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The Praying Mantis Kung Fu Academy is a martial arts school based in Sydney NSW Australia and offers classes in traditional Northern Praying Mantis, competition Wu Shu, Wu Dong Tai Chi, traditional Chinese weapons and advanced techniques such as Chin Na and Iron Palm.
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Changquan - Northern Fist

Changquan (also called Northern Fist) is a generic term for Cha, Hua, Hong, Pao (Cannon), Fanzi, Shaolin, etc fist forms. Today, some also call it Shaolin Boxing. Its trademarks include long ranged attacks and advancements, large movements of limbs, and graceful and wide forms. Changquan has an agile and nimble form, with a large proportion of leg techniques and jumps. Changquan movements requires the chest, back, abdomen, etc body parts to twist and turn, open and close, transmitting power smoothly throughout all limbs. Changquan emphasises simultaneous strikes with arms and legs, high and low, precise coordination of hand and foot work, bringing forth the saying "the arms work like a double door, whilst the attacks fire forth from the legs". The rhythm of Changquan motion has been described as "In motion, like the galloping stallion, in stillness, like the leisurely pearlfish; In advance, blast forth like the cutting wind and torrential rain, in retreat, be unshakable like the mountains and green pines". In other words, move with blinding speed, or be still with deep calmness; strike at long range, yet be effective at close range; the stance might be square, yet the strike can be circular. Whatever one desires, the body effects; if an intention is formed, the spirit communicates it. The hand work of Changquan can be described with "fists fly like comets" - swift, agile, and powerful. The sight must be sharp and swift, like the lightning. One's sight is the key to demonstrating one's intention of action, as well as communicating one's spirit, hence one's sight must achieve "sight focusing with one's momentum, eyes following the hands, sharp as lighting". Body movements must be agile, snaking with the waist, flexible, moving easily just as one desires. Footwork must be light, quick, yet stable, such that the lower body is sturdy and powerful.

Tang Lang Quan - Praying Mantis Form

Tang Lang Quan (Praying Mantis Form) is one of the martial art forms that mimics an animal. It originates in the area around Shan Dong, Jiao Dong. The creation of Tang Lang Quan was inspired by the striking actions of the Mantis's claws, deriving the principles of overcoming strength with weakness, as well as the nimble footwork of the monkey, which was integrated into offensive and defensive strategies. Tang Lang Quan has strong combat applications, emphasises on drawing inspirations (mainly metaphorical) from the Mantis, combines hard and soft approaches, having both the extreme hard and extreme soft, both long and short ranges, unpredictable in its changes, with strikes crossing between high and low, within and without. Hand, leg and body movements are tight, continuous, and ingenious, firm and strong, yet nimble and agile. In addition, in agility there is also speed, and in speed, there is also stability; Movements are powerful but not stiff, supple but not flaccid, crisp but not weak, fast but not chaotic, preserving holistic form at every turn. When exerting force, it is quick and sudden, utilising both relaxation and tension, full of elasticity.

Tang Lang Quan dominates the pugilistic world with its tightly knit, ever morphing, powerful and lightning fast hand work. When punching, there is the rule of "eight hard and twelve soft", when soft, be like a butterfly weaving through flowers, like the wind caressing willows, when hard, be like a hammer smiting stone, crushing with the weight of a mountain. When attacking, the range extends suddenly to strike afar, using force that arise from the legs, thrust forth with the hips, transmitted through the shoulders, accelerated by the elbow, and delivered via the hand, achieving force transmission via "three joints".

Tang Lang Quan motion includes, flexing and extending, winding and encircling, balancing, jumping, flipping and turning, etc, involving almost all parts of the body, thus by training systematically in Tang Lang Quan, one significantly improves strength, speed, agility, flexibility, endurance, and other aspects of physical fitness. Tang Lang Quan is not just excellent for self defence and fitness building, it is also fascinating to watch, having long enthralled many viewers. It nicely demonstrates the Mantis's unique forms in attack and defence, exhibiting not just a majestic, valorous and indomitable fighting spirit, but also a lively and aesthetically pleasing art form.

Qin Na - Control and Restrain Techniques

Qin Na (Control and Restrain Techniques) is a unique combat skill that specifically attacks the enemy's muscles, ligaments and joints. It exploits the limits in joint mobility and weakness in tendons and ligaments positions, by using counter natural rotation of joints and exceeding limits of muscles and ligaments extensibility. Its basic hand work applies the Iron Claw techniques of lock, clasp, grab, and grasp, and is complemented with kicks, strikes, falls, throws etc common Wushu techniques. Qin Na can 1) Control and trap the enemy's body, neutralising his abilities, stopping his momentum, causing his inability to effectively apply force and resulting therefore in his capture; 2) Injure and dislocate the enemy's muscles and joints, causing him to lose his abilities and strength, experience great pain, and lose consciousness; 3) Tear and fracture the enemy's muscles and bones, and damage limbs, including to the extend of permanent disabilities. Qin Na's characteristics include a winding advancement, light and deft strokes, concealed intentions and power, soft and versatile, close ranged attacks, rapid and sudden, close body contact, making it hard to predict and defend against, thus allowing one to subdue the enemy in one step.

