Mantis Kung Fu(螳螂拳)

Mantis Kung Fu (螳螂拳) is one of China’s most famous Kung Fu systems. Even famous people and movie stars such as Bruce Lee (李小龙), Jet Li (李连杰), and Jackie Chan (成龙) have all studied Mantis Kung Fu. The Mantis Kung Fu style Master Sun Deyao (孙德尧大师) teaches is called Plum Blossom Mantis Kung Fu which is also known as Plum Flower Mantis Kung Fu. Mantis Kung Fu is also known as Mantis Boxing and “螳螂拳 tángláng quán” in Chinese.

Biography of Master Sun Deyao (孙德尧大师)

Sun-Deyao1Master Sun Deyao (孙德尧大师) was born on May 16th 1953 in Qingdao China and is the grandson of Master Hao Henglu (郝恒禄大师). Since childhood he followed his Mother’s brother Master Hao Bin (郝斌大师) and studied Supreme Ultimate Plum Blossom Praying Mantis Boxing for decades with relentless hard work. He was the overall champion winning 1st place in the first, second, and third Jinan International Martial Art Invitational Tournaments in 1993, 1996, and 1998. In particular in 1999 for the fourth Jinan International Martial Art Invitational Tournament he was awarded first place and overall winner of the Grandmasters Championship. In the 1997 Italian International Martial Art Competition he received 1st place. In 2001 he received first place in the United States Masters International Invitational Tournament. Furthermore, he was invited to travel to the United States, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Argentina, Russia, Korea, and Hong Kong as a judge for Martial Arts tournaments. He has students all over the world in more than 30 countries and regions. Because of the depth of the traditional teachings of Supreme Ultimate Plum Blossom Praying Mantis Boxing he was elected as a committee member of the Shandong Province Martial Arts Association as well as entered into the book “Chinese Martial Art Experts”. Now he devotes his efforts to promoting Martial Arts internationally.

Master Sun Deyao (孙德尧大师) 7th generation descendant of “Supreme Ultimate Plum Blossom Praying Mantis Boxing” (太极梅花螳螂拳 tàijí méihuā tángláng quán) and 4th generation descendant of the Hao Family System (郝家门 Hǎo jiā mén).

  1. Appointed as a committee member of the Qingdao Supreme Ultimate Plum Blossom Mantis Boxing research association, Shandong Province
  2. Shandong, Yantai Supreme Ultimate Plum Blossom Mantis Boxing association executive director
  3. Heilongjiang, Harbin Supreme Ultimate Plum Blossom Mantis Boxing research association advisor
  4. Shandong, Weifang Mantis Boxing research association advisor
  5. Shandong, Tengzhou Aolin martial art school vice-principle and instructor
  6. Shandong, Taian Shenzhou martial art school advisor
  7. Shandong, Laiwu martial art school vice-principle and instructor
  8. Shandong, Laiwu martial art association vice-president
  9. United States International Supreme Ultimate Plum Blossom Mantis Boxing martial art school president
  10. Argentina Zhongba martial art school honorary chief
  11. o Flying dragon martial art school honorary chief

Erecting the Merits and Achievements Monument

of the Ancestors of the Hao Family System

Supreme Ultimate Plum Blossom Mantis Boxing

To find out more information about this historical event:
CLICK HERE!

Jackie Chan Mantis Kung Fu:

Do you know the famous actor Jackie Chan (成龙)? He is widely known for his amazing stunt-work and Chinese Kung Fu. Mantis Kung Fu is one of the styles he has studied and demonstrated in movies.

Jackie Chan (成龙) demonstrating the Mantis Kung Fu move Mantis Catches the Cicada (螳螂捕蝉).

Bruce Lee Mantis Kung Fu:

Do you know the famous actor Bruce Lee (李小龙)? A person may think he practiced Karate (it is common to mix-up Okinawan Karate and Chinese Kung Fu). Bruce Lee practiced Chinese Kung Fu. He studied both Wing Chun Kung Fu and Mantis Kung Fu. Bruce Lee’s Mantis Kung Fu teacher was Shao Hansheng (邵汉生).

