Tai Chi Praying Mantis System
The Tai Chi Praying Mantis style of kung fu combines the quick claws, arms and upper body of the praying mantis insect with the agile footwork of the monkey. It also features the movements of tai chi – circular force-redirecting motions using quick and continuous hands and footwork – soft, yet powerful, in all defensive and offensive techniques.
Tai chi, an ancient Chinese martial art known for its gentle movements, teaches practitioners to defend themselves from physical attacks without using unnecessary physical force. Each posture in the forms flows into the next without pause. Like waves in the ocean, the whole body is in constant motion – yin and yang energy interact and flow in perfect balance.
Modern tai chi is effective in maintaining health and preventing illness, relieving stress, and establishing physical balance in the body. It is not like yoga, meditation, or Pilates. Traditional tai chi was originally practiced for self-defense, self-control and self-discipline with the goal of cultivating a strong body, mind and spirit. Shang De seeks to keep these goals alive in the teaching and practice of traditional tai chi martial arts.
hang De Tai Chi Praying Mantis Association is structured and run much like a family. There is mutual commitment, respect and responsibility between students, disciples and sifus in the context of Chinese cultural traditions.
As sifu, we accept the responsibility and obligations above and beyond the teaching of fighting strategies and self-defense techniques of kung fu and tai chi – we support and guide all students in their life-long studies and commitment towards our virtues of xiào (obligation), yì (integrity), zhōng (loyalty), xìn (trust), jìng (respect), rén (benevolence), hé (peace) and píng (equality).
This commitment is a personal journey toward developing strong character within, as well as strong body, mind and soul. Likewise, the student accepts the sifu like a parent with the responsibility to respect and obey; to devote themselves to the study of the arts of kung fu and tai chi and to dedicate themselves to the school. The teaching style in Shang De also differs in that sifu will often teach more individually, according to each student’s capabilities, commitment, discipline and inner qualities. As a student, learning in Shang De’s traditional environment could require much more personal challenge, self-discipline and sincerity than other activities.