacher's (and each others) disposal. With another war (Vietnam), the Lum Sang saw his first family change and adapt to survive. As the remaining disciples went to war or followed the fate prepared for them, he may have felt homeless? Circumstances, determination or fate left the Dai Sihing (senior elder brother) Wong Bak Lim to follow the tradition given him and he introduced the Lum Sang to the NYC Chinese Freemason Association in 1963.

From the NYC Chinese Freemasons, the Late Lum Sang Sifu accepted a second family (in New York Chinatown's Hip Sing Tong) among his many kungfu students; (Ah Chen, Ah Mark, Ah Lee, Ah Chen, Ah Bing, Ah Louie, Ah Kin), and they too stood before the Ancestors and the Shun Toi (altar of the art) and made lifelong promises (creating their future).

A few years later (some year between 1965 and 1968) Lum Sang, after closing his hands (retirement), left the USA for Taiwan, where he lived until his return to NYC Chinatown in the early 1980's.

Since that time Lum Sang has traveled extensively, returning often to the United States. After finally returning to the USA in 1981, Lum Sang accepted from among a number of students five disciples; Ah Wong, Ah Lee, Ah Soo, Ah Eng and Ah Moy.

Most of his first and second family of disciples and many of his students and friends would see him regularly in the years before his death. Particularly, a disciple, Ah Lee, kindly assisted him in his last years.

Lum Sang died in 1991.

Gin Foon Mark

Gin Foon Mark was born in Toison, a village near Canton (in 1927), he comes from a family of four generations of high ranking kung fu experts. His instruction in kung fu began at the age of five under the supervision of his uncles and grandfather. At the age of nine he was admitted to the Shaolin temple at Chun San and studied with monk Moot Ki Fut (a.k.a. Ki Fut Sai) and other outstanding masters. He received instruction in Sil Lum (Shaolin Boxing), White Crane, Eagle Claw, Leopard and Tiger. He also studied in the Hoi Jung Temple in Macao (where he learnt a version of Tiger Claw). In this monasteries, Gin Foon Mark was schooled in Ming Kung (self-defense and healing arts), Shin Kung (spirit Kung Fu), and Chi Kung (applied to the use of internal power for martial arts, what included Iron Shirt, Iron Palm, Cotton Palm and Dim Mak).

In the United States he studied Southern Praying Mantis under Lum Sang for ten years. When Lum Sang closed hands (retired) he designated Gin Foon Mark to be his successor in accordance with established tradition. Gin Foon Mark's teaching career began in 1947 when the trade association of the New York Chinatown requested that he instruct their young members.

Gin Foon Mark opened the style to non-Chinese in 1968 and in August, 1969 he appeared on the cover of Black Belt Magazine. Bruce Lee was one Gin Foon Mark's students. He was so impressed with the effectiveness of Praying Mantis in combat, that he adopted many of its principles in creating Jeet Kune Do.

In 1979 Master Mark went back to China. During his stay he studied Six Sounds Qigong under a famous Tai Chi and Qigong Master, simply known as "Old Master", in Beijing.

Gin Foon Mark has opened three kwoons in the USA (New York, Philadelphia and Minneapolis) and he has also taught at Temple University and trained the police in self-defense techniques.

Gin Foon Mark regularly attends the annual International tournaments and exhibitions throughout the USA and continues to teach Chinese and non-Chinese alike in St. Paul, MN.

David Moragne

David Moragne was first introduced to martial arts at age 5. In his early teens he began studying Tae Kwon Do where he earned his first black belt.

Later he studied Pa Kua, Wing Chun, Kenpo and Tai Chi. Yang style Tai Chi became an important part of his training. In the mid 80's, David began his studies of Southern Praying Mantis. He then went on to meet and become a direct disciple of Gin Foon Mark. He has been invited to demonstrate and share this art throughout the U.S. and Canada. After being told by Master Mark to now share this art, David continues to study and teach under him.

Henry "Poo" Yee

Henry Poo Yee was born in Toi San county, Canton province of China, but was educated and raised in Hong Kong and the United States. He claims that Lum Sang choose him to be one of his "enter the gate" disciples and "the keeper of the flame."

Poo Yee started his Kung Fu training at the age of six in the 1940s, with southern styles of Hung Tao, Choy May, Bok Hok and Bak Mei. In 1955 at the age of 15, he immigrated and joined his family in New York city and started learning Kung Fu from Lam Sang. According to his own version, he states he trained daily under master Lum Sang for a period of ten years, from 1955 until master Lum Sang closed his hands (retired from teaching) and moved to Taiwan in 1965. Henry Poo Yee also says that as a matter of honor and to show respect, sifu Henry "Poo" Yee began to show the world the "true kung-fu" of master Lum Sang. During some of his visits to Lum Sang in Taiwan, he was trained in the complete techniques of his secret "tin sing chi kung" and the high technique form of "siem kuen". Lum Sang gave Poo Yee his recipe for dit da jow and instructed him in the healing arts. Henry Poo Yee also received the encouragement and blessing of Lum Sang to teach and promote the "true art" of southern praying mantis.

After this he trained students in Paris, Hong Kong, England and Germany, settled for some years in Fort Pierce (Florida, USA) where he trained the Fort Pierce Police Department. While in Florida he founded the Chinese Kung Fu Academy (C.K.F.A.) of Southern Praying Mantis Kung Fu Federation USA in 1982. Poo Yee then moved Atlanta (Georgia, USA). Finally in October, 1991 Henry Poo Yee settled down in Texas (USA) where he has opened a new school.

So far, Henry Poo Yee has been honored and/or appointed with titles as:

  • Advisor of the United States of America Wushu - Kung Fu federation.
  • Advisor of Chan Tai Lama Pai.
  • Board of Director of United States Kung Fu federation of North America.
  • Member of Hong Kong - Kowloon Herbalists - Medical association.

Currently his association has sixteen branches school or training clubs across the USA and overseas.

A lot has been said about the authenticity of the Henry Poo Yee credentials. It is not the purpose of this document to discuss that subject, therefore I will just not give any opinion. I'll write some fact and the reader will make its own conclusions:

  • Henry Poo Yee has claimed that Lam Sang passed his lineage of altar to him but the truth is that Gin Foon Mark has the possession of Master Lum Wing Fay's altar and artifacts.
  • Henry Poo Yee can not be found in the group photographs of Lum Wing Fay disciples. Not in any of the three pais.
  • Mr. Yee's teaching has differences with other Jook Lum teachings while most of the other disciples teach is pretty similar. He claims Lum Sang taught him a different version.

Wong Bak Lum or Wong Baklim

Wong Bak Lum was chosen as disciple by Lum Sang in the early 1950's. He was Lum Sang Sifu's first disciple (not the first student) in the United States. Following seven others were chosen in the 1950's including Masters Jessie Eng and Harry Sun. All the other disciples from the first generation always called him Dai Sihing (older brother), showing respect because of him being the first accepted disciple.

Dai Sihing (Senior Brother) Wong Bak Lim, the first son of the first Lum Sang's family, has maintained impeccable records of dates and times of the Late Lum Sang teaching, including hundreds of photos and (8mm) films to attest to the system of Jook Lum Gee Tong Long Pai Chinese Kungfu in the USA.

In the 1960's he opened a school in NYC Chinatown teaching the Chinese youth for free and even feeding them to keep them off the streets! Thanks to his effort to preserve this rare art, one can see 40 years of Jook Lum history in just a few hours. He is the Da Sihing (Oldest Brother) and the first of Lum Sang Sifu' s Family of Disciples. He is a living encyclopedia of the Jook Lum Kungfu. He has publicly and privately taught students, both Chinese and non-Chinese for the last forty years.

Jessie Eng

Jessie Eng at his 60s jogs several miles daily and has two students he calls friends, avoiding too much tradition. Although, he is a member of the first family of the Bamboo Temple kungfu, he also spent many years studying Chu Gar Southern Praying Mantis.

Jesse Eng has privately taught several students, both Chinese and non-Chinese in the last forty years.

