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White Ape Swings Through the Branches
The Ape of Mantis and Ming era culture. Through the Branches in Four Sections (Si Duan Chuan Zhi 四段穿枝) are regarded as the fist that "guards the home" and is the specialty of Qing era Master Hao Lianru.


Kids Sparring

When kids are hit they might close their eyes, cover up and look away. The bully knows who to pick on. How can our kids avoid that? There are three stages of defense we want our kids to know.


This month's article written by Tampa Kungfu co-owner April Brazier, shown here playing drums for the school.


The Making of an Immortal

Stories of immortals have been passed down through a tradition of oral story telling, popular plays of the Yuan and novels of the Ming and Qing dynasty.


In Praying Mantis' Luohan Gong, the exercise 'immortal raises hands' is subtitled 'water and fire turn the wheel,' four characters that outline the process of the immortals self-cultivation.




Swing the Horse Whip

Nearly 100 years ago two great Masters  collaborated together to create a new collection of techniques.


Because the hands moved like falling plum flowers they called it Plum Flower Road. This article is about swing the horse whip.


Hao Lianru and the Hungry Tiger

Tracing Praying Mantis from Heaven Ascended Taoist's Luohan Quan to Hao Lianru's Mantis Boxing and his technique Hungry Tiger Beats its Food.


Part Two of Kuangyin Creates a Calamity

The conclusion of Chapter Seven from the Qing Dynasty martial novel Complete Classic of the Flying Dragon. A young Zhao Kuangyin, future founder of the Song Dynasty, must battle one hundred ruffians to save his friend Chairong.



Kuangyin Creates Calamity at Golden Bridge

A chapter of a Qing Dynasty martial novel called Complete Classic of the Flying Dragon that showcases the exploits of Zhao Kuangyin before he went on to found the Song Dynasty over 1000 years ago.

This Chapter tells how he saves "Quiet-Cai" a meek tempered man. In real life "Quiet-Cai" became Emperor of China several years before Zhao Kuangyin.


Green waters flow throw the creek,
Verdant mountains obscured by darkness,
Ravens and rabbits hasten east and west.

Jackals and wolves have seized the streets and blocked the thoroughfares,
Howling tigers answer crying apes.



Wah Lum and the Heaven Ascended Taoist

A mysterious character from the earliest history of Praying Mantis Kung Fu left behind a manual which describes a technique that I believe is still practiced by the Wah Lum praying mantis school


Hold Up the Sky and Move Your Qi

The Praying Mantis method of moving the qi through the body.

The theory behind the dan tian and developing the sensation of qi.


Rhinoceros gazes at the moon
A Rhinoceros general was dispatched from heaven to carry out the Jade Emperor's command on earth. The temptations of earth proved to much for the rhino and he was banished from heaven.

The story of the fallen rhino general was taken as a tool to help students understand the theory of moving and controlling the qi.


The Immortal and the Black Whirlwind

When we saw a few dozen of them
flaunt their vicious stupidity,
With one or two rounds
We beat them all into a pulpy mess,
Since our
Reckless eyes have no fists
We beat them til
They scattered in all four directions, as if in convulsions,
-Zhu Youdun (1433)

Tracing the history of Mantis through three dynasties.


The Challenge of Master Cui

The story of Xu Fengqi, an unknown disciple of Cui Shoushan and master of Taiji Tang Lang Quan.

The story of how he became a disciple of Cui Shoushan after suffering defeat.


Taste the Air

Ping Qi the art of balancing the air with the mind.

If you use this gung you can absorb the True Qi of sky and earth as well as the essence of sun and moon.

I discuss Qi through the eyes of Praying Mantis Boxing and my experience with Master Zhou Zhendong in Shandong 2011. We explore the first step of becoming a Luohan.

With no interruption of training days become months.

This is how the ancients became Luohan.



The Heavenly Taoist's Praying Mantis Strikes

Examining the first appearance of the Praying Mantis striking method and its importance as a maneuver of fighting in Luohan Short Strikes.


Why All Kids MUST learn Martial Arts

Learning Martial Arts is so much more than just self defense. It is not just the discipline and principles that they will use for the rest of their lives. It is that they are learning not to freeze in fear when someone gets aggressive with them. This is a lesson that can save their lives, just ask 9 year old Calysta.



My First Taiji Tournament

At the end of December 2011 Tampa Kung Fu participated in a local kung fu tournament. Gwendolyn Burk shares her insights and inspiration competing in a kung fu for the very first time.



