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Tyrant Takes the Helmet



Peng Lai Brasil

Peng Lai Brasil Website This month's pictures are from my September visit to the Peng Lai branch in Brasil. André and Élen Azevedo are the couple in charge of the 500 students of the 8 Peng Lai branch schools.

Their ceaseless hard work towards the promotion of kung fu in Brasil has bestowed a great honor on Shi Zhengzhong's Peng Lai Mantis organization.

Plum Flower Road

One of the most spectacular looking forms of Plum Flower Mantis Boxing is the form 'Plum Flower Road (Mei Hua Lu)'. Unlike forms of modern Chinese Wushu that are built solely for their extravagant looks, this form is based on sound principles of mantis boxing. The special characteristic of this form is the ingenious method of combining long range attacks with short strikes finishing moves.

Plum Flower Road History

I can not say the age of this form, but from available evidence it probably dates to the same era as the Essentials series of forms which would put it close to 100 years old. It is listed in old manuscripts of both Li Kunshan and Cui Shoushan.

One major difference between this form and the Essentials series is that this form is considered Mei Hua Mantis, even by most Seven Star schools that teach this form. The Essentials are claimed by both Seven Star and Mei Hua Mantis as part of their old curriculum.

Plum Flower Road is one of the few Mantis Boxing manuscripts written in rhythmic verse from start to finish.

Shifu in Brasil

On Shifu Shi Zhengzhong's March 2008 visit to Brasil he taught this form to  André. When I arrived in September he performed the form for me.  André displayed stable stances and powerful execution of the techniques. I began to explain and demonstrate some of the applications to  André and his wife and that is when we began shooting pictures. The result follows.

The Tyrant

tyrant takes the helmet The techniques demonstrated are Tyrant takes the Helmet (ba wang chu zhai kui) and grab the hair break the mouth (chin fa cuo zui ba).

 André performs the move tyrant takes the helmet (ba wang qu zai kui.

Calligraphy by Li Kunshan

The Breaking Palm

grab the hair break the mouth Tyrant takes the helmet is immediately followed by grab the hair break the mouth (chin fa cuo zui ba).

Notice the large contrast between the previous move where you stand high on one leg and this move where you crouch all the way to the ground with your knee almost touching the ground.

Calligraphy by Li Kunshan

Applying  the Move 'Tyrant Takes the Helmet'

Yang Palm

André attacks with the right and Élen has already applied left sealing right yang palm.

 André has blocked Élan's palm with a left palm.



right luo grab

Élan's right hand grasps  André's right triceps.




ear grab

Élan's left hand reaches around and grabs  André's left ear.

Originally this move was a hair grab, but  André has wisely shaved his head.

Élan's choices for grabbing are his ear, neck or his shirt by the left shoulder.



tyrant takes the helmet applied

With one hand holding  André's ear (or neck) and the other holding his sleeve (or triceps) she applies the knee to  André's ribs.






Applying the Move Grab the Hair Break the Mouth

breaking palm applied

To apply this move properly sit in the coiled stance. Élen places her left leg behind  André's lead leg. This makes it difficult for  André to pull his leg out.

Élen simultaneously applies the breaking palm to the mouth.

Élen can follow this move all the way to the ground just like is shown in  André's picture above.



My Personal Plum Flower Road History

In the early 1990's I began my training in this form Plum Flower Road. I was living in the changing room of the kung fu school and each evening after work the class was outside my room practicing. This meant that I never missed a class. Shifu taught me the first road or the first series of moves in the form, about 10 moves and began the practice of this form on a regular basis.

Three years later he finished teaching me the end of the form.

Why did he wait so long? This type of form is a representation of what Mei Hua Mantis is about. The moves must be expertly executed in order to represent the style of Mantis Boxing that has been passed on to us by our Mantis forefathers!

André Competes

André competed in the 2008 summer tournament of Brasil and brought home gold medals in both forms and Chinese wrestling competitions. It is safe to say that he has done an excellent job at representing the style of Mantis Boxing!

To read more on techniques from Plum Flower Road visit The Double Sealing of the Mantis[

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