Harry Sun

He was the last of the first family of Lum Sang disciples. Harry Sun has privately taught several students, both Chinese and non-Chinese in the last forty years.

Louie Jack Man

He has openly taught many non-Chinese students and continues to teach in Philadelphia Chinatown today.

Henry Wong

He was a disciple of Lum Sifu at the NYC Freemasons Association. He currently lives in San Francisco.

Roger Hagood

Roger D. Hagood, a veteran martial artist with 30 years experience, has studied this rare style for 20 years with Masters Louie Jack Man, Gin Foon Mark, Harry Sun, Jessie Eng, and Wong Baklim. Hagood is also publisher of several international martial arts magazines, books and newsletters.

Louie Jack Man accepted him as his first non-Chinese student in 1978. Louie Jack Man introduced him to his Sihing (older brother), Gin Foon Mark, and on June 6, 1980, he entered Gin Foon Mark's school.

In 1987, he traveled with Gin Foon Mark to Mexico, together, where they introduced Jook Lum Temple Praying Mantis Kungfu on Mexican National Television during a 10 day seminar with 120 participants. Gene Chen accepted him as Chu Gar disciple by ceremony, in 1990.


There are many other principles such as the centerline theory; intercepting hand and sticky hand; rooting, moving the center, attaching the center; crossing the bridge; straight power and borrowing force; float, sink, swallow and spit; which I may address in the future. Several strategies may be employed when fighting: scaring, faking actions, tripping the opponent attacking from the left and right angles as well as from the front, adhering and discharging. Sight and sound are also refined in order to understand and anticipate the opponent's movement. Hand-to-hand contact is used to "sense" the opponent strength, weaknesses, power, intentions, shifting of weight, and readiness to attack. The idea is to get your opponent off balance and not let him regain it; and at the same time shift in close with explosive rapid fire strikes. The opponent must try to ward off these blows, but so fast and many this is very difficult to do. Speed is essential. The principle of intent or "will-power" is first discussed. Intent may simply be defined as the "warrior spirit." Without it, their is no focus of the body and mind into one purpose.

If pushed downward the hand turns to strike upward, if pushed upward the hand turns to strike downward, if pushed inward the hand turns to strike outward, if pushed out the hand turns (changes) to strike inward (simply said). Of course, this is a principle and as one becomes skillful, his hand learns to adapt to any angle or circumstance.

This principle of contact, control and strike is central to all mantis action is based on the three powers of the arm; from the shoulder to the elbow, elbow to the wrist, wrist to the fingertips. A skillful mantis will defend and attack using one arm (leaving one hand free) to trap and control the opponents two arms. This is done with one arm by using the forearm for defensive movement while simultaneously attacking with the hand or fingers. This can only be accomplished if one has understood the centerline theory.

And so, a superior art is based on a deep rooted stance, upright footwork in stepping and production of power by the movement of the ribs and diaphragm. It will use the conditioned arms and hands 70% of the time and the legs and feet 30% of the time in offense and defense. This is because, in this style the hands are considered the quickest and most convenient weapon.


As many other traditional styles the Southern Praying Mantis has "songs" to help the student to remember the style's fighting theories. This is the Praying Mantis Fist Upper Body and Foot Work song:
Upper Body
Raise hands above, point palms down.
Grab, catch, punch and seize.
Move one hand above the head and level the other one.
Bend your knees like a frog's. Round your back like a basket.
Foot Work
Shape your feet like a "T" but not a "T", "V" not like a "V".
Stretch your hands out from the heart.
If you don't attack, I won't attack.
Another song in the styles says:
" The hanging power is like a noose that opens and contracts.
The hands that seize holds and catch
The head is down, eyes look sharp like that of a cat.
The ribs open and close like the hinge of a door.
The legs are bent like a frog ready to spring.
When you achieve something in Tong Long Kune, then you are about to

There is another song in the style that says "On tum chum bil loi lau hei sung" One should immediately block and attack from any gate. Welcome in the guest and when we get tired of him we kick him out The meaning of this song is take in opponent's power, neutralize it, and return it to him many fold.

Another song "Hand to hand, heart to heart; you don't come, I won't start" is used to explain the theory in the two man sensitivity drills.


By pressing the centerline of the opponent, sticking to his movement and feeling his intent, the skillful hand can, using small, quick, short, angular jerks and deflections, redirect and create an opening in the opponents center and intent while delivering a single devastating blow in a straight line (the shortest quickest distance between two points) to his vital spots. Continuous direct blows are given until the opponents submission. The mantis philosophy is train until within three blows the opponent submits, bleeds or ceases to exist.


Southern Praying Mantis has 3 distances to cover: long, to cover the distance; medium, where to enter; and close where punishing blows can be delivered. The techniques of the Southern Mantis system are short range, based on inch force power that comes from tendon contraction.

The first task of infighting is to get in close to the opponent. This would seem especially important to a style like southern mantis: since the mantis stylist's forte is infighting. It stands to reason he would be particularly vulnerable at the longer distance most other styles use. Actually, this is no problem. When one is used to fending blows that come from very near, a round kick or long arm punch seems slow by comparison.

If the opponent was the type who flicked kicks from as far away as possible, the mantis practitioner would simply attack the kicking leg by catching the kick and jamming the knee, or by actually striking the kicking leg (the side of the knee would be a good target), or by kicking the muscles of the thigh. All of these would prove very discouraging to a would-be attacker.

In most combat situations, the long-range fighter would try to drive in against a mantis stylist, opening with kicks to close the distance and then finishing with hand techniques. In such a case, the mantis stylist would simply sidestep the attack and allow his opponent's own movement to bring him into range. Often, accompanying this evasion tactic with a quick snap kick to the attacker's groin. As the assailant moves into range to apply his hand techniques, he would rind the mantis practitioner's hands reaching out for his arm and controlling him in his attempts at continuing the attack.

Once the mantis stylist has come into range, or more accurately, once the attacker has moved himself into the mantis practitioner's range-how is it possible for him to defend against getting hit?


As there are three distances, there are also 3 levels of height involved; floor fighting, where the Southern Praying Mantis practitioner is fighting from the floor; medium, where attacks are aimed low and the body is slightly dropped, and high, where Mantis techniques are applied to the face and shoulder line. if anybody has seen my school training they would notice that the punches never come from or start at the hip, but in front of the chest, this is where short 'inch force' movements can be applied to their fullest extent.


Even a beginning student can execute a punch in one fourth of a second, this means that within arm's reach it is very difficult to block a punch. The Southern mantis solution to this problem begins with the fighting posture taken. In imitation of the praying mantis. The practitioner holds his arms out toward his opponent. When possible, he seeks to have his arms in actual contact with his assailant's. In this way he can feel the attack from its earliest moment. This method saves precious time in two ways. First, he is able to react immediately to the stimulus of an aggressive action without having to wait for his brain to process the information through his eyes. Second, no time is lost bringing his arm from an on-guard position into place to block. In addition to the time-saving aspect of his fighting posture, the ability to catch an attack early in its movement makes it possible to control the blow with not too much effort.

The most important element in the mantis style integration of defense and offense does not he in tactics and techniques, but rather, in the development of "feeling." Feeling is the quality of being sensitive to an opponent's movements and being able to blend with them in a perfect response. Feeling is so central to the mantis style-and to infighting in general-that everything written so far presupposes its development One of the biggest drawbacks of close-quarters combat is that there is virtually no time in which to respond to an action. To further compound this, many attacks are virtually invisible. It becomes imperative that the responses a fighter makes are not dependent on his mind's analysis of a situation or his eyes' perceptions. By developing feeling one gains an almost "sixth" sense, a sensitivity through the arms to the movements of an opponent. Since the stimulus is perceived-through direct tactile contact. it is possible to respond faster. The response also tends to be mom appropriate, since the mind often overreacts to visual stimuli. If the mantis stylist's responses are more appropriate, due to his development of feeling, then they are also more efficient. This is an obvious advantage if one is called upon to fight for a prolonged period of time. Efficient techniques also mean better control over an opponent. By not over-reacting to an attack, the mantis stylist remains in balance and capable of giving that extra little push that can turn a simple block into a move that unbalances or exposes an assailant Another important benefit of the development of feeling is the ability to use an opponent's power against him. If an attacker punches the mantis stylist, he will grab the punching arm and pull it. This simple act has the effect of wrenching the attacker's shoulder destroying his balance, and possibly pulling him into a counter technique like a knee strike. However. if you have ever tried to grab a punch you know that it is not really easy to do. That is why feeling is so important. By sensing the attack initially, the mantis stylist is able to make contact with the punching arm early in the movement. In this way. the grabbing hand is moving with the punch and has plenty of time to grab hold- as opposed to trying to snatch the arm as it goes by. Well-developed feeling for the opponent's movements also determines which counter move will be used. If the attacker is pulled well off balance, then he can be drawn into a sharp counterattack. But, if the attacker's lead leg is well forward so that his center of gravity stays behind that foot, then a palm-heel strike to his fully locked elbow, or a single-knuckle punch to the armpit area would be more appropriate.

