This month's pictures are from my September visit to the
Peng Lai branch in Brasil. André and Élen Azevedo are
the couple in charge of the 500 students of the 8 Peng
Lai branch schools.
hard work towards the promotion of kung fu in Brasil has
bestowed a great honor on Shi Zhengzhong's Peng Lai
Plum Flower Road
One of the most spectacular
looking forms of Plum Flower Mantis Boxing is the form 'Plum
Flower Road (Mei Hua Lu)'. Unlike forms of modern Chinese Wushu
that are built solely for their extravagant looks, this form is
based on sound principles of mantis boxing. The special
characteristic of this form is the ingenious method of combining
long range attacks with short strikes finishing moves.
Plum Flower Road History
I can not
say the age of this form, but from available evidence it
probably dates to the same era as the Essentials series of forms
which would put it close to 100 years old. It is listed in old manuscripts of
both Li Kunshan and Cui
One major difference between
this form and the Essentials series is that this form is
considered Mei Hua Mantis, even by most Seven Star schools that
teach this form. The Essentials are claimed by both Seven Star
and Mei Hua Mantis as part of their old curriculum.
Plum Flower Road is one of the few
Mantis Boxing manuscripts written in
rhythmic verse from start to finish.
On Shifu Shi
Zhengzhong's March 2008 visit to Brasil he taught this form to
André. When I arrived in September he performed the form for me.
André displayed stable stances and powerful execution of the
techniques. I began to explain and demonstrate some of the
applications to André and his wife and that is when we
began shooting pictures. The result follows.
||The techniques demonstrated are
Tyrant takes the Helmet (ba wang chu zhai kui) and grab the hair
break the mouth (chin fa cuo zui ba).
André performs the move
tyrant takes the helmet (ba wang qu zai kui.
by Li Kunshan
takes the helmet is immediately followed by grab
the hair break the mouth (chin fa cuo zui ba).
Notice the large contrast
between the previous move where you stand high on one
leg and this move where you crouch all the way to the
ground with your knee almost touching the ground.
by Li Kunshan
the Move 'Tyrant Takes the Helmet'
attacks with the right and Élen has already applied left sealing
right yang palm.
blocked Élan's palm with a left palm.
Élan's right hand grasps
André's right triceps.
Élan's left hand reaches around
and grabs André's left ear.
Originally this move was a hair
grab, but André has wisely shaved his head.
Élan's choices for grabbing are
his ear, neck or his shirt by the left shoulder.
With one hand holding
André's ear (or neck) and the other holding his sleeve (or
triceps) she applies the knee to André's ribs.
Move Grab the Hair Break the Mouth
To apply this move properly sit
in the coiled stance. Élen places her left leg behind
André's lead leg. This makes it difficult for André to
pull his leg out.
Élen simultaneously applies the
breaking palm to the mouth.
Élen can follow this move all
the way to the ground just like is shown in André's
Plum Flower Road History
In the early
1990's I began my training in this form Plum Flower Road. I was
living in the changing room of the kung fu school and each
evening after work the class was outside my room practicing.
This meant that I never missed a class. Shifu taught me the
first road or the first series of moves in the form, about 10
moves and began the practice of this form on a regular basis.
Three years later
he finished teaching me the end of the form.
Why did he wait so
long? This type of form is a representation of what Mei Hua
Mantis is about. The moves must be expertly executed in order to
represent the style of Mantis Boxing that has been passed
on to us by our Mantis forefathers!
André competed in
the 2008 summer tournament of Brasil and brought home gold
medals in both forms and Chinese wrestling competitions. It is
safe to say that he has done an excellent job at representing
the style of Mantis Boxing!
To read more on techniques from
Plum Flower Road visit
The Double Sealing of the Mantis[