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Mantis Hands Topple the Earth

How do we attack our opponent before the fight has begun? If the answer you seek is the name of a technique then Mantis Boxing has eighteen of them. They are called the Eighteen Essential Techniques to Apply on Initial Engagement.

These are the moves that we can apply before the fight has begun. Most often they begin with closing off one of the opponent's gates and using his compromised defense to enter and strike.

One of the 18 essential moves to apply on the initial attack is 'overturn the sky topple the earth dividing yin and yang-fan tian fu di fen yin yang.'


The Gate is Closed

A typical old fashioned gate in Tainan City where Kevin Brazier spent 16 years training Mantis Boxing (1989-2005)

The Gates of Kung Fu

The Chinese house gates that our grand masters saw!

Tainan City Resident Home In the training of Chinese kung fu we often use the term gates to describe positions of our arms or our opponent's. We have open and closed gates, left and right gates as well as lower, middle and upper gates.

Those in the west often adopt this terminology without any idea of what a real "gate" looks like. Though there are many pictures of grand and magnificent gates to see. Most people spent their lives only seeing gates such as that one to the left.


The Attacker's Goal

Like most all mantis strikes 'fan tian fu di' aims to destroy the opponent through a series of cleaving chops. These strikes fall on or by the left of his neck. As you strike the opponent all the strikes turn into either sealing grabs or stealing and plucking grabs. This method can be applied regardless of whether he strikes first or I attack first.

Sealing His Right and Chopping His Left

Kevin Brazier and Jeff have engaged in combat.

Jeff punched with his right hand and my left hand sealed it as my right hand prepares to chop down.





The Target

If this technique is planted against the opponent's neck or clavicle with an earth toppling force we may find that is all the striking needed.





Left Gua

Jeff defends his upper gate with the hanging high block (gua).

Now that my right hand has contact with his left, it is important that I maintain solid contact in order to do "tou zhan."




Tou Zhan

Means to steal and open.


My left hand grabs and pulls the hanging block Jeff just performed in the previous picture. Notice that my right hand does not move.


In practice tou zhan operates like this; I strike, he blocks. My free hand grabs his blocking hand allowing my striking hand to strike again.

A Shocking Surprise!

What makes this method such an earth moving technique is the speed in which the second strike is applied.

The hand merely falls down from the spot where the opponent's blocked stopped it.

It requires a well developed short jing(energy) to work.


If Jeff has his wits about him he can block the second strike as shown.





Life After a Toppled Earth

Once our arms have become tangled there are more ways to deal with the opponent at a closer range. The simplest and most common ways (not shown) are to use the mandarin duck kick or simply push the opponent down. Here are some more advanced techniques utilizing short strikes methods of Mantis Boxing.

The First Variation - Oblique Step Folding Elbow

Most people are familiar with the folding elbow of the well known Beng Bu form. Here is a picture of a monk of Song Shan's Shaolin Temple performing the move.

At Shaolin they call this kneeling stance leaning elbow (kao zhou).

But the following picture shows this elbow with a less common step, the oblique step (au bu).


The Triceps Grab

This triceps grab is used for both the following variations.

After my right hand has chopped and made contact with the opponent's inner right forearm I slip my hand in and securely attach to the outside of his triceps.




The Folding Elbow

My right triceps grab pulls Jeff down and into my center as my left elbow drops from top to bottom against the right side of his head or neck.


Though the technique looks mighty powerful, don't assume that the opponent will be dazed out of fighting. Be ready for a follow up!



The Second Variation - Oblique Step Coiling Elbow


Controlling the shoulder

This photo is a continuation of "The Triceps Grab" photo.


My right triceps grab pulls his right hand in close to my body and my left hand hooks his shoulder (or grabs clothing, or hooks neck).


My left elbow has to sink down and lie on his chest for proper control.







Advancing with the Hooked Step

I apply the right hooked step, gou zi bu, on his lead leg.


This is a variation of the technique I wrote about in the article called The Hooking Step of Mantis Boxing.


I can pull him to my left to topple him using the hooked step or I can use his resistance to falling for my advantage using the coiled elbow strike.





Oblique Step Coiling Elbow

Instead of throwing him to his right side. I throw all my body's weight into an elbow strike to his left ribs.










Chopping Down Mountains

The methods of all the Eighteen Essential Techniques to Apply on Initial Engagement are easy to understand and not overly complicated. That is part or what makes them such a useful tool in initiating the attack.


For one who practices over a long period of time, they can learn to adopt to the changing situation of the enemy's response and utilize other more complicated finishing strikes and takedowns.


But, one thing never changes, the strikes of the 18 essentials all require a quick and perceptive eye, speedy attack, solid grabbing and hand strikes heavy enough to chop down mountains


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Mantis Hands Topple the Earth

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Wang Lang and his Pair of Swords

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The Double Sealing of the Mantis

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The Shaking Step of Mantis

A Weekend in Tennessee

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