Classical Kung Fu
Learn about Master Mark's Praying Mantis Kung Fu, Qigong and Tai Chi

January 2020
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Preliminaries Before Sparring Practice with an Opponent
Filed under: General
Posted by: @ 1:24 pm
Discussion on Preliminaries Before Sparring Practice with an Opponent
  Unlike in modern classes certain steps must be mastered before practicing with an opponent. 
The forelegs of the Praying Mantis appear to be made of rubber.  This flexibility enables the Mantis to turn to turn the opponent’s strength against him.  Since this system imitates the movements of the Mantis, flexibility must be obtained in all of the joints of the hands, arms, and shoulders.  This allows the arms to be held in the proper position with the elbows in to protect the body. Next, sensitivity exercises must be practiced to turn the opponent’s strength against him.
Blocks punches and kicks must also be studied.  If you cannot do these techniques alone, how can you do them with an opponent?
The following steps must be mastered.
1.   Stances
2.   Informal and formal bow
3.   Arm stretches (bent wrist lock, Japanese wrist lock, right angle wrist lock, right angle forearm twist vertical and horizontal, figure four arm lock, and finger lock).  These are practiced by yourself every day. Later, you can practice with an opponent.
4.   One hand wrist turning in the right and left front horse (4 exercises).
5.   Both hands wrist turning in the side horse synchronized (4 exercises) and unsynchronized One up one down, 4 exercises).
6.   Flexibility exercises for folding the body along the centerline as if trying to touch the shoulders together.  This allows you to keep your body concave to protect the internal organs and to fold up to absorb the power of a punch.
7.   Rotation exercises for shoulder and elbow flexibility, enabling you to block properly (2 exercises in the side horse and 14 exercises in the front horse).
8.   Walking the horse.
9.   Straight punch standing still and stepping.
10.  Wrist rotation sensitivity exercises with a partner.
11.  The ten hooks (This is a simple form containing the straight punch, flick, and some blocks.).  The ten hooks are taken apart and the techniques are combined as in 12 and 13.
12.  Simultaneous block and strike with the same hand.  You cannot see the transition from the block to the strike.  It is appears effortless, soft and whip-like and takes a long time to master. You will be allowed to practice with an opponent before you truly master it.  
13.  Simultaneous block with one hand and strike with the other hand.
14.  Combination of punch, wrist turn, flowed by a palm strike.
15. Sensitivity exercise based on 14 in which your opponent blocks your punch and you go with the force and do a palm strike.
16.  Shifting the horse.
17.  Perform 12 while shifting the horse.
18.  Perform 13 while shifting the horse.
     After learning the preceding 18 steps you will be allowed to practice with an opponent.  He will attack you with a punch and you will counter.  There are similar flexibility exercises for kicks.
     Before proceeding to the more advanced sparring techniques, there are still more flexibility and sensitivity exercises, such as:  four-directional rotation about the elbow joint for flexibility and gowshu punches, sensitivity exercises with an opponent based on the preceding gowshu exercises and the ten elbow form. Force is never used against force and so a 60-year-old frail, 90-pound, woman can practice with a 250-pound youngster.

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