SMALL-SCALE POSTURES BOXING SET
by Huang Hanxun [Wong Honfan] of Shunde
as taught by Luo Guangyu of Penglai, Shandong
photographed by Huang Ziying
text proofread by Huang Xiang
[published in Hong Kong, 36th year of the cycle, 3rd month, 24th day (May 1, 1959)]
[translation by Paul Brennan, July, 2019]
Small-Scale Postures Boxing Set
– calligraphy by Chen Jianke
The Mantis boxing art was transmitted from the north, and thus it is well-known north of Shanghai, but instead of the term for “posture” that is used up there [架式], which indicates more of a sense of shape, Cantonese people tend to use a different term for “posture” [姿勢] that indicates more of a sense of energy.
In these Mantis boxing sets, there is a distinction between “large scale” and “small scale”: the “large scale” fully expresses with both punches and kicks, whereas the “small scale” is more supple and lively, giving more emphasis to kicking. [Therefore this distinction has nothing do with the size or reach of the postures, just a matter of a comprehensive variety of postures versus some emphasis on particular kinds of postures.] Mantis is distinct in style compared to other boxing arts, so terse and clear that it can be appreciated as something rare indeed.
After I completed the books for the three Plum Blossom sets [volumes 16, 20, 21 in Huang’s Mantis Boxing Series], I then set to work making these books on the Large-Scale and Small-Scale sets. I later hope to write books about each of the Picked Essentials sets, as well as Mantis Leaves the Cave and Mantis Steals a Peach. I will continue with these plans until this project is completed, so that those who love the Mantis boxing art may continue to study it. It is simply my duty to do so.
- written by Huang Hanxun at the Mantis School, early summer, 36th year of the cycle [i.e. May, 1959]
 STANDING WITH YOUR BACK TURNED, BOTH HANDS STORING POWER
 KNEELING STANCE, RIGHT ROLLING HANDS
 ADVANCE, RIGHT SLIPPING HANDS
 KNEELING STANCE, RIGHT SLICING THROUGH THE WAIST
 MOUNTAIN-CLIMBING STANCE, LEFT SWINGING PUNCH
 MOUNTAIN-CLIMBING STANCE, LEFT AVALANCHE PUNCH
 BIG-DIPPER STANCE, LEFT HOOKING HAND
 BIG-DIPPER STANCE, RIGHT FILLING PUNCH
 DOUBLE SEALING HANDS, REACHING LEG
 RIGHT FRONT SWEEP
 LEFT BACK SWEEP
 RIGHT FRONT SWEEP
 BIG-DIPPER STANCE, DOUBLE HOOKING HANDS
 KNEELING STANCE, DOUBLE BRACING PALMS
 MOUNTAIN-CLIMBING STANCE, LEFT CHARGING PALM
 MOUNTAIN-CLIMBING STANCE, RIGHT FILLING PUNCH
 LEAP, THROUGH-THE-CENTER KICK
 FALLING INTO PLACE, RIGHT PILING ELBOW
 BIG-DIPPER STANCE, PALMS STRIKING EACH OTHER
 ADVANCE, REVERSE THRUSTING CLAW
 HORSE-RIDING STANCE, TURNING AROUND TO CATCH A CICADA
 SWINGING PUNCH, LARGE SWINGING LOTUS KICK
 MOUNTAIN-CLIMBING STANCE, HANG & THRUST PUNCH
 MOUNTAIN-CLIMBING STANCE, SEAL & THRUST PUNCH
 THREAD & CHOP, RIGHT CRUSHING KICK
 MOUNTAIN-CLIMBING STANCE, LEFT THRUST PUNCH
 CRUSHING CHOP, RIGHT RAISING KICK
 WITHDRAWING STEP, RIGHT BACKHANDED PALM STRIKE
 CENTERING STANCE, RIGHTWARD DRAMATIC CIRCLE
 MOUNTAIN-CLIMBING STANCE, SWINGING PUNCH
 RIGHT GRAB-PULL-TAKE
 WITHDRAWING STEP, LEFT THRUST PUNCH
 HORSE-RIDING STANCE, RIGHT FILLING PUNCH
 RIGHT SWATTING WINGS, KICK
 MOUNTAIN-CLIMBING STANCE, LEFT STRAIGHT THRUST PUNCH
 SITTING-TIGER STANCE, SINGLE-WHIP POSTURE
 DOUBLE SEALING HANDS, SWINGING KICK
 SITTING-TIGER STANCE, RIGHT [LEFT] CARRYING PALMS
Posture 1: STANDING WITH YOUR BACK TURNED, BOTH FISTS STORING POWER
Assume this boxing set begins from the eastern part of the practice space and you are standing facing toward the south, the north behind you, the east on your left, the west on your right. With your gaze toward the west and your feet standing together, your hands grasp into fists and draw in until above your waist. See photo 1:
Although your hands grasping into fists can make your arms firmer, meaning the exercise contains a powerful method of building strength, and pulling your fists up high will have the effect of expanding your chest, this posture does not yet really bring your fists and feet into play.