A Barbarian Splits Wood

What relationship do the "splitting wood maneuver," a technique of Shaolin kung fu, and the 6th Patriarch of Buddhism in China have in common?


We explore the name of this move alongside the life of the illiterate monk whose life became a part of Chinese culture.


As a special bonus I have included April Brazier's calligraphy in downloadable form and the entire worksheet of the form Shaolin Luohan 18 Hands!


April Brazier's Calligraphy

Large Print


The Tiger Swallow Flies to Brasil


On October 14th, 2011, I arrived in Sao Paulo Brasil for my fourth intensive teaching seminar. One of the forms we worked on is well known throughout the kung fu world, called Little Tiger Swallow. A form that the students of Peng Lai Brasil had been waiting to learn for years. This year I finally taught them the form, and the moves of this form did not disappoint. This month we talk about my favorite takedown from this form Sweep the leaves with the wind.


The training method of Praying Mantis "Little Four Hands" goes from solo form to hand drill to two man form.

These processes are all shown here in the article Little Four Hands


Fanche of the Middle Road

Which fist of Mantis Boxing has the power to break through walls and smash down doors? According to students descended from Jiang Hualong the technique called fanche is just such a move. Li Kunshan titles his fanche theory "Hard Collapsing solid Smashing." Other descendants of Jiang Hualong simply called it by its first sentence 'Fanche of the Central Road.'


My Trip to Shandong

In July I travelled to Shandong to ask Mantis Master Zhou Zhendong a question. He sat their watching me as I asked. He didn't say a word, nor make a facial expression, he merely looked into my eyes waiting for me to continue with my question. I didn't know if he would agree to help me document and preserve Praying Mantis for the west or not.


The First Rule of Pugilism

The ethical code for martial artists starts with the story of Pang Mang's  betrayal of Hou Yi the archer.


Masters of Mantis Boxing used this story to illustrate how one should select and cultivate their students.


Mind Posture - Body  Posture

This Month my Student A.J. writes of his experience and insights in Tai Chi.


The Magic of Tai Chi

By April Brazier

Learn to cultivate the steady strength that flows through the peaceful and slow movements Tai Chi.


Secret Spear of Shaolin


The manual of Warrior Monk Hong Zhuan is the only known recording of Ming era Shaolin martial arts written by a Shaolin Monk!


Fist of Luohan

The Luohan Fist method passed down by the Hao family's branch of Plum Flower Praying Mantis


Iron Door Bolt

The best of the Praying Mantis Boxing techniques!

Tyrant Pulls the Bow

Out of 100 battles Chu the Tyrant won 100 victories. but with a single defeat lost all under heaven. The oldest book of Mantis Boxing, Shaolin True Transmission, later used Chu the Tyrant as an example in hard and soft. The technique Tyrant Pulls the Bow became a part of the Mantis Boxing arsenal.

Invitation to Brazil

A picture story of my two weeks teaching kung fu in Brazil.


The Golden Hook Hangs the Jade Vase

For the first time ever the complete final road of the Eighteen Luohan exercise is translated and explained!


Pluck the Star Exchange the Moon

Following the history and application of the technqiue 'pluck a start exchange the moon' from the earliest days of Praying Mantis to the modern era!

Intuition through the Kick of Zhong Ji Fist

A mutual knowledge shared between two people from one moment to the next, like a shared intuition is the skill our shifu developed through the training of the Longfist form Zhong Ji Quan.

Two Thousand Years of Mantis Warriors

Praying Mantis warriors were being studied by the military elite 1000 years ago as part of their preparations for military examinations. 

Praying Mantis warriors and knights in chariot warfare dating back over two thousand years!


Kung Fu Fit For an Army







Before WW2 the Chinese Nationalist army trained 24 techniques called Chu Ji Quan. At Tampa Kung Fu the tradition of this series of attack and defense continues.


Stealing a Horse

April Brazier Stealing a Horse

'Stealing a Horse Left and Right' is the 11th road of Luohan Gung. The poetic verse exhorts us to train hard and persevere through the pain of lifting 1000 catties.

Entering the Sea of Awareness

How do 700 year old romantic plays relate to our Kung Fu? They serve as a lesson to us that we must work hard every day and not allow any thoughts to unbalance our training. The story of romance is used to remind the student to keep their mind focused and calm on attaining the body of a Luohan.


