Or from unfriendly fighters.
Originally Posted by Istislah
It has been my experience and what I have heard about other styles that the basics are usually the bread and butter of any system. The high kicks and the acrobatics were flashier and worked better for performance and opera stuff. Even alot of the iron body stuff is pretty much just for show (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nDflabGkdTU)
Anyway, I agree with Istislah's assesment of this subject.
Somehow I think thats where a lot of this stuff goes.
Effective combat is actually only a very small group of effective methods. General Qi identified only 32 methods out of 16 arts in the middle of the 16th century and remarked that most of those arts had pretty similar methods. That said, if a person is going to sell anything and keep students around he needs to be constantly embellishing his material once the core methods are established. Maybe this is where the "borrowing" comes in, yes?
Returning a bit to the OP's posted article-
Here's a collection of a few different mantis (not specific to seven star) "origin stories" translated from various primary sources.
Clearly there's some confusion floating around, which is hardly surprising given that there is little about the history of kung fu or indeed any aspect of chinese history that isn't infested with unsubstantiated traditional stories and conflicting accounts. That being said though there's actually a fair amount of correspondence between the versions.
- Obviously the whole "walking through the forest; sees a praying mantis" bit
-The "humble but talented" nature of Wang Lang- in all the stories he's either a man of limited means or the son of wealth divested by tragedy.
- the impetus for the development of the form being the defeat of his existing martial techniques
- the lack of any really "fantastical" elements. No immortals or anything... the closest we get is the sort of cliched "vastly skilled abbot"
Get that together with the independant verification of the 18 masters (in the link) and it seems likely that the form grew out of much the same sorts of pressure thats shaping the MMA today. Wang Lang was put in a situation where his skills weren't sufficient to be competitive so he started appropriating things from the people around him that seemed to work to develop a hybrid style.
I don't really know anything about Seven Star but if you look at the names and descriptions of the 18 masters and their styles you may recognize some of them EmetShamesh. Many of them are elements of my style anyway.
Last edited by Istislah; 3/23/2007 9:52pm at .
Reason: for completeness
In my school, the story goes that Wang Lang created the mantis style then taught it to a few disciples. His best (or only) students received each a praying mantis as a gift when they finished their learning with Wang Lang. Each praying mantis had some distinct color pattern (i.e. seven spots, five spots that look like a flower, etc.) and from that came the most known styles like Seven Stars, Meihua, Babu, and the like. Although mantis is not the official taught style, we do learn a form or two just to complement our training with other varieties of kung fu. Also my sifu (and his sifu) know a bit of the Seven Star, and we learn those style's forms.