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  1. EmetShamash is online now
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    Posted On:
    3/18/2007 11:49pm


     Style: Chinese Martial Arts

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!

    Seven Star Praying Mantis article

    Seven Star Mantis: The Complete Package - by Sifu Jeff Hughes

    The legendary Wong Long, creator of the famous northern shaolin seven star praying mantis system of kung fu, developed his system while spending his days at the Shaolin Temple.
    Taking the best techniques from 17 other styles of the time, Wong created one of the most effective fighting systems ever developed in China. Some of these techniques include the long fist of tai cho, short fist of Un Yian, monkey style of Sun Tan and the throwing strokes of Wai Tek. Combined with the movements used by the praying mantis insect, these techniques gave birth to the seven-star mantis system.
    The northern mantis system remained in the Shaolin Temple for several generations until a wandering Taoist monk names abbot Sheng Hsiao Tao Jen came to visit the sacred grounds. After mastering the mantis style, Tai Jen left the temple and became the first person to disseminate this style throughout China.

    "Li the Lighting Fist"
    Tao Jen handed over the system to Li San Chen, who established a security service called the "Pui Kuk." Li was revered in Northern China and was known to thieves as "Li the Lightening Fist." His skills were so great he was never defeated. When Li was much older, while searching for a worthy student, he met Wang Yung Sheng, a national boxing champion. Before he taught Yung Sheng, Li challenged the young champion to a friendly match. Yung Sheng couldn't even touch the much older master; Li simply seemed to vanish every time Yung attacked. Once Li touched Yung Sheng, Li was immovable. Yung Sheng eventually became the third successor of the mantis system.
    Wang passed his teaching on to Fan Yuk Tang, who weighed over 300 pounds and was known for his iron palm skills. He achieved widespread fame in China by accepting an open challenge from a Russian fighter in the early 1870's. Traveling to Siberia, Fan defeated the Russian champion along with several other challengers. Fan's disciple, Lo Kwan Yuk, earned the title of fifth successor of the system.
    In 1919, after leaning of Lo's reputation as a fighter, the committee of the Shanghai Chin Wu Athletic Association, hoping to fill the position of chief instructor, sent a representative to Shantung to invite Lo to Shanghai. Lo accepted the position and trained many successful students. His fighting techniques proved themselves again when one of his top students, Ma Ching Hsin, took first place at a national Chinese boxing competition.
    The next successor, Chao Chi Man, was already an accomplished martial artist when he met Lo. The late grandmaster Chao Chi Man joined the Hong Kong Chin Wu Association in 1924, where he studied the shaolin tan tui style for six years. He also trained in eagle claw and tai chi chuan. When Lo was honored as one of the "Four Super-Lords" of the Chin Wu Association, Chao Chi Man began to follow him. In 1930, Chao Chi Man committed his studies to seven star mantis kung fu.

    Opening the "Closed Door"
    Chao Chi Man disseminated the seven star system to his nephew, Chiu Leun, who already had a background in mantis style through his apprenticeship at a temple with the "Big Monk" and the "Little Monk." Chiu Leun spread the art to America when he relocated to New York's Chinatown. It was here that sifu Raymond Fogg began his studies under the grandmaster. Fogg, one of the few "closed-door" disciples, dispersed the art first in Washington, D.C., and later in Texas.
    As taught by grandmaster Chiu Leun and master Fogg, the seven star system is a complete fighting style with many empty hand, weapons, and two-person sets. Iron palm and iron arm training constitute just part of the advanced training instruction, along with the lo han qigong set.
    The art of chi sau or "sticky hands" is widely known in wing chun and in the push hands on tai chi chuan. Mantis chi sau is similar, but has specific guiding techniques and principles. Chi sau allows a practitioner to elevate his techniques through the skill if touch, which allows one to "measure" and "listen" to his partner or adversaries intentions.
    When learning chi sau, you must learn to follow the other's movement without leading. The is done with great patience and complete trust in your sifu's guidance. Much time should be taken to slow one's movements, calm the spirit, and fully "hear" one's opponent. This calmness eventually can be carried into a full-speed, full-power combat. Other important principles to remember in chi sau include saying relaxed yet "full" and constantly moving with no wasted movements. Use weight to follow up strikes and always keep one's body sensitive. The slightest touch can lead to the hand slipping away.