Southern Praying mantis fights from an upright position, never too low to impair response and speed. Using the feeling hands of the mantis the boxer closes the gap, crosses the bridge, feels his enemies power, yields, then with the weight of the whole body and the explosive power of internal energy concentrated into one small area destroys the enemy within one exchange that doesn't stop until blood is drawn.


At very close quarters, targets below the waist are among the most vulnerable. There are two important advantages to fighting at very close quarters. The first is that attacks can be delivered so quickly that they are almost impossible for the uninitiated to stop. The second is that, at close range, it becomes possible to strike at vital areas very precisely.

Defense & Offense

One of the most important elements of good infighting is how well defense and offense are integrated. An analysis of this integration begins with an examination of the purpose of defensive moves. The first goal of defense, obviously, is to keep from being hit. When blocking is approached from this vantage it becomes necessary to discover the openings in the assailant to exploit for a successful counter. The opening can be thought of as rhythmic. As a person attacks they have a punch-and-punch-and-punch-and pattern. There is a gap, or space of time, between each blow. In order to exploit this pattern. the defender must break this rhythm with his counterattack. The defender's pattern would go block-and is block-counter. thereby catching his opponent between punches. If an opponent attacked with a front kick-punch combination, the mantis fighter would employ this rhythm breaking pattern of defense. After parrying the kick with his leg, and while the attacker was recovering from the kick and preparing to punch, the well trained mantis stylist would counter with a side snap kick to the ribs. Obviously, the success of such an approach depends upon the speed at which the counterattack follows the block. (This is why the rapid-fire, multiple-power strike is so effective-it does not allow opportunity for a counterattacks. In order to cut down the interval between the block and counter, mantis practitioners frequently block and counter with the same arm (or leg) in one continuous motion. Another good way to utilize this rhythm braking idea is to block with one hand while simultaneously countering with the other.

Usage of the attacker energy

Though it is easy to see how an aggressive attack can be used against the attacker, the mantis practitioner can also turn the attacker's defense against him. If the mantis stylist attacked with a punch and his opponent blocked it forcefully with an inward block, he would simply allow the force of the block to spin his arm around like a propeller. His hand would circle with his elbow as the axis and come crashing in from the other side. A punch blocked to the side would return as a knife-hand blow to the neck. One blocked downward would come crashing down as a back-fist strike. If the defender blocks more softly-so there isn't enough force to spin the mantis' arm in a large circle-he will use what force there is to "flip" his fist around the block. This is an action done more with the wrist than the elbow. allowing the mantis practitioner to press the attack with the same hand by striking again. over the block.


Whole circles, half-circles, quarter circles, circling in and circling out, circling high and circling low. In the southern praying mantis system circles are everything and everywhere. Circles are used to walk the horse, position the body, generate power, block, strike, perform the chi kung, and move from gate to gate. Working alongside the system of circles is the yat yee som (1-2-3). As higher levels are achieved, the numbers increase, much based on the number three. The foundation, however, rests in the chin som, or the first three soft positions, and the how som, the second or power positions.

Yin/yang theory

The yin/yang theory (Mandarin) is known in Cantonese as yum/yan. To throw a punch you must be relaxed (Yin) to make your punch speedy. Just as you are about to strike your opponent, you suddenly exert a lot of force and become Yang. If the opponent blocks your punch, instead of trying to exert more force (Yang versus Yang) to get by his parry, you become soft (Yin) and spin around his block in the direction of the exerted force, striking him and becoming Yang on contact.

A Praying Mantis practitioner develops short power, the ability to exert tremendous force from a short distance. Therefore, a punch need not be finalized until the instant before striking and you can also attack again without withdrawing the attacking arm.

Blocking, kicking, grappling and using weapons also turn the opponent's power against him, just like a wall reflects a thrown ball. Combat then becomes time varying mixture of Yin and Yang.

Yin and Yang energies circulate in the ventral and dorsal parts of the body, respectively, determining their nature. the toughest parts of the body, which are more resistant to blows, are the dorsal and exterior surfaces of the arms and legs and also the back. The inside surfaces of the arms, legs and body are more sensitive. In these parts the skin is softer and more easily bruised.


However, critics would say there might be an important weakness in any fighting style that calls for infighting how can there be any power in blows delivered at such close range?

The Southern Praying Mantis has an unique method of generating power comes in. The exponent uses a technique of hallowing in and pushing out the chest. This sucking in of the chest combined with the style movements, correct breathing and timing, and two man sensitivity exercises, enables one to develop an unbelievable spring like power which is characteristic of the style.

It is produced by the whole body in spiraling motions, as a spring is twisted and then released. It is the function of the hand and foot arriving at the target intently at the same time. There is a saying, "any deficiency of power in the hand, can be found in the root and center."

The natural strength a man's body possesses is known as li (lik). The Southern Praying mantis looks for to develop jing (Ging), that is a strength acquired after special training.

Jing is produced in the feet and expressed outward toward the limbs. This is the function of the stance and footwork. If not exactly correctly, one may never develop a root and center and so the hands will never develop sufficient ging.

The term, jing, is used as an overall word indicating refined strength and each technique or special skill is simply called a "hand". However, each of the mantis basic hands could be called a ging, ie. mor ging, gwak ging, choc ging, sigh ging, etc, because after repeated training one will acquire extraordinary power in this particular motion. The strikes that have "jing" follow and regenerate power by using the opponents movement. The power is continuous and flowing without the need for pulling back the hand or recoiling the arm. One blow changes to another blow without ever breaking contact and always following the opponents movement. In the Chow Gar it is called Gen Powers (Shock Power), an easier explanation of this power is: if someone touches you with a lighted cigarette or a hot spoon your reaction is immediate: a reflex action.

Different Powers

Praying Mantis has more than 1 power for example we can mention: three power strike, short, sticking, absorbing, shock power, zhou-di-jin (elbow power), etc. Let's see in detail some of them:

Duan-jin (short power)

The most distinctive technique of the mantis style is the "short power" punch. This technique is delivered at about six inches from the target. In order to develop power for this blow, master Mark begins with his elbow bent slightly and his wrist "cocked" back. Then, suddenly, as though shocked by an electric current, he straightens his elbow and snaps his fist down and forward. Though the blow looks soft and too short to be strong, it is in fact very powerful. Sifu Mark just shrugs and says. "When you train a long time to develop the short power, you develop the short power." He compares this ability with the pianist who, though not powerfully built, still hits the keys with great force.

The Southern Praying Mantis system has six of this kind of short-range powers:

  • guen-hon-dew don gang
  • guen-hon-jet don gang
  • guen-hon-har gang
  • chung moon gang
  • yuh moon gang
  • jaw moon gang.

The short-range powers are only developed by daily practice. The feet, the body, and the hands must balance each other before you can have true strength.