Posture 2: KNEELING STANCE, RIGHT ROLLING HANDS
Continuing from the previous posture, advance toward the west, first your right foot stepping out, then your left foot following it to make a kneeling stance, as your fists become palms and deflect toward the forward right, your right hand at long range, the arm straightening, left hand at short range, guarding over your right shoulder. See photo 2:
An opponent attacks from the right, so I first squat down to evade it, then use a rolling-hands technique to deflect it away, one hand positioned at long range, the other at short range, the long-range hand attacking, the short-range hand guarding. This is a technique that actually contains both attack and defense.
Posture 3: ADVANCE, RIGHT SLIPPING HANDS
Continuing from the previous posture, my feet scoot forward, still making a kneeling stance, as my hands arc downward and then reverse from deflecting outward toward the right to going inward toward the left. (This posture ends up in the same position as in the previous posture, but the target is now on the opposite side.) See photo 3:
The opponent tries to dispel my rolling-hands technique, so I quickly switch to using slipping hands to attack, causing him to have no way to evade. Rolling & slipping is a common combo in Mantis Boxing. It possesses a quality of continuous action. Each set that contains these techniques has them in this arrangement [rolling to strike across toward the right and then slipping around to strike across toward the left]. For this to work requires nimbleness and quickness. If you instead try to force your way through with hardness, the outcome will be nothing like the original intention.
Posture 4: KNEELING STANCE, RIGHT SLICING THROUGH THE WAIST
Continuing from the previous posture, first your left foot advances and then your right foot follows to make a left kneeling stance as your left hand becomes a fist and blocks over your head with the fist sideways, the elbow bent, and your right palm withdraws and then diagonally slices out, thus making the posture of “slicing through the waist”. See photo 4:
The opponent evades my rolling & slipping combo and then quickly chops to my head, so I first use my left hand to block it away, then advance to crowd his stance as I use my right palm to cut to his waist area, causing him to lose his balance and putting myself in the advantageous position.
Posture 5: MOUNTAIN-CLIMBING STANCE, LEFT SWINGING PUNCH
Continuing from the previous posture, your left foot steps forward to make a left mountain-climbing stance as your left fist swings across from left to right until directly in front of you, the forearm striking against your right palm with an audible crack. See photo 5:
The opponent turns his body sideways to dodge my slicing to his waist. Without giving him any time to adjust his position, I immediately send my left fist swinging across to his temple or neck. The previous posture is entirely a matter of softness, whereas this posture uses extreme hardness, meaning that this is a method of switching from softness to hardness. Mantis Boxing practitioners first have to distinguish clearly between techniques that use hardness and those that use softness, and then pair them together at the right moment. In this way, you will easily make proper progress.
Posture 6: MOUNTAIN-CLIMBING STANCE, LEFT AVALANCHE PUNCH
Continuing from the previous posture, with your stance not changing, your left fist arcs downward from above and then outward from the inside, striking downward with a backfist. See photo 6:
The opponent lowers his stance to evade my swinging punch. Once my attack has missed, I switch to using an avalanche punch to do a chopping strike to his face so that ducking lower will not help him get away. The swinging punch flows right into the avalanche punch. If it did not do so, this combo would never appear in the Mantis Boxing curriculum. This forms a continuous action, maintaining hardness from one technique to another. The avalanche punch may look like a short-range technique, but can actually reach an opponent at quite a distance.
