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Di LouLeaking From The Bottom

Old Mantis Boxing comes from that period in Chinese history filled with war and revolt. Famine often brought social uprisings and in many cases roaming hordes of bandits were caused by drought and starvation.

This is the historical backdrop of Chinese kung fu. Because Mantis Boxing descends from that period in history there is a strong curiosity to know about the techniques of that era. The traditions of those masters come to us in oral sayings and rhymes, written manuscripts and most importantly the catalogs of techniques and application propagated from master to student by direct physical contact.

The Maneuvers of Pugilist Essentials

The  Essentials (Zhai Yao) series of forms can be considered a bridge from the Mantis Boxing practiced today to an older Qing Dynasty version of Mantis Boxing. The complete name is Pugilist Essentials (Quan Zhong Zhai Yao).

Within Cui Shoushan's description of the Zhai Yao forms he has the following preface extolling their virtues.

The maneuvers of The Essentials are like a butterfly threading among the flowers. Like a dragonfly dotting the waters circling high and low throughout the four directions.

Layered up like the border mountains giving no road for his hands to enter while he receives injury all over. This is the so called one complete grand ultimate (taiji)!

From a distance the border mountains of China appear to be an impenetrable wall without any road to enter or exit. Within martial arts the word 'road' can mean the way to your target. The author's meaning is that when you apply Mantis Boxing techniques the enemy won't see any way to strike back at you.

This hand written manuscript from Cui Shoushan is less than one hundred years old, but it was copied, as is the tradition, from his teacher's manuscript. How far back does this go?

Some accounts label Sheng Shao Dao Ren as the first student after Wang Lang, creator of Mantis Boxing. Whether this is true or not can't be verified, but there are several manuscripts that date back to Sheng Shao Dao Ren.

Grand Ultimate Striking of Mantis Boxing

Within his manuscript is a description of Mantis Striking very similar to what is written in the Essentials. It comes from the chapter called Four Directions Eight Sides. It is a list of ten methods of fighting along with detailed descriptions on their use.

The Tai Ji DiagramEven though this is Mantis Boxing and not Tai Ji Quan, but, like the description of the essentials above, Mantis Boxing once again uses taiji or the grand ultimate to describe its method.


Taiji striking uses fanche mantis. The fanche hand method revolves high and low throughout the four directions overturning the body and launching the feet.

Layered up like the border mountains giving no road for his hands to enter while he receives injury all over. This is the so called one complete grand ultimate (taiji)!

In the newer manuscript up top by Cui Shoushan we see the essentials described in almost the same way as the fanche hand method of mantis.

The above quote from Sheng Shao Dao Ren was also included within famous Honk Kong Mantis Master Huang Hanxun's (Wong Han Fun) book Explanation on the Mystery of Praying Mantis Boxing

He titled this section Explanation of Four Directions Eight Sides. His Taiji striking description is the same as Sheng Shao Dao Ren's above.

As we can see these three versions describing the grand ultimate (taiji) show a relationship among various schools of Mantis Boxing that existed at one time many years ago.

Leaking From The Bottom

Within the first essentials form is a technique known as 'di lou' which means leaking from the bottom. It belongs to the oldest group of techniques in Mantis Boxing. The di lou technique used in First Essential is, 'tou zhan di lou quan (steal open leak from the bottom fist).'

Tou means to steal and zhan means to open or to unfold, so the method of tou zhan can simply be translated as 'to steal open'

Tou zhan is very common and is seen within just about every single Mantis form.

Overturn the Body With Three Picking Hands

Fan shen pa shan shou. Tou zhan di lou quan.The set up for applying di lou is the technique called three picking hands or mountain climbing hands (pa san shou). Students of the Seven Star school will recognize this as gou lou cai or as double sealing hands. Overturn the body is another way to say that when I attack I advance my step. The word 'turn' or 'overturn the body' is used to describe how I move. We saw this in the above quote, '...overturning the body and launching the feet.'

The application of three picking hands and di lou from Cui Shoushan's manuscript.

He comes with his right hand.

I seal with my right, pluck his outer right arm with my left and my right hand snatches his eyes.

He blocks with his left.

My left hand applies stealing open below his face. My right hand does di lou hook punch and knocks him down.


bi shou

Andrew, on the right, attacks with the right palm.

Phil, on the left, defends with closing hands.





Overturn the Body With Three Picking Hands in Action

Phil grabs Andrew's arm, this is the first pick of three.




Phil steps forward, this is the so called 'overturn the body,' and seals Andrews forearm, the second pick.







Phil strikes Andrew in the face, the third pick. Originally this is to snatch the eyes, but Phil opts for the palm strike to the mouth.





Stealing Open Leaking From The Bottom in Action

Andrew has blocked Phil's strike to the face.







Phil's right hand maintains contact with Andrew's block. Phil uses the opportunity to grab Andrew's wrist with his left hand.

This is stealing open.


To properly apply stealing open leak from the bottom Phil must hook his left foot behind Andrew's right ankle.






Phil left hand pulls Andrew to the left while throwing a hook punch to Andrew's head.







This series combines the characteristic advancing hooked step of Mantis Boxing with grabbing for control and chopping strikes. After diligent practice you will see that in fact this series is a variation of lulu fanche[

For more on Wang Lang.

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