PLUM BLOSSOM HANDS

梅花手拳
PLUM BLOSSOM HANDS
順德黃漢勛編述
by Huang Hanxun [Wong Honfan] of Shunde
山東蓬萊羅師光玉授
as taught by Luo Guangyu of Penglai, Shandong
攝影者:黃子英
photographed by Huang Ziying
校對者:黃翔
text proofread by Huang Xiang
[published 35th year of the cycle, 9th month, 1st day (Oct 13, 1958)]

[translation by Paul Brennan, Oct, 2019]

梅花手拳
Plum Blossom Hands
龍炳棠題
– calligraphy by Long Bingtang

目錄
CONTENTS

四平雙蓄勢
[1] FOUR-LEVEL POSTURE, BOTH FISTS STORING POWER
七星右補捶
[2] BIG-DIPPER STANCE, RIGHT FILLING PUNCH
登山右反掌
[3] MOUNTAIN-CLIMBING STANCE, RIGHT BACKHANDED PALM STRIKE
穿手漏撇掌
[4] THREADING HAND, SLIPPING & FLINGING PALM
引針右腰斬
[5] DRAWING THE NEEDLE, RIGHT SLICING THROUGH THE WAIST
引針左腰斬
[6] DRAWING THE NEEDLE, LEFT SLICING THROUGH THE WAIST
登山右圈捶
[7] MOUNTAIN-CLIMBING STANCE, RIGHT SWINGING PUNCH
登山右挫捶
[8] MOUNTAIN-CLIMBING STANCE, RIGHT SUBDUING PUNCH
入環右腰斬
[9] KNEELING STANCE, RIGHT SLICING THROUGH THE WAIST
雙封手揪腿
[10] DOUBLE SEALING HANDS, SCOOPING KICK
偷步反封手
[11] STEALTH STEP, REVERSE SEALING HANDS
雙封手扑腿
[12] DOUBLE SEALING HANDS, REACHING LEG
呑塌低牽勢
[13] ABSORB & SINK STANCE, DOWNWARD DRAGGING
進式大番車
[14] ADVANCING WITH LARGE WHEELING
右漏掌軋腿
[15] RIGHT SLIPPING HAND, CRUSHING KICK
撤式左統捶
[16] WITHDRAWING STEP, LEFT THRUST PUNCH
呑塌右補捶
[17] ABSORB & SINK STANCE, RIGHT FILLING PUNCH
登山右崩捶
[18] MOUNTAIN-CLIMBING STANCE, RIGHT AVALANCHE PUNCH
右閉門腿法
[19] RIGHT DOOR-CLOSING KICK
跨虎右挑掌
[20] SITTING-TIGER STANCE, RIGHT CARRYING PALMS
囘身刁踢腿
[21] TURN AROUND, HOOK & KICK
圈捶連環腿
[22] SWINGING PUNCH, CONTINUOUS KICK
入環右仰膀
[23] KNEELING STANCE, RIGHT PRESSING FOREARM
七星左刁手
[24] BIG-DIPPER STANCE, LEFT HOOKING HAND
七星右補捶
[25] BIG-DIPPER STANCE, RIGHT FILLING PUNCH
登山右挫捶
[26] MOUNTAIN-CLIMBING STANCE, RIGHT SUBDUING PUNCH
穿手右劈軋
[27] THREADING HAND, RIGHT CRUSHING CHOP
入環右滾手
[28] KNEELING STANCE, RIGHT ROLLING HANDS
進式右漏手
[29] ADVANCE, RIGHT SLIPPING HANDS
撤式左統捶
[30] WITHDRAWING, LEFT THRUST PUNCH
馬式右補捶
[31] HORSE-RIDING STANCE, FILLING PUNCH
跨虎捕蟬式
[32] SITTING-TIGER STANCE, CATCHING A CICADA

練藝貴能貫通精氣神
“Practicing these arts will enable the smooth flow of essence, energy, and spirit.”
盧煒昌 漢勛同志囑書廿八、四、四
– inscription by Lu Weichang for Hanxun’s books, Apr 4, 1939

