the last week of September Jim Smyer of Peng Lai Tennessee invited me up
for an intensive class of Mantis Boxing. For this report I have
included video as well as pictures.
|Video from the weekend includes cleaving
and striking the heart as well as an introductory drill for
impeding the horse (lan ma shi). Lan ma shi is shown in
detail in the pictorial.
It was my
hope to inspire the class the way my shifu had inspired me with his
teachings of praying mantis. One of the biggest inspirations from my
shifu came years ago when he explained the all encompassing nature
of fan-che. One evening after a rigorous class he did fan-che
with a similar move called lulu and said,
moves of Mantis are within these motions.'
It was then
that I got a sudden flash of inspiration as I realized that
everything we do is an adjustment or alteration of fan-che and lulu.
It was this
that I had hoped to share with everyone present which included not
only Jim Smyer and his school but Matt
Melton of Asheville Peng Lai and Sam Smith of Kentucky's Sam Smith's
Martial Art Club.
Steve Ottaviano accompanied me up from
Florida to assist in the teaching and demonstration of the two
The form Xiao fan-che was
the vessel I used to enlighten everyone as to the varied
strikes, applications and changes of fan-che and lulu.
The old Mantis form Xiao
fan-che is based on the variations of fan-che movement and is an excellent way
to explain and train its changes and applications.
Huang Han Xun famous teacher of
Mantis Boxing in Hong Kong had this to say about fan-che movement,
'Since ancient times it has been that to have Mantis you
can't be without fan-che.'
'If you are skilled in the application of fan-che and lulu
then there will be no strength that can't be destroyed and no
enemy that can't be defeated.'
Powerful words from a well known
and Jojo practice the groin strikes of the impeding horse
(has hair) just threw a right straight to Dustin's gut. Dustin is in
the midst of throwing a right hook.
After the training I showed some
variations. Here I have pulled Steve's neck so I can kick him in the
face from behind.
Stepping in for the takedown.
My right foot is planted and
Steve is going down.
In the video clip at
the top of the page are included two drills. The second one is
called lan ma shi. Both students perform the exact same movements
with one advancing and one retreating.
Lan ma uses your right
hand to strike to the opponent's left side such as the neck or head.
It can be either a smashing cleave as shown or a hook punch. The key
point is that the follow through of this motion brings your
traveling right hand to your opponents right side. It can be a
strike to the outside of the opponent's right leg, shown, or a
strike to the right side of the neck or the groin. Though these
targets are all separate and different, the body motion of the
attacker is almost exactly the same.
Once skilled in the
application of lan ma shi the students can explore the variations.
Lan Ma Shi
After having controlled his right hand with my
left hand I can apply the right breaking punch to his face.
He closes my right hand by pushing against my
I take advantage of his left pushing hand by
stealing it from underneath and firmly grasping it. Notice how my
right hand pulls past my waist for the following move.
Once my right hand has grabbed his left hand I
move to the outside of his left hand where my cleaving hand can
Steve must adjust his space with mine so that he
can also swing his right hand up to counter my right strike. From
here the strike can continue on its original path by smashing
through the door that is Steve's arm and follow through with the low
strike as demonstrated by Steve and Jim in the following pictures.
Variations of Lan
Jim takes my place in the attack and brings his hand down to strike
at Steve's thigh.
Jim quickly slips his right hand to the inside and
strikes the groin.
The momentary shock from that groin strike is all
Jim needs to grab Steve's ankle.
Jim pulls Steve's ankle up high for the
takedown. From here Jim can walk away or he can drop his left
knee in for a finishing strike.
It can clearly be seen from these variations of
lan ma shi the essential need of training with low stances.
For those who have trained the form First
Essential Route the variation performed by Jim and Steve may appear
familiar. This type of application was grouped under the Essential
series of Mantis Boxing[