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16.31) Praying Mantis (Tanglangquan/Tanglangpai)


This article is from the Martial Arts FAQ, by Matthew Weigel faq@idempot.net with numerous contributions by others.

16.31) Praying Mantis (Tanglangquan/Tanglangpai)

(Contributor: Fernando Blanco - mantisking@hotmail.com)


Imitative boxing of the Praying Mantis. The Praying Mantis is an
insect with killer instinct and blinding speed. The Tanglangpai is a
combat system composed of several sub-styles, that due to the richness
and complexity of their techniques are considered styles by
themselves. Some of these styles were created combining the praying
mantis boxing with other wu-shu systems. Some writers count more than
40 Praying Mantis styles. This section will only mention below the
more ancient and traditional ones.

Origin: Shandong Province (Northern China)


Wang Lang (the style creator) was born in the Jimo district, in
Shandong Province. He lived during the Ming Dynasty fall and as he
was a patriot (some Masters say he was uncle of the last Ming
Emperor), he decided to excel in the martial arts to fight against the
Qing Dynasty (Manchurian rulers). He entered to the Shaolin
monastery in Songshang, but being prosecuted by the Manchurians he
travelled all over China, training in places places where he could
find Gongfu Masters. In this way he learned 17 Chinese Boxing

After this travel, Wang Lang entered to the Laoshan monastery. Once
there, he was always defeated by the abbot of the temple in spite of
his deep knowledge of the fighting arts. One day, while he was
meditating in a forest he saw a combat between a praying mantis and a
cicada. He was impressed by the aggressive attitude of the mantis and
he started studying its movements. After a long learning time he
combined the praying mantis hand movements with the monkey steps (to
enhance the coordination between hand and feet). With this new style
Wang Lang could defeat the monastery abbot. Wang Lang went on
modifying his system and when he felt satisfied with his creation he
accepted some disciples.


Even though Praying Mantis sub-styles are quite different, they all
contain the basic structure created by Wang Lang: * 8 stances * 12 key
words * 8 rigid and 12 flexible methods * 5 external and 5 internal
elements * 8 non- attacking and 8 attacking points.

Northern praying mantis is a style characterized by fast hand
movements. The hook hands are the "trade mark" of the style and they
are found in all the northern sub-styles. Northern Tanglangquan's
main weapon is the blinding speed of the hand trying to control and
punch the opponent. It has a balanced combination of circular and
straight movements.

Other important elements are the simultaneous block and punch, and
strong chopping punches. These are practical movements for full
contact street fighting. Some Chinese martial artists say that Seven
Star Praying Mantis Boxing (one of the praying mantis sub-styles) is
the most aggressive style created in China. Grappling, kicking,
nerve-attack and weapons complete the northern branch.

Southern praying mantis is very different. It is an infighting system
that resembles Wing Chun. Qigong is very important in the Southern
Praying Mantis. Movements are continuous and circular, soft and hard,
except in attack, where the middle knuckle (phoenix eye) of the index
finger is used like a needle to pierce the internal organs. A punch
with the fist produces an external muscular bruise, striking with the
phoenix eye produces an internal bruise.


1) Physical exercises
2) Body conditioning
Tieshazhang (Iron Palm)
Baidagong (body strengthening)
Jhiu Sa So (Poison Palm)
3) Fighting Theory
Tui (legs actions)
Da (hand actions)
4) School training (basic movements known as combinations)
5) Shuai (Throwing Techniques)
6) Na (also known as Qinna, grappling techniques)
7) Forms training (The core of the system. Solo training and forms
for two or more people)
8) Sanshou (free fighting)
9) Jei Jai (weapons training)
10) Dim Mak (also known as mur mon, the death touch)
8 attacking points
8 non attacking points
Deadly points
11) History and tradition (honor the ancestors in the style and keep
the folklore tradition -for example Lion Dance-)


Northern Sub-Styles:

Seven Stars Praying Mantis (Qixing Tanglang)
Eight Steps Praying Mantis (Babu Tanglang)
Six Armonies Praying Mantis (Liuhe Tanglang)
Secret Door Praying Mantis (Bimen Tanglan)
Mysterious Track Praying Mantis (Mizong Tanglang)
Throwing Hands Praying Mantis (Shuaishou Tanglang)
Plumb Flower Praying Mantis (Meihua Tanglang)
Flying legs Praying Mantis from the Wah Lum Temple (Wah
Lum Tam Tui Tang Lang) Jade Ring Praying Mantis (Yuhuan
Tanglang) Long Boxing Praying Mantis (Changquan Tanglang)
Great Ultimate Praying Mantis (Taiji Tanglang)
Eight Ultimates Praying Mantis (Baji Tanglang)

Southern Sub-Styles (Hakka shadow boxing):

Bamboo Forest Praying Mantis (Kwong Sai Jook Lum Tang Lang)
Chou Clan Praying Mantis (Chou Gar Tang Lang)
Chu Clan Praying Mantis (Chu Gar Tang Lang)

Familiar or non spread Sub-Styles:

Han Kun Family Praying Mantis (Han Gong Jia Tanglang)
Drunken Praying Mantis (Zui Tanglang)
Shiny Board Praying Mantis (Guangban Tanglang)
Connected Arms Praying Mantis (Tongbei Tanglang)
Mandarin Duck Praying Mantis (Yuanyang Tanglang)


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