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The Shaking Step of Mantis
My Shifu, Shi Zhengzhong performs the shaking step of Luan Jie

Mantis Boxing relies most strongly on the right hand chop. Here we explore how the chop is used to topple our opponent. We open up his lower left gate to strike with a right palm chop while swinging our leg to uproot him. This move is called mantis shaking step and Master Shi appears off balance while performing it, hence the term 'shaking step of mantis.'


Two Kinds of Waist Chop

Several months ago I wrote an article on the waist chop of mantis boxing. In that case the method was applied by first sealing and fastening the body with the left side forward. In the shaking step of mantis the technique is applied with the right foot forward followed by a twisting of the body to do an uprooting kick with the left leg.
My Shiye, Zhang Dekui, performs the shaking step of Luan Jie

Either way that you apply it, starting with the left or right foot forward, it always relies on our leg either hooking, uprooting or attaching to the opponents' right foot when chopping his left waist.

In the last article the move shown emphasized a powerful chop. The version emphasized in this article emphasizes the takedown.



Tang Lang Yao Bu

Tang lang yao bu is probably the original name of the technique pictured above. Here, yao means to shake or waver and is commonly used to describe a stance that is not stable.

I believe that over time the yao of wavering was somehow changed to the yao of waist. This may have happened accidentally since both words, 'wavering' and 'waist,' sound extremely similar in Chinese.

In Li Kunshan's manuscript he wrote it as tang lang chops the waist, 'tang lang yao zhan.'

This version on the right was written by Cui Shoushan, student of Song Zide.

tang lang yao bu


In a version of Luan Jie from Liang Xuexiang, a famous master of Mantis Boxing near the beginning of the Mantis family tree of four branches of mantis, he wrote at the end of his Luan Jie manuscript.


you zuo tang lang shou

yao bu ting shen*


Right and left mantis hands

Shaking step-stop the body.


When applying this technique your right hand grabs his right then your left hand grabs his left. Or, you strike with the right and steal with the left. This is called tou zhan which means to steal open, or to open with stealth.


Stealing Open Defined

Opening is a way to spread apart or tie up the opponent's hands. I connect to the opponent with one hand and use my following hand to open his gate.

from the old Mantis Boxing manuscript Details of Short Strikes it says,

Opening means to unfold while shutting is the maneuver which conspires to open.

There is large opening and large shutting,
Small opening and small shutting,
Reverse opening and obverse shutting,

Obverse opening and reverse shutting.

The body method and stepping method follow the changes of the hands.

The first sentence describes what we do after the initial attack. The opponent replies to our attack by closing his gate, which is to say that he defends himself with a block.

Stealing open can not be applied without making contact with the opponents hands. We only wish to make contact with his hands so that we can open his closed gates and finish with our attack.

The second sentence describes some of the variations of opening and the final sentence tells that the hands, body and feet must all move in coordination.

Jim Chops Steve

Jim on the left faces off with Steve.

(Photographed at our school under the trees.)

Jim's left hand seals off Steve's right hand so that he can more easily apply his attack.


Jim attacks with a right backhand chop, 'yang zhang.'


Jim pushes his right hand up as he closes the distance. The point of this move is to raise Steve's left elbow above his shoulder.

As Jim raises Steve's elbow he twists his waist and step and slips his left hand in to grasp Steve's arm. This is the 'stealing.'

Chopping the Waist Without the Shaking Step

My Shibo(uncle), Su Yuzhang, performs the waist chop from his book Beng Bu
In the practice mode of this technique the student can leave out the final uprooting kick in order to practice getting the left foot placed in the proper location. This is how it is shown here by Su Yuzhang as well as in the application photos.

After much partner practice, the student can add the uprooting of the left leg. But only after they understand the dynamics of entering with the hands and body.


Jim has control of Steve's upper body and Steve is off balance. Jim steps in with his left foot.

When Jim becomes more adept at this move he can combine the previous move with this and the following move and instead of stepping in he can swing his leg in quickly to uproot Steve's right foot for a more impressive takedown.

thread the needle right waist chop Same move from two different schools. The left is from Huang Hanxun's Beng Bu book


Steve falls down.

Train this move to its conclusion with the opponent falling down.

The right hand chop of Mantis Boxing is a speedy and powerful cleave. But, when combing with the shaking step the speed and rhythm change. In order for both students to understand the technique they must follow through to the fall. Later, Steve will learn escapes, counters or ground position counters[

*Liang Xuexiang's manuscript excerpt courtesy of Robert Hui

For more on the waist chop go to this articleThe Waist Chop of Mantis Boxing

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