See the video
clip from this month's article!
Out The Hole To Defeat Your Opponent
Most schools of Praying Mantis
Boxing recognize that our style descends from 18
Families of Chinese Boxing. This is recorded in the
ancient manuscript Surnames of the Founders of
The 16th of these founders
records our great-great grandmaster Cui Lian and his
powerful technique 'wo li pao.' The original quote is
shorter than we would like.
Cui Lian's dig out the hole fist
Dig out the hole is an unusual name for a kung fu
technique and one that is not used by many schools these
days. Hole means the empty spot, or soft spot and
describes a location vulnerable to attack. Heart hole
and eye hole were two common names of specific targets
in past times.
||'Dig out' describes striking with
a powerful force like a shovel breaking new
ground when digging a hole. To strike with the
power equivalent to digging out a hole or cave evokes a
powerful imagery of the spirit and power of this
A Shaolin monk uses the handle of
his shovel to attack.
Some of the names commonly used nowadays for dig out
the hole are tiao bao cha chui.
'Lift, embrace and stick in the fist' or just tiao bu chui.
'Lift and add a fist.' These names are descriptive of
the actual technique's actions. The problem with the
modern names is that a student of Mantis Boxing that
only learned these modern names would not know the
ancient origins and essential nature of this technique. They
would have no way of linking this technique to the
several lists of original mantis techniques such as
Secret Door Mantis Digs Out the
day while training our kung fu shifu decided
that it was time to begin a two man drill for
training the skills of 'dig out the cave.'
After we had trained until our
forearms were sore Shifu told us that this
training method had been passed on to him by
Zhang Dekui, famous as the teacher whose style
of Mantis would later come to be known as Secret
Door Mantis Boxing.
He himself only called his
mantis gu tang lang, 'old mantis.'
Zhang De Kui of Secret Door
Mantis demonstrates his mantis hands.
Dig Out the Cave Applied
Rick, wearing all black, throws a straight
punch at Jeff.
defends by raising his right hand and blocking.
||His left hand follows and
pushes Rick's elbow up.
While still controlling Rick's elbow
Jeff enters with a punch to the soft part of Rick's ribs.
These pictures are the application of
dig out the cave.
The following pictures show the method
interconnecting attack and counter attack.
A Training Drill for Dig Out the Cave
By having Rick apply the simplest
counter attack, block and punch, Jeff is able to train
'dig out the cave' with both his right and left hands.
the previous move. Rick defends by lowering his
right punch. This method of block is called di
beng, 'lower collapse.'
Rick applies a straight punch. His hands
move together as a single motion.
Jeff defends from Rick's punch by raising his left arm.
Notice that Jeff's left forearm connects to the OUTSIDE
of Rick's forearm.
If Jeff had connected to the inside of Rick's forearm
then he would have to attack with a different technique.
Once Jeff has lifted Rick's arm he uses his right
hand to support it.
If you look carefully you can see an imaginary line
from Jeff's rear foot to his upraised hand.
Keeping the body and arm in line with the rear foot
maximizes Jeff's strength in supporting Rick's arm.
Rick, in turn, keeps a sinking downward energy in his
arms that makes it difficult for Jeff to push Rick's arm
that Jeff has opened up Rick's central gate he can apply
the straight punch to Rick's solar plexus.
|Rick does low
collapse to Jeff's punch and follows with right
straight punch to the face. Rick keeps contact
with Jeff's right arm.
with his moves of lifting, supporting and adding
in a punch.
Through continuous training both
students can learn from this drill how to apply dig out
the hole from both right and left sides.
Once they have mastered this the next
technique add the mandarin duck kick the sealing hand
collapsing fist and other moves from the eighteen
Shaolin monks photo
from, The Way of the Warrior Chris Crudelli