Jing Ke the Under Cover Assassin 

A hero of sword fighting made a name for himself over 2000 years ago with his fearless bravery. The power of his unstoppable sword became part of the description of Mantis Boxing with the preface to 'Eight Hard.' Who was this great hero and what did he do to earn his reputation?


One Step Three Punches

The old masters said that, 'Attacking with straight rushing fists and the interconnected stepping always relies on the hands following each other.' This is the method of 'one step three punches.'


The Double Palm Strike of Mantis Boxing

Eighteen great masters of kung fu passed on their best techniques which later evolved into Praying Mantis Fist. One of the simplest of the master's techniques is the double palm strike. Why did the masters favor this strike?


General Yu and the Escaping Pirates
Battling pirates 450 years ago trying to make the coast of China safe, little did General Yu know that he would be attacked by his own commanding officer! Lucky for us, that gap in his military career gave him the time he needed to write one of the most important books on Chinese martial arts. The formulas for taking advantage of the opponent's strength!


Tai Mountain Crushes the Top

Tai Mountain Crushes the TopThe emperor tells a fib to keep his throne, Shaolin monks fight to save the empire and Mantis Boxing gets a fight ending technique as heavy as a mountain!


The Barbarian Surrendering Maneuver


The Yin Yang Hook of Plum Flower Mantis

Brought to you by Tampa Kung Fu!

What is the yin yang hooking hand and how does it help Elen defeat Basilio with knee strikes to the solar plexus?


Long Punches and Short Elbows of Iron Fist

What do you do when encountering a wild attack? Use the techniques of Master Li Kunshan's Iron Fist!


Weituo offers his Vajra

When devoted to obtaining a tiger subduing strength, the diligent work of your four limbs must persevere in defiance of hardship. Learn the key to balancing the body and mastering the skill of an earthly immortal!


The Mandarin Duck Kick

Within 'Surnames of the Founders of Eighteen Styles' is written, "Lin Chong's Mandarin duck kicks are strong."

How strong are they? They are strong enough to be the kicking method of the Mantis Fist Style!

Learn how mandarin duck kicks work!


See the video clip from this month's article!

Dig Out The Hole To Defeat Your Opponent

One of the founders of Mantis Boxing and his powerful technique 'dig out the hole fist.'


Where it comes from, how it is applied and how Secret Door Praying Mantis drills the technique for two people.


Kuang shou da. Ye li cang tao.Hide the Peach under the Leaf

Go to battle when you see victory, but make no move when you do not! Take advantage of the hole in your opponent's defense. The training method that teaches you to press your advantage of attack.

Using the essential mantis technique 'hide the peach under the leaf' as our training tool.

Dangerous Flowers of Double Saber

A female general  and her soldiers eliminates an island of invaders. Her weapon of choice?

The double sabers!

An article on the drills of attack and defense of double sabers with pictures taken outside of our new Tampa Kung Fu location





Deng Pu The Smashing Step

Kao da teaches us how to apply power of short strike techniques. One of the most important techniques of kao da is the smashing step. Here applied in kao da and the well known Eight Step Mantis form Seven Hands.

White Ape Steals the Peach

Seize his arm, control his head then jump up high to strike from below and you have the uncanny technique known as White Ape Steals the Peach.




The Cleaving Staff Method

The 'fight ending' technique of the simple staff is the cleaving chop shown here by Sun Wukung.


An article on the solo and two person version of cleaving, Monkey Sun's signature move, within Six Harmony staff.

Di LouLeaking From The Bottom

This technique combines the characteristic advancing hooked step  of Mantis Boxing with grabbing for control and chopping strikes.

One of the oldest techniques of Mantis Boxing as recorded in the first set of Pugilist Essentials.


Leaping Fist of Fanche

When the mantis insect subdues its prey it relies on a pattern of motion that apply to all situations. It can be said that fanche lulu combinations follow the patterns of the mantis.



Tyrant Takes the Helmet



Kevin Goes to Brasil!

Peng Lai Brasil Website

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.

Their ceaseless hard work towards the promotion of kung fu in Brasil has bestowed a great honor on Shi Zhengzhong's Peng Lai Mantis organization.



The Seven Hands of 8 Step Mantis

Rarely seen photos and verse of Wei Xiao Tang and the seven hands form of 8 Step Mantis.

Seven hands is probably the most concise representation of what the praying mantis attacking style of kung fu is all about.

Wei Xiao Tang and Zuo Xian Fu







Mantis Hands Topple the Earth

Eighteen essential attacking methods of Mantis Boxing. The Mantis method of starting a fight. This is about overturning the sky and toppling the earth.