論梅花手
ON THE PLUM BLOSSOM HANDS BOXING SET

梅花手屬螳螂拳中三花手之一,三花手卽梅花拳、梅花落拳、梅花手之合稱,前二者已有專書行世,黃師於梅花落拳序文中,欲銳意編著梅花手,以公諸武林,俾研習者有以參證,其意甚善也。
考「梅花手」於螳螂拳中為短拳之一,短拳中如「白猿偸桃」,幾純屬剛手。「柔靈」剛多於柔,其剛柔庶幾參半者,當推梅花手,然此約畧言之耳。若乎得其中肯者,莫不寓剛於柔,寓柔於剛,或者剛柔並濟。就以梅花手言,有觀其出手似軟弱無力,逮櫻其鋒,咸感一股勁力,若左右引針腰斬者,斯寓剛於柔也。有上一如驚濤裂岸,亂石穿空,一轉為風平浪靜,海永無波者,若先雙封手揪腿而後反封手者,則寓柔於剛也。其剛柔並濟者,如漏掌軋腿,上下呼應,左右兼顧,無偏頗之弊。而其他各式,均寓法精妙,然辜較言之,此拳雖短,而習之者當懂拳理,察何者為剛手,何者為柔手,剛柔之理明,習之旣久,一旦豁然貫通,則不僅於演式時覺一氣呵成,而環中旣得,自可以應無窮矣!
今黃師編斯篇竟,承命寫一文以關及此篇,自揣知見淺陋,武旣未能精習,文亦屈詰聱牙,文武之事,豈敢置啄,僅就私見所及,率爾操觚,賢者識其大,不賢者識其小,未盡之意,俟乎博識通人之敎正。
弟子黃漢超敬撰 戊戌年七夕後六日
Plum Blossom Hands is one of the “three flowers” sets in Mantis Boxing, these three sets being Plum Blossom Fists, Plum Blossoms Falling, and Plum Blossom Hands, the first two of which have already been published in book form. In his preface to Plum Blossoms Falling, Master Huang expressed his firm intention to also write a book about Plum Blossom Hands in order to share this material with the martial arts community, “so that those are interested in learning these sets will have a means of cross-referencing them,” a noble sentiment indeed.
  Plum Blossom Hands is one of the shorter boxing sets in the Mantis curriculum [consisting of only thirty-two postures]. White Ape Steals a Peach is the shortest [only twenty-four postures] and is entirely comprised of techniques involving hardness. In the Soft & Nimble boxing set, there are ironically more techniques with hardness than techniques with softness. For a set that is roughly half hard, half soft, I present Plum Blossom Hands.
  If we wish to categorize this quality, all techniques fit into these distinctions: those that involve hardness within softness, those that involve softness within hardness, or those that involve hardness and softness complementing each other.
  In the case of Plum Blossom Hands, there are techniques that look weak but feel unstoppably strong upon contact, such as LEFT & RIGHT DRAWING THE NEEDLE, SLICING THROUGH THE WAIST [Postures 5 and 6], which is an example of softness containing hardness.
  There are also moments in which there seems to be a shift from a state of raging waves tearing away rocks and chaotic winds hurling rocks through the air to a state of smooth seas and calm breeze, such as DOUBLE SEALING HANDS, SCOOPING KICK being followed by REVERSE SEALING HANDS [Postures 10 and 11] which is an example of hardness containing softness.
  And as for hardness and softness complementing each other, there is SLIPPING HAND, CRUSHING KICK [Posture 15], in which the upper body and lower body work in concert, and the left and right coordinate with each other, free from the error of emphasizing one part over another.
  The rest of the postures all contain ingenious methods for which words cannot do justice. Although this boxing set is short, practitioners should be able to understand this principle and spot which techniques use hardness, which ones use softness, and which ones use both. After training for a long time, it will one day all be clear to you, and then you will not only perform the postures as a seamless flow from start to finish, but also [from Zhuangzi, chapter 2:] “obtain the center of the circle [i.e. the core principle (in this case the ability to switch between hard/soft/both)] and from there be able to respond limitlessly”.
  Now that Master Huang has completed this book, he has told me to write an introduction for it. I consider my knowledge on the subject to still be superficial at best. My martial skills are very unrefined and my literary skill is lousy too. So how can I presume to put myself forward in matters either martial or literary? All I can do is offer my own vague opinions, and after all, [from Lun Yu, 19.22:] “great men know great things and lesser men know lesser things”. Since my understanding is so incomplete, I await the correction of more knowledgeable scholars.
  - respectfully written by your student Huang Hanchao on the sixth day after the Qixi Festival [which takes place on the 7th day of 7th month], 35th year of the cycle [i.e. Aug 27, 1958]

自序
AUTHOR’S PREFACE

螳螂拳素有三花手之稱,斯卽梅花拳、梅花落、梅花手是也,其學習之次序應是先「落」再「拳」繼以「手」為殿也。歷代相沿,從未倒置也。「落」則剛而長攻,拳乃柔而姿勢美妙,「手」則短而快速,輕靈飄忽,迨非他拳所及也,苟能三梅花渾為一體,更收相得益彰之妙,練之者毋輕之、忽之,庶幾進藝於無形矣。
梅花拳已刋於武術雜誌,梅花落又為香港華僑日報健力欄連載刋出,今俱先後刋印成册,分為第十六與第二十種。茲為使閱讀者有連續興趣起見,特將此梅花手列為第二十一種,緊隨梅花落之後發刋矣。
當余初編螳螂闡秘時,是以能編印十種為目標,今已超逾二十種,是則以百種為更高目標也。實不以榮辱得失縈心,但求使螳螂拳永垂不朽,則吾之志達矣。尚希海內外同道共鑑余衷為幸。
In Mantis Boxing, there are the “three flowers” sets: Plum Blossom Fists, Plum Blossoms Falling, and Plum Blossom Hands. The order they should be learned in is: Falling, then Fists, and finally Hands. Over the generations that these sets have been passed down, this order has never been changed. Falling uses hardness and long-range attacks, Fists involves more softness and its postures are beautiful, and Hands is brief and fast, nimble and lively.
  They are more comprehensive than other boxing sets, for if the three Plum Blossom sets can be treated as a single continuum, this will have the marvelous effect of “each being improved by association with the others”. [This idiom is a condensed version of this line from Historical Records, chapter 61: “Boyi and Shuqi were already virtuous, but they were even more dazzling when in the company of Confucius.”] As long as practitioners do not dismiss or neglect these sets, skill will steadily develop without your even noticing it.
  The postures of Plum Blossom Fists had already been published in serialized form in Chinese Boxing Magazine, and Plum Blossoms Falling had been serialized in the fitness column of the Hong Kong edition of Overseas Chinese Daily News. Now both have been published in book form as Volume 16 and Volume 20 of the Mantis Boxing Series. Motivated by the continued interest of readers, I am specially publishing Plum Blossom Hands as Volume 21, following close upon the heels of Plum Blossoms Falling.
  When I first made Secrets of the Mantis Boxing Art [1946], my goal was only to make ten volumes, but as I am now at more than twenty volumes in this series, I guess I might as well aim at a hundred. I have truly given no thought to my own glory or disgrace, success or failure, for my only ambition is to ensure that Mantis Boxing lasts forever, and I hope that my fellow practitioners, both within China and abroad, all share my sentiment.

