Shaolin Mantis

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What is Shaolin Praying Mantis Kung Fu?

Kung Fu is a martial art developed in ancient China. There are many Kung Fu systems. Some are inspired by philosophical principles; for example, Tai Chi Chuan and Ba Gua Zhang, while others are inspired by nature, such as the Tiger and Crane styles. The most famous Kung Fu originated in the Shaolin Temple.

Kung Fu is a process of perfecting oneself through hard work and discipline. The phrase "kung fu" literally means accomplished effort. Kung Fu training teaches you self-defense skills while integrating your mind, body, and breath.

One of the Kung Fu systems taught at the Vermont Kung Fu Academy is Northern Shaolin Praying Mantis. This system combines hard and soft motion, and is fast and graceful, yet powerful. It utilizes a wide variety of movements, including high and low kicks and grabbing techniques. Sifu Arthur Makaris has also incorporated Ba Gua Zhang, Xing Yi, and Tai Chi into the Academy's curriculum. These are internal systems which build chi. Combining the more external Shaolin Praying Mantis with these internal systems yields depth that is unparalleled.

The Northern Shaolin Praying Mantis taught at the Academy is composed of changes made in Wah Lum Praying Mantis Kung Fu combined with Northern Shaolin Kung Fu. There are several variations of the Mantis System of Kung Fu of which Wah Lum is one. Wah Lum Praying Mantis (Wah Lum Tam Tui Northern Praying Mantis) was brought to the United States by Chan Poi from Quangdong (Canton), China. The Wah Lum System is composed of Northern Long Fist, Tam Tui and Mantis techniques.

Grandmaster Chan learned this system from Lee Kwan Shan (circa 1867-1948) and from other Chan family members. Lee Kwan Shan learned this system while living at the Hua Lin (Wah Lum in Cantonese) Monastery in Shandung, China. He was taught by the Abbot of the Monastery, Cheng Yueng. Later in life he settled in southern China and taught there until his death. Lee Kwan Shan represented the fifth generation from the founder of Praying Mantis Kung Fu, Wong Long.

Changes have been made at the Vermont Kung Fu Academy so that this system is more symmetrical. In addition, traditional Shaolin forms, Shaolin and Taoist qigong and Shaolin muscle and sinew purification exercises have been added.