Hands Topple the
How do we attack our opponent
before the fight has begun? If the answer you seek is the name
of a technique then Mantis Boxing has eighteen of them. They
are called the
Eighteen Essential Techniques to Apply on Initial Engagement.
These are the moves that we can
apply before the fight has begun. Most often they begin with
closing off one of the opponent's gates and using his
compromised defense to enter and strike.
One of the 18 essential moves to
apply on the initial attack is 'overturn the sky topple the
earth dividing yin and yang-fan tian fu di fen yin yang.'
A typical old
fashioned gate in Tainan City where Kevin Brazier spent
16 years training Mantis Boxing (1989-2005)
of Kung Fu
house gates that our grand masters saw!
||In the training of Chinese kung fu we
often use the term gates to describe positions of our
arms or our opponent's. We have open and closed gates,
left and right gates as
well as lower, middle and upper gates.
Those in the
west often adopt this terminology without any idea of what a real
"gate" looks like. Though there are many pictures of
grand and magnificent gates to see. Most people spent
their lives only seeing gates such as that one to the
The Attacker's Goal
all mantis strikes 'fan tian fu di' aims to destroy the opponent
through a series of cleaving chops. These strikes fall on or by
the left of his neck. As
you strike the opponent all the strikes turn into either sealing
grabs or stealing and plucking grabs. This method can be applied
regardless of whether he strikes first or I attack first.
Sealing His Right and Chopping His Left
Brazier and Jeff have engaged in combat.
punched with his right hand and my left hand sealed it as my
right hand prepares to chop down.
technique is planted against the opponent's neck or clavicle
with an earth toppling force we may find that is all the
defends his upper gate with the hanging high block (gua).
my right hand has contact with his left, it is important that I
maintain solid contact in order to do "tou zhan."
Means to steal and open.
My left hand grabs and pulls the
hanging block Jeff just performed in the previous picture. Notice that my right hand does not
In practice tou zhan operates like
this; I strike, he blocks. My free hand grabs his blocking hand
allowing my striking hand to strike again.
makes this method such an earth moving technique is the speed in
which the second strike is applied.
merely falls down from the spot where the opponent's blocked
It requires a well developed short
jing(energy) to work.
If Jeff has his wits about him
he can block the second strike as shown.
Life After a Toppled Earth
arms have become tangled there are more ways to deal with the
opponent at a closer range. The simplest and most common ways
(not shown) are to use the mandarin duck kick or simply push the
opponent down. Here are some more advanced techniques utilizing short
strikes methods of Mantis Boxing.
The First Variation - Oblique Step
people are familiar with the folding elbow of the well known
Beng Bu form. Here is a picture of a monk of Song Shan's Shaolin
Temple performing the move.
At Shaolin they call this kneeling
stance leaning elbow (kao zhou).
But the following picture shows
this elbow with a less common step, the oblique step (au bu).
triceps grab is used for both the following variations.
right hand has chopped and made contact with the opponent's
inner right forearm I slip my hand in and securely attach to the
outside of his triceps.
The Folding Elbow
My right triceps grab pulls Jeff
down and into my center as my left elbow drops from top to bottom
against the right side of his head or neck.
Though the technique looks mighty
powerful, don't assume that the opponent will be dazed out of
fighting. Be ready for a follow up!
The Second Variation - Oblique
Step Coiling Elbow
Controlling the shoulder
This photo is a continuation of
"The Triceps Grab" photo.
My right triceps grab pulls his
right hand in close to my body and my left hand hooks his
shoulder (or grabs clothing, or hooks neck).
My left elbow has to sink down and
lie on his chest for proper control.
Advancing with the Hooked Step
I apply the right hooked step, gou
zi bu, on his lead leg.
This is a variation of the
technique I wrote about in the article called
The Hooking Step
of Mantis Boxing.
I can pull him to my left to
topple him using the hooked step or I can use his resistance to
my advantage using the coiled elbow strike.
Oblique Step Coiling Elbow
Instead of throwing him to his
right side. I throw all my body's weight into an elbow strike to
his left ribs.
The methods of all the
Eighteen Essential Techniques to Apply on Initial Engagement
are easy to understand and not overly complicated. That is part
or what makes them such a useful tool in initiating the attack.
For one who practices over a long
period of time, they can learn to adopt to the changing
situation of the enemy's response and utilize other more
complicated finishing strikes and takedowns.
But, one thing never changes, the
strikes of the 18 essentials all require a quick and perceptive
eye, speedy attack, solid grabbing and hand strikes heavy enough
to chop down mountains