第一式:四平雙蓄勢
Posture 1: FOUR-LEVEL POSTURE, BOTH FISTS STORING POWER

說明:
Explanation:
假定從東方作起式,應是背東,向西,右北,左南而立,雙拳束於腰部,眼向前視,是為此拳向前展開之前奏,務以四平八穩精神集中方克表現尚武精神之本色。
Stand in the eastern part of the practice space to begin this boxing set, with the east behind you, west in front of you, north to your left, south to your right. Your fists are pulled back at your waist and your gaze is forward. This is the prelude to moving forward to begin this boxing set. Your body should be steady and your mind should be focused, and then you will be able to exhibit true martial spirit. See photo 1:

功用:
Application:
雙拳緊握而貼腰部,可使胸部得一擴展之機會,雖未能使有克敵致果之效,亦於身體有無限之妙用也。心平氣和,力蘊不露,使全拳能表現本身最高之境界,乃開式所應注意之藝術也。
Grasping my fists tightly at my waist gives me a chance to develop my chest area. Although I am not yet actually dealing with an opponent in this moment, my body is receiving limitless benefit. My mind is being calmed, my energy harmonized, and my power is being stored away rather than revealed. This will enable my body to express itself at the highest level throughout the entire set, and thus the art requires that attention be given to the opening posture.

第二式:七星右補捶
Posture 2: BIG-DIPPER STANCE, RIGHT FILLING PUNCH

說明:
Explanation:
右脚前出向西以成七星之勢,右拳同時以補捶法打出,如「躱剛」之第一式開出焉。拳至定點時右掌掩護於右肩之內,目注視右拳鋒,偏身側馬使拳鋒能盡量伸出,則可達成拳家所謂長一寸强一寸之妙處也。如『定式』。
Your right foot goes out forward to the west to make a big-dipper stance as your right fist strikes out with a filling punch, same as in the opening posture of the Dodging Hardness boxing set. Once your fist reaches its final position, your right palm is covering the inside of your right shoulder. Your gaze is toward the tip [i.e. forefinger knuckle] of your right fist. Your body is leaned into your stance, causing your fist to be able to have greater reach, thus fulfilling this maxim of boxing masters: “Longer by an inch means stronger by an inch”. See photo 2:

功用:
Application:
彼手自我中門直入,意欲直取我心窩,我迅卽開步迎之,先以左手撥去來手,右拳同時反擊其胸部,斯卽以牙還牙之法也,補捶為螳螂派慣用及異於他派之手法,看似容易,其實非經苦練習不為功,練之者其倍留意焉。
An opponent attacks directly to my center, aiming for my solar plexus, so I quickly step out to meet him while first using my left hand to deflect away his incoming hand and then sending out my right fist to counterattack to his chest, a situation of tit for tat. The filling punch is habitually used in Mantis style and is different from the hand methods of other styles. It looks easy, but actually if you do not go through diligent training, it will not be effective. Practitioners should give attention to this point.

第三式:登山右反掌
Posture 3: MOUNTAIN-CLIMBING STANCE, RIGHT BACKHANDED PALM STRIKE

說明:
Explanation:
循上式,右前脚踏前以成為右登山式,左掌先向前由上封下,右捶化掌轉後復向前反手蓋下便成反掌之勢,勢成則左掌為橫置於右肘之下,右掌向前成直形,如『定式』。
Continuing from the previous posture, your right foot comes down forward to make a right mountain-climbing stance as your left hand goes forward, sealing downward, and your right fist arcs to the rear, becoming a palm, and rolls over forward to cover downward with a backhanded palm strike. When the posture is finished, your left palm has been placed sideways below your right elbow and your right palm is extended straight ahead. See photo 3:

功用:
Application:
彼避過我補捶之勢,再漏手擊來,我亦卽先以左掌伸前蓋去之,復以右捶化掌迎頭擊落,勢順而迅捷,每使對方不及於防也,惟掌力較輕,務以先對掌用功方克奏大效,且居高臨下之勢乃先得絕大之優點,拳擊之道是要利用本身之長與尋求對方之短乃得事半功倍也。
The opponent dodges my filling punch and sends out a hand to strike me, so I first send my left palm forward to cover it, then change my right fist to a palm and strike downward to his head. This technique is smooth and fast, always causing an opponent to be too late to defend against it. However, an untrained palm delivers very little power, and so your palms first need to be trained in order for this technique to be effective. Furthermore, for this technique to successfully dominate, you first have to get into the best position. The way of boxing arts is that you must use your strengths to attack the opponent’s weaknesses, and thereby you will get twice the result for half the effort.

第四式:穿手漏撇掌
Posture 4: THREADING HAND, SLIPPING & FLINGING PALM

說明:
Explanation:
循上式,拉起前右脚如跨虎步狀,左掌自下穿出,右掌往後縮如「過渡式」圖。
Continuing from the previous posture, your right foot pulls back to almost make a sitting-tiger stance as your left palm threads out from below, your right palm withdrawing. See photo 4a:

再標步進前以成右登山之勢,右掌向後縮盡,再向前劈落左掌處,再向前伸直如『定式圖』。
Then you dart forward to make a right mountain-climbing stance as your right palm, having pulled back all the way, now chops down forward to where your left palm just was, the arm extending [as your left palm pulls back]. See photo 4b:

功用:
Application:
彼以手來封我右掌,我卽以左掌穿之,藉一穿之勢以替回右掌,乃乘空向其頸部橫撇之。
The opponent sends out a hand to seal off my right palm, so I send my left palm threading out to occupy his hand while pulling back my right palm, then take advantage of the new opening that has consequently appeared by sending my right palm flinging across to his neck.

