Mantis Fist: Routines in martial arts reflect the philosophy of life

(CGTN)| Updated : 2020-09-14

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Mantis Fist is one of the four famous fists from East China's Shandong province. This treasured Chinese martial arts technique dates back to the end of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). It belongs to the category of pictographic fists. Legend has it that a man named Wang Lang based the technique on the moves of a mantis hunting cicadas. It has no blocking position and all the moves are offensive.

This technique embodies the strengths of many martial arts schools in the late Ming and early Qing dynasties. It focuses on the element of offense as opposed to pliability in those techniques.

Xu Xueli is the eighth-generation inheritor of the Mantis Fist. He started practicing the technique at age of 7 and entered the provincial team at 16. At 31, he became a martial arts coach. He has dedicated his entire life to martial arts. At the age of 78, he feels he still has much to achieve. "I think the martial art is worth being learned and studied for a lifetime," Xu said.

During his 70 years of practice, Xu has researched a lot on fist routines while improving his skills. Mantis has a long dorsum. The practitioners need to work on making their waist flexible and their back stretchable to a certain point. In addition, the moves are rapid. The idea is to exploit the opponent's weak spot, and if there isn't any, break the defense.

"During the battle, if I see room, I go through and attack. If there isn't any, I have to go directly and break through the defense," Xu said.

The style, in general, is about rapid attacks and getting into a brave momentum. For Xu, it is not only a kungfu technique, but also part of science and culture. As a martial arts coach, he has the responsibility to pass on the traditional values. He wants to give his students the real deal – teach them all he's got.

Train hard and live honestly – he has high standards for himself and his students.

"Choosing martial arts means choosing a tough life. A coach is like a towering tree. He must set high standards for himself and set a good example for others," Xu said.

The routines in martial arts reflect the philosophy of life. The Mantis Fist has endured the test of time and continues to inspire people by the charm of traditional Chinese martial arts.