Techniques, Strategy, and Theory

Praying Mantis kung fu is a complete combat system. It contains a core body of physical fighting techniques including kicking, striking, grappling, joint locking and throwing, codified by a governing body of strategy, tactics, theory, principles, and training methodologies. Additionally it contains weapons training, iron palm training, wooden dummy training, and energy (qigong) training.

Purpose

Seven Star Praying Mantis kung fu is a traditional Chinese combat system. It was designed for one purpose and one purpose only – combat. This is fundamental to understanding everything else. As a system it contains a highly integrated body of combat knowledge encompassing: i) fighting strategy, tactics, principles, and theories, ii) physical combat techniques including kicking, striking, grappling, joint locking, throwing, weapons, and iii) a scientific and progressive training methodology.

Footwork

Footwork in the Seven Star Praying Mantis system is dynamic, powerful, and explosive. Developing good footwork is fundamental to advancing effective boxing skills. It provides practitioners with a combative platform for mobility, positioning, rooting, stability, and explosive power in application.
There are eight fundamental stances in the Seven Star Praying Mantis system which practitioners begin learning from the first day of training. These include the:

  • Monkey Stance 白猿步
  • Seven Star Stance 七星步
  • Circle Entering Stance 玉环步
  • Horse Riding Stance 骑马步
  • Hill Climbing Stance 登山步
  • Tiger Riding Stance 跨虎布
  • Single Leg Horse Stance 踢马步
  • Collapsing Stance 吞塌步

Transitional footwork (movement) training is also a key component in the first 2-3 years of training. Practitioners must learn how to skillfully control their bodies moving from stance to stance, while remaining evasive and light on their feet.

Kicking

The Seven Star Praying Mantis system employs a comprehensive arsenal of kicking, sweeping, and close quarter leg techniques designed for maximum combat effectiveness. Leg techniques are generally targeted below the opponent’s waist, and are always deployed in combination with hand techniques. Praying Mantis makes extensive use of lower leg bridging and trapping techniques designed to immobilize, uproot, and even break an attacker’s leg. In total there are twenty four primary leg methods, sixty four combinations, and 108 vital point targets.

Striking

Striking techniques and hand methods in the Seven Star system are fast, explosive, deceptive, and flowing. Virtually all hand methods and techniques are 100% attack oriented with defensive maneuvering seamlessly integrated into the overall movement. Defensive parrying and blocking on its own is an incomplete movement representing only the midpoint on the greater path towards striking the opponent down. Tang Lang hand methods and techniques are comprehensive covering all ranges of combat. Furthermore techniques can encompass any combination of direct, indirect, straight line, circular, penetrating, absorbing, short, and long. Mantis hand methods are particularly famed for their extensive use of hooking, grabbing, and trapping techniques used to momentarily control the enemy before following up with a game ending blow. The Seven Star Praying Mantis system encompasses a number of fundamentals including: twenty four striking methods, eighteen palm methods, and eight elbow methods.

Twelve Key Word Principles (Shi Er Zi Jue)

Although closely linked to the above section on hand techniques, the Twelve Key Words are deserving of their own separate section due their fundamental importance. Despite making use of many principles, the core of the Seven Star Mantis system integrates twelve key word principles that were originally synthesized by the founder Wang Lang. Otherwise known as the Shi Er Zi Jue they include the following:

  • Gou 抅 (Hooking/Deflecting)
  • Lou 搂 (Grasping/Controlling)
  • Cai 採 (Pulling)
  • Gua 挂 (Hanging/Vertical)
  • Diao 扚 (Hooking/Absorbing)
  • Jin 进 (Advancing Forward)
  • Beng 崩 (Smashing)
  • Da 打 (Striking)
  • Tie 贴 (Adhering)
  • Kao 靠 (Leaning)
  • Zhan 站 (Sticking)
  • Nian 黏(Following)

Each of these principles is associated with a number of different techniques. Practitioners begin learning these principles and associated techniques from the first day of training. Only through dedicated and applied training can they be understood and mastered.

Grappling

Grappling, known as Qin Na in Chinese, is an integral and complex component of the Praying Mantis system. Its strategy focuses on controlling and incapacitating the enemy via joint locking and pressure point manipulation. The system comprises seventy-two methods designed to rip muscle/tendons at the joints, break bones, inhibit breathing, and even cause unconsciousness. There is nothing mystical about these methods – they are based on a scientific and applied understanding of human anatomy and bodily mechanics. As with all techniques, mastering qina requires many years of dedicated and applied training.

Throwing

Seven Star Praying Mantis utilizes a number of simple and effective throwing techniques. These methods maximize mechanical leverage and timing in pulling, pushing, uprooting, and slamming the opponent to the ground. In total there are 36 throwing principles.

Power Generation

Seven Star Praying Mantis leverages use of the entire body in executing techniques with bone jarring power. There are a number of specific divisions of power including long, short, pulling, pushing, lifting, absorbing, and explosive. Skillful execution requires a firmly rooted base, explosive legs, a powerful waste and core body, proper mechanical alignment, proper timing/rhythm, and nothing less than 100% conviction to finish off the attacker. The effectiveness of a technique is commonly enhanced by the simultaneous grasping, pulling, and jerking of the opponent into an explosive oncoming attack.

Tactical Theory

As with all complete fighting systems, Praying Mantis contains a large body of conceptual knowledge relating to fighting strategy, tactics, principles, and techniques. Below is a sample of some of the key theory in the system. Please keep in mind that there is a world of difference between simple academic knowledge and understanding based on experience. The real meaning of such theory can only be understood through diligent physical training and applied fighting experience, all under the guidance of a truly experienced master.

  • Four Attacking Strategies of Praying Mantis
  • Nine Strategic Points
  • Twelve Key Words
  • Eight Hard Twelve Soft
  • Seven Long Eight Short
  • Eight Hits Eight No Hits
  • Five Internal Strengths Five External Strengths
  • Three Fast, Three Slow, Three Focused, Three Calm
  • Five Sticking Eight Leaking
  • Four Basic Eight Directional Tactics

Learn more about our incredible Seven Star Mantis system below.
Overview
History
Branches
Lineage Masters
Techniques & Strategies
Forms