Thursday, December 01, 2005

The Chow Gar praying Mantis Kung-fu system

The Chow Gar praying Mantis Kung-fu system started around 250 years ago. Its founder was a monk called Chow Ah Naam. Chow Ah Naam was a resident at the Shaolin monastery (Sil Lum Jee) from the age of 10 years old; he went there initially to be cured for a stomach ailment which nearly killed him. He stayed there and started off training to be a cook and in his spare time learned the martial arts of the temple. It was noted that he had a natural aptitude for fighting and as such he progressed through the systems of the temple with great speed.

Years later the high monk (Sim See Yan) rewarded Chow by showing him the highest training methods available. These special drills and methods were only shown to those who had over the years proven their character and martial prowess to be of the highest standing. These techniques harnessed the body's hidden powers and made the body almost totally resistant to blows that is except to pressure point strikes. This interested Chow greatly and he went on to devise his own system to protect against and yet focus on attacking these pressure points. He did this by using the already proven methods such as gum gong (Golden bell cover) otherwise known as Iron shirt and Heurt sarn gerng (Blood sand palm), Iron palm and of course Dim-Mak.

After years of perfecting his system he found he was able to partially close the wholes or cover some of the pressure points with well developed tendons and as a result of this training he also found that he had developed great strength and could easily overpower the other taught styles with the famous Bridge arm. With this excellent achievement came one more honor, he was given The Hall of Shaolin where it was recognized that he should teach this elite art.

Astonishing powers like Gen power (shock power) Like being hit by a lightning bolt were typical attributes of the Chow's Mantis practitioner, and of all the monks Chow taught this elite system to it was Wong Fook Go who became his best student and later his successor. Wong Fook Go was a traveling monk which at that time was fairly common, spreading Buddhism and when suitable martial arts. But Wong Fook Go was different to others, not only because of his exceptional martial prowess. But because he was looking to find a successor to keep the system alive. After years of traveling around China he stopped at a place called Wai Yearn Village in the area of Tung Kung.

This is where he met a young man called Lau Soei. Lau Soei started training in the martial arts at a very young age and by this time was already an accomplished Master of several arts most notably the Ma Kuen system or Horse Fist system. It was said that when he practiced the Horse Fist his pony tail was always in flight. On the day of their meeting Lau Soei was giving a demonstration of martial arts. And when he saw the monk didn't look too impressed at his demonstration he challenged the monk to see how good he was. (Challenges at that time were seen as opportunities to test your skills against those of your opponent.)

Inevitably he lost the bout with the monk, Lau Soei said it was like being hit by a lightning bolt and was intrigued by this Gen power. But still never the less came back for more and challenged Wong Fook Go once more. Wong Fook Go at that point must have seen the strength in Lau Soei's character because even though he beat Lau Soei quite badly this time the young man still had enough fire in his soul to try again. Wong Fook Go ended up staying in the village for several years and teaching Lau Soei the entire system. Lau Soei later moved to Hong Kong in the year 1913 and began teaching Chow Gar Praying mantis to the local population. This included Grand Master Ip Shui, Chu Gung Wa and Tam Wa etc .

Ip Shui went on to become Lau Soei's successor and defeated anyone that challenged his position as head of the Southern Mantis system. He defeated many famous fighters over the years in bare hand challenges, all of which had their sights on toppling him off the top of the southern mantis tree, but no one was successful, Grandmaster Ip Shui firmly claimed his inheritance as the head of the Southern Mantis system. But Grandmaster Ip Shui is not only famous for his countless undefeated fights.

He ran a small Dit Dar clinic in Kowloon city where he treated people with Dit Dar herbal Medicines and Wafu until his death on 27th April 2004. Wafu is a special skill taught to him by his Grandfather who once lived at the Shaolin Monastery and requires no medicines, only a few items are needed e.g. mantra prayers a brush and water. Famous successes have been curing those that could barely walk, cancer sufferers and more, he was one of the last to do this special skill in Hong Kong. Chow Gar Southern Praying Mantis Kung fu is very well known in Hong Kong thanks to Masters such as Lau Soei, Ip Shui, Ip Chee Keung and Sifu's Ng Si Kee and Lee Tin Loi who today teach at the Hong Kong Police,

Grandmaster Ip Chee Keung became the new Grandmaster when his father handed on the system to him at his 90th Birthday celebrations in December 2002. Sadly Grandmaster Ip Shui passed away on 27th April 2004.

Dedication and hard work combined with the knowledge of an experienced Sifu will give any willing student a good standard in this fighting system.


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