Videos may load slowly depending on your net connection. Best viewed with GOOGLE CHROME.
In this Article:
Philip Bridges Trains in Pingshan Town
Yip's Chow Gar Visits Lao Sui's Chu Gar in January
Hakka Mantis Thriving in China February 2017
New Online Hakka Mantis Courses Upcoming
TRAINING MANTIS IN PINGSHAN WITH RDH; WHAT'S IT LIKE?
Philip Bridges Trains with RDH in Pingshan Town, January, 2017
Training Mantis in Pingshan with RDH; what’s it like?
By Philip Bridges
Three or so years ago I purchased the first ten volumes of RDH’s Kwongsai Mantis training course, partly out of curiosity and partly because I wanted to try something new. With a background in Chinese martial arts I felt with diligence I could pick something up from the DVD’s. On reflection, I think anybody can as long as they re-watch them several times, train exactly as described, and make good use of the two most offensive four letter words in English: hard work (gong fu). The challenge is not to skip ahead, tempting as it may be. I followed the prescribed course and learnt something. How do I know? Let me explain.
Having trained the course as much as I could without a partner, I planned to visit RDH in Pingshan. However, study, and life got in the way and my Mantis went on the back burner. Near the end of 2016, I picked it up again. I then contacted RDH and arranged a five day visit to train with him in January 2017.
I arrived in Pingshan early afternoon and RDH met me at the hotel. Having checked in I was given a quick tour of the local area while we became acquainted. During this brief walk I was fortunate enough to meet Wong Yuk Kong’s wife, aged 99, as we passed the China Kwongsai Mantis Guang Wu Tang No.2. She is said to be skilled at Mantis and is still getting around on her own. After this auspicious start, I returned to my hotel to rest. RDH arrived at my hotel at 7pm, and since Mantis can be played in a space the size of cow lying down, my first session was in my hotel room, where RDH assessed my fundamentals and provided additional skills.
Phil Bridges studies Hakka Mantis at Dawan Hakka Museum in Pingshan Town
The next day due to RDH’s connections we trained in the Dawan Hakka Museum, ancestral home of the Zeng family, and an incredible backdrop to learning Hakka Mantis. Training of solo drills emphasized posture, root and mobility, target and intent. When satisfied with a drill, RDH would have me repeat all the drills up to and including the new drill. Repetition was the name of the game, and with 18 Buddha hands plus variations (five for the Jet shu alone), that’s a lot of practice. Two man drills quickly reinforce the need for feeling, sticky turning power, not using too much force and giving too much weight in your bridge, or ‘hanging your meat on another man’s hook’ as the Hakka Mantis says. RDH hand to hand quickly, but nicely exploits such errors, and uses feeling hands drills to rectify the problems.
Dawan Hakka Museum, Pingshan, China
The following two days we trained on a mountain. More solo, two man, sticky hands and form training followed, accompanied by detailed explanations of key points and constant admonishments to relax, "let your flesh hang off your bones!" I was also taken to Guang Wu Tang No. 1, to meet Wong Yu Hua, son of Wong Yuk Kong.
The final day arrived too quickly, but training wasn’t over. Further drills were taught and practiced in the hallway of the hotel! Only when RDH was satisfied did we go for yum cha before I said my goodbyes.
I averaged 2-3 hours of instruction a day, which may not seem much but meant I had to train alone for at least that again to retain all the information. RDH pushed me hard to build on the skills I gained from following his DVD’s strictly. I have no doubt, had I not done so I would not have learned as much as I did on this trip. RDH has much to offer, but to repeat what he says, don’t take my word for it, find out for yourself. You won’t be disappointed!
Philip Bridges has resided in Taiwan for the last six years. He is a lifelong martial artist who studied Hung Gar for ten years as a private student of Jim Uglow Sifu. Since 1997, he has also trained extensively in Xing Yi Quan, initially under James McNeil Sifu and later Paul Whitrod Sifu. He received permission to teach from all his teachers and taught both Hung Gar and Xing Yi Quan to small groups of students in Suffolk, England. He can be contacted here.
Hong Kong Sifu and Student Visit Chu Gar Sifu Xie Tiansheng in Lao Sui's Hometown, Huizhou
Chu Gar Sifu, Xie Tiansheng (red) and students, Huizhou, Lao Sui's Hometown
It is well known in Hong Kong and China that there is no "Chow Gar" in China. Lao Sui only ever taught Chu Gar, in Hong Kong and China. Read further about this here.
In January, a Hong Kong Sifu and student of Yip Sui's 'Chow Gar' travelled to Huizhou to visit with Sifu Xie Tiansheng. Xie Sifu is a student of Lao Sui's son-in-law, Ma Mingsen.