Posture 7: BIG-DIPPER STANCE, LEFT HOOKING HAND
Continuing from the previous posture, your right leg bends and sits, your left foot toes lifting to make a big-dipper stance, as your right fist withdraws to your waist and your left hand becomes a hooking hand, the elbow sinking down. See photo 7:
The opponent blocks away my avalanche punch, then uses his other hand to counterattack from my left side, so I immediately change my front leg to an empty step in order to dispel his force as I send out my left hand to hook away his incoming hand. Both the swinging punch and avalanche punch involve extending forward. This posture is a slight retreat that contains the potential for attack. The hooking hand is a habitual technique in Mantis Boxing, a soft-hand method for sealing off an opponent. Many attacks are able to emerge from this position, therefore do not look down upon its softness as making it powerless or worthless.
Posture 8: BIG-DIPPER STANCE, RIGHT FILLING PUNCH
Continuing from the previous posture, your right foot advances to make another big-dipper stance as your right fist thrusts out from your waist, striking against your left palm midway through to make an audible crack, your left palm then going over your right shoulder. See photo 8:
Once I have hooked the opponent’s incoming hand, I immediately advance and attack him with my other hand, giving him no chance to get away. In Mantis Boxing, a hooking hand is typically followed by a filling punch. Examine the purpose of the filling punch: it is to supplement the incompleteness of the hooking hand, for the hooking hand is a soft action that is merely tasked with making a bridge by way of which you can then advance and attack. Then once you add the filling punch, the goal of your attack has been achievable thanks to the hooking hand.
Posture 9: DOUBLE SEALING HANDS, REACHING LEG
Continuing from the previous posture, first your right foot lifts and stomps down, and once it comes down, your left foot extends forward from the rear with a reaching-leg technique, your hands at the same time becoming sealing hands and covering your right side, becoming fists by the time they reach their final position. See photo 9:
The opponent tries to deflect my right hand toward his left to dispel my filling punch, so I first use sealing hands to close off his hand, then turn my body and reach out a leg to shovel away his front leg, causing both his upper body and lower body to be in a perilous position. The reaching leg has the dual function of being both stance and kick. It can duck my upper body away from getting hit and can also control the opponent so that he has no way to maneuver in his own defense.
Posture 10: RIGHT FRONT SWEEP
Continuing from the previous posture, your fists become palms, swing across to the left to push down onto the ground, and your right foot sweeps across to the left. When sweeping, the foot should be flat on the ground. See photo 10:
The opponent lifts his leg to evade my reaching leg. Before he has time to put it back down, I immediately send my right foot to sweep out his other leg, rendering him unable to evade me after all. Just judging from the photo, this posture appears to be no different from the reaching-leg technique, but the reaching leg shovels straight out, whereas the “sweep the hall” kick sweeps across from an angle, and so there is a great difference between them in terms of both their starting point and their function.
Posture 11: LEFT BACK SWEEP
Continuing from the previous posture, your hands shift across to your left from behind you and your left foot sweeps across forward from behind you as you turn around leftward. (This is a reverse sweep, different from the preceding and following postures.) See photo 11:
The opponent dodges away from my front sweep, so I switch to sending out a back sweep in hopes of overwhelming him. When applying sweeps, doing just one sweep is not terribly threatening, but continuing into sending out more of them makes it increasingly difficult for the opponent to respond to. This boxing set therefore contains so many reaching-leg positions in order to make these sweeping attacks worthwhile, performing a series of front and back sweeps, attacking with each leg.
Posture 12: RIGHT FRONT SWEEP
Continuing from the previous posture, your hands swing across to the left and your right foot sweeps across forward (same as in Posture 10). See photo 12:
Although this is merely a repeat of Posture 10, these three sweeps in combination express the theme of this entire boxing set [i.e. emphasizing leg techniques over hand techniques in contrast to the Large-Scale set]. When practicing sweeps, first train for speed, then power. It is more difficult to develop kicking power than punching power [even though legs are inherently more powerful than arms], for it is first necessary to develop flexibility in order to then progress from sweeping with stiffness to delivering soft power. Then even if an opponent is lowered into a rooted stance, I can use minimal power and still be able to drop him by means of this superb technique.