Using the Short Powers

For a skilled practitioner in a defense position, it is not necessary to block an attacker's punch. Instead, the short-range powers can be used initially to control the attacker's force. It is difficult for a non-Southern Praying Mantis practitioner to understand this kung fu fighting concept, but a skillful Southern Praying Mantis practitioner, if attacked, won't block for defense, though he will follow through with his own punch. As he completes the action, he uses the following three motions: guen (contact); hon (using and re-directing the incoming force); and don (then following through with a punch). Within Southern Praying Mantis kung fu, these motions are learned at various levels, including the short-range powers in Nan Tong Long Pai Lok Gang; Som Dim Bum (Three and Half Points Contact system); Ng Dim (Five Points system); and the Chut Dim Lin Wan (Seven Points combination system). Combine kuen fat with Nan Tong Long Pai Lok Gang, and you can achieve this defensive strength in mobility.

Three powers strike

Another unique weapon in the mantis system is the multiple power strike. The usual form of this technique is the "three power" strike, which. begins with a short punch. Immediately after the punch, the mantis exponent attacks again with the same hand. This second blow is made with the fingertips. It looks as if the ringers are just flicked out, but actually the power comes from a sharp vibration in the body, and a slight snapping, of the elbow. This second blow is followed directly with a third blow, which is a ringer spear or phoenix eye rest These three blows come in such quick succession that they are reminiscent of a machine gun. To develop the deadly power one must know the four ways of breath - inhalation and the ascension of chi through the spine, exhalation and descension of chi through the anterior channel

Cun-jin (Inch Power)

Of all of the weapons within the vast arsenal of southern praying mantis, there is probably none more feared than its deadly inch power (similar to the one Bruce Lee made famous). Just when you think you've blocked, trapped, or contained him, the trained practitioner explodes with exacting inch power (almost always into nerves or a vital area). Within a fraction of a second the game has drastically changed. Tin sing chi kung plays a large role in inch power training, especially when using finger strikes. Many elements must come together to deliver successful high-technique finger strikes. First the body must be positioned correctly to create and contain chi. Second, the strike must be delivered at the precise second the hand "fills" with chi.


External Development

Learning and mastering Southern Praying Mantis can be broken into a series of stages. The first stage is called "wang-o" or forgetting the self where the novice concentrates on simple techniques and learns the mechanical aspects through repetition. The next step is called "tse-jan", and at this stage the movements are very natural and you develop your own style. The third and last stage is called "wu-wei". You are beyond technique and live in the "now". You react spontaneously and naturally to what is happening at the moment.

One golden rule that is always emphasized is, it's not how much you train but how you train that's important. All of the many different exercises are based on what is known as Loi Gung (Inner development) and Noi Gung (Outer development) It is important to know that internal power and external power are in unison and flow with one another in harmony. To give an example, if water (Chi) had to flow down a paper pipe it will only tear and burst, so training the external methods will strengthen the pipe so that the chi can flow stronger.

Nan-Jin (Body Building Exercises)

In the Southern Mantis system, students are taught the physical body Building exercises without the use of weights. If a one trainer cannot find a partner, na jin dynamic muscular tensioning exercises are practiced to boost extra muscle growth. There are altogether twelve exertions from where the six pairs of muscle which govern all fighting moves can be worked upon.

During Nan-Jin exercise, vigorous and dynamic physical pressure is being applied to the particular muscle strips. Large quantities of body cells are subjected to incineration while numerous new cells are manufactured to maintain normal body growth. Therefore, it is only logical that multiple dynamic tension techniques, applied to ordinary muscle groups will triple the growth of the muscle groups. Equally important to proper physical exercise, we must ensure that we have enough oxygen to fuel those explosive actions.

Furthermore, another vital point of which we must be aware is that we are working on the muscle groups of our shoulders, back and hands, not on our chest. Therefore, never attempt to cause any unnecessary, tension of the chest. This incorrect practice will definitely affect our heart and lungs normal functioning and undoubtedly cause health problems at a later stage.

One should always remember the natural dynamism of Ying and Yang in the Universe, soft and hard must be balance. In this case, one must relax to inhale a huge amount of oxygen before dynamic tension drillings can be executed. Breathing sequences must be practiced as naturally as possible while any controlled or unnatural breathing should be completely eliminated. Likewise, the hard dynamic tension exercises which exert tremendous pressure on the particular muscle strips should only be applied as long as one's breath allows. Take another deep breath before further strain is put on the same sinews. In between each endeavor. one must relax to stretch the aforesaid muscles in order to balance the training of Ying and Yang, soft and hard.

Let's see other exercises also well known in the Southern Praying mantis:

  • How Gung (neck strength) are exercises that help to toughen the neck, jaw and the muscle around the temple on the side of the forehead
  • Dip Gwut Gung (Rib strength development) helps to strengthen the rib bones for protection and also increases the gen power. It is a qi gong exercise.
  • Tun Hung (Back, Spine power) is difficult to translate or explain. The Southern Mantis practitioner can push out his back with a sudden shock if someone grabs from behind using this exercise.
  • Sun Sook Kit (Groin training). At a high stage training to bring up your testicle, though this may sound funny there are many who can do this (for example sifu Ip Shui from the Chow Gar Southern Mantis).

All these exercises are intended to develop the body into a fighting machine. By practicing some of the mentioned methods in this system, you can and will promote the jing powers of the body. In the beginning, novices will find that practicing such exercises seems very physical, but as they prevail with such methods they will become more relaxed; pushing the inner power from the bones and joints of the body and then the Chi energy will reach the finger tips. When two students are training together, they can work with special pulling and pushing exercises known as cuo shou. There are three levels of training program to cultivate the hard, soft and ultimately the shock power. Again each level of training covers the six moments of force, the forward and backward; inward and outward: upward and downward.

Two man drills

Two man fighting skills are the foundation of Southern Praying Mantis. The two man drills include two man internal strengthening, two man body conditioning, sticky elbows, hooking hands and ging power explosive force are also included. And there are numerous two man "sticky-feeling-controlling" exercises.

Stomping with the feet, hooking and deflecting with the forearms and hands and striking the vital points with the knuckles and fingertips are its basics. "Within three steps contact, control and strike the enemy until he is red" is the fighting motto.

Southern Praying Mantis is a martial art which can only be learned with a partner, as self defense is the primary emphasis. This partner training creates a very alive, feeling and changing power based on the opponent's movement and intent. To achieve the balance necessary for fighting, the practice must include two people. Two people learn proper strength, balance and feeling for the hands of southern mantis. The emphasis is to never lose contact of the opponent; as long as you can feel the enemy you can control him; this is known as making a bridge. Chai Sau (Grinding Arm) is the basic bridge arm for power and strength, performed by two people, that helps to build power and develops 'the shoulder, forearm, wrist, and body stability. There are 18 variations in which the latter you are moving.

Chia Keok (Grinding leg), as the previous one, is performed by two people, but this time with the legs. Nine variations for hip and knee development, there are also knee grinds for knee and ankle. This builds power in the legs. There are also single exercises for both legs and arms.

Southern Mantis Training CHONGS

The word 'Chong' means something that you practice with, it could be a partner a punch bag, a wall bag etc. In the Southern Praying Mantis method of Chongs, a partner is used. The Mantis Chongs (Mantis sticky hand exercises) are two man training exercises to develop the close-in hand work that the Southern Mantis is famous for. All the grabbing, seizing, picking and cutting techniques are contained in these training chongs. They vary from the use of grabbing, seizing trapping, hitting, block and attack at the same time, with both hands and, with one hand, and again the legs are used in the same way that the hands would. Also steps are trained in the Chongs; as good footwork is vital for the Martial Artist.

The Chongs develop feeling, timing and sensitivity and are different than the Wing Chun sticky hand exercises or the Tai Ji "push hands", it follows different patterns and it's done with a different emphasis. Sticky training is to learn relaxation. It is the ability to not blink when being struck. It is attaching to the center of the opponent's being, neither pushing into nor pulling away from him. It is being perfectly attached in stillness and motion. Feeling hand is the result of sticky hand. One must learn to neither anticipate the opponents movement or telegraph his own.

Feeling hand is the reading of the opponents intent. It is as if the hand (body) has an eye of it's own. Controlling hand is the result of feeling hand. It is the jamming, trapping and deflecting and attacking of the opponents intent. This is done based on the control points of the body. The hands are placed above the heart and the elbows cover the ribcage to protect the internal organs.