Bruce Lee (李小龙) demonstrating the Mantis Kung Fu move Mantis Catches the Cicada (螳螂捕蝉).

Jet Li Mantis Kung Fu:

Do you know the famous actor Jet Li (李连杰)? He is a famous Chinese Martial Art actor whose debut film was instrumental in revitalizing the popularity of Chinese Martial Arts. He studied competition martial arts as well as Mantis Boxing. One of his favorite Mantis forms is Summary Boxing #5.

Jet Li (李连杰) demonstrating the Mantis Kung Fu move Mantis Catches the Cicada (螳螂捕蝉).
From Lion’s Gate Entertainment’s 2008 movie:
The Forbidden Kingdom, Written by John Fusco
who himself is a student of Mantis Kung Fu!

Yu Chenghui Mantis Kung Fu:

Do you know the famous actor Yu Chenghui (于承惠)? He is a famous Chinese Martial Art actor whose debut film “Shaolin Temple” was instrumental in revitalizing the popularity of Chinese Martial Arts. In the film he played the famed double-handed straight-sword-wielding antagonist villain Wang Renzi (王仁则) while co-starring alongside Jet Li (李连杰) who played the protagonist hero Jue Yuan (觉远). He studied the Chinese government’s standardized sport known as “competition martial arts” as well as the Hao Family System of Mantis Boxing. He became famous for his double-handed straight-sword skills which he learned from the Hao family system. He went on to become a famous actor appearing in numerous movies and television shows. He is also well known for his creation of the Chinese government’s “competition martial arts” double-handed straight-sword competition routine which is based on the Hao family’s sword fighting system as well as his own innovations.

Yu Chenghui’s (于承惠) Hao family mantis boxing lineage is:

  1. 李秉霄 Li Bingxiao 
  2. 赵珠  Zhao Zhu 
  3. 梁学香 Liang Xuexiang 
  4. 郝宏  Hao Hong 
  5. 郝恒禄 Hao Henglu 
  6. 郝斌  Hao Bin 
  7. 张万福 Zhang Wanfu 
  8. 于承惠 Yu Chenghui 

Yu Chenghui (于承惠) demonstrating his Hao family mantis boxing special fist-shape which utilizes the middle knuckle of the middle finger for attacking. This hand shape is the traditional way of striking in Mantis Boxing.

Kung Fu Panda the movie:

In Kung Fu Panda, Kung Fu Panda 2, Kung Fu Panda 3, Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness, Kung Fu Panda Holiday Special, and Kung Fu Panda the video game there are several styles of Kung Fu demonstrated: Mantis Kung Fu, Tiger Kung Fu, Snake Kung Fu, Crane Kung Fu, Monkey Kung Fu, Leopard Kung Fu, Tai Chi Kung Fu, and many more Kung Fu styles. The famous actor and comedian Seth Rogen played the character Mantis. 

Mantis demonstrating the Mantis Kung Fu move Mantis Catches the Cicada (螳螂捕蝉).
The original character design of Mantis for Kung Fu Panda
by Oliver Malric.
Property of Dreamworks SKG, All rights Reserved.

Chuck Norris and David Carradine Mantis Kung Fu:

A few little known facts about Chuck Norris:

When Chuck Norris does a push-up, he isn’t lifting himself up, he’s pushing the Earth down.

Faster than a speeding bullet… More powerful than a locomotive… Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound… These are some of Chuck Norris’s warm-up exercises.

It is believed dinosaurs are extinct due to a giant meteor. That’s true if you want to call Chuck Norris a giant meteor.

David Carradine demonstrating the Mantis Kung Fu move Mantis Catches the Cicada (螳螂捕蝉) with Chuck Norris.

