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History of Praying MantisMantis06Mantis06


The Praying Mantis System is a Traditional Kung Fu system from China, rich with a long lineage and diverse history. Northern Praying Mantis (螳螂拳; tánglángquán) is a style of Chinese martial arts, sometimes called Shandong Praying Mantis after its province of origin.



The history dates back between 400 to over 800 years and initially began with a Shaolin Kung Fu master named Wong Long (王朗.) (One version places the creation of the style in the Song Dynasty when Wong Long was one of 18 masters invited to the Shaolin Temple by the Abbot Fu Ju 福居,1203 – 1275, to improve Shaolin martial arts, while others place Wong Long in the late Ming Dynasty 1600 - 1700.) Wong Long trained in the art of Shaolin Kung Fu and after many years he acquired an incredible amount of talent at his art. Eventually, he devised a system of fighting based upon the intricate movements of a praying mantis.

The mantis is typically not known for its speed and agility while moving along the branches of a tree. Therefore, it waits for prey to come to it and makes use of whip-like/circular motions to deflect direct attacks with its front claws, which it follows up with precise attacks to the opponent’s vital spots. These traits have been integrated into the Praying Mantis style within the theory of “removing something” (blocking to create a gap) and “adding something” (rapid attack).
A primary technique in Praying Mantis is the Diu Sao or “praying mantis hook hand” (螳螂勾手) a hook made of one to three fingers directing force in a whip-like manner. The hooking technique is often used to deflect an opponents incoming force (blocking), then stick to the limb, and finally attack vital areas (eyes or acupuncture points). This “praying mantis hook” technique is also part of some of the distinctive typical guarding positions of the style.
Praying Mantis Kung Fu is especially known for its speed and continuous attacks, while executing a wrist or arm technique as well as knee and elbow strikes. Another prominent feature of the style is its footwork, since the Praying Mantis by nature is slow moving, the footwork from the Monkey Kung Fu style was integrated because of its complexity and agility while stepping. Through time the style evolved into twelve separate "styles" of Praying Mantis Kung Fu. One of them is the "Jut Sow (wrestling hands) Style", more commonly known throughout the USA as:

Wah Lum Kung Fu.