As the fighting distance is so short it is not always possible to see the opponents' hands and feet. The sensitivity drills gives "eyes" to the practitioner's hands and feet. Sensitivity is developed to such a high degree that practitioners are able to defend themselves entirely by touch if necessary. Practitioners are taught to strike without telegraphing their intentions and without warning.

The first Chong that one learns is called "Doei Chong" (or Doy Chong), meaning double hand practice. Doy Chong is the basic bridge development of the Chow Gar Praying Mantis Kung Fu. It is called the beginning of power known as Wun Tong. With the Doy Chong the more time you spend practicing the better development of power you can achieve. The power of Doy Chong is special and is not like lifting weights or pushing something.

The 4 positions of Doy Chong are up down left and right as 4 flexible powers that resist like thick bamboo poles. After a long time practicing, you can bring the power to any part of your body with smoothness and makes your hands and body have sensitivity. Sensitivity of not only reflex but of power and strength as well. It is a completely different form of training to a wooden man dummy.

It is important that one develops live power and not dead power (Say Gen).

When training with the Doy Chong, both participants must practice seriously, you cannot be lighthearted, the atmosphere must be like that of facing your enemy. Therefore in time every move will spark with power and life. The Doy Chong needs two people to make it a success.

It flows as follows: (A) punches (B) with Phoenix eye fist (B) blocks with both arms (A) presses in together with both arms against (B). (B) pulls back his elbows about 3 or 4 inches, (A) cuts back (B's) elbows with Narp Sau. Repeat continuously.

This type of Chong builds the power of sensitivity and helps your strength to become smooth, and the internal force directed. Through this basic chong you will become more relaxed, this is vital to understand the rest of the sensitivity drills of the system. As one progresses in these Chongs, each time a different area is covered, whether it be the steps, grabbing, seizing, breaking etc.

Training equipment

Auxiliary training in the style contains rolling iron bars along the arm "bridges" using the iron rings along the forearms, training finger strength by special methods of throwing and grabbing sandbags (iron claw), and use of a medicine ball to strengthen the whole body. Additional training equipment for the practice in the kwoon could be wooden dummies, hanging bags, wall bags, throwing bags and specialized springs and rubber bands pulled in different ways, all designed to improve the practitioners speed, power, coordination and balance.


After training a period in the Southern Praying Mantis methods, and the Chi development has been brought up to a good level, the practitioner now undergoes training sequences for conditioning the body for being hit. The Southern Mantis system has many conditioning skills teaching how to toughen your whole body, arms, legs, shins, hands, hips, ribs, palms, etc.

The system has also a special traditional training program that is designed to exercise the joints, tendons, ligaments and also conditions the fore arms to strengthen the bones. This will lead to development of "Iron like" forearms.

The body is divided into nine parts. Each part has its exercise to develop strength and to condition it. In addition to the nine conditioning methods, there is Qi Gong training. Only the discipline and patience practitioners can go through the tiring, painful training of the joints and muscles in the time the "Shock power "can be produced. The hitting exercises for the whole of the body, legs, back, arms, hands etc. help to stimulate the releasing of the powers

In these methods, one needs 2 people, where they will practice 'hitting' each other namely on the legs, arms, hips, shoulders, back, etc. One of the first basic conditionings is the hand hitting exercise. Two people face each I other and send hammer fist blows to the other open palm. This exercise is known as "Gau Choi" and is a famous Praying Mantis movement. If any bruise occurs then "Dit Dar Jow" is used. This type of training does not build callous on the hand but makes the hand firm for hitting.

Rolling Bamboo is an exercise intended for strengthening and conditioning the forearms. To begin, you will need a piece of bamboo long enough to rest both forearms comfortably across it. Place bamboo on table, counter, or other accessible area. Now, lay both wrists, palm up, on bamboo. Slowly (to begin) push forward, rolling arms across bamboo to the elbow. While pushing, rotate arms until palms are face down. Return the same way, rolling arms back to the wrist. Arms should be back in the beginning position with palms facing up. Repeat about 25 times for each arm to begin. Don't forget to apply liniment (Dit Dot Jow) generously. This will help develop the arms internally, strengthening the ligaments and tendons.

The style has also a kind of Iron Palm known as Dit Sar Jeung. It requires very vigorous hand training with a high degree of concentration. Hands are hardened by internal exercises and the use of herbs liniments. Hitting hard objects is avoided because it would destroy hands sensitivity !!


Usually it is the sifu the one that supplies the Dit Dar Jow for the Pai Da Gung training, herbals formulas and Shun Kung (spirit) are the last things taught to the students.

The Medicine taught in the style is a form of Chinese medicine that deals with broken bones, sprains, bruises, internal injuries. Say you've been hit badly, then you learn how to Cure that injury. Part of it is learning how to make the dit da jow, the bruise medicine.

The style's herbal formulas are documented in manuals but the problem is that it is difficult to get some of the herbs, even in big Chinatowns such as New York or London and they have to be ordered from Hong-Kong. Some of the herbs are very poisonous, and sometimes they contain things like dried lizards. You've got different strengths of dit da low, and, as you advance in your training, you increase the power of your dit da jow.


Qi Gong (chi kung) is the heart of the southern praying mantis system. Internal training begins and is developed here as you learn about the tan tien, the development of chi and the movement of chi throughout the body. Patience in chi kung training is not merely helpful, it is absolutely necessary. It produces the system's short-range powers. The style has breathing exercises of both hard qi gong (Non Kung) for external purposes, and soft qi gong (Yuel Kung) for internal purposes For example "Hay Gung" are breathing exercises for internal exercise to help increase the flow of energy within the body. The most important Hay Gung exercises are 18 internal dark power hands, and Dip Gwut Gung (Rib training includes the inch punch)

Why is it so important the qi gong in the Southern Praying Mantis ? Simple, if there is not qi gong practice the short power will not be produced !!

Chi can also be used in defensive manner, as a shield, so that the martial artist can resist blows to vulnerable parts of the body.


All attacks come from the elbows. The fist is not withdrawn to the hips as in many other kung fu and karate styles, the hands are held in front or on the chest and this allows the exponent to hit multiple times. As seen in the power section, it comes from the feet through the legs, then the hips through the shoulders and up out the fists. The entire body becomes the driving force. The varieties of fist styles involve the use of wrist power, elbow power, shoulder power, bouncing power, crushing power, smashing power, clawing and seizing. A single movement of the arm may contain several actions. Many of the movements are simultaneously defensive and offensive.

The mantis arm is composed of three "hands;" from the shoulder to the elbow, from the elbow to the wrist and from the wrist to the fingertips. A good mantis will use his "second hand" for control by pressing the forearm into the centerline of his prey, at the same time striking a vital area with his "first" hand or fingers.


The style has 18 "hands" (hand techniques) that are taught individually (one by one) and then combined with the steps. Tactical operations of the hand include grappling, catching, holding, capturing, clasping with the forearms, slicing strikes with the knuckles, pressing with the elbow, sudden quick pushes with both hands, spearing with extended fingers, flicking of the hands in quick jabs, exploding fingers from the fists, jerking the opponent's arm, slicing and chopping with the edge of the palm, hooking and deflecting hands, elbow strikes, claw-like raking actions, and poking with the back of the hands. A single movement may contain several of these actions. Once contact is made there is no backing up or breaking apart. Each of the eighteen hands is a reaction to an action with the intent of each movement to make one deadly strike enough.

The style also uses a variety of open handed techniques and specialized hand maneuvers such as the ginger fist, three finger spear, and bamboo slicing hand, all of which attack the bodies vital points. These strikes can cause paralysis, as well as cutting off blood flow and distribution of chi to vital areas of the body. There are seizing clawing and breaking methods, from trapping to covering movements. The mantis hook is employed, but so are numerous other trapping and controlling maneuvers.

Behind all these appliances you must know how to trick your opponent, like leaving yourself open for attack, as your opponent comes in then you hit him. The strategy of how to use the hand techniques has been seen in the Fighting Theory section.

