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Swing the Horse Whip

Nearly 100 years ago, after the two great Masters Jiang Hualong and Song Zide mastered their Praying Mantis Boxing, they collaborated together to create a new form of techniques. Because the hands moved like falling plum flowers they called it Plum Flower Road - Mei Hua Lu 梅花路.


Though the form was their creation, the names used for the techniques come from an older era of mantis. I believe that Plum Flower Road was their interpretation of these older moves.


The names of the techniques in this form are the same type of names recorded by Heaven Ascended Taoist in his Qing Dynasty manual Luohan Duan Da. The names of techniques in Plum Flower Road link us to an era before Song Zide's Grandmaster Liang Xuexiang.


Cui Shoushan, the famous disciple of Song Zide, preserved a copy of this form in his own calligraphy and the applications were added by his student Zhang Kaitang. This article talks about the technique swing the horse whip - hui ma bian 回馬鞭 as found in Plum Flower Road and the writings of Heaven-Ascended Taoist.


The Horse Whip


We have an excellent example of the horsewhip in the context of Chinese literature in the Qing Dynasty martial novel called Complete Classic of the Flying Dragon 飛龍全傳.

Dongda raised his horse whip and let his strikes come down like rain, not caring where he hit, Chairong could do nothing but suffer the beating.

From my article Part Two of Kuangyin Creates Calamity. This excerpt from Classic of the Flying Dragon not only shows the whip in context, but that in a pinch it could be used as a temporary weapon.


Swing the horse whip is a technique which shows up multiple times in Plum Flower Road. Heaven-Ascended Taoist's manuals Luohan Gong and his Luohan Duan Da use the shorter term hui ma-returning horse.


Heaven-Ascended Taoist wrote in Luohan Gong;

Returning Horse and Beat the Cicada

Open the arms and cleave from top to bottom.

The Technique


The technique raises the hand up high and chops down, much like how one might swing a horse whip. It is used with many different types of footwork, here are some samples;


These two techniques are called returning horse whip. About the "returning horse" and how it strikes down to the bottom Heaven-Ascended Taoist writes;


Returning horse steal the hand and snatch from the bottom of the sea.

The meaning of "stealing hand" is that one hand holds the opponent's wrist. "Snatch from the bottom of the sea" means that the other hand strikes down to the groin.

On other pages he also calls it;


Returning horse turns the body and snatches the egg.

Hui Ma Bian in Plum Flower Road


Within Plum Flower Road the technique is also done to the middle gate as well as the head and can be done with either hand. 








On the left April does hui ma bian as it appears in Plum Flower Road.

On the right Shifu Zhou Zhendong corrects his daughter Zhoulei as she does hui ma bian with the rear hand, also how it appears in Plum Flower Road.


The Swallow and the Horse from Liang Xuexiang



Swallow Skims the Water


Second Round; Returning Horse and Beat the Cicada


Open the arms and cleave from top to bottom.

Turning and folding busily crossing the knees.

Seal a mouthful of qi at the heart.

Return your hands twist the waist a raise the body.

Exerting strength in collapsing and lifting and beat the earth.

Wrapping and coiling to left and right keep your spine erect.

Your legs apply all your strength.

The eagle captures the finch raise three times.

If you read the document closely you can see that there is a strong idea of breath and qi implied.

The Swooping Swallow of Plum Flower Road

zhuo shui hui ma bian-Cui Shoushan

In Plum Flower Road it also mentions the move "swallow skims the water" in the technique, as written by Cui Shoushan, "swallow skims the water returning horse whip."

Like the description in Liang Xuexiang's Luohan Gong, hui ma bian is done like "the eagle capturing a finch and raising three times."

Alex and I show an example of the first chop of Hui Ma Bian. I strike down and lift his hand and land my fist on his chest. It doesn't matter who strikes first, but the principle of mantis boxing implies that I strike him and use his defense as my "enter hand" 入手with a strike to his chest.

I Strike He Blocks

My strike sticks to his arm and presses into his body. This gives me knowledge of what he will do next.

In this picture he is resisting and sending the force back to me.


My left arm lifts his right arm and I raise my front hand too.







I quickly land on the top of his shoulder.

The clavicle or neck are more damaging options.







Though Plum Flower Road is not as old as the three mother forms of Mantis Boxing Eight Elbows, Bengbu and Luanjie

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