Posture 13: BIG-DIPPER STANCE, DOUBLE HOOKING HANDS
Continuing from the previous posture, go onto your right foot and pull back your left foot to make a left big-dipper stance as your hands become hooking hands and lift up until at ear level. See photo 13:
The opponent avoids my continuous front and back sweeps and then quickly slips around behind me, or another opponent comes to attack me from behind, so I quickly turn around, changing my stance, and use double hooking hands to block his fierce attack. When we practice Mantis Boxing, the single hooking hand is very common, but the use of double hooking hands is comparatively rare. If an opponent swings both fists to strike to my temples and I am in a position in which I have to block them, this technique is particularly suited for such a situation.
Posture 14: KNEELING STANCE, DOUBLE BRACING PALMS
Continuing from the previous posture, your left foot advances a half step and your rear foot follows it to make a kneeling stance as your double hooking hands become palms and go straight out from your chest. See photo 14:
Once the opponent’s hands have been sealed off by my hooking hands, his chest area will be completely exposed, so I urgently take advantage of this vulnerable area by immediately advancing and sending double bracing palms to his chest. With my double hooking hands, my whole body slightly shifted to the rear, but this posture involves my feet going along with my hands by darting forward, adding to the power enormously.
Posture 15: MOUNTAIN-CLIMBING STANCE, LEFT CHARGING PALM
Continuing from the previous posture, your right foot comes down and your left foot advances to make a mountain-climbing stance as your left palm first withdraws to your waist and then charges straight out, your right palm also withdrawing to your waist but then staying there. See photo 15:
The opponent retreats to evade my double bracing palms, so I step to follow him forward, then send my left palm charging out to strike him. The technique of double bracing palms is a method of attacking with the body facing squarely, whereas the single charging palm involves the body turning sideways and the foot sliding out. The previous technique uses the combined power of both palms, whereas this technique uses the concentrated power of a single palm. Both techniques have their own timeless value.
Posture 16: MOUNTAIN-CLIMBING STANCE, RIGHT FILLING PUNCH
Continuing from the previous posture, your right foot advances to make a right mountain-climbing stance as your right fist thrusts out from your waist, striking against your left palm midway through, making an audible crack. See photo 16:
The opponent retreats to evade my left palm, so I send my right fist to fill the gap on the right side. The charging palm concentrated power in an attack on the left side. He will surely notice in that moment that my right side is consequently open, and so if I do not then attack him from my right side, it would be the same as giving him the chance to attack my right side. Because of this, I have to seize the opportunity and not make this classic mistake [quoting from Master Lü’s Commentary to the Spring & Autumn Annals, Duke of Xi, year 33]: “If you ever let the enemy get away, he will only cause suffering forever”.
Posture 17: LEAP, THROUGH-THE-CENTER KICK
Continuing from the previous posture, first your right fist changes to a sealing hand as your left foot lifts behind. See photo 17a:
Then your body leaps forward [your left foot coming down] and your right foot goes out with a bracing kick as your left fist strikes out and your right fist pulls back beside your right shoulder. See photo 17b:
The opponent tries to send out a hand to block my right fist, so I use my right hand to seal off his hand, then leap forward and send out a bracing kick as my right hand forcefully drags to the rear and my left fist strikes to his mouth.
Posture 18: FALLING INTO PLACE, RIGHT PILING ELBOW
Continuing from the previous posture, first your whole body rises up so that even your left foot is off the ground and then your feet come down together as though you are falling, your feet spreading apart into a mountain-climbing stance along a diagonal line, as your right arm piles forward, the elbow bent. See photo 18:
The opponent makes use of the moment that I am rising up and suddenly attacks to my middle area, so I make use of an action of falling into place that looks as if it would be from Drunken Boxing, which causes me to stabilize into a stance, and at the same time I can send a piling elbow across to press away his incoming hand.
Posture 19: BIG-DIPPER STANCE, PALMS STRIKING EACH OTHER
Continuing from the previous posture, your right foot shifts onto the straight line to make a right big-dipper stance as your hands becomes palms and strike against each other, your right hand striking in front with the back of the hand, your left hand going forward to meet it and striking with the palm. See photo 19:
The opponent dispels my piling elbow by sinking his elbow onto it, then takes advantage of the position once I have missed by sending out a hand to strike to my upper left, and so I use the technique of striking my palms together to defeat his attack.