The style has soft hand techniques (Yel sao) that includes:

  • tun sao
  • fun sao
  • sog sao
  • mor sao (forward and backward)
  • bow sao
  • chum no/jaw jook/sog sao

as well as hard or power techniques (Gon sao) such as:

  • jet choi
  • yel choi
  • dan choi
  • ka choi
  • shung jung ha
  • laun choi
  • gao choi.

Let's see with more detail some of the most popular hand techniques:

  • Gau Choi is a devastating relaxed hammer blow, it was used to strike the heads, the temples at the side of the head, and was also used to strike the arms.
  • Bow Chong is a fast covered hand and attack method, done simultaneously.
  • Kum La Sau are claw seizing methods going up and down continuously, giving the opponents no place to attack.
  • Soc Sau is a sudden shock (Gen) technique: the pulling of the arm of your opponent.


If we take a look at the Southern Praying Mantis forms, you will notice the absence of the passive rigid blocking. This is because the past masters of this system knew too well that this type of blocking is inadequate for fighting use. This is why the most Chinese fighting systems (such as Southern Praying Mantis, Pak Mei, Lo Man Ga, Hsing I, etc. had very little blocking and the blocking was very simple. Therefore, there are no actual blocks in this system, since the opponent is not given the opportunity for much counter attack. The style does not use force against force either; again that wastes valuable time and energy, they redirect the blow and immediately counter attack. Blocks can also be used to create openings. In this ploy, a punch is not merely deflected, but pushed aside. A blow to the head can be deflected upwards, exposing the chest to a counter. Driving the punching arm across the center line of the body opens up the sides pushing downwards opens the head, blocking from the inside outward exposes the attacker's center line. In order to accommodate this function, the mantis stylist blocks his opponent's arms near the elbow. In this way, a small motion of the blocking hand causes a large displacement in the attacker. Furthermore , it then becomes more difficult for the attacker to break contact with Mark's hand to cover himself.

Another application of this same principle adds an extra movement to the blocking action to expose 3 target. For example. If a mantis stylist were pressing an opponent's punching arm across his body, he might resist by pushing the other way. At that point. It would be possible to suddenly change direction and scoop the arm out of the way, thereby opening the chest. Another example is when the mantis stylist suddenly grabs onto the attacking arm as he finishes a block, pulling the attacker off balance.

Fun Non Choi or Feng An (Phoenix Eye Fist)

However, at the heart of the Southern Praying Mantis style is the phoenix-eye fist. The style makes no use of the clenched fist seen in other styles, instead preferring to use the extended index finger knuckle to strike the enemy. This one-knuckled attack allows the exponent to focus his energy on the one small area covered by the knuckle, rather than the larger area covered by the fist, further increasing the effectiveness of blows to vital areas.

It might be referred to as a kind of "acupuncture boxing" due to the fact that the phoenix-eye fist is used to strike vital acupuncture centers in rapid succession. In attack, the middle knuckle (phoenix eye) of the index finger is used like a needle to pierce internal organs. Practitioners of southern praying mantis explain: "A punch with the fist produces an external muscular bruise; striking with the phoenix eye.-produces an Internal bruise." This fist coupled with the internal spring power the mantis strike becomes deadly.

Those who practice the "hard" forms of chi kung internal protection know that it is only the phoenix eye that can break-their internal work. Applied by a soft touch, over a vital organ. and then a powerful strike down and Into the organ with the needle-like finger. the resulting damage may be as moderate as stagnation of the blood and air or as severe as thrombosis (blood clotting) and internal hemorrhage.


The advanced martial artist must also learn to control his Chi flow. Short power involves an explosive flow of Chi from the Dantian to the striking surface. He or she must also be able to transmit Chi to others and to remove Chi from others.

Throughout the body there are many nerve points that are weak and vulnerable to attackers. This system shows the practitioners the angle, position and direction to strike most effectively at these targets. In the beginning, students strike for such well-known targets as the eyes, the point below the nose. the throat, the spaces between the ribs, and so on. These targets do not need to be hit very hard for the blow to be effective. Advanced students in the art am taught to strike more complex and less obvious (though no less effective) targets. For example, the senior students learn how to (permanently) paralyze an attacker's arm by carefully hitting the brachial artery and nerve.

All the techniques are designed to paralyze or disable the enemy quickly as possible. This process can be used to heal people and also for self-defense, where it is called "Dim Mak". The pressure point knowledge, has the objective of hitting spots on the body to damage tendons and nerves. Dim Mak is the antithesis of acupuncture producing illness or death by disrupting the Chi flow.

The result can be death! If you hit two certain points between 9.00 pm and 1 1.00 pm, then the victim could die within seven days. Then there's the half-hourly points, where, it you're hit at 12.00 mid-day, you could die straight away. Maybe in the old days the masters looked at the position of the sun and used a particular technique. Nowadays, the practitioner can hit the pressure points and block the flow of energy through the body, without looking for the death of his opponent. Of course, the same information is used in healing people as well. Acupuncture points also have a Yin and Yang character. For example, striking the Ming Men can produce death. Sometimes moxibustion on this same point can resuscitate a dying person. A strike to Lung 5 can cause a KO; needling this point on the arm which has not been struck is the antidote. The Southern Praying Mantis forms include hidden Dim Mak strikes.

Sifu Ip Shui (Chow Gar Praying Mantis) has published a book on this subject and a version in English was published by his student Paul Whitrod.


Southern Praying Mantis uses leg trapping and low line attacks, but rarely high kicks. The main combat targets for kicks are feet, ankles, shins, and groin. The kicks are all low, below the waist. This is done to maintain balance and speed. Low kicks are harder to block because the practitioner always uses them in conjunction with simultaneous hand techniques. Using these kicks with hand techniques, or holding and opponent give the practitioner a kind of three legged stance that allows for more stability than if the kicks were thrown without the hands hitting or touching the enemy. Also, using the hands and feet together make it difficult to see the kick coming, lending them the name of "Mor Ying Gerk", or "no shadow kick."

Like the Mantis insect itself, that dismantles the legs of its prey, the Southern Praying Mantis system has many breaking of the leg techniques, which is ideal if you are close and want to end the situation quickly. The feet, ankles, knees and hips may mirror the hand movements, having the same fighting strategy. The style has eight basic kicks, that are taught to the students through training drills (like the hand techniques). The leg techniques have different combinations of the kicks aiming also at Dim Mak points.


The forms bases their learning on sections of movements rather than a complete long form. There are unique ways of learning these forms. In-stead of learning one long form you learn sections of movements. Each section may consist of 8 moves, when you have completed all the different varieties of sections. This in turn gives a much better feeling, and could be seen as a form of shadow boxing. It will serve to give your own expression to the system. By learning to change to circumstances you evolve. So even though the Southern Mantis is a traditional system it does not lack the creativity. Nothing becomes stagnant and predictable in this system. Traditional system was created by humans too. and can only be bogged down by someone who does not share or understand its methods.

Some forms of the Mantis system are quite short and consist of only small amounts of movements. Students learn these basic maneuvers in the many 'forms, individual, and two man, which incorporate all the hand and foot techniques of the system. Mastery of three techniques is more useful than knowing nine and not being able to use them. As a result students often practice for several years only to learn the basic forms. Though each form has a two-man breakdown in which students try to develop the ability to "feel", "adhere" or "redirect" power, they are also broken down into step-by-step basic movements for self-defense. Breakdown forms range from two to five-men situations and train the students' hands to react instinctively in free fighting. Each form has a 2 or more person breakdown, allowing the student to learn the meaning and practical application of moves. The way how the forms are taught makes difficult to differentiate the forms from the exercises, that is the reason why there are so many differences in the names and amount of forms reported by the different branches and even by different instructors in the same branch of Southern Praying Mantis. Let's try to establish a list of forms in each one of the different branches:

1)Chu Gar

It is supposed that Lao Sui only taught as forms the following four sets:

  • Som Bo Jin (Three step arrow punch)
  • Som Jin Yu Kiu (Three arrow punches and shake off the bridge)
  • Som Bond Ging Tan
  • Fut Sao (Buddha Hand)

But the Chow Gar currently lists as forms much more of the style's sets of movements, including a bunch of chi/nei gungs. Let's see the detail:

Chow Gar (Ip Shui's Chu Gar)

There are ten basic forms, and then each form has three different levels. All together, in total, there are twenty five different forms. They're not long. For example, the difference between the second and the third form is TWO new movements.

