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The Waist Chop of Mantis Boxing

Chopping is one of the chief characteristics of Mantis Boxing and can be found in Beng Bu, one of the oldest and most well known forms of Mantis Boxing. Here it is performed by famous master of Seven Star Mantis Boxing Luo Guangyu from a book published in 1946 by his well known student Huang Hanxun. With each movement of the form in this published book he included a 28 character sonnet which Huang attributed to Luo Guangyu's famous shifu Fan Xudong. Under the waist chop move he quoted,

'The right waist chop and leaning hill climbing step,

To run out of skill while defending is really embarrassing,

With the pasting body and fastening strike there is no place to hide,

The method left behind by Jin Xiang serves a worthy reference.


The 'leaning step / kao bu' means that my leg is pressed against the opponent's leg. This goes together with the 'pasting body / tie shen' of the third line. Leaning and pasting /tie kao is a common term in Mantis Boxing. In this instance we get to see the theory of pasting and leaning as it applies to a specific technique.


About fastening it is said, 'It is like the fastening of a button. Both hands fasten shut in order to guard the body.'

This brings to mind how a Chinese coat is fastened shut and sealed with a button. The opponent's arms are like the two sides of a coat. 'It is to shut his door making it difficult for him to attack.'


As for Jin Xiang, he is the ninth boxer within Founder's Surnames of Eighteen Pugilist Styles where it talks about, 'The colliding hands and unobstructed fists of Jin Xiang.'


Luanjie and the Waist Chop

Waist chop can also be found in some versions of Luanjie, another of the oldest and most well known forms of Mantis Boxing. Here  my shifu performs a version of waist chop that he learned while he was training with Zhang Dekui. This shows a common element among the varied styles of Mantis Boxing and is one of the moves that ties the different schools and branches together.

Huang's Students Apply the Waist Chop

The application from Huang Hanxun's book on the two person Beng Bu form. The man applying waist chop on the right has his left foot hooked behind his opponent's right foot the leaning step /tie bu from the sonnet above. Notice how he pulls his opponent's right arm across his center line. A key point to making the technique work.

Tea at Shifu's Place

One night while we were drinking tea at Shifu's house he brought out his stack of old notebooks. It was his own handwritten detailed notes on the technique names and their applications. We looked at his detailed notes and all of us vowed to make determined efforts to keep such a thorough record of what was taught to us.

At the time my Chinese writing skill was not up to par nor did I  know enough of the names to write them down. Instead of writing the methods in detailed Chinese I put pen to paper and drew the applications of the techniques as Shifu taught us.

Low Instead of High

If the waist chop move does not work as planned then the right hand seals as the left hand strikes a high point of the opponent's body. This can be seen here from the application as it was made in the two person Beng Bu form

When I started to learn the application of the waist chop technique my shifu added some variations and escapes which were not included within the forms.

Shifu taught that the left hand did not necessarily have to strike high. Finding this to be quite important I illustrated it after class that night. The drawing on top shows the application of waist chop while just below shows a possible finish. The advantage of this grab over a strike to nearby areas such as the kidney is that sometimes you may find that you are not in a good position to deliver a strike with sufficient power once the arms and legs begin to tangle up.

Stealing the Beam and Exchanging the Pillar

Another technique which follows the same theory of leaning with the step and pasting with the body is called 'stealing the beam and exchanging the pillar / tou liang huan zhu. You can see that the opponent's loss of hands seems to fit that definition very well. This technique has important points in common with waist chop.

In the first drawing we make contact with the right hand.

Black pants left hand grabs white pants right forearm


In the second drawing black swings his right hand around in a hook punch or palm.

White pants blocks with his left hand.


In the third drawing Black securely grasps white's left hand block.

Black then passes his left hand under whites left elbow to secure his left arm. As he does this his body pastes to white's and applies the chao kick.


Deng Pu Defeats Stealing the Beam


After we had been practicing this move for a while Shifu then showed us how to defeat stealing the beam. Before black has completely applied his move white can change it to deng pu as shown in this drawing.


The training of defeating stealing the beam can not begin until the students have met several requirements.

1. The have both mastered the application of the stealing the beam move.

2. They can disengage themselves from the opponent as he applies stealing the beam.

3. They have mastered the deng pu move in a separate set of lessons.[


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