Kung Fu in Atlanta, GA

Karate in Atlanta, GA

Taekwondo in Atlanta, GA

Martial Arts in Atlanta, GA

Karate Atlanta, GA

Sometimes people think that Chinese Kung Fu is Okinawan Karate. Even if you are looking for Karate in Atlanta Georgia you might actually be looking for Kung Fu in Atlanta Georgia. Both Kung Fu and Karate are two broad terms that refer to Asian Martial Arts which outside of Asia are sometimes interchangeably used to refer to the same thing. Okinawan Karate was originally called Chinese Hand (唐手) (唐手 is pronounced as “Karate” in the Okinawan language) because an Okinawan ancestor learned his Martial Arts in Fujian province China. This person began teaching his Fujian province Chinese Martial Arts (唐手) in Okinawa around the beginning of the 1800’s. The martial arts of his descendants later evolved to emphasize more rigid movement, hardness, and power.

Karate practitioner Ōno Hikaru (大野ひかる) demonstrating the Mantis Kung Fu move Mantis Catches the Cicada (螳螂捕蝉).

A brief history of Karate:

Prior to 1879 Okinawa was the capital island of the country of Ryukyu which was a tributary state of both China and Japan. Being a tributary state of China allowed the residents of Okinawa to engage in trade with people in mainland China. The nearest point of entry into China from the island of Okinawa is China’s Fujian province. Okinawa is almost exactly the same distance from China as it is from Japan. Although China and Japan have had numerous wars with each other Okinawa was seen as a middle ground between China and Japan. Because of this the Japanese were able to do trade with China by trading with the country of Ryukyu through their capital island of Okinawa.

In the late 1700’s an Okinawan man named Sakugawa Kanga (佐久川寛賀) went to China’s Fujian province for trade and studied a martial art known as Fujian White Crane Boxing (福建白鹤拳) from Master Xiāng Jūn (相君 Sō Kun). He brought back to Okinawa his Fujian White Crane Boxing (福建白鹤拳) and began teaching in 1805. His nickname was Chinese Hand Sakugawa (唐手佐久川 Karate Sakugawa). His nickname “Chinese Hand (唐手)” is pronounced as Karate in the Okinawan language. Because of this the Okinawan martial arts which trace their lineage back to him are known as Karate out of respect for Sakugawa Kanga (佐久川寛賀). Over the years and through successive generations his Fujian White Crane Boxing (福建白鹤拳) began to change and undergo new development.

In the 1870’s Japan and China attempted to divide the islands of the Country of Ryukyu between each other and leave the central island of Okinawa as the independent country of Ryukyu. This failed and Japan seized control of all of Ryukyu’s islands by 1879 which greatly angered the Qing government of China.

Karate was often taught in secret and because of this and Japan’s new control over Okinawa it almost came to extinction. In an effort to save these teachings a grand-student of Sakugawa Kanga (佐久川寛賀) named Itosu Ankō (糸洲安恒) began teaching the art in the Okinawan school system in 1901.

In 1905 Itosu Ankō (糸洲安恒) created what is now known as modern day Karate which he taught in Okinawa’s Prefectural first junior high school (now Okinawa Prefectural Shuri High School). Because of the efforts of Itosu Ankō (糸洲安恒) spreading modern Karate in the school systems the style became widespread throughout the rest of Japan and flourished. While Itosu Ankō’s (糸洲安恒) new martial art has its roots in China’s Fujian White Crane Boxing (福建白鹤拳) he developed it into something uniquely his own. In order for his martial art to flourish after Japan’s World War 2 invasion of China in 1931 (followed by Japan’s subsequent massacres and raping of Chinese people totaling nearly 20 million deaths) the characters for the name of his style needed to change as not only had Japan conquered Ryukyu and Okinawa about 50 years prior to this time but now China itself was under Japanese invasion. On October 25 1936 in Naha City of Okinawa the name was officially changed from Chinese Hand (唐手) to Empty Hand (空手) both of which in Japanese are pronounced as Karate. Understanding the political situation at the time is important in understanding why some Japanese people did not want the political stigma of practicing and teaching Chinese martial arts (Chinese Hand (唐手)) while Japan was simultaneously invading China and murdering and raping their people.