Mantis of No Blocking No Defending

One of the special methods of Mantis Boxing is its method of attacking and striking that does not utilize any type of block or defense.

We look at how to develop this skill with basic exercises and advanced theories.

The Hooking Step of Mantis Boxing

Master Shi Zhengzhong performs the hooked step while visiting and teaching Mantis Boxing at Peng Lai's Brazilian club.

The Governing Formula of Mantis Hands describes This stance and this article explains why this stance occurs in Mantis and how is it used. Included are seven famous Mantis masters performing this stance in their own particular fashion.


Opposing 10,000 Men
Jinnaluo originally labored in the kitchen of Shaolin. When the temple came under attack by the Red Turbans he single handedly scared away the hordes of bandits with his stove poker. A diety with the strength and bravery to oppose 10,000 men! This article talks about how to develop such a power.
Picture from a Ming Dynasty staff fighting manual
Earliest Verifiable Record of Wang Lang
Double whip Was the creator of the Mantis Boxing style actually an expert of the double weapons?

Is the short strikes treatise of Mantis Boxing originally from a manual of weapon fighting?

This month I uncover new facts and invite the reader to explore the possibilities.



Sweeping Away the Rebels

Having both your feet swept out from under you can be devastating.Rebel sweeping kick

sao dang tuei



Kicks Of Peng Lai

Shi Zhengzhong and Kevin Brazier How do we train the kicks of Peng Lai? An article on training methods and principles with hand drawn pictures from my youth explaining the drills.

Double Seal of Mantis Boxing

Shi Zhengzhong Wei Xiaotang Kevin Brazier Shi Zhengzhong

Wei Xiaotang

Kevin Brazier

Three types of sealing with applications from Plum Flower Road.

Defeating the Legs

Defeating legs An article comparing a 1936 hand drawn manuscript of Shaolin boxing applications to the applications of Mantis Boxing. Included are old pictures of my Shifu, Shi Zhengzhong, and his training partner Yang Fengshi!


The Shaking Step of Mantis
Shi Zhengzhong does tang lang yao bu
My Shifu, Shi Zhengzhong performs the shaking step of Luan Jie
Mantis Boxing relies most strongly on the right hand chop. Here we explore how the chop is used to topple our opponent. We open up his lower left gate to strike with a right palm chop while swinging our leg to uproot him. This move is called mantis shaking step and Master Shi appears off balance while performing it, hence the term 'shaking step of mantis.'

A Weekend in Tennessee

The highlights of our weekend training in Tennessee include a video clip with a pair of two partner drills as well as a pictorial explanation of lan man shi, the impeding horse maneuver.



Staff Of the Great Sage

During the middle of September Jim Smyer of nashvillekungfu.com came to Tampa for a visit. One of the things we trained was the two person stick form called Shaolin Eighteen Movement stick.


Clever Leaping and the Folding Elbow

Kevin Brazier and Jim SmyerApplying the folding elbow when the hook kick fails you. We look at another move from Li Kunshan's form Iron Fist. How to combine long range leaping with short range elbow strikes.




The luan elbowThe Luan Elbow of Shaolin Luohan

When speaking of the luan elbow General Qi Jiguang said, "If you can do this who dares contend with you?"

We explore what General Qi had to say of this technique before going into detail with photos of how it is applied within Shaolin Luohan and Mantis Boxing.




tie quan puThe 400 Year Old Iron Fist

When Li Kunshan came to Taiwan after WW2 he taught a longfist form called Iron Fist. Within his hand written manuscript of boxing he placed this form under the heading of longfist. Iron Fist is first mentioned in the earliest manual of Shaolin martial arts, Exposition of Original Shaolin Stick Fighting, written around 1610 by military expert Cheng Zongyou.



Seizing the Opportunity

When crossing hands with your opponent you must snatch your moment of opportunity to overcome and defeat him. The skills of Mantis boxing are based on this maneuvering ability. Here, for the first time ever, is an English translation of Cui Shoushan's Discourse on Maneuvering.




Kevin Brazier and Jim SmyerSparrow Brushes the Water

Within Mantis Boxing the sudden changes from long to short range are as speedy as the flight of a skittering sparrow rushing past the water. Stepping closer to your opponent without stepping toward your opponent creates a perplexing optical illusion.


