12 Principles

The 12 Principles of Praying Mantis Boxing Kung Fu

勾 Gou: (to hook)Passive-Aggressive Hooking Grab that is the signature technique of Mantis boxing.  Gou represents the idea of controlling with a noncommittal, relaxed hand.  This principle allows the Mantis Boxer free movement and increased reaction speed that would otherwise be hindered by the full grab. Momentary contact is established to detect and predict an opponent’s next movement.  This aspect of the principle is known as Ting Jing, or listening energy.


摟 Lou: (to collect)Assertive & Controlling Grab that is the opposite of Gou. Lou is used to control the extremity or object within the grab.  Through proper positioning and use of the whole body behind the grab, Lou is used to dominate and control an opponent.


Tsai : (to pluck) Plucking and uprooting an opponent. Tsai captures the idea of picking a plant out of the ground.  The principle is the same as used in Judo / Jujitsu to off-balance an opponent by ‘plucking’ them until the foot comes off the ground, thus “uprooting” the opponent. This is often seen in a jerking motion that is abrupt and forceful, causing a temporary loss of focus and distraction you an opponent.


Gwa: (to hang or suspend)Exhibited in the rising deflection of the arm for an offensive attack or defensive response to an opponent’s attack. The ‘hang or suspend’ comes from the idea of utilizing the entire arm from the rotator cuff to the wrist in a circular arc.


刁 Diao: (to be sly / tricky) Indirectly (or slyly) intercepting an opponent’s oncoming force with minimal effort, often through the use of the Gou. 


Jin: (advance / enter / to come in) – Moving forward directly and purposefully forward through an opponent. Jin does not simply advocate moving forward into, but rather the idea of forcefully entering in, ramming into and running over an opponent.


Bung: (to collapse) – Literally epitomized in the back-fist, hammer-fist or forearm strikes.  To attack directly with forceful methods, epitomizing the idea of attacking explosively and forcefully to smash through and collapse an opponent and their defenses.


Da: (to hit / to strike / to attack) – If you are not utilizing Chin Na or Shuai Jiao techniques, you should continue to strike an opponent. The striking not only fills the momentary pauses in combat, but serves to overwhelm the opponent, while setting the Mantis Boxer opportunities for a throwing or locking technique.


Zhan: (to establish contact / to paste) – Establish physical contact with an opponent by ‘pasting’ your extremity onto the opponent through either an offensive or defensive technique. This is the precursor to detecting and exploiting the opponent’s next movement by using Ting Jing, or listening energy.


Nian: (to stick to / adhere to) – After establishing contact, the Mantis Boxer should seek to stick to the opponent’s extremity. Contact in the real world happens in momentary flashes of opportunity. Nian allows the Mantis Boxer to remain in contact with the opponent’s extremity and to apply Ting Jing or listening energy.


T’ieh: (to cling to / to keep close to) – While the extremities maintain contact, the Mantis Boxer should follow the opponents movement and maintain close torso distance with the opponent.  The underlying concept is to crowd and overwhelm the opponent, leaving them in a consistent defensive state vulnerable to attacks and unable to maintain an effect offense.


Kao: (to lean against) – This principle represents the idea to lean on and use your body weight for leverage when applying a Chin Na technique or displacing the opponent’s weight with a Shuai Jiao technique.