The forms are the same, except that you add moves as you progress. The only difference between Sahm Gin Yiu Gee (Three Steps Shake Off The Bridge), and the following form is that the latter add a couple of movements. You have to train the form to understand how it works. The different levels mentioned in the forms is not related to the forms themselves changing, in terms of the movements, but of the student developing different kinds of 'geng', strength, within the form. For example, there's what we call chao geng, which means the power is rough, and then you come to no geng, which is hidden, power, and finally you have the mixed stage, geng geng, which means you use short, sharp contractions and expansions of power. You can learn those three different kinds of form, but you can only develop the essence of them through hard training.

These are the forms we currently find in the system:

  • Som Bo Jin (Three step arrow punch)
  • Yee Kup Som Bo Jin
  • Sup Baat Yau Loong (Eighteen Swimming Dragons)
  • Bo Sim Sau (Searching for the insect)
  • Som Jin Yu Kiu (Three arrow punches and shake off the bridge)
  • Som Bo Pai Kui (Three step slicing bridge)
  • Som Bo Pin Kui (Three step parallel bridge arm)
  • Yurn Yearn Kum La Sau (Ying Yang seizing hands)
  • Fut Sao (Buddha Hand)
  • Tow Mo Kuen (Breathing mist form)
  • Sup Jee Jau Cow Dow Sau (Cross hands claws continuous form)
  • Som Bo Loi Deng Choy
  • Som Bond Ging Tan
  • Jik Bo
  • Say Mun Gao Choy
  • Ying Chum Sao
  • Som Gin Yu Sao
  • Say Mun Bao Zhang
  • Som Yu Som Fung
  • Gan Ton Ging
  • Chut Bo Tui
  • Som Gong Bo
  • Sup Bot Mo Jung

2)Hakka Boxing

  • Som Bo Jin (Three step arrow punch)
  • Som Bo Jin (wo person version)
  • Say Moon San Sao (Four gate single hand form)
  • Tong Long Chut Dong (Praying mantis coming out of the cave form)
  • Boon Ben Lin (Half lotus form)

3)Zhu Lin Shi Tang Lang Quan

Traditionally, the sifu Lum Sang only taught, the forms Som Bo Jin, Sup Bot Dim and Yup Bot Ling Bot and their two Man counterparts; but, as in the Chu Gar branch, we currently find more forms taught in the system:

  • Som Bo Jin (Three steps arrow)
  • Lah Sao 1 (First Loose Hands) 2 Man Form
  • Som Bo Jin (Three steps arrow) 2 Man Form
  • Lah Sao 2 (Second Loose Hands) 2 Man Form
  • Sup Bot Dim (Eighteen Points) Single Man Form
  • Sup Bot Dim (Eighteen Points) 2 Man Form
  • Chut Dim Siem Kuen (Seven Point Monk Lee's Fist) 2 Man Form
  • Moi Fa (Plum Flower or Five Fists) 2 Man Form
  • Yup Bot Ling Bot (108) 2 Man Form

Now that we have sorted most of the forms in the different branches we will see some details about the most important forms in the system:

Som Bo Jin (3 step arrow punch)

The basic form and the corpus of the style, we find it in all the different branches (it is the "bung bo" of the Southern Praying Mantis). It is a form that concentrates on the development of Chi power. This form goes into strengthening the body.

3 step arrow punch is simple by technique, but it is very hard by practice; through this form you will begin to attain the gen powers. For example, Som Bo Jin works on the Phoenix fist, and it is through this form that the fingers are strengthened so that the phoenix fist becomes a much more solid force with a piercing power (finger power is known as "tsee lik"). This form is done slowly, and the arms are always in front and the punching is done at a short distance of about 5 inches, it is from this practice that power can be attained at short distance. Even though the first form is basic, you could say that it's one of the most advanced forms as well.

To make another comparison with more popular styles we could say it's like Sil Lum Tao in Wing Chun. It's the first thing you learn but the appreciation of It only occurs over a period of time.

In-depth study of this form teaches you the correct footwork, and the proper position of your techniques. The three step arrow form is recognized by kung fu masters as a chi kung formula which guides the breath to the lower abdomen while also developing inch-power.

Stepping, gathering and releasing power in short explosive strikes and borrowing force are the important points of this form. During the training of this single man form, one should train "fic shu" and mantis chi sao (fic shu is a series of continuous hand motions to increase fluidity, relaxation and flexibility in the hand and arms).

Once the single man Som Bo Jin form has become skillful, one next learns the two man "breakdown " of Som Bo Jin. This is a two man form stressing basic skills of stepping, borrowing force, and striking in unison with a partner. It differs from most other style's two man forms in that it is very sticky and contact oriented. The two practitioners hands, arms and legs are hardly separated once the form is begun. The two man Som Bo Jin is the application of all the principles and philosophy in a realistic way.

In the Zhu Lin Shi Tang Lang Quan, Lum Sang taught Som Bo Jin as the first form and the foundation of the system. Roger Hagood has stated that this form is often mistranslated "Three Step Arrow", although the actual meaning is "three steps forward".

1.Chow Gar (Ip Shui's Chu Gar)

Yee Kup Som Bo Jin

The second stage of Sarm Bo Jin, used to develop the Gen power.

Sup Baat Yau Loong (18 Swimming Dragons)

The 18 Swimming Dragons are part of the intermediate stage of the Chows Mantis system, they are a selection of 18 singular movements, their actions are seen as a Chinese Celestial Dragon twisting and turning. When you have completed all 18 movements you then practice them by changing into any of the 18 moves in any particular order. The idea of the 18 Swimming Dragons is to avoid the strengths and powers of your opponent, to finally land a precise blow of your own.

When the training in Southern Mantis starts the students tend to think that the it is a hard physical practice system (see the training exercises section). This is totally the wrong impression, and could not be further from the truth. However the beginning stage is tough training, as the student goes through the Southern Mantis stages of training and development he begins to flow with his conditioning. The 18 Swimming Dragons are simple relaxed movements of the Chows Mantis System. By practice and putting them to use, will make you harder to hit and get hold of, you learn to tackle your opponent by avoiding his attacks, and because you are twisting like Chinese Dragon. your opponent finds this frustrating until you land an attack of your own.

The 18 Swimming Dragons teach one to go up, down, left and right, weaving in and out causing the opponent to miss with his attacks. These movements apply themselves to the avoidance and divertion of your foe's execution of movements, of course your own foundation must be firm to use such relaxed moves. Overall they could remind someone of a boxer who bobs and weaves. as it did me many years ago, with the head and body going side to side etc.

There is grabbing and pulling situations when exercising the 18 movements. It bases itself on free form, flowing into one movement to the next. Also one has to be cool in the application of the 18 movements, by putting yourself in a better position and your opponent in a more awkward one. This is done by controlling him and his balance so he looses his sense of gravity, so the fight is completely under your control.

This is the soft side of the Southern Mantis system, the first nine dragons teach body mobility, the monkey footwork, and the last nine dragons teach techniques like sweeping dragon, turning dragon, plus the Tow Mo Loong (breathing dragon Hay Gung).

Bo Sim Sau (Searching for the insect)

A direct translation would be "Searching for the insect". The insect, refers to the pressure points It consists of thirty sections of footwork and hand movements, with each section having five different movements, and it is the longest form in the Chow Gar system.

Som Gin Yu Kiu (Three arrow punches and shake off the bridge)

Yui Kui means to shake off, and this form teaches how Yui Kui works in the Chow Gar system as a joint locking technique aiming at the wrist points.

