The History of Praying Mantis Kung Fu
This story is guessed to have taken place between the end of the Ming dynasty and the beginning of the Qing dynasty.
A long time ago there was a man named Wang Lang. He was a Kung Fu master of high capability and yet he was never satisfied with himself.
He always searched for stronger opponents to test his skill and to see how he could further improve his Kung Fu. But every time he encountered a new opponent, he won.
After a long time he met a man who finally defeated him in combat. Wang Lang was sad that he was so easily defeated. He sat down on a tree and had almost fallen asleep when he heard the noise of a fight. When he looked around, he saw a mantis fighting with a cicada. The mantis blocked and countered the cicada’s attacks very skillfully and defeated its opponent easily. Wang Lang was extremely fascinated by its grab and attack movements, so he started to catch many mantises. He put them in cages and placed them around the inside of his house to study them. He provoked them with chopsticks so he could study their reactions.
In that matter he started to develop mantis boxing. Tang Lang Quan.
When he met his undefeated opponent again he won over him easily by applying his new mantis moves.
It is said the form Wang Lang developed in this story was the “Lan Jie”. (Chin.: “intercept and attack”) It is a form that is best applied against opponents of the same body weight and physique as oneself.
It contains many grab and strike movements.
Another story about the origin of Tang Lang Quan says that Wang Lang watched a mantis fighting a snake. And that the mantis won against the snake by picking the snake’s eye out.
Therefore people who believe in this version of the story think that the first Tang Lang form was: “Beng Bu” (Chin.: “jump step”).
It is a form that is best applied against a bigger opponent. The techniques in “Beng Bu” contain many dodge and jump movements and aim for the weak points of the body of a bigger opponent.
Both forms “Beng Bu” and “Lan Jie” are considered mother-forms of Tang Lang Quan.
Both forms can be found in Taiji Meihua Tang Lang Quan.
Which form was the first is something where the opinions of the scholars vary.
If you know more about this subject, please let us know.
As a conclusion you can say that every form has its strong points.
After Wang Lang many masters have been contributing to develop Tang Lang Quan and add new forms to the system.
So one can say, that Tang Lang Quan wasn’t developed by only one person alone.