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Tanglang Quan - The agile steps, trapping hands and deadly hooks of the Praying Mantis

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Taiping Tang Lang Quan

Introduction
History
Development
Curriculum

Jiben Gong (基本功, Basic Skills)

The practice of Praying mantis includes Xinggong (Movement Practise), which is basically the physical development of coordination, flexibility and strength. So the practice of the Coordination of the Shoulder, Waist, Hips, Legs and the ability to maintain lively actions is a preliminary point. This is followed by active basics including the fists, palms, hooks, kicks, stances and body methods and also Zhuangbugong (Standing Exercises).

Once the coordination of one’s on body is achieved, the introduction of combination methods and dual partner practice commences. This includes Yuhuanbu (Changing Steps), Qishou (7 Hands), Sanchui (3 Strikes), Shuaidiefa (Throwing and Falling Methods), Qinnafa (Grappling Methods), Dianxuefa (Point Striking methods), Fenshen Ba Duankaoda Fa (8 Close range striking methods), shadow boxing and practical sparring or combat.

To understand the process of developing the above skills we also need to outline some of the supporting internal and external cultivation methods in Praying Mantis that are available to achieve them. These include the Sanhuijiuzhuanluohangong (3 Returns 9 Rotations Luohan Skill), Taiyi Zhenren Baduanjin (True Taiyi 8 Brocade), Xiuxifa (Resting Methods), Chunyang Tongzigong (Youth Skill), Bada Jingang Qigong (8 Great Diamond Qigong), Tie Luohan Gong (Iron Luohan Skill), Paida Gong (Body Hitting Skill), Kaoti Gong (Body Close in Skill), Tie Sha Zhang (Iron Palm), Tiebigong (Iron Arm), TidaShabao (Striking and Kicking Sandbags) and others.

Fundamentals of the System

The Praying Mantis Curriculum of the Taiping Institute is a process of development that incorporates the cornerstone aspects of the Qixing (7 Star), Meihua (Plum Blossom) and Liu (6 Harmonies) boxing methods. The depth of the Praying Mantis Styles precludes the fact that there are many forms and sets of practice of empty hand, combat and weapons. The curriculum (not necessarily in order) consists of the following aspects:

Fundamentals - Single and Linked Techniques

These are individual techniques and combination thereof which are practice as basics. most of them are derived from existing sets but are practiced in isolation ensuring the essence of Praying Mantis. Some are practiced as basic or fundamentals whilst others are more advanced in nature. These include basics such as Zhanzhuang (Stances) which trains the key stances of Praying Mantis Boxing. Followed by the training in basic techniques such as Gouzijiao (Hooking Legs), Sanchui (3 Strikes) and more as outline below (only a few mentioned others are selected from time to time). Many of the methods have variations, as an example, Sanchui has Shang Sanchui, Xia Sanchui, Xunbu Sanchui, Aobu Sanchui and so on. As well as ability to combine with a partner.

  • San Chui (3 Strikes)

  • Feng Shou (Sealing Hands)

  • Gou Shou (Hooking Hands)

  • Quan Chui (Circular Strikes)

  • Gouzi JIao (Hooking Kicks)

  • Mo Pan Shou (Rubbing over hands)

  • Da Zhan Pai (Wings Patting)

  • Deng Ta Bu (Pressing kick Steps)

  • Feng Feng Dian Tou (Pheonix Pecking)

  • Lianhuan Wu Chui (Continuous 5 Strikes)

  • Heihu Touxin (Black TIger Steals Heart)

  • Gouloucai Shou (Hook, pass and pluck hands)

  • Gua Pi (hanging Axe)

  • Tou Shou (Stealing hands)

  • Suo Hou hands (Locking Hands)

  • Quan Jiao (Circular Legs)

Fundamentals - Short Linked sequences

Once individual techniques and linked techniques are mastered, these are combined in short little sequences which are often practiced both alone and with a partner to gain understanding of some basic fighting principles.

  • Qishou Chui (7 Hands Strikes )

  • Luohan Chui (Luohan Strikes)

  • Taiji Pi Chui (Grand Ultimate Axe Strikes)

  • Zhi Lu Chui (Point the way Strikes)

  • Yuejia Chui (Yue Family Strikes)

  • Liuhe Chui (6 Harmonies Strikes)


The System of Tang Lang Quan

Fundamental Sequences(螳螂初级套路)

These are based mostly on the 7 Star Praying Mantis Boxing curriculums, which is influenced by the Changquan or Mizongquan styles via the developments of Wang Rongsheng. The sets are simple, direct and practical each emphasising different techniques. For example Bengbu introduces basic concepts such as the Gouloucai (Hook Lead Pluck), Bengbu (a pouncing full body backfist), Puchan (Catch Cicada) and other key methods. Bengda allows the study into multiple directs, Chachui derived from Yanqingquan includes strenghthening the lower plane and the tiao za (lift and hammer) techniques. Cuogang emphasises the comprehension of the 8 hard principles, Rouling on the 12 soft principles. Tanglang shou (upper,lower,inner & outer 9 hands) introduces many gou shou (hooking hands) and shou fa (hand principles), Shiba Suo introduces some locking/grappling principles.