    The Key to Mantis
    Achieving high-level mantis chi sau skills can only be accomplished by placing emphasis on the training of the system's drills and techniques, and working long hours on forms, which include chin na jointlocking, throws, and groundfighting. Chi sau helps a practitioner successfully apply the technique's forms, which ultimately hold the key to the knowledge handed down form master to student. Tong Long practitioners are famous for blocking a punch and then following the arm into a "hook," where they can pluck or redirect their opponent before striking. When using chin na jointlocks, mantis stylists break and/or quickly move on to a strike or throw. Using chi sau skill, one can find his competitor's center and throw him off balance. Chi sau, along with rolls, can be used to escape chin na. To make all strikes count, aim at sensitive areas and pressure points.
    It is important to remember the "rules governing wushu:" when you get hurt, dont let your opponent know; use deception to vary your techniques. Kung fu us based on circles, so try to make your strikes go in circles or in an arc. When in combat, use your spirit and facial expressions. Mantis hops and other mantis footwork, such as chien (dodging) and sim bo, are used in a controlling manner to gain momentum. Ja bo, which is similar to bagua's walking circle, teng (jumping) and chi jert "sticky feet" are important parts of mantis footwork.
    In combat, "body handling" or controlling the opponent's elbow must not only be learned, but also mastered. When grabbed, yield and twist, using circular motions in the direction of the force. Then follow then attack. Collapsing techniques can be both offensive and defensive in nature.

    Effective in Combat
    Chi sau heightens a martial artist's sense of awareness and increases contact reflexes. One purpose is to sense for centerline mistakes. Along with the fighting drills, these principles allow a practitioner to incorporate a series of techniques into his mantis repertoire. Other chi sau drills include choi som sau, noi gwa sau, and jim lim sau. These drills, combined with strict adherence to the 12 principles of attack and defense and eight hard and 12 soft principles, allow a student to understand why the mantis system is so effective in combat.
    Fogg was introduced to chi sau in Washington, D.C., where he studied the mantis system under sihing Randy Burly. He later trained mantis fighting under Chiu Leung and in mantis boxing under sifu Henry Chung. He said chi sai training helped him develop sensitivity.
    "In kung-fu, one must learn to listen with their arms, hands, and body," Fogg explained. "In a fight, most of the damage will be done in close quarters. That is, the range of touching, which allows one to use all of the sensitivity developed in the chi sau or jeem leem."
    Scratching the surface of seven star praying mantis is easy, Fogg added, What separates the beginner from the advanced student is his understanding and mastery of the eight hard principles and 12 soft principles.
    "Well, it becomes obvious that the 12 are more important to obtain. Furthermore, becoming one with the 12 soft principles is a much harder task to accomplish than becoming one with the hard principles," Fogg noted. "Many practitioners lack the patience required to understand the importance of the soft and without understanding it becomes even harder to achieve."
    Still, a mastery of chi sau techniques adds to the mantis practitioner's arsenal of weapons, Fogg insisted.
    "Learning and achieving aspects of chi sau (jeem leem), I became more confident in my skills and found that my growth could be infinite."
    Published in the October release of Inside Kung Fu Magazine.
  2. glad2bhere is offline

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    Posted On:
    3/19/2007 2:26pm


     Style: Yon Mu Kwan Hapkido

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    A popular theme that comes up time and time again is usually associated with the development of a new art. Effectively a history will say that "Mr. XYZ was exposed to martial arts at a young age and when he became older he took 'the best' of a number of arts and produced "ABC" art." Maybe I just have too much time on my hands but I have really started to think about this dynamic in much the same way as some people questions folks who "go off to the mountains" and develop some new art. What I wonder is this.

    If people like Gen QI Ji-guang took 'the best" of 16 arts available at his time in the 16th century, and another person takes the best of the arts in the 17th century and another in the 18th century.... well shouldn't we have a "super fantastic" art by now? What I mean is that if each generation is always culling-out only "the best" techniques and theories and training and practice, should we not be to a place by now that CMA represent the very best possible combat material available on the planet? Thoughts?

    Best Wishes,

    Bruce
  3. It is Fake is offline
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    Posted On:
    3/19/2007 5:08pm

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     Style: xingyi

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Two things ES.