Posture 20: ADVANCE, REVERSE THRUSTING CLAW
Continuing from the previous posture, first your right foot advances another half step, your left foot sliding forward to keep you in a right big-dipper stance, as your right palm becomes a hooking hand and thrusts out using the wrist area, your left palm going over your right shoulder. See photo 20:
The opponent’s hand has gotten snared between my hands and he tries to yank it free, so I immediately slide my feet forward and send out a reverse thrusting claw to strike to his ribs.
Posture 21: HORSE-RIDING STANCE, TURNING AROUND TO CATCH A CICADA
Continuing from the previous posture, first your right foot comes in and stomps down, then your left foot steps out to the left to make a horse-riding stance, your hands arcing in front of your face, drawing a circle that puts your arms in a position of double hooking hands with your left arm straight and your right arm bent. See photo 21:
An opponent suddenly attacks from behind, wanting to strike to the back of my head, so I turn around, first using my right hand to hook aside his incoming hand, then sending my left hand to attack his throat or snatch an eyeball. This kind of technique is often seen within the Mantis art, a subtle action followed by a swift and substantial attack.
Posture 22: SWINGING PUNCH, LARGE SWINGING LOTUS KICK
Continuing from the previous posture, your right fist goes forward with a swinging punch as your right foot kicks out from the rear, sweeping across [from right to left], the higher the better. Your punch and kick have to act in unison in order to maintain balance. The foot will follow through to step back down. See photo 22:
The opponent blocks my attack to his throat, so I switch to attacking above with a swinging punch while also attacking the middle with a sweeping kick, causing him to have nowhere to hide. When a kick sweeps across along a horizontal line, it is called “swinging lotus kick”. The main target of this attack is the lower back and the power is enormous, but you must train it a lot and use it at exactly the right moment in order for it to be effective.
Posture 23: MOUNTAIN-CLIMBING STANCE, HANG & THRUST PUNCH
Continuing from the previous posture, your right swinging foot first spins you around [leftward] to the rear and steps down, your hands coming back down, then you continue the turn [by stepping out with your left foot] and make a left mountain-climbing stance as your left hand becomes a fist and blocks across above your head, the elbow bent, and your right fist strikes out from your waist. See photo 23:
Once I am turning around from the swinging lotus kick, the opponent will seize the moment to attack my back, and so I use this technique to deal with his attack, rendering him unable to harm me.
Posture 24: MOUNTAIN-CLIMBING STANCE, SEAL & THRUST PUNCH
Continuing from the previous posture, your whole body turns around rightward, your right foot first stomping and then your left foot advancing to make a left mountain-climbing stance as your hands seal downward from above and then your right fist thrusts out. See photo 24:
An opponent suddenly attacks from behind me with a punch, so I quickly do a stomp as I turn around to change my position, first using sealing hands to send away his incoming hand and then sending out a punch, thereby transforming a situation of danger into safety. When I am facing an opponent and suddenly there are many other opponents, the fight becomes much more serious. There is an old saying: “Two fists are no match for four hands.” Modern people frequently fall prey to the delusion that a practitioner will be able to defend himself against dozens of attackers. How could that work if his attackers have had the same training and are at the same level as he is? Such a situation would really only increase the likelihood of a visit to the hospital.
Posture 25: THREAD & CHOP, CRUSHING KICK
Continuing from the previous posture, first your right foot advances to make another mountain-climbing stance as your left hand threads out from your armpit all the way to the outside of your right knuckles. See photo 25a:
Then your right fist pulls back, your left hand withdrawing to your waist, and your right fist chops out forward, the elbow slightly bent, as your left foot goes out with a crushing kick, the foot angled sideways. See photo 25b:
The opponent sends out a hand to grab my right hand, so I send my left hand threading out to first break my right hand free from his grip, then I extend my right hand, chopping forward, as I also send out my left foot with a crushing kick to his shin, same as in Line 1 of Fourteen-Line Tantui.
Posture 26: MOUNTAIN-CLIMBING STANCE, LEFT THRUST PUNCH
Continuing from the previous posture, first your left foot retreats to make a right mountain-climbing stance as your right hand withdraws to your waist and your left fist thrusts out from your waist. See photo 26:
The opponent sits into a horse-riding stance and spreads his hands upward and downward to dispel the simultaneous attacks from my hand and foot, so I withdraw my fist and retract my leg before he is able to connect with them, and instead I send out my left fist with a straight thrust punch to his face. This method of switching attacks is the same principle as aiming above but then striking below, or defending to one side but then attacking to the other, using a fake technique and then a real one. It says in the Art of War [it actually does not]: “Follow fake with real, real with fake. Fake and real. Real and fake. Let them be as difficult to comprehend as the passive and active aspects themselves.”