Som Bo Pai Kui (Three step slicing bridge)

Pai Kui is the Southern Mantis slicing technique, the form has hidden Dim Mak techniques.

Som Bo Pin Kui (Three step parallel bridge arm)

This form in the Chow Gar system is renown because of the Pin Kui technique, that cuts across the vital Dim Mak points, hence the name of the form.

Yurn Yearn Kum La Sau (Ying Yang seizing hands)

Ying Yang or opposite forces are much in play in the form which include breaking techniques, and how to make your opponents limb easier to break by striking the Dim Mak points. There are many short range techniques in this form which is ideal for close-in fighting.

Fut Sao (Buddha Hand)

It is an advanced form showing the hidden dim mak points and the 12 different palm strikes to hit those dim mak points.

Tow Mo Kuen (Breathing mist form)

This Chow Gar Praying Mantis form is for close-in Dim Mak strikes

Sup Jee Jau Cow Dow Sau (Cross hands claws continuous form)

This form contains many different strikes including palms, claws, and Dim Mak techniques. It is an advanced form.

Som Bo Loi Deng Choy

This form teaches the Say Barn Lig (4 powers hand technique). It also includes hidden Dim Mak techniques.

2.Hakka Boxing:

Say Moon San Sao (Four gate single hand form)

Also known as Koy Moon, is taught by some branches of Hakka boxing as the first form of the system.

3.Zhu Lin Shi Tang Lang Quan

Lah Sao (Loose Hands)

Lah Sao (loose hands) is a short, medium and long range two man hand set with low kicks, high kicks and sweeping. Although the form is based on stickiness, there are three separations of the two men. Both sides must be learned by both men as one continuous "round" to complete the form.

Sup Bot Dim (18 Points)

Sup Bot Dim (Eighteen Points) includes, stepping, kicking, covering left, right, and center gates and striking low below the waist, all while attacking the nerves with short continuous explosive strikes. Also known as "Eighteen Buddha" form this set teaches vital point striking with the knuckles and fingertips in forward, left and right positions. Eighteen points two man form follows and the partners develop greater feeling, timing and sensitivity while learning where and how to strike the vital points with intent. Staff, broadsword, sword and sai may also be taught.

Chut Dim Siem Kuen (Seven Point Monk Lee's Fist)

This form was sometimes taught privately to those advanced students who had potential but weren't deemed acceptable by the Master to graduate the system. Unless one was asked and became an inner disciple by ceremony, traditionally his training would stop here. Only those who became personal disciples of the Master would continue their training further.

Moi Fa (Plum Flower or Five Fists) 2 Man Form

It is four directional and includes the evasion of takedowns and sweeping. Next is the two man Moi Fa set where the skills are further refined. Moi Fa, follows and is a circular two man set teaching one to attack vital points below the navel.

Yup Bot Ling Bot (108)

It is the master's form, only taught to those who are formally accepted by the master. It is a two man form teaching 108 vital points (36 lethal - 72 paralyzing). Medicine is taught at this stage along with a spiritual gong fu (Shun Kung).

This sticky hand form teaches precision in attack, defense and counter attack of those vital areas. This skills are supported by the Monkey stepping (low). However, this training is not taught publicly. 108 has origin in symbolic Hinduism, Buddhism and Taoism. It represents the 36-72 Heavenly and Earthly spirits which complete nature.


There are eight basic weapons in the Southern Praying Mantis. There's the butterfly knives, the pole, the kwan dao, the spear, the dan dao, the gim, the iron ruler and the tiger fork.

The style also has forms with other weapons like the walking stick and the bench, but the principal weapons of the system are the pole and the straight sword.

The system has numerous weapon sets (qixie or hay hai). As we did in the bare hand forms we will classify the weapons forms according the different branches they belong to:

1)Chow Gar (Ip Shui's Chu Gar)

  • Ng Hung Kwun (Five elements staff form)
  • Five Elements (staff form)
  • Duk say kwan or Duk Sheu Gun (Poison Snake Staff form).
  • Bow sim kwan (staff form)
  • Yellow Cow (staff form)
  • Lau Soei Kwan (staff form). Supposedly sifu Lau Soei created this form himself. It is a short form, just half a dozen movements.
  • Woo Dip Dow (Butterfly Knives)
  • Kwan Do (Kwan Do form)

2)Hakka boxing

  • Liu Tien Pan Kun (6 1/2 pt staff)
  • Mei Hua Kun (Plum flower staff)
  • Sho Ho Chian (Neck locking long spear)
  • Shih Sun Chian (13 pt. long spear)
  • Chu Toh (Farmers hoe)
  • Tze Mu Tau (Double butterfly knives)
  • Tieh Cher (Iron rulers)
  • Kun Twee Chai (Prearranged long stick sparring set)

3)Zhu Lin Shi Tang Lang Quan

  • Butterfly Knife
  • Broadsword
  • Double broadwords
  • Duk say kwan or Duk Sheu Gun (Poison Snake Staff form)


Practicing Southern Praying Mantis makes one aggressive in nature, and the constant rubbing, feelings and turning of power acquired during feeding hands gives one confidence to defeat the enemy. That is the reason why the masters put so much effort in teaching a rigid morale to the students.

The spri (altar), is honored from generation to generation. The spri has the deepest spiritual meaning, this is where the sifu honors all previous masters. The students honor the current masters this is the way of order. Only the (sifu) will go near the spri, upon the opening of each class, sifu will light the incense and place upon the spri. In silence the sifu and the students honor the ancestors in the art. In daily practice they show this by saluting (with the unique southern mantis salute) the altar of kung fu and past masters and sifu when they enter and leave class. Sifu opens his classes by burning incense at the altar and closes it with his salutes

As a spiritual discipline, each of students learn the meaning of the Chinese words:

Hoc Yurn
Hoc Yi
Hoc Kung Fu
Jurn Jow
Jurn Si
Jurn Gow Do.

They must understand humility, loyalty, and hard work with respect of the ancient masters, respect of sifu and respect of his guidance.

"Respect the ancient Masters
Respect the Master
Respect and Cherish your Teacher and Teachings"


The southern praying mantis has all the elements necessary for effective infighting. There is an intelligent fighting posture, and skill at infighting also requires an effective arsenal. There are three important factors in effective attacks, one is the accurate delivery of blows to vital and sensitive targets, a second is the delivery of those blows with the smallest, most concentrated striking surfaces and third is the development of power even in "small scale" actions. Effective defense is important too. Defensive actions both protect the defender from getting hit and help create or discover opportunity for counter. But effective defense will only occur if one has developed feeling, a sensitivity to the moments and energies of an opponent. It is only in the development of feeling that the martial artist can hope to successfully integrate defense and offense in close combat.

In summary then, Southern Praying Mantis is a complete and effective fighting system with soft and hard aspects uniquely mixed into the style. It is ideal for men and women of all ages. Simple, effective and basic body mechanics make it easy to practice regardless of age, physique, or sex. It is a superb form of training for both health and over all physical fitness and it is a highly devastating, easy to use method of self defense.


(1)Other sources in the Chu Gar style say he was a younger brother of the last Ming emperor. This is difficult to believe because if we analyze the dates, he should be about 100 years old when he moved to the Southern Shaolin temples. Therefore, it makes sense to think he was blood related to the last Ming Emperor, but he was probably one of his descendants.

(2)These are the surnames of the dynasty families:

Dynasty	      Surname
Qin		Ying
Han		Liu
Jin		Sima
Sui		Yang
Tang		Li
Song		Zhao
Ming		Zhu
Qing		Aisinjuero

(3)Hakka (Ke-ren or guest people) people were formally from the North of China, but they would move around in a group. Somehow their journey reached Southern part of China. It is supposed that the Hakka people is descendant of the Ming royal family and their supporters that moved to the South escaping from the Manchu invasion in the XVII century.

(4)Hokkien people are from Fujian province (that translates to Fukien in Cantonese or Hokkien in hokkien dialect) and this community has its own dialect spoken in Southern Fujian area and other countries where the Hokkien emigrated, for example Malaysia. Their language is very similar to teochew (chiaochow in mandarin).

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