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The Rising and Falling of the Mantis Fist

Rising and falling is such an essential aspect of Mantis boxing that the principles are immortalized within the old manuscript Outline and Details of Short Strikes Important Moving Hands.

This manuscript, also known as Essential Treatise of Short Strikes, is shown in a page recently made public in China. The front of this manuscript has the famous Sheng Shao Dao Ren as author.

Except for the title the key words of short strikes are the same or almost exactly the same as recorded in other versions of this manuscript that I have come across.

But, how does rising and falling appear in the solo forms and applications of Mantis Boxing?

Strike low strike high

The following examples are taken from Luan Jie, one of the oldest known forms of Mantis Boxing.

My shifu Shi Zhengzhong does liao sou /lift and search with the left hand. It can be a strike to the groin or leg or a preparation for a take down (pictures of applications below).


The left hand, after falling is sure to rise up again.  This move illustrates how The form immediately follows the preceding low strike with a high strike, here called gu er chuan chuei / secure the ear hook punch. Other manuscripts call this move pierce the ear. Note: it is in the same direction as the previous move, liao sao, but the picture was taken at a different angle.

The Sonnet

What follows is the original sonnet for rising and falling. Look at how rising and falling are defined and see if they don't perfectly describe the principles involved in the following pictures.

Rising is to strike low and turn upwards.
Falling is to attack high and come down.
Middle falling and middle rising.
Lateral falling and lateral rising.
Middle falling and lateral rising.
Lateral rising and middle falling.
Left and right are interconnected.                                                           

No need to consider the beginning or the end.

The second to last line, left and right are interconnected. The attacks of rising and falling can interconnect with each other from one side to the other. In fact, that is exactly what happens with this road of Luan Jie.

The last line, no need to consider the beginning or the end. This means that whether you start the attack high or low either way can be considered the beginning.  It is not predetermined like the strict order of a form. It is based on the circumstances of the situation.

The Third Road of Luan Jie

Jim starts with a high right strike.

I dodge to the left while blocking with both my hands for the purpose of grabbing with my right hand.


I perform liao sou /lift and search. I secure his right strike with a right grab while sinking my body to strike the groin. Jim can defend himself by sinking his body and left arm. This is rising is to strike low and...




Zhang Dekui, while he was in his 70's, performs the solo version of liao sou.

...turn upwards. For a hook punch to the head. In this case we are close enough for me to hit him in the back of the neck.


Jim ducks the hook punch.



After the hook punch my fist swings down and returns to strike high again. Jim blocks it with a back fist.


My left back fist hooks his right hand .




Zhang Dekui performing the back fist that follows the hook punch. Note the follow through of his back fist.

As I secure his right hand with my left my right hand performs breaking punch to his gut Rising is to strike low and...



Zhang Dekui performs the right breaking punch. Note the stance. Traditionally called bu ding bu ba / not a ding not an eight.


...turn upwards. My right strike to his gut swings up to his neck.

From here we can say falling is to attack high and...


...come down. The next move is to let the hand come down for a strike to the groin. It is called snatch the treasure at the bottom of the sea. Performed by Shi Zhengzhong.


Following snatch the treasure at the bottom of the sea is once again a high strike called li pi / powerful cleave. Here within this small section of movements the principle of rising and falling are clearly on display[

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