Posture 27: CRUSHING CHOP, RIGHT RAISING KICK
Continuing from the previous posture, your left fist withdraws as your right fist chops out from your waist, and then your right foot goes out with a raising kick. See photo 27:
I first use my right fist to chop away the opponent’s incoming hand, then send out my right foot with a raising kick, making him feel threatened in both his middle area and lower area. Posture 25 of this set involves a chopping hand in tandem with a crushing kick, slightly shortening the range and increasing the hardness. This posture first uses a chopping hand and then sends out a raising kick instead of a crushing kick. The raising kick has more softness and longer range, thus increasing the threat. Both of these postures use the same hand technique, but switch the kicks, and both versions are useful in their own way.
Posture 28: WITHDRAWING STEP, RIGHT BACKHANDED PALM STRIKE
Continuing from the previous posture, first your standing left foot hops back about a step and then your right foot comes down withdrawing to again make a right mountain-climbing stance as your hands roll over, your right hand going out at long range, your left hand at short range covering downward from above. See photo 28:
The opponent dodges away from my raising kick and tries to thrust forward to counterattack, so I take his power and speed into account by slightly hopping back and then use a backhanded palm strike to attack his head. A backhanded palm strike looks as though it would be too soft and without power, but those who practice Mantis Boxing for a long time come to understand that the technique of OVERTURNED-SKY STAMP can do serious damage to an opponent, and that the backhanded palm strike is simply a variation of such a technique.
Posture 29: CENTERING STANCE, RIGHTWARD DRAMATIC CIRCLE
Continuing from the previous posture, your right foot pulls back and your left foot comes forward to make a centering stance as your hands perform a sealing action, pulling across with the center of the left hand facing upward and the center of the right hand facing downward, becoming fists by the time they reach their final position. See photo 29:
The opponents lowers his stance and sends a fist to attack my middle area or lower area, so I too lower my stance and perform a dramatic-circle technique to seal off his incoming hand. When performing any sealing action, it is first necessary to decide whether it will be an entirely one-handed downward-facing sealing or a two-handed sealing with the front hand facing upward and rear hand facing downward. In either case, it involves the power of the whole body going into the rear hand and pressing downward from above, like the action of a lion catching a rabbit. With two-handed sealing, the front hand draws upward and the rear hand presses downward, the front hand gripping his elbow and the rear hand controlling his wrist. If I then apply force in these two directions, I can break his arm.
Posture 30: MOUNTAIN-CLIMBING STANCE, SWINGING PUNCH
Continuing from the previous posture, first your right foot advances a half step and then your left leg straightens to make a right mountain-climbing stance as your right fist goes from below in the rear and swings across forward until directly in front of you [with your left palm striking against your right forearm]. See photo 30:
Once I have used the dramatic-circle technique to seal off the opponent’s incoming hand, his upper area is now open, and so I now use a swinging punch to attack his left temple. Not only does the dramatic-circle technique give me an opportunity to attack, it also draws him in so that when I take advantage of the moment to swing forward and strike him, it is too efficient and powerful for him to be able to defend against it.
Posture 31: RIGHT GRAB-PULL-TAKE
Continuing from the previous posture, with your feet staying in their position, dart forward, still making a right mountain-climbing stance, as your right hand hooks, your left hand seals, and then your right fist goes out, performing an action of “taking”. See photo 31:
In the beginning of learning the Mantis art, you will often find this kind of technique to be overcomplicated and difficult to perform, but after practicing it for a long time, the movement will have become natural, and will instead be easy to use. The grab-pull-take technique contains hardness and softness, emptiness and fullness, and attack and defense within a single technique. Grabbing uses softness to block away the opponent’s incoming hand and then pulling uses fullness to seal it off. After these distinct empty and full actions, a punch is then added as the attack. Therefore I first use softness and then hardness, first defending and then attacking, one thing following upon another.
