Northern Praying Mantis ( Tanglangquan) originated in Shandong province. The style is considered internal-external. It is accessible to and effective for beginners, but also contains refined skills requiring many years to master, and yielding very high levels of martial ability and internal development.

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According to one legend, Tanglangquan was created by Wang Lang (王朗) inspired by observing the praying mantis. But it is not a pure animal style; it does not copy the movements of the mantis directly, but emulates its aggressive attitude, and combines upper body movements inspired by the angles of the mantis’ strikes with footwork derived from a monkey style of kung fu. Another legend has it that Wang Lang was among 18 martial artists summoned by the Abbot of Shaolin to improve the styles taught there, and absorbed and incorporated the best of their teachings.
Praying Mantis demands that the major joints and spine remain flexible during practice, making it effective for promoting health and longevity. Its hand movements are mainly fast and continuous circular blocks and counters, highly effective for self-defense, alternating between upward and downward movements. The movements are hard but not stiff, soft but powerful, rapid but orderly, with many abrupt changes, and different positions adopted for different situations. Use of power is abrupt and quick, alternating tension and relaxation. There are short-range and long-range attacks, often combined with step and leg techniques for added effectiveness.
Over the centuries, Praying Mantis Kung Fu has evolved numerous sub-styles. The original, oldest – over 350 years old – and ‘hardest’ – although still internal-external – of these, is QixingTanglangquan( Seven Star Praying Mantis). This is now very widespread in and outside Shandong, but within Shandong later developed into MeihuaTanglangquan (Plum Blossom Praying Mantis) along with TaijiTanglangquan (Taiji Praying Mantis). Around one hundred years ago these styles were merged into TaijiMeihuaTanglangquan (Taichi Plum Blossom Praying Mantis Boxing).
ShuaishouMeihuaTanglangquan (Flicking/Throwing Hand Plum Blossom Praying Mantis) is a further offshoot of MeihuaTanglangquan, which Qu Shifu has merged with TaijiMeihuaTanglangquan, to form his personal style: ShuaishouTaijiMeihuaTanglangquan (摔手太極梅花螳螂拳).
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