Emails: Yang Family Fist and Hakka Gongfu (3.5.2017)

Shifu Adrian Chan-Wyles
On Wed, May 3, 2017, at 18:48, W Lee wrote:

Dear Adrian,

Having thought about the Hakka Iron Ox style that they teach in Antwerp Chinatown – it may well be praying mantis after all, because I’ve never heard of a separate Iron Ox style that is not Hakka Mantis.

I’ve found another Hakka Iron Ox Mantis clip below.  This style is clearly reminiscent of the original northern mantis from Shandong Province, but but here are still sceptics who say  that Hakka Mantis is completely separate from northern mantis.  The similarities cannot be possibly be co-incidence.  In the first clip filmed in London in 1985, there some movements that are the same as in Tan Taui, a northern Muslim long fist style also from Shandong province.  It’s strange that in your earlier post that you say Master Xu’s style is quite possibly from Shandong also.

Kind regards,


Dear Waiman
Thank you for your email.
I am not sure if this ‘Xu’ is the same surname as Master Xu () of Sichuan featured in my previous translation? In our Longfist Forms, many of the Mantis movements shown in your video are definitely there – but expressed through a longer frame. Interestingly, Master Xu of Sichuan did not mention Praying Mantis as part of his Northern System – with Iron Ox Cultivates Land referring to body-conditioning. Of course, Southern Hakka Praying Mantis might well have a grounding in Iron Ox self-cultivation, and this insistence upon being as ‘strong as an ox’, might well be a common feature running through all Hakka styles. Certainly Southern Hakka Praying Mantis practitioners do not ‘move’ or ‘act’ like an ox – so the association is not in the techniques expressed, but rather lies elsewhere. From what I see, the Southern Mantis looks like longer movements that have been ‘shortened’ to fight off the back leg (perhaps due to a lack of living or training space). My theory is that genuinely ‘Northern’ Hakka martials arts were either lost or modified after the Hakka-Punti Clans wars, and the Taiping Rebellion of the middle 1800’s, which occurred in and aground Guangdong province. In our Ch’an Dao System there are a number of Northern Praying Mantis movements, but like Master Xu’s Sichuan style – they are part of a broad spectrum of techniques not limited to a single expression. This is what Master Xu text states:
Hakka Triple Unity Fist style is comprised of an integration of Shandong ‘Yang Family Fist’ (杨家拳 – Yang Jia Quan), Hubei ‘Flood Fist’ (洪拳 – Hong Quan), and Guangdong ‘Yue Family Sect’ (岳家教 – Yue Jia Jiao), as well as other styles.’
His Hakka style uses the Yang Family Fist system from Shandong – is this the same style as that contained in the gongfu manual you showed me?
Best Wishes

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