  • Bengbu (Crushing Step)
  • Cha Chui (Piercing Strikes)

  • Fanche (Turning Wheel)

  • Bengda (Running Strikes)

  • Cuogang (Avoiding Hardness)

  • Rouling (Soft and Lightly)

  • Xiaohuyan (Small Swallow)

  • Tanglangshou (Mantis Hand)

  • Shibasuo (18 Locks)

  • Meihua (Plum blossom)

Baiyuan Quan (白猿螳螂拳, White Ape Boxing)

The Baiyuan (White Ape) series were taught in Yantai (Also spread to the Hao Family and Qixing (Seven Star) Praying Mantis Style) after the founder returned from Cangzhou in neighbouring Hebei Province. Some instances mentioned a 'Sheng Yuan Men' (Ape Sage System). These series provide many combinations and practical combat methods in their practice.

  • Baiyuan Tou Tao (White Ape Steals a Peach)

  • Baiyuan Chu Dong (White Ape Exits Cave)

  • Baiyuan Xian Guo (White Ape Offers Fruit)

  • Baiyuan Xiao Mu (White Ape Filial to Mother)

  • Baiyuan Xian Shu (White Ape offers book)

  • Baiyuan Rudong (White Ape enters Cave)

Shiba Cao (螳螂十八凑,18 Collections)

These are conisdered the older original Praying Mantis Boxing routines dating back to the times of Wanglang. Luanjie, consisting of 36 hands/methods and include concepts such as Gang-Rou (Hard-Soft), Yin Yang, Xu Shi (Empty-Full), these are the 6 characters, "then by the six lines of the trigrams (6 x 6) 36 is derived. Following in commune with the Yijing (Classic of Changes), Luanjie commences with Taiji which is the outcome of Yin Yang originated from Liang Yi (Two Polars)". Bazhou, is sometimes divided into sections (commonly 4), with 64 techniques/hands within," these following from Luanjie are relating to Liangyi creates Sixiang which gives rise to Bagua (8 Trigrams), the keys of Bazhou are Yinyang, Gangrou, Jintui, Xushi (9 Characters), 8x8 equals 64 methods". The Bazhou refer to the skill in using the 8 sections of the body (head, shoulders, elbows, knees and hip), the emphasis is on body methods and delivery of short power.

  • Bazhou (8 Elbows)

  • Luan Jie (Chaotically Connected)

Zhai Yao (螳螂摘要, Essentials )

There are 6 Sections of Zhaiyao which are said to have been developed on the basis of Mishou (Secret Hands) also known as other names, thought to be the combat orientated techniques. There are around 365 hands/techniques in the Zhaiyao. "In line with the Yijing again, derived are the 360 days to a cycle. It is said heaven has 4 seasons, man has 4 limbs, fists have 4 shapes. Heaven has 8 sections, man has 8 sections etc....also delivering heaven has 365 days, Man has 365 parts, Fists have 365 hands. Heaven has 3 treasures (Moon, Sun, Stars) and Man has 3 treasures (Qi, Blood, Essence) and so forth.

  • Liu Duan Zhaiyao (6 sections of Essentials)

 

Liuhe Shou (螳螂六合手, Six Coordinations Hands)

As the essence of Liuhe Shou - these sets have a distinct power generating approach which is more gentle (less choppy or abrupt) than previous. Movements flow and power is released in waves with a whole body emphasis. To achieve this the Liuhe, or six coordinates (internal and external) must be emphasised.

  • Zuo you Quan (Left & Right Circles)

  • Jie Shou Quan (Connecting Circle Hands)

  • Tie Ci Shou (Iron Threading Hands)

  • Liao Yin Zhang (Lifting Yin Palms)

  • Jing Li Cang Hua (Concealing Flower in the Mirror)

  • Zhao Mian Deng (Facing the Light)

  • Shan Shou Ben (Rushing Lightning Hands)

  • Shuang Feng (Double Sealing)

Sanshou Duilian (散手对练, Combat Sets)

Praying Mantis boxing also contains a large array of drills and technique exercises that develop combat efficiency. Many of the Fundamental can be converted into two man set practices to allow one opponent as the attacker and the other as the interceptor. Additionally there are some specific combat sets both empty hands, weapons and combination thereof, some of the key empty hand ones are noted below:

  • Tao Hua San (Scattered Peach Flower)

  • Baduan KaoDa (9 Short Close In Strikes)

  • Po An (Investigative method)

  • Mopan Shou (Rubbing Dishes Hands)

The Weapons of Tang Lang Quan

Like many Chinese martial arts, Praying Mantis Boxing also includes the practice of weapons. Originally the number of weapons practiced are few with the Sword as the most prominent. Some lineages of Seven Star Praying Mantis have a large array of weapons but this is mainly due to the association with the Jingwu associations of Shanghai and Hong Kong rather than pre-existent in the Shandong Praying Mantis Schools. Others have picked up certain sets from other styles. There are now many and some of the more traditional Tanglang Quan Sets/methods include:

  • Shuangba Jian (Double handed Sword)

  • Baxian Jian (8 Immortal Sword)

  • Lanmen Dao (Lanmen Broadsword)

  • Liuhe Gun (6 Harmonies Staff)

  • Luan Qiang (Chaotic Spear)

  • Taiyi Qiang (Taiyi Spear)


 

 

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