Qin Na is one of the most superb combat skills for self-defence and subduing an enemy. The basic self-defence skills are easy and quick to learn and quick to apply. However, great effort is required before one can become well versed in the techniques.

Technique wise, Qin Na can be categorised into three types: Small Qin Na, Large Qin Na, and Counter Qin Na. Training includes Taolu (a preset interlinked sequence of forms) practice and individual technique practice. Jibengong (fundamental martial arts skills training) is similar to other Wushu, with the addition of specialised finger power training, using exercises like "steel pomegranate", "one ton club", "Yuan Yang Huan" (Mandarin Duck Rings), and "gripping jugs" etc.

Dao Shu - Chinese Broadsword Skills

Dao Shu (Chinese Broadsword Skills) here refers mainly to the single Dao (Broadsword) wielded by a single hand. Dao Shu places great emphasis on the motion of the Dao, which must be closely complemented by the motion of the free hand (i.e., the left hand for right-handers). It is said that "Judge the single Dao wielder by watching his free hand, Judge the double Dao wielder by watching his body form in motion". By coordinating the Dao and the free hand, one achieves the following advantages: 1) Helps to harmonise the motion of the body and limbs, 2) Helps to achieve dynamic balance during motion, 3) Helps to mobilise power in the Dao strokes. Dao Shu foot work requires swiftness and there is much running and jumping involved. Dao strokes like wrapping and twining, thrusting and slashing are often executed while running/walking or leaping, thus projecting a fast and furious power like that of a ferocious tiger emerging from the wild.

Qiang Shu - Spear Skills

Qiang Shu (Spear Skills) emphasises mainly on the thrust technique. In thrusting, straight line forward motion of the Qiang (spear) is required, with the entire body's power transmitted through the Qiang body to the Qiang tip. There is a rule of "three points alignment", which means that the "top point", the tip of the nose, the "middle point", the tip of the Qiang, and the "lower point" the tip of the foot, must all be aligned in the same vertical plane, in order to allow the power of the whole body to focus at the Qiang tip, unerringly projecting through the target thrust at. Qiang Shu postures values the "four levels", with the basic Qiang handling stance called the "four levels stance". The "four levels" refers to 1) the head being level, 2) the shoulders being level, 3) the Qiang being level, and 4) the feet being level". The Qiang movements, such as slash, slam, parry outwards, parry inwards, etc turn and twist up and down, watches left and right, moves in and out, dodges and extends, creating a lively display of Qiang stokes that is of imposing momentum, like that of a weaving dragon.

Jian Shu - Sword Skills

Jian Shu (Sword Skills) techniques employs mainly point, burst, slash, thrust, uppercut, upward parry, cloud, pierce, entwine, sweep, intercept, block, etc. A Jian (sword) cannot touch the wielder's body, it does not wrap around the body like in the Dao (Chinese broadsword) twirl, and it certainly does not wrap and twine about the head, like the Dao does. Instead, the emphasis is on agility and nimbleness, being light and deft, being accurate, and focusing power at the Jian's tip or front most section. In the famous Martial Arts text "Bi Shou Lu", there was a verse regarding Jian Shu that advised that Jian Shu cannot have wide slashes and chops, fierce rises and drops, like in Dao Shu, but should be light and fast, nimble and agile, as required by the principles of Jian Shu. In the practice of Jian, one should have both hard and soft, be light, fast nimble and agile, have a responsive grip and agile wrist, be in possession of a lively air and rhythm, flowing seamlessly from intention to expression, achieving the state of body and weapon as one, body and limbs coordinated to achieve the collective goal.

Gun Shu - Cudgel Skills

Gun Shu (Cudgel Skills) techniques consists of long ranged strokes - chop, sweep, swing, uppercut, and short ranged strokes - point, burst, poke, press, block. In Gun (Cudgel) wielding, both long and short ranged techniques are used in concert, to threaten at once foes on all sides, pouring forth strokes that change quickly at will between spare and dense, far and close. The key to improving in Gun Shu lies in improving familiarity with the various ways to grasp the Gun and how to change such grasps nimbly during combat. In order to be ever changing and evolving in application, Gun practice should achieve strokes that are both far reaching in all directions (thus projecting a fierce and indomitable spirit), as well as being dense as rain (by using both ends of the Gun).