    1) Please post a link to where you copied any article.
    2) Please leave a comment on said article.


    This will help stimulate discussion. Do you believe this as historical fact? Is this the history of your particular Mantis School? etc. etc.

    Thank you.

    This one of a few articles dealing with Chi Sau that came up during the WC thread.
  4. dwhomp is offline

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    Posted On:
    3/19/2007 10:03pm


     Style: Xing-Yi

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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by glad2bhere
    A popular theme that comes up time and time again is usually associated with the development of a new art. Effectively a history will say that "Mr. XYZ was exposed to martial arts at a young age and when he became older he took 'the best' of a number of arts and produced "ABC" art." Maybe I just have too much time on my hands but I have really started to think about this dynamic in much the same way as some people questions folks who "go off to the mountains" and develop some new art. What I wonder is this.

    If people like Gen QI Ji-guang took 'the best" of 16 arts available at his time in the 16th century, and another person takes the best of the arts in the 17th century and another in the 18th century.... well shouldn't we have a "super fantastic" art by now? What I mean is that if each generation is always culling-out only "the best" techniques and theories and training and practice, should we not be to a place by now that CMA represent the very best possible combat material available on the planet? Thoughts?

    Best Wishes,

    Bruce
    You forgot that somewhere, the main man met up with Daoist or Buddhist monks.

    I take Chinese history of XXX art with a grain of salt. Xing Yi is the same way. Nobody really knows where it came from but there are stories. But you do have some lineage hounds and that is fine, but for me, if the guy can teach me something and can kick my ass, then I am good.

    But I also realize that if you are just starting in an art and cant identify "the real deal" for that art, that the lineage could be more important. As this site knows, and I would argue even MORE in the TCC, XY, Bagua realm, there are so many charlatans and fakes that it could be hard to filter them out if you didnt have experience in the art(s). That is where confirmed lineage would certainly help.
  5. glad2bhere is offline

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    Posted On:
    3/19/2007 10:28pm


     Style: Yon Mu Kwan Hapkido

    -1
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Honestly my take was just a tad different, though I agree with your comments about lineage. It truely IS a good thing for some people to be aware of, yes? However, my thought had a bit more to do with the the research I do for my own particular area which is in the KMA rather than CMA. That research has a lot to do with HOW people come to make the decisions that they do about where they draw their material from. For instance, in the KMA we know that the schaolars in Korea drew the material for the KWON BUP chapter of their miltary manual from General Qi's book. What we don't know is HOW they decided what material to use and what NOT to use. Its very plain that they didn't use ALL of the General's Boxing Canon and what they DID use they reorganized to suit their own purposes. The missing question would be "how did they make that choice?" For example, if someone were to have asked a scholar why they picked the methods that they did, would they have said something like "oh, we just picked the 'best' techniques in the book!" Does this make sense? Do you have a sense of what I am asking? Thoughts?

    Best Wishes,

    Bruce
  6. EmetShamash is online now
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    Posted On:
    3/19/2007 10:30pm


     Style: Chinese Martial Arts

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    article came from here (post #10)

    Ok, I will start off by admitting that I am swinging on my Sifu's nuts by posting this article since he wrote it.

    I do not take the whole lineage thing as the gospel truth, but this is the story that I am sticking to. On that note though I am not really that interested in much lineage discussion.

    I posted this in the hopes of hearing what other people think of the style that I study. I really like the stuff that I study but I haven't heard much outside opinion on the stuff I study.

    There is more stuff here (different school)

    ps- I think that people that "mix martial arts" have been pretty common for quite a while. Remember that they are taking what THEY think is the best. For quite a long time people have been teaching bullshit martial arts... not that I am bagging on anyone's style, its just that martial arts have been a valuable skill to teach people for a long time and taking advantage of people with no knowledge of said skills has been going on for a long time.
  7. dwhomp is offline

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    Posted On:
    3/19/2007 11:26pm


     Style: Xing-Yi

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    [quote=EmetShamash]article came from here (post #10)


    I posted this in the hopes of hearing what other people think of the style that I study. I really like the stuff that I study but I haven't heard much outside opinion on the stuff I study.

    [quote]

    I have sparred against 2 7*mantis guys that I can recall. One was all flair and crap, Flippy McFancy and he was very very poor, but fast.