While Itosu Ankō (糸洲安恒) created his martial art in 1905 there became new branches of his art which developed their own unique systems of martial arts. To differentiate his martial arts from the other newer branches that were being developed his student Chibana Chōshin (知花朝信) began calling the style Shōrin-ryū (少林流) (Shaolin in Chinese) in 1928. The full name of the style in English is Shaolin Style Chinese Hand (少林流唐手) and is known as Shōrin-ryū Karate in the Japanese language.

Note: The usage of the name “Shaolin” in this instance was used by some people to claim a heritage of Fujian province White Crane Boxing to the extremely famous Shaolin temple in Henan province China. This false claim of a Shaolin temple heritage was partially made as an attempt to hide rebellious anti-Qing-government sentiment and was partially made because of the fame of Shaolin temple. The martial art was actually created in Fujian province and not in Shaolin temple in Henan province. It was common for rebellious members of anti-Qing government societies to say they are going to Shaolin to practice their martial art which was used as a secret code to refer to wherever their headquarters or practice area was located. The aforementioned anti-Qing sentiment was known as “Overthrow the Qing Dynasty and restore the Ming Dynasty” (反清复明 fǎn Qīng fù Míng) and was highly prominent among martial arts in Southern China as they viewed the overthrow and replacement of the Ming government by the Manchurian (满族) foreigners from the far north-east as illegitimate and infuriating.

In summary:

What is known as modern day Karate was created in 1905 by Itosu Ankō (糸洲安恒).

The full name of his style is known as:
Shaolin Style Chinese Hand (少林流唐手 Shōrin-ryū Karate)

Later it became known as:
Shaolin Style Empty Hand (少林流空手 Shōrin-ryū Karate)

His lineage is:
Xiāng Jūn (相君 Sō Kun)
Sakugawa Kanga (佐久川寛賀): Chinese Hand Sakugawa (唐手佐久川 Karate Sakugawa)
Matsumura Sōkon (松村宗棍)
Itosu Ankō (糸洲安恒)

Because the style became known as Shaolin Style Chinese Hand (少林流唐手 Shōrin-ryū Karate) and its roots come from China’s Fujian province White Crane system sometimes people may mistake Okinawan Karate as Chinese Kung Fu. In reality the White Crane system is just one of hundreds of different systems of Chinese martial arts which are colloquially grouped together and known as Chinese Martial Arts / Chinese Kung Fu.

It is also important to mention out of respect another style of Karate that was created in 1929 that was developed from a newer branch of Fujian White Crane Boxing (福建白鹤拳) independent of the lineage of:
Xiāng Jūn (相君 Sō Kun), Sakugawa Kanga (佐久川寛賀), Matsumura Sōkon (松村宗棍), Itosu Ankō (糸洲安恒).
This other style is known as Hard-soft style Chinese Hand (剛柔流唐手 Gōjū ryū Karate). However, the newer Whooping Crane Boxing (鸣鹤拳 míng hè quán) branch of Fujian White Crane Boxing (福建白鹤拳), which serves as the basis of this style, was brought to Okinawa nearly a hundred years after the older Fujian White Crane Boxing (福建白鹤拳) was first brought to Okinawa.

The Hard-soft style Chinese Hand (剛柔流唐手 Gōjū ryū Karate) was founded by Miyagi Chōjun (宮城長順). His lineage is:
Xiè Rúrú, courtesy-name Chóngxiáng (謝如如,字崇祥) [Xiè Chóngxiáng]: (Founder of Whooping Crane Boxing 鸣鹤拳 míng hè quán)
Higaon’na Kanryō (東恩納寛量)
Miyagi Chōjun (宮城長順)

A great number of new systems of Chinese Hand (唐手 Karate) / Empty Hand (空手 Karate) were developed in Okinawa and Japan by later generations of people. However, virtually all of the newer styles of Karate can trace their lineage back to at least one of these two aforementioned lineages. Additionally, both the older Fujian White Crane Boxing (福建白鹤拳) and the newer Fujian Whooping Crane Boxing (鸣鹤拳 míng hè quán) branch still trace their lineage back to the same common ancestry.

