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

Within traditional Praying Mantis Boxing most all schools have several roads of basic exercises which repeat a series of 2 or 3 techniques.

Our school has a three move series shared by other Mantis schools, especially Plum Flower Mantis schools, which we call, 'peach hidden under the leaf.' The complete name of the technique is 'window frame punch, peach hidden under leaf.' Although this technique is part of the basic training taught to beginner students, that doesn't make it any less important. In fact, it is one of the most important techniques of Mantis Boxing and holds the distinction of the opening move of the well known form First Road of Essentials.

The Solo Performance

Steve steps in with his right foot and cleaves with the right hand. This technique can be either a strike or a block.

Notice that his forearm and bicep create nearly a 90 degree angle.




His left hand punches through the 90 degree angle from the previous move.

This combination of the above move with this move are called the window frame punch.

Notice how the shoulder protects the left side of his head.

Snap your hips and strike to the heart.

This move is the final of the series and is called peach hidden under the leaf. Once this move is completed you step forward and perform it with the left foot forward.

This particular posture is extremely common, and you may have noticed it with a different name in other forms.

Method of Partner Training

Once the students have mastered this solo exercise they can begin to learn it as a two person exercise. This drill follows certain rules of partner training that were written about by old time mantis master Cui Shou Shan in his hand penned book Praying Mantis Manuscripts.

Commentary on Partner Training Methods

Pugilist fighting is an extremely dangerous activity which presents numerous dangers for students in training. Yet, for those who study pugilism you can not be without partner training. A safe training method is essential.

Partner training is comprised of attack and defense where the attacker doesn't defend and the defender doesn't attack. You must always concentrate your mind and don't allow the hands to become confused...

This particular drill is an excellent example of the division of attack and defense. The advantage of training this way is that the novice has more freedom to strike with full power and speed while the retreating partner is defending himself from real techniques.

There is still a danger, since a mistake on the defenders' part may lead to him getting hit harder than he had anticipated. For this reason it is said," You must always concentrate your mind and don't allow the hands to become confused."

The practical aspect of this drill is that the attacker is taking advantage of an opening in his opponent's defense and the defender doesn't attack when there is no opportunity.

"He goes to battle when he sees victory, but makes no move when he does not ."(Sun Bin The Art of Warfare)

Application of the Drill






Steve, on the right, makes contact with Jim and immediately grasps his wrist in the trademark hooking hand of Mantis Boxing.

Once Steve has secured Jim's hand he steps in and cleaves to the side of Jim's head. This cleaving motion moves similar to a hook punch.





Jim defends himself by retreating and striking out with his lead hand.

Notice they both hold the same posture.



Cleaving to the Bottom Applied

Cleaving to the bottom is an underlying principle of Mantis Boxing. In this technique cleaving to the bottom is to follow through with your strike.

Steve follows through with his right cleaving strike which pushes Jim's hand down and away from his face.


Steve immediately shoots a right punch to the corner of Jim's right eye.

Steve protects his own head with his shoulder. We train this way because in later stages Jim will learn how to throw a right hook punch as Steve performs this strike at him.

Jim defends by hooking Steve's punch.





Steve uses his free right hand to strike at Jim's heart.

As he does this the snapping twist of his hips causes him to slide in.



Retreating Step Fan Che

Jim blocks down with his right hand.

The defensive moves that Jim has just performed from the first picture to this picture are known as, "retreating step fan che."




Steve goes with the energy of Jim's blocking movement and shoots forward to begin the drill with his left foot forward.






Jim defends the same way as above. from Jim's perspective he only needs to retreat with fan che until his opportunity to attack comes up.




Taking Advantage of Your Opponent

After students have trained this drill back and forth for uncountable repetitions they will feel when defense should become attack and when attack is no longer prudent.

It all comes down to attaining skill through many repetitions, in other words, hard work or 'kung fu!'

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