第五式:引針右腰斬
Posture 5: DRAWING THE NEEDLE, RIGHT SLICING THROUGH THE WAIST

說明:
Explanation:
循上式,右撇出之掌原式向下化作封手如「過渡式」甲圖,
Continuing from the previous posture, your right palm, staying where it is, turns downward to become a sealing hand. See photo 5a:

再將右封手畧縮往後,左手則往前封去如「過渡式」乙圖;
Then your right hand slightly pulls back as your left hand goes forward to seal off. See photo 5b:

再進左脚成左七星步,左封手往左後方拖去,右封手化掌斜斜撇出如定式圖
Then your left foot advances to make a left big-dipper stance as your left sealing hand pulls to the left rear and your right sealing hand becomes a palm and flings out diagonally. See photo 5c:

功用:
Application:
彼以手來接我撇掌,我立卽化封手封之,再以左手封出以替回右手,乘此交替之時以右掌橫殺其腰部,斯卽引針腰斬矣。
The opponent sends out a hand to connect with my flinging palm, so I immediately change it to a sealing hand to seal off his hand, then use my left hand to seal off as I pull back with my right hand, then exchange the position of my hands again as I use my right palm to slice across to his waist.

第六式:引針左腰斬
Posture 6: DRAWING THE NEEDLE, LEFT SLICING THROUGH THE WAIST

說明:
Explanation:
循上式,先踏下左前脚,同時左手往前封去,如「過渡式」甲,
Continuing from the previous posture, first your left foot steps forward [and your right hand slightly pulls back] as your left hand goes forward to seal off. See photo 6a:

再以右手封出,如「過渡式」乙,
Then [your left hand slightly pulls back as] your right hand goes forward with a sealing action. See photo 6b:

再以右後脚進前為七星步,同時用左掌斜斜撇去,如『定式』。
Then your right foot advances to make a right big-dipper stance as [your right sealing hand pulls to the right rear] and your left sealing hand becomes a palm and flings out diagonally. See photo 6c:

功用:
Application:
與上式有左右連環之妙。
Same as in the previous posture, except with lefts and rights reversed.

第七式:登山右圈捶
Posture 7: MOUNTAIN-CLIMBING STANCE, RIGHT SWINGING PUNCH

說明:
Explanation:
循上式,右脚原位置踏前以成右登山式,右捶與左掌各向中間撞去,至定點時乃有「必卜」之聲响矣,亦是螳螂拳特色之一,多練及肯盡力為之,可使增加力道,且能做成定點之姿勢正確,如『定式』。
Continuing from the previous posture, your right foot comes down forward to make a right mountain-climbing stance as your right fist strikes out, your left palm colliding with the forearm at the centerline, making an audible crack. (This is one of the signature techniques in Mantis Boxing. Practicing it a lot and with power can increase strength and can also ensure that you are performing the final position correctly.) See photo 7:

功用:
Application:
彼撤步躱過我之右腰斬式,並以直捶兜心衝來,我卽用左掌撥消之,右捶橫圈彼太陽位置,此着乃剛而兇猛之勢,左手又可用封閉之法封固來手,始予圈捶攻之者,若克臻此,蓋見治技之化妙矣。
The opponent does a withdrawing step to evade my slice to the waist, then thrusts out a punch toward my solar plexus, so I use my left palm to deflect it and send a right swinging punch to his temple. This technique is hard and fierce. The left hand can also be used to first seal off the opponent’s incoming hand and then the swinging punch is sent to attack. If you can do it this way, your skill is becoming more subtle.

第八式:登山右挫捶
Posture 8: MOUNTAIN-CLIMBING STANCE, RIGHT SUBDUING PUNCH

說明:
Explanation:
循上式,照原步標前仍為右登山式,左手往前由上封下,右捶先沉下再反手衝上,此式之妙諦在於標步,標步練之到家者,常可藉一標之勢而超過普通進前一步之距離者,其迅速處殆非進馬可望其項背也,如『定式圖』。
Continuing from the previous posture, dart forward while maintaining your position to again be in a right mountain-climbing stance as your left hand goes forward, sealing downward from above, and your right fist first sinks down and then thrusts upward. (The key to this technique is your stance darting forward. Once you practiced darting stances to the point of mastery, you will be able to cover even more ground than with an ordinary advancing step and to move so fast that no one can catch you.) See photo 8:

功用:
Application:
彼坐馬縮首避過我之圈捶,我手落空矣,彼更以直擊方式打來,我迅卽以左手封閉之,再以右捶自下衝擊其頷下,螳螂拳由圈捶而變下式者多用「崩捶」或「挫捶」者,實為勢順而急,急而有勁之良佳善法也。
The opponent drops into a horse-riding stance, ducking his head out of the way of my swinging punch so that my hand misses. He then attacks with a straight strike, so I quickly use my left hand to seal it off, then send my right fist thrusting from below to strike to his chin. In Mantis Boxing, a swinging punch often transitions to either an avalanche punch or a subduing punch, which are excellent combinations for delivering speed and power.

第九式:入環右腰斬
Posture 9: KNEELING STANCE, RIGHT SLICING THROUGH THE WAIST

說明:
Explanation:
循上式,左手先自下穿出,再橫架於頭上,進左脚,右脚跟前曲下以成左入環步勢,右捶化掌斜斜橫撇而出,七星腰斬為用前脚抅入對方前馬,此式則是用前膝靠入對方前脚,畧同實異之法也。如『定式圖』。
Continuing from the previous posture, your left hand first threads out from below and then props up sideways above your head as your left foot advances and your right foot follows, the leg bending downward to make a left kneeling stance, and your right fist becomes a palm and flings out diagonally with the palm sideways. (Doing this technique in a big-dipper stance would merely hook around the opponent’s front leg, but using a kneeling stance instead fully traps his front leg.) See photo 9:

功用:
Application:
彼欲以手來封我之挫捶,我卽以左手穿出解之,再進馬迫之,更以右掌橫撇彼腰部,使中下路受我控制而傾扑。斯亦柔法中為勢至强之着也,惟須具備入虎穴得虎子之大無畏精神始克臻此耳。
The opponent sends out a hand to seal off my subduing punch, so I send my left hand threading out to dispel his sealing, then advance to crowd him and send my right palm flinging to his waist with the palm sideways, thereby putting his middle area and lower area under my control and causing him to lean forward. This is a technique of softness which contains great strength. The only way to achieve this quality is to have the fearless spirit of [from Books of Later Han, volume 47:] “entering the tiger’s den to take the tiger cub”.