This highly oversimplified brief summary could never do justice to the vastly complex history of Okinawan and Japanese Karate. This summary mainly serves to highlight the misunderstandings and confusion of common people about these systems of martial arts and why some people mistake Karate as Kung Fu and vice versa.

Taekwondo Atlanta, GA

Sometimes people think that Chinese Kung Fu is Korean Taekwondo. Even if you are looking for Taekwondo in Atlanta Georgia you might actually be looking for Kung Fu in Atlanta Georgia. Both Kung Fu and Taekwondo are two broad terms that refer to Asian Martial Arts which outside of Asia are sometimes interchangeably used to refer to the same thing. Korean Taekwondo is a relatively new martial art. It was officially created on April 11 1955 by a Korean General who had previously studied Okinawan Karate. He later changed his Okinawan Karate to focus primarily on the kicking movements.

A Brief History of Taekwondo 跆拳道 / 태권도

Taekwondo was created by the northern Korean born (before the division of Korea) General Choe Honghui (최홍희) in 1955 after studying Shōtō-kan Chinese Hand (松濤館唐手 Shōtō-kan Karate) from Funakoshi Gichin (船越義珍). He decided to focus his style on the kicking aspects of Shōtō-kan Chinese Hand (松濤館唐手 Shōtō-kan Karate). Note: The original name of Chinese Hand (唐手 Karate) was later changed to Empty Hand (空手 Karate) both of which are pronounced as “Karate”.

Lineage:
Xiāng Jūn (相君 Sō Kun): Teacher of Chinese Fujian White Crane Boxing
Sakugawa Kanga (佐久川寛賀): Chinese Hand Sakugawa (唐手佐久川 Karate Sakugawa)
Matsumura Sōkon (松村宗棍)
Itasu Anzō (糸洲安恒): Founder of modern day Karate
Funakoshi Gichin (船越義珍): Founder of Shotokan Karate
Cuī Hóngxī (崔泓熙) / Choe Honghui (최홍희) Founder of Taekwondo

General Choe Honghui (최홍희) later went on to establish the International Taekwon-Do Federation (ITF) in 1966 in South Korea. He moved his organization’s headquarters to Vienna Austria after his exile from South Korea. He passed away in 2002 in Pyongyang North Korea.

Although General Choe Honghui (최홍희) originally intended for his son Choe Junghwa (최중화) to take over his International Taekwon-Do Federation (ITF) he later chose to deny his son this leadership role. Subsequently General Choe Honghui (최홍희) chose North Korean Chang Ung to continue leading his International Taekwon-Do Federation (ITF). 

After General Choe Honghui (최홍희) denied his son Choe Junghwa (최중화) the leadership of the International Taekwon-Do Federation (ITF) his son chose to establish his own independent organization instead. However, instead of choosing a new name for his new organization he unfortunately chose to also use the name of his father’s federation and named his new organization also the International Taekwon-Do Federation (ITF). This new organization is based in Canada. Additionally a Vietnamese person named Trần Triệuquân established another organization also with the name of International Taekwon-Do Federation (ITF). The addition of these two new organizations often causes confusion among people as they both use the same name of General Choe Honghui’s (최홍희) actual Vienna based International Taekwon-Do Federation (ITF). In an effort to alleviate this confusion in 2009 General Choe Honghui’s (최홍희) widow Choi Chunhi spoke at the 19th ITF Congress in St. Petersburg, Russia stating, “I wish you would support Prof. and Dr. Chang Ung, and be with him with one mind and one will for the brighter future of the ITF”. In 2014 Chang Ung was executed by the leadership of North Korea after they accused him of corruption. It is unknown if Chang Ung was actually corrupt or whether he simply refused to allow the North Korean government influence over his organization.