Late Chu Gar Sifu, Ma Mingsen, Lao Sui's Son-in-law
Lao Sui did not have any children. He adopted two children, a boy and girl, and Ma Mingsen, Lao Sui's next door neighbor married Lao Sui's adopted daughter. In 1937, at age 30, Ma Mingsen, who was married to Lao Sui's daughter in the village, travelled from Huiyang to Hong Kong by boat, down the East River.
From 1937-1941, Ma stayed with Lao Sui in Hong Kong and concentrated on training the Chu Gar Mantis. It was just before Lao Sui's passing, in 1942, that Ma returned back to their hometown village, in Huizhou, China. There he taught Lao Sui's Chu Gar to his son, Ma Jiuhua, Chen Jianming, Xie Tiansheng, and others.
Today Lao Sui's family and the Ma family share Lao's ancestral home and remain next door neighbors, just the same as some 100 years before. They continue to propagate Lao Sui's Chu Gar. You are welcome to visit Lao Sui's home in Huizhou, China. There is no 'Chow Gar'. Lao only ever taught Chu Gar Mantis, in Hong Kong and China.
Lao Sui's Chu Gar, Huizhou, China (L-R), Ma Jiuhua Sifu, Chen Jianming Sifu, RDH, Xie Tiansheng Sifu
In 2014, RDH brought together Lao Sui' Chu Gar hometown clan and Wong Yuk Kong's Pingshan Kwongsai clan. See videos here.
In the 1950s, Yip Sui was recognized by China's Kwongsai Mantis clans and Lao Sui's Hong Kong disciples only as a second generation Chu Gar player.
Wong Yuk Kong (center with lapel badge) and Yip Sui (left of Wong) were acquainted Photo: Wong's 1960s Praying Mantis Fitness Society, Hong Kong
Wong Yuk Kong (center with lapel badge) and Yip Sui (Chinese dress) Photo: Wong's 1962 Praying Mantis Fitness Society, Hong Kong
Wong Yuk Kong, China Kwongsai Mantis, and Yip Sui were well well acquainted. After Wong's passing in 1968, Yip Sui created a controversy. More of this in the Summer News.
HAKKA MANTIS THRIVING IN THE CHINA HOMETOWNS 2017
A Dozen Unicorn Clans and more than 1,000 People Gather for New Year Celebration, February, 2017
Wong's Kwong Wu Tong (Yuk Kong's Martial Hall) hosts 2017 Annual Celebration in Pingshan Town
Not only is Hakka Chu Gar Mantis flourishing in Huizhou, Lao Sui's hometown, this year more than one thousand people and a dozen Unicorn Clans gathered for Wong Yu Hua's annual China Kwongsai Mantis New Year celebration. Since the 1940s, people have come from far and wide to gather at the Wong clan's martial art halls and schools. This year, 2017, saw one of the largest gatherings to date.
Wong Yuk Kong opened some four martial art halls and schools in the 40s and 50s, in China, and five schools in Hong Kong, during the 1960s. It is the same Kwong Wu Tong that he started in the 40s, on Changqing Street, in Pingshan Town, that continues today under the guidance of his son, Wong Yu Hua (photo shown left).
Hakka Clans and 1,000 folks enjoyed together Unicorn dancing, Mantis boxing, and a sumptuous feast
mouse over video for user controls
2017 China Kwongsai Mantis New Year Celebration, Pingshan Town
Chung Wei Fei, Grandson of third Ancestor, Chung Yel Chong (third from right)
mouse over video for user controls
2017 China Kwongsai Mantis New Year Celebration, Pingshan Town
*Photos and Videos courtesy of Qiongyuan Advertisement, Heping Road, Pingshan, China
Kwongsai Mantis Sifu, Lee Kwok Leung (photo left), aged 89, came to Kwong Wu Tong in Pingshan, from Hong Kong, along with a half dozen or more his students, a few days before the New Year Celebration. Lee Sifu is a student of the late Wong Yuk Kong and Wong's student, Zhang Gun Hoi.
Wong Yu Hua treated them all to a big lunch and fellowship before they returned back to Hong Kong, in the evening. Today, Lee Sifu is a martial art icon in the Hong Kong community. Below are a few early images from Lee Sifu's past.
Join us in Pingshan Town for the 2018 Hakka Mantis Celebration!
FROM RDH: NEW ONLINE COURSES and BOOKS COMING
Here in Pingshan Town, I get to celebrate twice for the new year! Once, for the western Gregorian XMAS and New Year on January 1st and then again a month later for the Chinese lunar new year. That gives me a long break of a couple of months or more! Therefore, I am usually behind on the several projects I am working on in any one year. This year is no different!
I am planning to release a new HAKKA MANTIS ONLINE COURSES website. And several new books and DVDs this year. Steady training over a long time produces the best boxing result and slow and even diligence over a long time will produce a good result in the preservation and promotion of the Hakka Mantis Art. Here is part of what I hope to complete this year. Feel free to drop me a line if you are interested.
