Hide the Peach under the Leaf
Within traditional Praying
Mantis Boxing most all schools have several roads of
basic exercises which repeat a series of 2 or 3
Our school has a three move series shared by other
Mantis schools, especially Plum Flower Mantis schools, which we call,
'peach hidden under the leaf.' The complete name of the
'window frame punch, peach hidden under leaf.' Although
this technique is part of the basic training
taught to beginner students, that doesn't make it any less
important. In fact, it is one of the most important
techniques of Mantis Boxing and holds the distinction of the opening
move of the well known form First Road of Essentials.
The Solo Performance
Steve steps in with his
right foot and cleaves with the right hand. This
technique can be either a strike or a block.
Notice that his forearm
and bicep create nearly a 90 degree angle.
His left hand punches
through the 90 degree angle from the previous move.
This combination of the
above move with this move are called the window frame
Notice how the shoulder
protects the left side of his head.
your hips and strike to the heart.
This move is the final
of the series and is called peach hidden under the
leaf. Once this move is completed you step forward
and perform it with the left foot forward.
This particular posture
is extremely common, and you may have noticed it with a different name in
Method of Partner Training
students have mastered this solo exercise they can begin
to learn it as a two person exercise. This drill follows
certain rules of partner training that were written
about by old time mantis master Cui Shou Shan in his
hand penned book Praying Mantis Manuscripts.
Commentary on Partner Training Methods
Pugilist fighting is an extremely dangerous activity
which presents numerous dangers for students in
training. Yet, for those who study pugilism you can
not be without partner training. A safe training
method is essential.
Partner training is comprised of attack and defense
where the attacker doesn't defend and the defender
doesn't attack. You must always concentrate your
mind and don't allow the hands to become confused...
This particular drill
is an excellent example of the division of attack and
defense. The advantage of training this way is that the
novice has more freedom to strike with full power and
speed while the retreating partner is defending himself
from real techniques.
There is still a
danger, since a mistake on the defenders' part may lead
to him getting hit harder than he had anticipated. For
this reason it is said,"
You must always concentrate your mind and don't allow
the hands to become confused."
The practical aspect of
this drill is that the attacker is taking advantage of
an opening in his opponent's defense and the defender
doesn't attack when there is no opportunity.
"He goes to
battle when he sees victory, but makes no move when
he does not ."(Sun Bin The Art of Warfare)
Application of the Drill
Steve, on the right,
makes contact with Jim and immediately grasps his wrist
in the trademark hooking hand of Mantis Boxing.
Once Steve has secured
Jim's hand he steps in and cleaves to the side of Jim's
head. This cleaving motion moves similar to a hook
Jim defends himself by
retreating and striking out with his lead hand.
Notice they both hold
the same posture.
Cleaving to the Bottom Applied
to the bottom is an underlying principle of Mantis
Boxing. In this technique cleaving to the bottom is to follow through with your strike.
Steve follows through
with his right cleaving strike which pushes Jim's hand
down and away from his face.
shoots a right punch to the corner of Jim's right eye.
Steve protects his own
head with his shoulder. We train this way because in
later stages Jim will learn how to throw a right hook
punch as Steve performs this strike at him.
Jim defends by hooking
Steve uses his free
right hand to strike at Jim's heart.
As he does this the
snapping twist of his hips causes him to slide in.
Retreating Step Fan Che
Jim blocks down with
his right hand.
The defensive moves
that Jim has just performed from the first picture to
this picture are known as, "retreating step fan che."
Steve goes with the
energy of Jim's blocking movement and shoots forward to
begin the drill with his left foot forward.
Jim defends the same
way as above. from Jim's perspective he only needs to
retreat with fan che until his opportunity to attack
Taking Advantage of Your Opponent
students have trained this drill back and forth for
uncountable repetitions they will feel when defense
should become attack and when attack is no longer
comes down to attaining skill through many repetitions,
in other words, hard work or 'kung fu!'[