第十二式:雙封手揪腿
Posture 12 [10]: DOUBLE SEALING HANDS, SCOOPING KICK

說明:
Explanation:
循上式,兩手分陰陽向前封去,如「過渡式」圖,
Continuing from the previous posture, your hands go forward to seal off, the center of your right hand facing downward, the center of your left hand facing upward. See photo 10a:

同時以右後脚橫揪過左方,練時務以手足同時用力,方不致有重心傾側之弊,身體不因手足分馳左右而偏斜,若能循此熟練,則可以致用矣。如『定式』。
Then your right foot does a scooping kick to the left with the foot sideways. (The hands and foot must express power in unison in order to prevent you from leaning in any direction. Being able to apply this technique depends on not allowing any part to be over-emphasized.) See photo 10b:

功用:
Application:
彼小跳而走,使我入環腰斬落空,且乘勢還擊我一捶,我卽用雙封手法封去來手,再以揪腿法揪彼前鋒馬,當我雙封手封得來手,必全力牽之歸後,彼身體旣向我傾來,是失重心之明證,我復加以揪腿之法,則莫之能禦矣
The opponent does a small hop to evade, causing my slice to the waist to land on nothing. He then seizes the moment to counterattack with a punch, so I use double sealing hands to seal off his incoming hand, then send a scooping kick to attack his front leg. My sealing hands pull back forcefully, causing him to lean forward and lose his balance, and he thus has no way to defend against the scooping kick.

第十一式:偷步反封手
Posture 11: STEALTH STEP, REVERSE SEALING HANDS

說明:
Explanation:
循上式,此為由西返東之勢,先將揪起之脚由面前往後踏落,如「過渡式」甲,
Continuing from the previous posture, you will switch from moving to the east to moving to the west as your right foot comes down to the rear, passing in front of you. See photo 11a:

再將左脚倒退一步,如「過渡式」乙,
Then your left foot retreats a step. See photo 11b:

然後右脚再由後偸以成偸步之勢,再化兩封手而成雙掌,兩掌俱掌心朝天,左直而置於極西方,右掌曲肘置於頭上如『定式』。
Then your right foot does a stealth step behind your left foot as your sealing hands become palms, your left palm reaching out toward the west with the arm straight, your right palm placed above your head with the arm bent, both palms facing upward. See photo 11c:

功用:
Application:
彼閃過我雙封手揪腿而突趨我後方,我亦卽連退幾步皆採退方式以戒備其偸襲,且分雙掌於中上路藉資防之也。
The opponent dodges my attack and moves around behind me, so I continuously retreat toward him, getting positioned to launch a surprise attack as I spread my palms to defend my middle area and upper area.

第十二式:雙封手扑腿
Posture 12: DOUBLE SEALING HANDS, REACHING LEG

說明:
Explanation:
循上式,雙手化拳向面前直落,同時左脚亦向前伸出成扑腿之勢,左腿平貼地面直剷而前,扑腿之法若以腿之單方面言,是全身扑下以卸對方上擊之法,但連雙封手在內則勢成以腿襲擊對方之腿法矣,若以步法視之則大悞特悞矣。如『定式圖』。
Continuing from the previous posture, your hands become fists and drop straight down in front of you as your left foot reaches out forward to make a reaching-leg stance, the leg digging out straight forward, staying in contact with the ground as it goes out. (The reaching-leg technique sends out the leg with an emphasis on the outer edge of the foot as your whole body drops downs to dodge an attack above, your double sealing hands going to the inside. It is a technique of using the leg to attack the opponent’s leg, and so it is a great mistake to think of it as being only a kind of stance.) See photo 12:

功用:
Application:
我雙掌旣能寓旣封且托之兩用法,如彼手為我所纏,我乃趁勢牽彼手使下,再用扑腿法剷其先鋒馬,則可收手足並用之效,手足並用之法必須配合時間方能予對方以無措手足之害,若分散乃反予人以可乘之𨻶,利弊僅繫於一線之差,唯練技者平日留心則利害自分矣。
Once my palms have both sealed off and propped up, I can then grab the opponent’s arm and seize the opportunity by pulling it down and using a reaching-leg technique to shovel out his front leg, thereby gaining the effect of using my hands and foot at the same time. The hands and foot have to act in unison in order to keep the opponent from being able to do anything. If these two actions are done separately, it would instead give him a gap to take advantage of. There is but a thin line between advantage and disadvantage, but if you practice mindfully every day, that line will thicken.

