Northern Mantis History
Northern Mantis Kung Fu is made up of 18 different Kung Fu arts. The founder of the original Mantis Style was a Shaolin martial art student called Wang Lang.
The Praying Mantis style was originated approximately in 1620 AD; at the end of the Ming Dynasty. During this time China had been going through turmoil at the hands of the Manchu forces. However a young man by the name of Wang Lang decided to organise a revolt against them and the new authority, the Tsing Dynasty, using the monks and disciples of Shaolin.
His scheme was discovered and the Tsing Government ordered the armed forces to attack and burn the temples of Shaolin to the ground. Wang Lang with some of the disciples, helped the Chief Monk to escape, they travelled far before they finally settled down at Laoshan, Shantung province.
After the death of the Chief Monk, one of the elder monks called Feng was chosen as successor to rule the temple at Laoshan. At leisure, Feng would always test his fighting skill with Wang both for amusement and exercise. Wang was defeated all the time and so sought to improve his skills, each time he tried harder to beat Feng but failed. Fang would encourage his younger brother to practice harder whilst he was out travelling the country, so that once he returned they could compete again.
One day during a hot summer Wang, whilst walking through the forest, heard the chattering sound of some insects. He looked around until he found two insects, a mantis and a cicada fighting each other. He was surprised how the mantis, being the smaller insect, eventually subdued its opponent. He decided to bring the mantis home with him, so to study its fighting method. From it he obtained tactics both in attack and defence, as well as the fighting methods such as sinking, seizing, blocking and catching. Wang was excited with what he had learnt, but still could see that there was something missing. Whilst practising one day out in the forest, he watched the monkeys at play, it fascinated him on how agile they moved, so he continued to watch. He found that by copying their foot movements and combining these movements with the forearm movements of the mantis, he had created a style much faster and stronger to anything that he had already learnt.
Upon the return of the Chief Monk, another contest was again held. However this time the outcome was different, and me Chief Monk was easily beaten. The Chief Monk was so surprised to find that his brother had acquired his ability in so short a time, and was very curious to know the reason why. Wang explained that by watching both the mantis, and the monkey's he had combined what he had learnt, and so had created what we know today as Mantis kung-fu.
Our system, Corja Shantung, is a Northern Praying Mantis Style. The system was taught directly to our chief instructor Sifu Alim by the late Grand Master: Ghie Shio Fu, also known as Chan Lee.
After the first World War, many Chinese migrated to other lands. Ghie Shio Fu travelled with a colony of Chinese immigrants to Indonesia. He left them in a town and travelled into the forest for 3 months by himself to find a place to call home. He went back and took the colonists to this place where they settled.
Indonesia at that time was a violent place so Ghie Shio Fu taught Corja Shantung Kung Fu to his friends. Our Master, Sifu Alim was one of his students. He is among only one of the two students who made it to the final masters grading. He was also the youngest master in this system. The other master stayed in Indonesia, however attempts to trace him have been unsuccessful. Sifu Alim came to the United Kingdom to live where he formed his own school.
Very little is known about Ghie Shio Fu before Indonesia. We do know he was an accomplished martial artist. It was said he possessed monk like qualities and was very well versed in many Kung Fu skills. In the early days nobody spoke much about their past. Ghie Shio Fu trained his students very hard. He abandoned some of the traditional teaching techniques (giving names like "Monkey stealing the peach" to movements) and started using a numbering system.
One thing that Ghie Shio Fu said is that Shantung Kung Fu is the original Northern Praying Mantis Art. I suppose this statement will cause a big stir from many other systems, however we are just going by what we have been taught and see no reason to believe otherwise. I will also say that we do respect all other martial arts and seek to live in harmony with everyone. There are many who criticise our art, however, like everyone else we must have our say.
The numbering system works like this; Each motion within the technique is numbered 1, 2, 3, etc. So the student knows how many moves there are in each technique and is less prone to mistakes. There are still a few techniques however with specific names but the numbering system is still used. We remember each technique by writing down a brief description as a title.