Please note that some of my books, including the title, Chu Gar Skills, are bilingual. They may contain duplicate content in English and Chinese. It is impossible to have a bilingual book otherwise.
mouse over video for user controls
RDH: I started training USA Kwongsai Mantis with Louie Jack Man, in the 1970s. I made ceremony to Mark Gin Foon, in 1980. I first arrived at Hong Kong's Chu Gar Door in 1983. I made Chu Gar ceremony to Gene Chen, in San Fran, circa 1988 and Cheng Wan Sifu, Hong Kong, 2002. In 2013, with Chen Jianming, I opened the first public Chu Gar School in Lao Sui's hometown. I've been coming to Pingshan since 1992, and haven't left Pingshan in the last 15 years. There are two Kwong Wu Tong's in Pingshan and above is shown Kwong Wu Tong Number 1, under Wong Yu Hua. See this year's celebration above where Wong hosted more than a thousand people for New Year. I continue my association with the Hong Kong Chu Gar clans, Lao Sui's hometown family and Chu Gar clans, and the Kwongsai Mantis Clans in Hong Kong, China, and the USA. Your visit is welcome.
FROM RDH: Miscellanies, Errata, Balderdash, Twaddle
I am coming on 61 this year. I began training martial art for self defense 50 years ago, circa 1966 or 67. I stopped training all other arts after meeting Louie Jack Man Sifu, in the 1970s, and decided to become Hakka Mantis. I achieved that goal many years ago. I've been training Southern Mantis for some 40 years now.
In the Mantis boxing, I teach soft overcomes hard. But both are necessary in combat.
There is a saying, "don't use the Art to promote yourself but use yourself to promote the Art." The late Lam Sang, USA Kwongsai Mantis, asked his disciples not to prostitute his art. Unfortunately, some folks are only interested in using the Art to build their names, their egos. They don't have any interest in the culture of Hakka Mantis or the Pai.
Hearsay, second and third hand stories, and fabricated Mantis skills seem common, among many groups today. Train a few years and then claim Grandmaster of a new Mantis style - self appointed! Learn a new skill today and teach it tomorrow, or just make one up, seems part of the McDojo or McMantis culture. This is largely seen among squabbling westerners in the USA and the EU. These behaviors are limitations that lead to personal failure and degradation of the Art.
Balderdash and goobledygook are also all too abundant on internet today. Don't believe anything you hear and only half of what you see. Engage in realistic boxing exchange first hand and then still - search and prove all things. But do it first hand, not on the net.
There are many incidents in Hakka Mantis that have not been made public. Some that should be brought to light and some that were settled and should rest in peace.
Recently, a student brought to my attention some online social media twaddle about Lao Sui's hometown family and the China Kwongsai Mantis Clans being 'misinformed' about Yip's 'Chow Gar'.
In the 1950s, Yip Sui was recognized only as a second generation Chu Gar player among Lao Sui's many disciples and China's Kwongsai Mantis clans. There never was 'Chow Gar' in China, nor is there today. In China and Hong Kong, this is clear. It has always been clear.
Visit the hometowns of Lao Sui's Chu Gar or China's Kwongsai Mantis and see for yourself. One should not change or distort the facts for personal gain.
Personally, I was friendly with Yip Sui in the late 1980s, we played mahjong at his home, and I think he was an excellent Chu Gar player, but, that doesn't change the facts that there never has been Chow Gar in China and Lao Sui only taught Chu Gar.
It is better to use your time in study and training than to engage in goobledygook and online drivel! Join us in the Hometowns of Chu Gar and Kwongsai Mantis.
Hero worship and closed-minded cultish loyalty is a dead end road, in Hakka Mantis training. Open your mind. Broaden your experience. Search and prove all things. Being ignorant is not so much a shame, as being unwilling to learn.
Southern Mantis Press is a POD publisher of books, DVDs, eBooks, and various media and printed matter related to Kwongsai, Chu Gar and Iron Ox Southern Praying Mantis Kungfu. Our books are distributed by Ingram Book Company, the largest book wholesale distributor in the world. Distribution partners include Baker & Taylor, Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, Gardners and Bertrams among others.
What We Do
Preserving and Promoting Kwongsai Bamboo Forest Temple, Chu Gar and Iron Ox Southern Praying Mantis through an ongoing "hands on" Survey of the origins, history and practices in China for more than a decade!
Publishing electronic and printed media promoting and teaching Hakka Praying Mantis and Unicorn Culture!
News and Events
The Southern Mantis Press complete website and more new media is scheduled to be online July first. Keep an eye for more details. And a new blog will replace our news column on this site.
If you haven't, then check the latest China Mantis news and our news archive going back several years!