第十三式:呑塌低牽勢
Posture 13: ABSORB & SINK STANCE, DOWNWARD DRAGGING

說明:
Explanation:
循上式,先進右脚,如「過渡式」圖,
Continuing from the previous posture, first your right foot steps forward. See photo 13a:

再將右拳由低而高,復由高而低,轉歸後圈封(如十八叟)之勢,如『定式』。
Then your right fist arcs from low to high and then high to low, sweeping across and sealing off (the same as in [Posture 9 of] the Eighteen Elders boxing set). See photo 13b:

功用:
Application:
彼脫去我扑腿之危,在疾走當中突回頭踢我一脚,我卽用吞塌式卸之,再用低牽手劈之,使來腿受我重擊。以手破腿,人或以為拙着,但有時因勢利用,則未必盡然也。
The opponent escapes the threat of my reaching leg and quickly turns to give my leg a kick, so I get into an absorb & sink stance to obstruct it, then use the technique of downward dragging to chop it away, giving his incoming leg quite a whack. Using a hand technique to defeat a kick is often considered to be awkward, but sometimes it is exactly the right thing to do, and thus there is no sense in becoming dogmatic about these things.

第十四式:進式大番車
Posture 14: ADVANCING WITH LARGE WHEELING

說明:
Explanation:
循上式,由吞塌轉為右登山步,右拳先劈前,如「過渡式」甲,
Continuing from the previous posture, switch to a right mountain-climbing stance as your right fist first chops forward. See photo 14a:

再轉右拳於後,左拳繼劈出,如「過渡式」乙,
Your right fist then arcs to the rear as your left fist chops out. See photo 14b:

復將置於身後之右拳劈出以成如『定式』。(步與手俱不停進前)
Then your right fist chops out again [as your left foot drags forward to make a kneeling stance. (Throughout this technique, your stance and hand actions go forward without pausing.) See photo 14c:

功用:
Application:
是採密集方式攻擊對方,使彼有顧此失彼之虞,而為我所乘。
This is a concentrated series of attacks upon the opponent, causing him to have too much to handle at once and thereby giving me an opportunity to take advantage of.

第十五式:右漏掌軋腿
Posture 15: RIGHT SLIPPING HAND, CRUSHING KICK

說明:
Explanation:
循上式,先將右前拳化掌,由右撥向左方,同時左後脚亦以軋腿方式配合手之動作而出,左掌則貼於右肩之內,前式為全剛手而全力衝進中突然站定而用柔手,實為勢之最難穩定者,此為全拳之難處在此,練之者幸留意焉。如『定式』。
Continuing from the previous posture, first your right fist becomes a palm and deflects from right to left as your left foot goes out with a crushing kick, your left palm going near the inside of your right shoulder. (The previous posture is a technique entirely involving hardness, smashing through with strength, but then suddenly you come to a halt and switch to a technique of softness. The most difficult thing about this posture is making it stable, and this is what makes it the most difficult technique in the whole set. I hope practitioners will give great attention to this point.) See photo 15:

功用:
Application:
彼閃過我左方,擬以徧門擊我,我乃化拳作掌撥去來手,另以軋腿襲彼下三路,我上式為全剛手,力求衝擊對方者,但對方在退躱中閃側而還擊,我突遭此,實易為所算也,於是我乃化拳作掌以消去彼手,同時施用我螳螂門最普通之脚法「軋脚」以擊其脚脛骨,斯為阻截彼另一攻勢之有效辦法也。
The opponent dodges my attack and tries to attack my left side, so I change my fist to a palm and use it to deflect his incoming hand while doing a crushing kick to his lower area. The previous technique was entirely a matter of hardness, using strength to smash through the opponent, but once he dodges and counterattacks, I suddenly have to change to another tactic, therefore I deflect his incoming hand and use one of the most common kicks in Mantis Boxing, the crushing kick, to attack his shin, an effective method of stopping him in his tracks.

第十六式:撤步左統捶
Posture 16: WITHDRAWING STEP, LEFT THRUST PUNCH

說明:
Explanation:
循上式,先將軋出之脚往後撤回以成右登山步,再將右撥掌撤回腰部,同時以左拳衝出,如『定式』。
Continuing from the previous posture, first your left foots withdraws to the rear to make a right mountain-climbing stance, then your right palm withdraws to your waist as your left fist thrusts out. See photo 16:

功用:
Application:
彼擬坐馬用手來招我之軋腿,若此則彼上路空虛矣,且我腿亦當為彼所脅,於是我乃撤步避之,再以直統捶擊彼上三路,此亦是取下打上、聲東擊西法也,搏擊之道,勝敗繫於一線,常能於一念之間穩握勝券,吾人練武,豈可忽視之乎。
The opponent lowers his stance and sends out a hand to try to block my crushing kick, which causes his upper area to be open, but he is about to gain control over my leg, therefore I withdraw a step to evade this danger and then send out a thrust punch to attack his upper area. This is an example of “attacking below to strike above” or “threatening to the east but then striking to the west”. When fighting, there is a fine line between victory and defeat. Success can often be seized within the space of a thought. We practitioners of martial arts cannot afford to ignore this point.

第十七式:呑塌右補捶
Posture 17: ABSORB & SINK STANCE, RIGHT FILLING PUNCH

說明:
Explanation:
循上式,先將右脚之曲膝撑直變成右吞塌步,再用右拳自腰部衝出卽成右補捶矣,如『定式』。
Continuing from the previous posture, first your right leg straightens [and your left leg bends] to make an absorb & sink stance, then your right fist thrusts out from your waist with a right filling punch. See photo 17:

功用:
Application:
彼欲以手來招我左統捶,我迅卽易前弓為吞塌步,同時利用左捶化掌撥去來手,再以右補捶衝出,如是可亂其目標矣,七星步或跨虎步、登山步、騎馬式等用補捶者多矣,但用吞塌步之敗勢者,厥惟梅花落中有一着外,惟此式而已。
The opponent sends out a hand to try to block my left thrust punch, so I quickly switch to an absorb & sink stance as I change my left fist to a palm and use it to deflect his incoming hand, then thrust out my right fist with a filling punch, and in this way, I can completely disrupt his goal. A filling punch is often performed in a big-dipper stance, sitting-tiger stance, mountain-climbing stance, or horse-riding stance, but it is rarely done in an absorb & sink stance, which is used for feigning defeat. Beyond the single occasion in the Plum Blossoms Falling set, this is the only other time that this technique appears.

