The Origin of Praying Mantis Kung-Fu  


Historical Background

The Praying Mantis Kung-Fu Style was developed by Master (Sifu) Wang Lang over 300 years ago in Northern China.


At that time the Chinese people were rebelling against the new Dynasty imposed by the Manchu invaders.

Sifu (Master) Wang Lang was deeply concerned at the invasion of his Country. At first,  he became a leader of his local people’s resistance to the hated Ching Government.


After the local resistance was crushed Wang Lang joined other Warlords from the former Dynasty (the Ming Dynasty) in secret training at the Northern Shaolin Temple.


Their hope was to build up an Army to over throw the invaders, but the plan was exposed before it could fully develop.


The Shaolin Temple was burned down by the Government and Wang Lang was one of

the few people who escaped. He returned to Shantung and continued his own study of the Chinese Martial Arts.



Derivation of the Kung-Fu Style & it’s

Imitation & Creation

Sifu Wang Lang although one of the best Martial Artist amongst his contemporaries was never self-contented. He was always searching for ways to improve his technique. He had managed only minor improvements before he was inspired by an insect and animals in nature.


The Praying Mantis Skill

As the story is told, on one summer’s day Sifu Wang Lang was walking in the woods. The silence he was enjoying was broken by a hum. He looked closely and saw a Praying Mantis fighting a Cicada (insect). A cicada is a large winged insect; it is also famous for the loud shrill call.


With very swift movements the Praying Mantis seized its prey. Wang Lang felt sorry for the Cicada and tried to drive the Mantis away with his sword. Instead of giving up, the Praying Mantis jumped onto his sword, it seemed to complaining of his unfairness and it began to attack and defend.


Suddenly the Mantis leapt onto his arm and reach to attach him. Wang Lang was surprised by the tiny insect and attempted to sweep it off his arm. But the Mantis avoided his hand, swayed its forearms and made several cuts on this arm within seconds.


He was very amazed at the Praying Mantis’ skill and agility. After capturing the insect he decided to observe it’s way of fighting.


After Wang Lang returned home he developed and worked hard to uncover the techniques of the Mantis. He used a straw to arouse the insect and repeatedly watched how the Mantis would 1avoid, 2approach and 3attack the straw from many different angles.


After months of research he established the Praying Mantis 13 Basic Arm and Hand Techniques. These techniques involve almost all-hard and soft movements of one’s hands, fists, elbows and arms.


In Martial Arts both hard and soft technique’s have their own good and bad points. The appropriate use of hard technique’s can help break into the soft, while that of the soft techniques can gain control over the hard. As the Praying Mantis System has combined both, it is a powerful masterpiece. After a long time training with his new style, Wang Lang had greatly enlarged his capacity as a Master (Sifu) of Chinese Martial Arts. He was quick at guarding as well as attacking.


His only weakness was his feet and legs could not match the speed and versatile of his hands.


Wang Lang was always looking for some way to improve his leg and feet techniques, so he could bring his style to perfection.


The Monkey’s Liveliness

Once again Wang Lang found his breakthrough while walking in the forests in the mountains. He saw monkey’s picking fruits from one tree. He tiptoed close to the tree, but before he reached the tree the monkeys saw him and all at once jumped away.


Without thinking Wang Lang raced after them, using his well-trained ‘nimbleness technique’. Amongst the trees the monkey’s rolled and trotted and jumped and he was soon left him far behind. Panting for breath, Wang Lang wiped off his sweat and laughed. Thinking back to what he had just seen, he imitated and analysed the monkey’s leg movements. They were exactly what he had been searching for.


The way the monkey’s advanced, retreated, dashed, jumped, rolled, and turned proved to be more alive than all the big steps and broad stances used in all the other Martial Arts of that time. He therefore designed the ‘Monkey Steps’, the characteristic’s of which is narrow paces and quick legs.


(This must not be mistaken for the Monkey Style Kung-Fu). These techniques would enable better speed and spirit in moving. The ‘Eight Basic Stances’ was combined with the well-known Thirteen Arms and Hand Techniques. Thus the skill of the Praying Mantis and the liveliness of the Monkey was joined.

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