Shi ZhengzhongThe Waist Chop of Mantis Boxing

This Month we explore one of the key movements of Mantis Boxing from the old forms Beng Bu and Luan Jie. This move relies on the keywords pasting and leaning as well as fastening the opponent's hands to chop him and so it is said, 'With the pasting body and fastening strike there is no place to hide.'



Xian ren gong shouThe Revolving Wheel of Water and Fire
The internal body of Mantis Boxing from Eighteen Luohan Gung. In Chinese the melodious rhyming verse of the Eighteen Luohan Gung sonnet was a useful mnemonic aid to keep the students focused on proper breathing and a calm mind. Read this article to see how the revolving wheel of water and fire was attained. 


Zhang DekuiThe Rising and Falling of the Mantis Fist

A look at the moves of Mantis Boxing from the old form Luanjie through the postures of my shifu and shiye. Explained through the concepts laid down in the manuscript Essential Treatise of Short Strikes.



pan zhouPan Zhou-The Coiled Elbow

Within the twelve coiled elbows the most commonly used is itself called the coiled elbow. Here I give a pictorial representation of the application of the coiled elbow.


The Method of Stick Fighting

Shifu teaches us how to fight with the long stick. I describe class on the day Shifu decides to reveal the secrets of two person Six Harmony Staff to my elder brother and I.


Shi Zhengzhong

Bi Zhou-The Outer Forearm Elbow

Within Mantis Boxing exists a manuscript about the coiling elbows.
"Divide the body and attach the twelve hidden coiling elbows."

Including a pictorial representation.


Young Master Luan Opens A School

Luan Shiye tells me a story over tea about his application of qi gung. Included is the sonnet and picture from Immortal Points the Way.


Hard Can Defeat Soft

Rarely has the preface to this list of eight been seen in English.


Deception Within the Boxing of Shaolin and Mantis

"How can the weak defeat the strong?" Asks Shaolin's earliest existing manual of empty hand fighting.

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I welcome your comments, please visit my feedback page

Article quick links

The Immortal and the Blackwhirlwind

The Challenge of Master Cui

Taste the Air

The Heavenly Taoist's Praying Mantis Strikes

Why All Kids MUST learn Martial Arts

My First Taiji Tournament

A Barbarian Splits Wood

The Tiger Swallow Flies to Brasil

Little Four Hands

Zhong Lu Fan Che

My Trip to Shandong

First Rule of Pugilism

Mind Posture-Body Posture

The Magic of Tai Chi

Secret Spear of Shaolin

FIst of Luohan

Iron Door Bolt

Tyrant Pulls the Bow

Invitation to Brasil

The Golden Hook Hangs the Jade Vase

Pluck the Star Exchange the Moon

Intuition through the Kick of Zhong Ji Fist

Two Thousand Years of Mantis Warriors

Kung Fu Fit for an Army

Stealing a Horse

Entering the Sea of Awareness

Jing Ke the Undercover assassin

One Step Three Punches

Double Palm Strike of Mantis Boxing

General Yu and the Escaping Pirates

Tai Mountain Crushes the Top

The Barbarian Surrendering Maneuver

The Yin Yang Hook of Plum Flower Mantis

Long Punches and Short Elbows of Iron Fist

Weituo Offers his Vajra

The Mandarin Duck Kick

Dig Out the Cave

Hide the Peach Under the Leaf

Dangerous Flowers of Double Saber

Deng Pu the Smashing Step

The Cleaving Staff Method


Leaking From the Bottom

Tyrant Takes the Helmet

The 7 Hands of 8 Step Mantis

Mantis Hands Topple the Earth

No Block No Defense

Hooked Step of Mantis Boxing

Opposing 10,000 Men

Wang Lang and his Pair of Swords

Sweeping Away the Rebels

Kicks Of Peng Lai

The Double Sealing of the Mantis

Defeating the Legs

The Shaking Step of Mantis

A Weekend in Tennessee

Shaolin Eighteen Movement Stick

Clever Leaping and the Folding Elbow

The Luan Elbow of Shaolin Luohan

The 400 Year Old Iron Fist

Seizing the Opportunity

Sparrow Brushes the Water

The Waist Chop of Mantis Boxing

The Revolving Wheel of Water and Fire

The Rising and Falling of the Mantis Fist

Pan Zhou-The Coiled Elbow

The Method of Stick Fighting

Bi Zhou-The Outer Forearm Elbow

Young Master Luan Opens A School

Hard Can Defeat Soft

Deception Within the Boxing of Shaolin and Mantis

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April Brazier Calligraphy



Scene from the DVD


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