第十八式:登山右崩捶
Posture 18: MOUNTAIN-CLIMBING STANCE, RIGHT AVALANCHE PUNCH

說明:
Explanation:
循上式,先將右曲之膝撑直再變成右登山步,右掌向前封去,右捶曲肘轉內復向前反手劈落卽成崩捶之勢,如『定式』。
Continuing from the previous posture, your right knee [bends and your left leg] presses straight to make a right mountain-climbing stance as your right [left] palm goes forward to seal off and your right forearm rolls over outward from inside, sending your right fist chopping downward. See photo 18:

功用:
Application:
彼旣消去吾手,乃另以別手攻來,我卽用左手封之,再乘轉馬之勢以右捶迎頭崩落,旣封而後崩打,則吾實有絕大把握,但用崩捶之難處厥為運用彈性,譬喻我捶崩出,若不立卽使之收返,乃處於絕大危險之境,但必另以方法抽回斯拳者則頗嫌其慢,因此必須利用出盡自然收回者為上乘。
The opponent deflects my fist and sends out his other hand to attack, so I use my left hand to seal off his attacking hand, then switch my stance and use my right fist to do an avalanche punch to his head. By sealing off and then doing an avalanche punch, victory should surely be within my grasp. However, the problem with an avalanche punch lies in its springiness. If I send out an avalanche punch but do not immediately snap it back, I will find myself in great danger. Therefore I must use a means of withdrawing the fist that is not too slow, the best way being to let it recoil naturally once it has reached its farthest point.

第十九式:右閉門腿法
Posture 19: RIGHT DOOR-CLOSING KICK

說明:
Explanation:
循上式,先坐低後左脚,順此坐馬之勢乃踢出右脚以成閉門脚勢,如『定式』
Continuing from the previous posture, first sit back onto your left foot, then build on this momentum by sending out your right foot with a door-closing kick. See photo 19:

功用:
Application:
崩捶閉門脚,乃為螳螂派之特長,亦卽脚去身離之妙着,苟能善於運用,當得其眞諦,若以普通踢腿視之,則去閉門腿法之眞義者遠矣,蓋閉門腿乃似直出而實斜襲對方襠下,所以稱之為閉門者意寓於此也,胡亂踢出一脚而自以為閉門腿者,實大悞大謬也。
The avalanche punch followed by the door-closing kick is a signature combo in Mantis Boxing. This kind of kicking technique is an ingenious way of kicking out to the opponent while retreating your body away from him. If you are good at applying it, you will grasp the true meaning of it, but if you treat it like an ordinary kick, you will never get it. This is because although the door-closing kick appears to go out straight ahead, it actually attacks the opponent’s crotch at an angle, and thus contains a sense of literally closing a door. To just casually throw out a kick and think of it as a door-closing kick [i.e. to apply a very specific name to a generic technique] would be nonsense.

第二十式:跨虎右挑掌
Posture 20: SITTING-TIGER STANCE, RIGHT CARRYING PALMS

說明:
Explanation:
循上式,先將踢出之右脚由面前向後落地,再退左脚以成右跨虎步,右左右三掌連環挑起便成如『定式』。
Continuing from the previous posture, first your right foot comes down to the rear, passing in front of you, then your left foot retreats [as you turn all the way around leftward] to make a right sitting-tiger stance, and then your palms carry upward in a continuous triple action of right palm, left palm, right palm. See photo 20:

功用:
Application:
彼以手架去我脚,再以另手搶攻我上路,我立卽以小跳返身挑掌消去之,彼但求適可而止,則我亦只以柔手消去來手而已!若彼梗求擊倒我為止,則我可利用雙掌穿入彼手肘之上下,再向左右用剛手分之,如此不但彼手可斷,抑亦牽及整個戰局之不利,吾人遇此,切戒輕視雙掌柔軟無力為可欺也。
The opponent sends out a hand to block my foot and sends out his other hand to attack my upper area, so I immediately do a small hop, turning around, and use carrying palms to deflect his hand. If this dissuades him from going any farther, then I only need to use soft hands to deflect his incoming hand. But if he continues forward to try to strike me, I can send my palms threading out, one over his elbow, one under his elbow, and then forcefully apply pressure to each side. This can not only break his arm, it can also draw the fight to a close altogether. When finding yourself in this kind of situation, never dismiss the potential for two seemingly strengthless palms to lure the opponent into a trap.

第二十一式:囘身刁踢腿
Posture 21: TURN AROUND, HOOK & KICK

說明:
Explanation:
循上式,先將右手收腰,左手往後西方刁去,同時以左脚踢出,回身之勢旣普遍不順,而又需手脚兼施者,其因難處可知,若欲求得姿勢正確與力道平匀,實須多練也。如『定式』。
Continuing from the previous posture, first your right hand withdraws to your waist, then your left hand hooks away to the west behind you as your left foot kicks out. (Turning your body around is never enough on it its own. It also requires actions of hand and foot to accompany it because it is difficult to be sure what is there. If you wish to make this posture precise and get the strength of it to be even, you will have to practice it a lot.) See photo 21:

功用:
Application:
彼突趨我後方,或另有一人自我後上路打來一捶,我卽以左手刁之,同時更以左脚用撩陰腿法取其下路,手比腿短,為人類有生之定律,若必刁而不放又出腿擊中敵人者,實無此可能,因此刁手僅瞬霎間事耳,腿旣出,則以放去刁手為宜,否則便成拘泥悞事矣。
The opponent suddenly rushes around behind me, or another opponent attacks from behind with a punch to my upper area, so I use my left hand to hook it away while I also use my left foot to do a raising kick to his groin. It is a standard feature of human beings that the arm is shorter than the leg. If you need to hook onto the opponent in order to kick him, it is not necessary to keep holding on after you have done so, for the function of the hooking hand only lasts for an instant. Once you have kicked out, you should release your hooking hand, otherwise it will only slow you down.

