Fist of Fanche
to Taiwan for me was in June of 2008. I sorely missed my
home of 16 years and looked forward to visiting my old
patches of training grass and spots of tree shade. On
this visit to Taiwan I had the foresight to bring a camera to
class and take some photographs of shifu doing kung fu.
one of the oldest techniques of Mantis Boxing.
Fanche Lulu Fist Six Six
Fanche and lulu
probably date back to the creation of the Mantis style.
The simplicity of movement of fanche and lulu are the
pattern for many difficult types of movement within
Praying Mantis seen today. Most, if not all, variations
of Mantis relate to fanche lulu.
What makes fanche
lulu so important is not that they contain some
application that is so powerful or so incomprehensible
from the opponent's point of view. The key to fanche
lulu is the actual motion. The motion is an extremely
simple way to move the arms at the shoulders. The
motion can be applied to many fighting applications, in
other words, there are hundreds, if not thousands of
applications to fanche lulu.
When the mantis insect subdues its prey,
it relies on a pattern of motion that applies to all
As for the word che; it is a cart's wheel
As for the word lulu; it is like a windlass flowing endlessly.
To speak of both fanche and lulu; the single hand is lu and both
hands make a wheel.
A cart is like lulu. Adding the "fan" character means to turn
this way and return that way, falling without end.
The Key Words of Fanche
The fanche sonnet use the numbers
6636. It is a description of the six keywords.
- beng -collapsing
- za -smashing
- nian -adhering
- na -grasping
- tie -pasting
- kao -leaning
'Key' hints that inner secrets lie
within. These words are underlying principles that
define how the fanche pattern of movement is used.
interconnects with the hands of collapsing, smashing,
adhering and grasping along with the
of pasting and leaning. Adding the fists and elbows as
well as applying the knees and feet constitutes mantis
These six key words times six combinations produces 36 changes.
Hence we get the term 6636! A combination might mean
that you do collapse and smash or you might smash and
lean or any other combination that arises.
These changes combined
with 'fists, elbows, knees and feet constitute the
striking of Mantis Boxing.' Actually the fists, knees,
elbows and feet are a short hand way of saying the 8
short strikes (an article is in the works).
The text defines
the subtle difference between mantis strikes and the fanche
Fanche stays afar while mantis approaches.
Fanche is distant while mantis is close.
Actually fanche is not distant, it only seems that way when
compared to mantis.
When using fanche your opponent has no place to hide.
When using mantis your opponent has no way to defend.
Adopt yourself to the changing circumstances using the entire
body for hitting.
This is the profoundness of short strikes, the highest extreme
the situation! Short and long or hard and soft must be
used at the proper instant. Not to do so invites defeat.
Shifu Shi Zhengzhong Demonstrates
There are many variations of fanche
among the different schools of Mantis Boxing. They all
contain the same movement of the arms. There are
variations such as advancing and retreating, stationary
or leaping, three hands or six hands or some other
number. Both hands chop or one hand chops and one hand
The solo movements of fanche
can start with either the left side or the right side.
Here Shifu starts with the
This is smashing, the second of
the six keywords.
Shifu steps forward forcefully with a left hook punch.
In some versions this is a left chopping cleave.
The hook and the chop are closely related.
The Interconnected Chops
following four moves can be done more times or less
times than what is shown here.
The left hook unfolds to a left chop. Beng, first of the
A right chop.
A left chop
||4. A right chop.
Leap off the front leg as you throw a left hook punch.
All of these movements are smooth flowing with the force
on the strike or chop.
Notice how knee and elbow point
in the same direction.
I include this picture to show Shifu's on guard position
A picture of Shifu with his hands ready to defend and
Cai Jiaming prepares to kick him in the ribs.
The Application of Fanche
I come in with a left side kick to Shifu's ribs. He
shifts out of the way. This is the last of the five
leaks called shen lou or body leak.
Shifu blocks my side kick and his rear hand is ready to
swing like a baseball bat.
Shifu throws a left hook punch to the outer corner of my
I block the hook punch with a left hanging block.
This is the motion of lulu, but I don't get to continue with
it because Shifu's attack is overwhelming.
Shifu's hook adheres to my
block. The third of the six fanche key words. He pulls his
hook downward and uses the chance to grab my wrist with
his left hand. This is na, fourth of the key words.
He applies the collapsing strike to my head. I block
it with the hanging block.
His right hand will
grab this block for his next strike.
His right hand has grabbed my right hand and he
chops to my face.
Now he has my hands positioned right where
he wants them.
With a solid grab of my left hand he can leap
forward and apply the right hook punch and flying
right knee to my ribs.
It is easy to duck the hook
punch, but you might miss defending against the
|Shifu striking Cai Jiaming
from two different angles.
When the mantis insect subdues its prey
it relies on a pattern of motion that apply to all
situations. It can be said that fanche lulu combinations
follow the patterns of the mantis[
The bold writing are translations from Cui Shoushan
and Wang Yifu's old manuscripts.