Northern Praying Mantis (螳螂拳; pinyin: tánglángquán) known in games as Tourou-ken according to Japanese literal translation was created in 17th century China by a Shaolin Kung Fu master named Wang Lang. While adept at Kung Fu, Wang could never best his brother Feng in practice. One day while training, Wang observed a praying mantis fighting a cicada. The smaller mantis easily overtook the cicada with its swift, powerful forearm movements. Wang studied the motions of the mantis, and combined them with the best moves from 17 other styles of Kung Fu to create an unorthodox new style. Wang was able to easily beat Feng, and the teaching of Praying Mantis as a higher form of Kung Fu began.
A Praying Mantis practitioner uses a unique stance based directly on the body shape of the praying mantis. They stand low to the ground, with outstretched forearms and hooked hands. Movements are quick and deceptive, and utilize many grabbing and trapping techniques. Praying Mantis is a surprisingly aggressive style, and focuses on speed and precision to disable a foe.
While there are many subsets of the praying mantis style, there are two main divisions: Northern and Southern. The Northern style emphasizes fast hand movements with the trademark "hook hand" position, while the Southern style stresses centerline balance and continuous, circular motions.
- Northern Praying Mantis at Wikipedia.