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The Asian ApertureFighting Mantis!
POSTED BY JASON FETTERS, September 5, 2013    Share

If you have ever witness a Praying Mantis attack, they ambush their prey with devastating results. The mantis has quick speed and reflexes that make it a great predatory insect. Around 360 years ago, a deadly form of kung fu developed at the famed Shaolin Temple by a monk named Wong Long during the Ming and Ching Dynasties. According to legend, Long was practicing kung fu and he saw a Praying Mantis aggressively defeat a cicada and this became known as Praying Mantis Kung Fu. This style has evolved through the years. One day Grandmaster Chan Pui brought it to the US and eventually built a temple in Orlando in 1980. It is called the Wah Lum Temple and students can live and train at the temple in Wah Lum Kung Fu.

Wah Lum is a Northern style, meaning that 70% of all the techniques are based on kicks and 30% on hands. In the beginning students are trained in forms with some forms involving traditional weapons such as broadswords, staff, and even flutes. The fighting techniques are in the form and instructors will train you how to apply a part of a form to self-defense.

There are kicks, blocks, punches, grappling, and even acrobatic movements in Wah Lum so it is a complete system. One of the interesting aspects of the Praying Mantis style is that you are taught to smack your opponentsí hands and arms and this can lead to opening for other attacks.

I first trained in Wah Lum back when one of the schools was still on Kennedy Blvd back in the mid 90ís. I have never had such as exhausting workout before. After my first class my sifu told me to take a bath with Epsom salt. He was right.

As I remember classes started with a run, not a light jog but a serious run. Then you went through a series of stretches that pulled muscles loose that you didnít even know you had. After that were sit ups and multiple variations on push-ups. Some push-ups had your arms stretch out past your shoulders and you would do 20 push-ups and move your arms a little closer each time until your fingers were touching together. The latter were the ones that hurt the most the next day.

The first thing I learned at Wah Lum was stances. It sounds easy until you try it yourself. Wah Lum is based on Monkey footwork so all stances were low to the ground. The horse stance was so painful. You had to squat down like you were sitting in a chair, with your butt tucked in, and keep that position for 5-minutes. The leg soreness from just doing that the next day was intense. To make sure your legs were in the right position, the sifu would place a staff on your legs and you had to balance it perfectly with no bounces. Then I learned the other stances.

Next came kicks and based on my Tang So Do background this was the easiest for me. I was good at kicking at head level, back in my 20ís.

Then it was punches. What I liked about learning punches is that all the different punches were in a form. So once you learned the form properly you had your punches down.

After learning all stances, kicks, and punches, it was time for drill work. This consisted of taking one or move stances combined with a punch or kick. You would repeat a series of motions moving in one direction and then turn around and go back. An example might be to get in a horse stance to the side with your right foot in front, then crossing your left leg over your right while punching, then back to a horse stance, crossing right to left with a kick this time, and back into a horse stance. One drill would be performed multiple times and then it was time for the next one.

The whole kung fu lesson could last 2-hours are longer. What was important to me was how the sifu stressed that to truly master kung fu you really should take care of yourself by following a proper diet of 70% vegetables to 30% protein and to take a good multi vitamin daily.

I only took lessons for 3-months before I got consumed and wrapped up in my studies at USF but I wish I had continued because my health would have been much better today.

If you are looking for a great way to shed pounds, stay in shape, and possibly survive a street fight then donít overlook kung fu in todayís world of MMA overload.

I developed a better appreciation of kung fu movies also because when you experience the pain and stress those actors went through to make those movies first hand in a class you will have better respect.

"The Asian Aperture" is ©2013 by Jason Fetters. All contents of Crazed Fanboy are ©2013 by Nolan B. Canova and Terence Nuzum.

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