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
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,
- 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
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
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
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.
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
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)
4.SOUTHERN PRAYING MANTIS FAMILY
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
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
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
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
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
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
- 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 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
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 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
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
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
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
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
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
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 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
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
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
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
So far, Henry Poo Yee has been honored and/or appointed with
- Advisor of the United States of America Wushu - Kung Fu
- Advisor of Chan Tai Lama Pai.
- Board of Director of United States Kung Fu federation of
- Member of Hong Kong - Kowloon Herbalists - Medical
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
- 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 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.
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.
He was a disciple of Lum Sifu at the NYC Freemasons
Association. He currently lives in San Francisco.
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:
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
- 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.
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
Let's see other exercises also well known in the Southern
- 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
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
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
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,
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
10.PAI DA GUNG (CONDITIONING SKILLS)
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 !!
11.DIT DAR JOW
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
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
13.KUEN FAT (HAND TECHNIQUES)
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
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
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
- 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
- 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
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.
14.DIT DAR (DIM MAK or DIM YUET)
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
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.
15.CHO KUI (FOOTWORK)
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
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:
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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
- Woo Dip Dow (Butterfly Knives)
- Kwan Do (Kwan Do form)
- 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
- 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 Kung Fu
Jurn Gow Do.
They must understand humility, loyalty, and hard work with
respect of the ancient masters, respect of sifu and respect of
"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
(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:
(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
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