起源与发展 HISTORY OF THE STYLE

【山西七星螳螂拳】Shanxi Seven Star Pray Mantis Boxing

Master Ren, Bai Chuan 任済字百川 (founder) was born in 1858 in Shanxi province, China. He was raised in a well educated family where he was taught traditional Chinese medicine. At 15 he became a student of a monk Jiao Lun and learned Shanxi Mantis Kung Fu. He showed natural talent and quickly rose to be the best student the monks had ever taught. After mastering Shanxi Pray Mantis he returned to his home village where he met Gong, Zhi Xi and Chen, Chiang who were famous masters in their respective styles. They became good friends and shared their knowledge of the different styles they had acquired. They combined the best aspects of their styles and kept the Mantis as the core. They tested power, foot stances and hand techniques to build up a style from single movements to entire foot stances and hand techniques to build up a style from single movements to entire forms with set foundations.

After developing the new style, master Ren returned to his former school to test his new Mantis style in a challenge match, which he won easily. Master Ren traveled extensively throughout China and met many masters practicing different kung fu styles with whom he tested his skill against. Everyone he met was impressed with the uniqueness of the style’s hand and footwork. Some even remarked that the footwork was as fast as the wind. That led to master Ren being nicknamed “crazy Ren”, because of the immense power and speed in his hand and footwork . Due to his reputation, he was sought after by many masters to have challenge matches which he never lost.

To promote his style and knowledge of medicine he did many good deeds as healing the sick etc. His reputation made the style a very well known one in Shanxi and nearby neighboring provinces. He only started teaching the style in the 1930’s after a lifetime of refinement. He only accepted seven students and one of them was master Hou, Jiou Ru who taught the current grandmaster, master Li, Shu Sen. Master Yang, Long Fei is a student of master Li and a 5thgeneration practitioner of Shanxi Seven Star Pray Mantis. Master Ren taught famous generals in Hunan during his time. Master Li has been known to finish challenges rather quickly. This led to him earning him the name “shadow boxer”.

拳论 Description of the style

The style uses a lof of internal power which harmonizes with body, hand and footwork. The style also includes seven different weapons such as the whipping staff and mantis double broadswords. Because it is an internal style the opponents’ power is used against him. When attacking, the practitioner targets vital pressure points, making it a very effective style. The style even has its own proverb: “I know everybody, but nobody knows me”. There are seven aspects to the Seven Star Mantis:

1. look/看

2. hit/打

3. move/采

4. make use all opportunity (don’t waste time)/不落空

5. step forward with the back leg following/前步引进后步跟

6. 5 ways/五門: soft, hard, sideways, forward acceleration, following

7. six styles/六法: eagle eyes, monkey hands, wolf stance, dog waist, dragon posture and explosiveness.

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