Tie Bi Gong / Yuan Yang Huan - Iron Arms Techniques / Mandarin Duck Rings

Yuan Yang Huan (Mandarin Duck Rings) are used for training in Tie Bi Gong (Arm Iron Abilities). In the past, Yuan Yang Huan were used as communication tools, hidden projectile weapons, as well as training apparatus. In the olden days, in the protection of goods or people, mercenary armed escorts would have scouts travelling a few kilometres in advance of the main body, in order to reconnoitre the situation ahead. These scouts would have Yuan Yang Huan hung on both sides of their saddle, and upon encountering various situations, would wear these Yuan Yang Huan on their arms and shake them to produce various types of sounds, which could be heard as far as 3 kilometres away by the main body, which can then interpret and access the situation ahead. In addition, these Yuan Yang Huan can serve also as very formidable hidden projectile weapons. In Tie Bi Gong, after a long period of training in Yuan Yang Huan, the arms become incredibly strong, like a pair of iron clubs. Today, Yuan Yang Huan are usually used to practice Qin Na (Control and Restrain Techniques) basic techniques and to increase Qi as well as to train various skills of the hands. Training includes individual technique practice and Taolu (a preset interlinked sequence of forms) practice. When first beginning, training may be very arduous, but after a month of training, the practitioner's physical strength will increase by folds, his constitution significantly improved, and after long term training, his arms become incredibly strong, and his skin become smooth, radiant, and full of elasticity. With the Tie Bi Gong accomplished, upon clenching of fists and flexing of arms, the practitioner will find muscles the size of chestnuts (known as "chestnut flesh") appearing on both arms. In combat, the moment enemy hands strike the Tie Bi Gong practitioner's iron arms, the enemies' hands fly off like hemp stalks striking iron clubs. In addition, the practitioner can send enemies flying 3 metres away, making Tie Bi Gong an excellent skill for physical conditioning as well as for self-defence. If Tie Bi Gong is complemented with all-around Diao Kuang Shu (Hanging Basket Skills) and Tie Sha Zhang (Iron Palm Skills), the practitioner can fearlessly take on multiple opponents simultaneously, causing enemies to flee in terror at the slightest mention of the practitioner.

Diao Kuang Shu - Hanging Baskets Skills

Diao Kuang Shu (Hanging Baskets Skills), also known as "Mi Lin Gong" (Dense Woods Skills), originates from the "Beijing Huiyou Biaoju" (meaning "Beijing friends-meeting Armed Escorts"). It is a skill for handling multiple enemies from all directions during combat. During training, there are 4 or 8 Kuang (basket) or sacks, each with a different weight, and set at a unique direction. The practitioner uses the shoulders, elbows, hips, knees, palm strikes, or leg strikes to hit the Kuang, which would be swinging back and forth, left and right. There are 6 sets of training routines, and can be performed solo or in a group. Training requires a certain level of ability to withstand strikes, and also agile control of body forms. Diao Kuang Shu is a superior method of self-defence training that used to be passed down exclusively within very select circles. It is excellent for improving abilities in free style combat, and trains one to be composed in combat. After long practice, the practitioner will be able to hold his own against many opponents at the same time.

Tie Sha Zhang - Iron Palm Skills

Tie Sha Zhang (Iron Palm Skills) is a masculine and hard skill that develops a very strong and tough physique. Its employs mainly palm strikes, chops, and thrusts. Training is performed once in the morning and once at night, must be continuous for a 100 days, and requires immersion of the hands in a medicated bath after each training session. If the practitioner is awakened at about 3 a.m. by pulsation at the Lao Gong Xue (Lao Gong acupuncture point, roughly at the centre of each palm), it indicates that the fundamental level of Tie Sha Zhang has been accomplished, and if progress is fast, this can be achieved about 60-70 days into training. After a hundred days, each hand would feel as heavy as if it were holding on to a hammer, and the practitioner should be able to smash through 3 bricks with his palms as easily as if he were chopping melons or cutting vegetables. At this point, the practitioner would have attained basic mastery of Tie Sha Zhang, and thereon needs only train once a day, and use less of or even do without the medicated hand bath. If training is continued for months thereof, Tie Sha Zhang abilities will increase. If the practitioner stops Tie Sha Zhang training for many years, his former Tie Sha Zhang abilities will return rapidly upon retraining.

Tie Sha Zhang practice increases masculinity, and is also one of the most effective methods to defeat one's enemies in combat.










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Useful links:

International Wu Shu Federation

National All Styles Tournament

World All Styles Tournament

Sydney Kung Fu

Sydney Praying Mantis Kung Fu