Michael Nelson-Cole; Martial Arts Instructor & Personal Trainer, London, UK
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History Of Mantis Kung Fu

Northern Mantis Kung Fu is made up of 18 different Kung Fu arts. The founder of the original Mantis Style was a Shaolin martial art student called Wang Lang.

The Praying Mantis style was originated approximately in 1620 AD; at the end of the Ming Dynasty. During this time China had been going through turmoil at the hands of the Manchu forces. However a young man by the name of Wang Lang decided to organise a revolt against them and the new authority, the Tsing Dynasty, using the monks and disciples of Shaolin. His scheme was discovered and the Tsing Government ordered the armed forces to attack and burn the temples of Shaolin to the ground. Wang Lang with some of the disciples, helped the Chief Monk to escape, they travelled far before they finally settled down at Laoshan, Shantung province.

After the death of the Chief Monk, one of the elder monks called Feng was chosen as successor to rule the temple at Laoshan. At leisure, Feng would always test his fighting skill with Wang both for amusement and exercise. Wang was defeated all the time and so sought to improve his skills, each time he tried harder to beat Feng but failed. Fang would encourage his younger brother to practice harder whilst he was out travelling the country, so that once he returned they could compete again.

One day during a hot summer Wang, whilst walking through the forest, heard the chattering sound of some insects. He looked around until he found two insects, a mantis and a cicada fighting each other. He was surprised how the mantis, being the smaller insect, eventually subdued its opponent. He decided to bring the mantis home with him, so to study its fighting method. From it he obtained tactics both in attack and defence, as well as the fighting methods such as sinking, seizing, blocking and catching. Wang was excited with what he had learnt, but still could see that there was something missing. Whilst practising one day out in the forest, he watched the monkeys at play, it fascinated him on how agile they moved, so he continued to watch. He found that by copying their foot movements and combining these movements with the forearm movements of the mantis, he had created a style much faster and stronger to anything that he had already learnt.

Upon the return of the Chief Monk, another contest was again held. However this time the outcome was different, and me Chief Monk was easily beaten. The Chief Monk was so surprised to find that his brother had acquired his ability in so short a time, and was very curious to know the reason why. Wang explained that by watching both the mantis, and the monkey's he had combined what he had learnt, and so had created what we know today as Mantis kung-fu.

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