Concepts of Training
A Typical Class
Classes cover all aspects of the system. You will learn:
- Traditional Fighting Techniques and Tactics: covering footwork, kicking, striking (fists, palms, elbows), grappling and joint locking, throwing techniques.
- Application of the ’12 Keywords’: Starting from this simple platform you will develop effective pattern recognition and flow through applied two person drills.
- Physical Conditioning: Through a progressive systematic approach you will build physical strength, endurance, quickness, flexibility, iron body conditioning, mental fortitude, and a strong overall awareness and ability to control the power of your body.
- Fight IQ: Understanding of Praying Mantis fighting strategy, tactics, theories and principles.
- Traditional Forms Training: Combinations of movements enabling for enhanced pattern recognition.
- Traditional Weapons Training: You will have opportunity to learn long and shorts weapons like the staff, sabre, spear, straight sword, halberd, etc…
Skill and Fighting Application
A key skill factor separating traditional kung fu from modern performance wushu is the emphasis on combative application¯. Praying Mantis places 100% emphasis on being able to effectively apply the strategy and techniques one learns against a dynamic resistant opponent. As such a large component of training is dedicated to interactive two person drills. This division of training is comprehensive and progressive. It develops elements of applied reaction, distance, timing, rhythm, quickness, power, and intent. At the core of the system are thirteen two-person drills. In the beginning practitioners are guided in a step by step fashion from controlled two person combat drills, eventually progressing into increasingly more advanced free flowing fighting applications. One must never forget that the primary goal of training is too achieve a high level free fighting skill.
Combative Spirit and Intent
Combative spirit and intent are grass roots concepts fundamental to traditional kung fu – Praying Mantis included. Praying Mantis kung fu requires nothing less than 100% commitment and dedication to pursuing excellence and perfection. Not only does this require a physical commitment to training, but more importantly also a mental commitment. Only being physically committed is the equivalent of going through the motions or just mechanical training. Individuals must be committed in heart, mind, and soul. Although this appears to be common sense, it has very important implications that some schools and teachers have seemingly forgotten, or do not know altogether.
In the pugilistic arts it is essential to understand that there should be no difference between practice and real combat. That is you can only fight the way you train. Half-hearted fighters train half-heartedly, while fierce fighters train fiercely. In daily practice individuals must train with all their heart and soul, training movement and techniques with full intensity, full resolve, and full conviction – this is the mental aspect otherwise known as fighting spirit or intent. Practitioners must be mindful in execution and visualize as if they are going in for the kill on every movement. If practitioners are unable to harness their sprit in practice it will be difficult for them to do it in a real life fight.
Strength and Conditioning
Praying Mantis training methodologies encompass a large number of Mantis specific movements, exercises, and drills designed to develop high levels of applied: flexibility, aerobic/anaerobic conditioning, strength, power, speed, quickness, reflexes, and mental fortitude. Only through hard dedicated training can individuals achieve adequate levels of fitness.
Iron Body Training
Praying Mantis practitioners must develop high levels of iron body conditioning and power. Through progressive training exercises and drills practitioners work towards developing high levels of bone density, muscle density, and pain tolerance. Such attributes allow individuals to literally smash through the defenses of the opponent, while at the same time enabling them to resist a powerful attack in return. In the beginning levels of training students will work together on two-person drills striking each others arms and legs to build tolerance and power. All training is common sense and designed to provide steady incremental benefits while maintaining overall safety of the practitioner.
Empty Hand Training Sets
The Seven Star Praying Mantis Boxing syllabus as passed on by Master LUO Guangyu family lineage contains 35 empty hand forms and over 40 weapons forms. The core handsets within our QXTL system include Beng Bu, Duo Gang, and Shiba Shou. In terms of tactical theory knowledge and techniques, these sets are the most essential and representative of the Seven Star Mantis boxing system. The system also contains a number of two person sets. For more explanation on the function of forms, please see my article entitled Standards in Praying Mantis.
Weapons Training Sets
Technically Praying Mantis is strictly an empty hands system. However there is a number of traditional weapons sets that have been adopted and passed on by the generations of past masters. In our Seven Star Praying Mantis family system we train eighteen different types of traditional weapons. Some of these weapons include the staff, spear, broad sword, straight sword, daggers, halberd, two section staff, three section staff, double hammers, half moon spear lance, tiger hook sword, and nine section chain whip just to name a few. In total there are over 40 weapons sets as passed on by Master Luo Guang Yu. Included in these are also a number of two person weapons sets.
Internal Energy Training (Qigong)
In our Seven Star Praying Mantis system we train the Eighteen Luohan Qigong set. This is an internal qi gong set originating from within the Shaolin temple. It is a training method used to cultivate and transport Qi throughout the human body. Qi is the natural bio-electric energy that is produced in all living things. The Eighteen Luohan Qigong set provides practitioners with a large number of health giving benefits.
Wooden Dummy Training
The Wooden Dummy is a supplemental training apparatus made of hard wood that practitioners use to strike. It is commonly found throughout many systems, with the idea most probably originating out of the Shaolin temple. In Seven Star Praying Mantis it is considered an intermediate level training regime used to further enhance attacking power, blocking power, kicking power, and iron body conditioning. Generally speaking practitioners must already possess adequate levels of striking power, and body conditioning because of the wooden dummies high density and immovability.
The Seven Star Praying Mantis training regime includes one wooden dummy set consisting of sixty four techniques. These techniques can be broken down into three levels: blocking, striking, and kicking. While the set can be played in its entirety, usually short combinations of techniques are trained at any one time to gain the benefits associated with high repetition.
Iron Palm Training
Iron palm training is a high level training regimen specifically designed to further enhance explosive short range power and develop iron like open-hand qualities. Despite great mysticism surrounding Iron Palm training, its methods are simple yet strict, with tangible results available to anyone who trains with commitment and dedication.
Weapons Kung Fu Seminar Jan. 20th: “Fifth Son Eight Diagram Staff” of Northern Shaolin – January 14, 2018
Seven Star Mantis for Kids – January 14, 2018
General Training and Class Overview
Li, Jing and Qi in Mantis Kung Fu
Repositioning Standards in Traditional Praying Mantis