Praying Mantis KungFu

Praying Mantis style Kung Fu is believed to have originated in China at the Shaolin Temple during the early to mid 1600's. As legend has it a young monk by the name of Wong Long was the first individual to fashion a Kung Fu fighting system after the movements of a Praying Mantis.

Wong Long reputedly began his studies at the Shaolin Temple as a young boy. As a young trainee he worked hard and made good progress. Years later, as a young man, he received permission to box, or spar, with his fellow students and with his teacher, the Abbot.

It was during this period that Wong Long hit a slump, so to speak, unable to advance beyond a certain level with his fighting ability. Frustrated with his performance Wong Long determined to train harder, but to no avail. He began practicing in seclusion, and one day happened upon a Praying Mantis engaged in battle with a much larger Cicada. So impressed was Wong Long with the novel fighting techniques of this Praying Mantis that he captured it and kept it in a bamboo cage. Over the ensuing days and weeks he studied the Mantis closely, mimicking and adapting the insect's fighting abilities into his own training regime.

Only once Wong Long finally felt confident with his command of this new approach to fighting did he challenge the Abbot to a match in order to test his new skills. In the past, the Abbot had always defeated Wong Long quickly and easily. However, Wong Long was now able to fight to a standstill in combat with his own teacher. So impressed was the Abbot with Wong Long's new fighting style that he offered some suggestions to help Wong Long improve further on his new skills. Observing that Wong Long's Mantis like hands were already very effective the Abbot noted his footwork still needed improvement and sent him back up into the mountains, this time to observe and absorb the footwork of Monkeys.

Wong Long's efforts provided the foundation for modern day Praying Mantis Kung Fu. Over time Wong Long's original style evolved into at least twelve distinct systems of Praying Mantis Kung Fu including, Seven Star Mantis, Tai Chi Mantis, Southern Mantis, Northern (Jade Forest) Mantis, etc.

Our style, the Jade Forest system can be traced directly to Ching Yeung, four generations removed from Wong Long. Ching Yeung was the Abbot at the Wah Lum Monastery in Ping To district in Shantung Province. In the early 1900's an accomplished martial artist by the name of Lee Kwan Shan sought refuge in the monastery. Already skilled at his family style, the Tam Tui (Seeking Leg), system, Lee Kwan Shan committed himself to a ten year study under the guidance of Abbot Ching Yeung. After completing his studies he left the temple and resettled in Sha Cheng village, also in Shantung province. There he combined what he had learned from Ching Yeung over the previous ten years with his own Tam Tui family style, rendering a new system of Kung Fu. This became known as the Wah Lum (Jade Forest or Flourishing Forest) Tam Tui (Seeking Leg) Bak Tong Long (Northern Praying Mantis) system.