It is also important to mention out of respect that another organization was established in 1973 by the country of South Korea known as the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) in the city of Seoul in an effort to avoid North Korean influence on Taekwondo. Unfortunately this fear of North Korean influence became apparent to the public in 1983 when General Choe Honghui’s (최홍희) son Choe Junghwa (최중화) was convicted and sent to prison for hiring two agents to assassinate South Korean President Chun Doohwan (전두환) in 1982. He finished his prison sentence in 1991. (Click here and here to read more). 

The World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) focus is largely on sporting competition as it is the governing body of Taekwondo in the Olympics. The curriculum of the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) is completely different from what General Choe Honghui (최홍희) created in 1955 although the general movements are similar. Additionally several newer Taekwondo federations were later created which are now completely separate from General Choe Honghui’s (최홍희) International Taekwon-Do Federation (ITF) and South Korea’s World Taekwondo Federation (WTF). However, the curriculum of these newer federations are now different and independent from both federations (ITF and WTF) and because of this the belt ranking and achievements are frequently (though not always) non-transferable between the various franchise schools of the various Taekwondo federations.

Because Taekwondo was developed from Shōtō-kan Chinese Hand (松濤館唐手 Shōtō-kan Karate) whose roots come from China’s Fujian province White Crane system sometimes people may mistake Korean Taekwondo as Okinawan Chinese Hand (唐手 Karate) or Chinese Kung Fu. In reality the Chinese White Crane Kung Fu system is just one of hundreds of different Chinese martial arts which are colloquially grouped together and known as Chinese Kung Fu / Chinese Martial Arts.

This highly oversimplified brief summary could never do justice to the vastly complex history of Korean Taekwondo. This summary mainly serves to highlight the misunderstandings and confusion of common people about this martial art and why some people mistake Korean Taekwondo as Chinese Kung Fu and vice versa.

What is the difference between Kung Fu, Karate, and Taekwondo?

Please read the above brief histories of Karate and Taekwondo for a better answer. A short and simple answer cannot be accurate and will not do justice. However, a common simple answer typically looks like the following:

Historical differences:

  • Kung Fu is a category which refers to hundreds of different martial arts systems from China.
  • Karate is a martial art system from Japan.
  • Taekwondo is a martial art system from Korea.

Examples of Categories of Martial Arts:

  • Chinese Martial Arts (also known as Chinese Kung Fu)
  • Japanese Martial Arts
  • Korean Martial Arts

Examples of Systems of Martial Arts:

  • Mantis Boxing
  • White Crane Boxing
  • Karate
  • Taekwondo

Examples of Styles (branches) of a Martial Art System:

  • Plum Blossom Mantis Boxing
  • Seven Stars Mantis Boxing
  • Whooping Crane Boxing
  • Feeding Crane Boxing
  • Shorin Ryu Karate
  • Shotokan Karate
  • ITF Taekwondo
  • WTF Taekwondo

Evolution from White Crane Boxing to Karate to Taekwondo:

  • White Crane Boxing was created in the mid 1600’s in China.
  • Karate was developed in 1905 based off of White Crane Boxing.
  • Taekwondo was created in 1955 based off of Karate.

Technical differences:

  • White Crane focuses on hand techniques using both hard strength combined with smooth flexible technique. Kicks are typically kept below the waist for stability and close range fighting.
  • Karate focuses on White Crane Boxing’s hard strength and conditioning. Kicks are typically both below as well as above the waist.
  • Taekwondo focuses on Karate’s Kicks.
  • Although the root of Japanese Karate comes from China’s White Crane Kung Fu system some Karate practitioners practice additional techniques from other Chinese Kung Fu systems as well such as Mantis Boxing.

Notes:

  • White Crane is just one of hundreds of different systems of Chinese martial arts.
  • Some Chinese martial arts specialize in kicks, some specialize in hand techniques, and some have their own unique attributes.
  • Kung Fu is not a single martial art. It is a category encompassing hundreds of very different martial arts.
  • All martial arts are good and all utilize punches, kicks, and various other techniques. Where they differ is how they go about their training and what they emphasize.