Posture 32: WITHDRAWING STEP, LEFT THRUST PUNCH
Continuing from the previous posture, with your feet maintaining their position, retreat about a half step while withdrawing your right fist and sending out your left fist. See photo 32:
The opponent sends out a hand to connect with my attacking hand, so I use the same hand to seal off his hand as I retreat, then thrust out my left fist to strike to his face. Posture 26 of this set is preceded by a kick to distract the opponent’s attention, and then the thrust punch is applied. In this posture, I want to advance, but I first retreat to draw him into my attack, thus doubling the force of what he receives from me. This is what distinguishes this particular thrust punch from the rest.
Posture 33: HORSE-RIDING STANCE, RIGHT FILLING PUNCH
Continuing from the previous posture, with your feet maintaining their position, your whole body darts forward into a horse-riding stance as your right fist thrusts out from your waist, performing a filling punch. See photo 33:
The opponent sends out a hand to block my left fist, so I dart forward, maintaining my foot position, and strike to his solar plexus. Combined with Postures 31 and 32, these three postures form the Mantis Boxing technique of BLACK TIGER STEALS THE HEART, although Posture 32 in this case is withdrawing instead of darting forward as usual, an example of how adapting to circumstances cannot work if you get overly attached to particular patterns.
Posture 34: RIGHT SWATTING WINGS, KICK
Continuing from the previous posture, first your filling punch lowers, then your hands become palms and spread across so that your right hand is at long range and your left hand is at short range, your right leg at the same time kicking out. See photo 34:
The opponent blocks away my heart-stealing punch, then suddenly attacks my upper area, so I use both palms to dispel his attack, then continue by sending a raising kick to his lower area. The swatting-wings technique is a wonderful thing. It uses the left short-range palm to deflect the opponent’s incoming hand, then uses the right long-range palm to slap to his face. Even if it does not manage to strike his face, it can always achieve the effect of blocking his view, enabling my raising kick to easily reach its target.
Posture 35: MOUNTAIN-CLIMBING STANCE, LEFT STRAIGHT THRUST PUNCH
Continuing from the previous posture, first your right foot comes down in front of you and then your left foot steps out to make a left mountain-climbing stance as your left fist passes in front of your chest and then thrusts straight out, your right fist hanging diagonally behind you. See photo 35:
The opponent quickly evades around behind me, and so instead of waiting to deal with an incoming hand, I pre-empt him by following him and attacking him with a thrust punch. This particular thrust punch is different to the rest of the thrust punches. The thrust punch in Mantis Boxing usually involves first sealing off an incoming hand and then delivering the punch, but in this case there is only stepping and turning around before punching. It is more difficult to fully express power with this version, a point which I hope practitioners will give attention to.
Posture 36: SITTING-TIGER STANCE, SINGLE-WHIP POSTURE
Continuing from the previous posture, your left foot pulls back to make a left sitting-tiger stance as your left fist pulls back to the rear to make a “single whip” posture with the elbow bent, the position of your right fist not changing. See photo 36:
The opponent tries to send out a hand to block my thrust punch, but before his hand arrives, I switch to swinging my hand toward his right temple. The image makes this look like a short-range technique, but the function makes it a long-range technique. It simply goes from a long-range attack to a short-range final posture. The “single whip” is a technique of extreme hardness and the target is a very vulnerable area. Do not use it rashly.
Posture 37: DOUBLE SEALING HANDS, SWINGING KICK
Continuing from the previous posture, stay where you are and twist to the left as your hands become hooking hands and hook away to the right rear. See photo 37a:
Then your right foot kicks out. See photo 37b:
The opponent advances to attack my middle area, and so I use both hands to hook away his attack, then use a swinging kick to do a raising attack to his groin.
Posture 38: SITTING-TIGER STANCE, RIGHT [LEFT] CARRYING PALMS
Continuing from the previous posture, with the position of your hands not changing, your right foot comes down to the rear, passing in front of you in an arc. See photo 38a:
Then you turn around to the left, switching to a left sitting-tiger stance, and send out three carrying palms (left, right, left). See photo 38b:
The opponent sends out a hand to grab my hair. If my hair gets grabbed, my whole body will be in danger, and so I send my palms threading out one after the other to dispel this threat. This also serves as the closing posture of the set.
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[View an original Chinese edition of Small-Scale Postures, provided by the Ravenswood Academy.]