Northern Praying Mantis Boxing
of Shaolin Chi Mantis
When I completed my Mantis training in 1984, I was having many restless dreams. Fighting dreams. Warrior dreams. Demon dreams.
Much like the Japanese Anime of today, I was flying around, making energy shields with my hands, and making swords like the Jedi light sabers protrude from my fists.
Might sound like fun, but when you're in the middle of the battle being attacked on all sides, it's very stressful, even when I was winning.
These were my mantis dreams. Coincidentally, my shields and laser swords were usually green.
I attribute these dreams to my Northern Shaolin Praying Mantis training because I was in an uneasy state with what I had learned.
Carrying a gun in your pocket is more likely to make you more nervous all day long than provide comfort. It was the same with my Mantis abilities. I was uncomfortable with my new eye-poking, neck-shredding, elbow-smashing powers.
Praying Mantis was invented by Abbot Wong Long of the Shandong Buddhist Monastery. He sought a way to be the most powerful and deadly of all the Shaolin Warrior Monks.
Despite the stories of him watching a Praying Mantis wrestling with a Cicada, the moves are composed of 4 styles of Kung Fu.
The legwork is a mixture of White Ape Kung Fu which goes sideways and slides around like a big monkey, plus crane moves with foot blocks and a few kicks.
The armwork is a mixture of huge outstretched ape-like roundhouse punches, and the praying mantis bug claws that trap or poke at you.
Although I teach Kung Fu and Tai Chi for spiritual development, Praying Mantis is the least spiritual martial art I've encountered. It goes for all the soft spots on the body and the moves are usually grouped into triplets and more to decimate the opponent before you check his vital signs.
Since Praying Mantis is an advanced level Shaolin Kung Fu style, I've held off most people from learning it until they reach the Blue Sash, Intermediate Level, of Shaolin Chi Mantis.
Perhaps a better analogy would be that Praying Mantis Gongfu is like stabbing someone with a knife when a punch would have sufficed.