Sparrow Brushes the Water
Recently, Jim Smyer, of Tennessee
sent a student of his, Dustin, to Taiwan to train with my shifu Shi
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
A Sparrow Inspires a Pugilist
One 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
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[