    The second guy, i dont remember details other than he was faster than me and I had better structure.

    Now I have no experience with this system other than a seminar I went too about Wow, 15 years ago....Also anything posted below is through my bias eyes, so take with a grain of salt.

    What I thought was good was the speed. Suckers are fast. I recall getting hit with a fist if I checked the kick and vice versa. Was tough to tattoo em as well. And the damn shin kick stuff! Didnt hurt THAT much but enough that the 5th or 6th just sucked!

    What I wasnt impressed with was the power (this is based again only off of two guys). For example, if I was hit with 3 punches that wouldnt even throw my neck back, my one would physically move him and you get the oh-so-nice <OOF>. Now again, this could just be the people I worked with.

    For me personally as well, I felt there was a lot of movements in the forms that seemed to be to be overkill or wasted. But i guess that could be said of just about any system. I didnt like a perceived focus on the locking and joint work, but that just aint me. I cant make it work.

    Just a couple of my own opinions, mean no offense, take it with a grain of salt.
  8. shmuel is offline

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    Posted On:
    3/21/2007 5:39am


     

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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Good points Bruce.

    I'd also like to know how these people managed to learn the "best" techniques from so many styles. I find it hard to imagine that you'd be taught the "best" techniques of a style unless you were a longtime and committed student.

    I also have to wonder if these "best" techniques are actually the best if you remove them from the context of the style. Are they really still the "best" if you don't have a firm grounding in that particular style?
  9. glad2bhere is offline

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    Posted On:
    3/21/2007 7:38am


     Style: Yon Mu Kwan Hapkido

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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by shmuel
    Good points Bruce.

    I'd also like to know how these people managed to learn the "best" techniques from so many styles. I find it hard to imagine that you'd be taught the "best" techniques of a style unless you were a longtime and committed student.

    I also have to wonder if these "best" techniques are actually the best if you remove them from the context of the style. Are they really still the "best" if you don't have a firm grounding in that particular style?

    I think this is much closer to what I was considering. I hear so often that Mr. So-&-so took the "best" but I rarely hear how that person actually defined "best". I think many people assume that "best" usually means "most efficient and effective way of cancelling an opponent" but I never actually hear that stated. And when one looks at many of such arts with these stated origins I can't say that the sort of definition I have just mentioned always holds true. Thoughts?

    Best Wishes,

    Bruce
  10. Istislah is offline

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    Posted On:
    3/21/2007 3:37pm

    Bullshido Newbie
     Style: Mantis Kung Fu

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    I think this is much closer to what I was considering. I hear so often that Mr. So-&-so took the "best" but I rarely hear how that person actually defined "best". I think many people assume that "best" usually means "most efficient and effective way of cancelling an opponent" but I never actually hear that stated. And when one looks at many of such arts with these stated origins I can't say that the sort of definition I have just mentioned always holds true. Thoughts?
    It seems to me like the whole "best techniques" thing is really the same thing that everyone does when learning a style.

    Everyone has movements and techniques that they prefer or that work better for their bodies... those are the ones you concentrate on and use the most. The elements of your style ultimately are a set of options for use in a fighting situation- no one's grading you on using all of them- you're just doing what works for you.

    When you're talking about CMA's that's particularly relevent since many of the styles grew out of a village or family system that was originally just a collection of moves and techniques that fighters from the village or family picked up while serving in the military or from neighboring friendly fighters. Teachers taught their students the "best" things that they had been exposed to. Best was subjective and goals varied. Performance has always been a part of CMA (you have to make money somehow) so pretty much every style has some movements or forms that are showy and impractical coexisting with more practical and utilitarian fighting techniques.

    Another aspect is the idea floating around that only through years of dedication do you get to the point of being able to learn the "best techniques". In my experience the thing that differentiates my shifu from his students isn't so much that he knows more techniques (though that's true of course) but that his execution of even the most simple is incredibly fast, precise and powerful. Seems to me like fighting techniques should really be pretty simple- after all you have to do them while someone is trying to beat you up.

    So the take home I think is that cross-style pollination and styles changing over time is a good thing but you shouldn't get too carried away with the idea that a particular style has been constructed from the "best" of other styles. There's nothing magical about it- that's what everyone is doing.
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