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Sparrow Brushes the Water

Recently, Jim Smyer, of Tennessee nashvillekungfu.com sent a student of his, Dustin, to Taiwan to train with my shifu Shi Zhengzhong. 

xie quan chueiAt the end of Dustin's stay in Taiwan he took some snapshots of shifu in different poses. One of those poses is a hook punch delivered at an unusual angle. This article is about one of the possible applications of that move as it appears in the first Zhai Yao as well as one of the moves of the eighteen essentials.

Long and short

Outline and Details of Short Strikes Important Moving Hands is an important document that explains general principles of short striking in Mantis Boxing.

One paragraph is titled long short rising and falling. The rising and falling aspects were explained briefly in my article The Rising and Falling of Mantis Fist. Long and short are the counter part of rising and falling. Long and short here do not refer to the Seven Long and Eight Short manuscript, but to the uncanny relationship between long and short ranges.

Long and short are suddenly long and suddenly short or one hand acts long and short or both hands reciprocate long and short.

Short changes to long and long transforms to short.
We can also say that they connect to attacking, entering, advancing and retreating.

A Sparrow Inspires a Pugilist

xia bu yen zi lue shueiOne of the important techniques of mantis boxing is called, 'lower the step sparrow brushes the water'. Like the quick action of the bird, this move is delivered quickly from uncharacteristic angles of attack.

Yet, it is nothing more than a grab and hook punch. What makes this move so unique is the angle of movement when performing the hook punch.

We first make contact with our leading right hands.

I firmly grasp with the right hand and stick out my left protecting hand.

This is the long hand. It is sometimes called eye protecting palm or, if it is a more forceful attack, mouth locking punch.

As this is happening my rear left foot steps to the left at an odd angle. Not toward Jim, but changing our spatial relationship.

Though I don't step towards him, but across his front line yet I have come much closer to him. The transition from long to short here has been accomplished by stepping diagonally.


I use the momentum of this step to let fly with a right hook punch. This is the so called brushes the water.



Though this example shows me stepping to my left, this technique can also be done stepping forward or to the right. One of the key points to keep in mind is that this whole series is as quick and sudden as a sparrow brushing the water. The pugilist receives inspiration from nature and so names his technique so as to keep the original flash of inspiration forever in his mind[

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