第二十二式:圈捶連環腿
Posture 22: SWINGING PUNCH, CONTINUOUS KICK

說明:
Explanation:
循上式,當左脚尚未着地之時再以右脚乘縱跳之勢踢出,同時右捶自後圈前以成,如『定式』。
Continuing from the previous posture, before your left foot comes down, your right foot jumps up and kicks out as your right fist swings across forward. See photo 22:

功用:
Application:
不論彼招迎我左脚與否,我皆連續以右脚踢去,且同時用上圈捶法襲擊彼上路,使彼難以迎拒我上下齊擊也,此式之難是循上式凌空之時而打成,人旣未着地則佈式着力俱難,且姿勢亦每易為之牽滯而失去美妙之態,祈多練可打破此難也。
Regardless of whether or not the opponent blocks my left foot, I continue right into kicking out with my right foot. At the same time, I also send a swinging punch to attack his upper area, causing him to have difficulty defending against simultaneous attacks above and below. The difficulty of this posture occurs while in mid-air. People tend to be confused about how to express power when they are not even touching the ground. Furthermore, it is easy for the posture to become sluggish and thereby lose all beauty. I hope you will practice more in order to overcome these difficulties.

第二十三式:入環右仰膀
Posture 23: KNEELING STANCE, RIGHT PRESSING FOREARM

說明:
Explanation:
循上式,先將右脚原位落下,再跟進左脚以成右入環步,右捶沉下轉為仰膀之勢,左拳貼右肘內,如『定式』。
Continuing from the previous posture, first your right foot comes straight down and then your left foot follows it forward to make a right kneeling stance as your right fist sinks down and turns over to perform the pressing-forearm technique, your left fist against the inside of your right forearm. See photo 23:

功用:
Application:
彼欲坐馬卸去我連環腿之攻勢,我亦卽坐馬沉肘以仰膀法推之,我上兩式俱自高空向對方作連續之攻擊,在拳理攻守中勢難永久如是者,因此乃有此着之忽變為低勢也,「滾膀」「仰膀」俱屬純剛之短手,普通練之者多忽畧用勁,亦有未明用此短勁者,且須兩手合作方可發出,為更難之點也。
The opponent lowers his stance to dodge my kick, so I lower my own stance and use a pressing-forearm technique to push him away. The previous two techniques involve continuous high attacks. According to boxing principles of attack and defense, it is difficult to sustain attacking at the same height for very long, therefore this technique suddenly switches to a low posture. Both the “rolling forearm” and “pressing forearm” are techniques involving hardness and are done with the hands placed at a shorter range. Ordinary practitioners often neglect to express power, or do not understand how to express this kind of short-range power, which requires the more confusing element of using the combined strength of both arms.

第二十四式:七星左刁手
Posture 24: BIG-DIPPER STANCE, LEFT HOOKING HAND

說明:
Explanation:
循上式,由向西之勢轉為向東,左右脚原勢不變,從左轉身,化右入環步為左七星步,右拳收腰部,左手刁向後東方,如『定式』。
Continuing from the previous posture, turn around [leftward] toward the east, your feet staying in their location and pivoting along with the turning of your body, switching from a right kneeling stance to a left big-dipper stance, as your right fist withdraws to your waist and your left hand hooks toward the east behind you. See photo 24:

功用:
Application:
彼疾走我後方擬自我中路攻來,我原步轉身化為七星式,同時更以左手刁之,使不能得逞也,然刁手實為螳螂拳技中最普遍之手法,惟求姿勢美妙旣難,何况收閉開合俱由此小動作而來,若不澈底了解運用之道,則去原意遠矣,豈非辜負此着之眞諦哉。
The opponent quickly goes around behind me to try to attack my middle area, so I turn around where I am, switching to a big-dipper stance, as I use my left hand to hook onto his attack and keep him from getting to me. The hooking hand is the most common technique in Mantis Boxing, and yet it is difficult to make it beautiful, even more so to address the myriad possibilities that can emerge from this small movement. Unless you thoroughly understand how this movement works, you will stray far from its original purpose and fail to live up to its true meaning.

第二十五式:七星右補捶
Posture 25: BIG-DIPPER STANCE, RIGHT FILLING PUNCH

說明:
Explanation:
循上式,進右脚以成右七星步,右捶自腰部衝出卽成右補捶,如『定式』。
Continuing from the previous posture, your right foot advances to make a right big-dipper stance as your right fist thrusts out from your waist, performing a filling punch. See photo 25:

功用:
Application:
我旣刁得來手,乃卽進馬怒衝一捶,方不負刁得之優勢,補捶在螳螂拳中不但普遍有此捶法,且為特有之捶法,但每易為練者所悞者,厥惟故意使捶掌相碰時發出聲响而專注意於此皮外之着,反背手實際之用法,余二十餘年來默察同學中常因此致令捶不自腰發之大毛病,若如此則特有之技反為所累者不淺矣。
Once I have hooked aside the opponent’s hand, I then advance and fiercely thrust out, not failing to capitalize on the opportunity that the hooking hand has given me. The filling punch is not only the most common kind of punch in Mantis Boxing, it also has a unique way of being performed that practitioners often get wrong. The fist and palm strike against each other, producing an audible crack. But focusing all of your attention on the skin surrounding the knuckles [instead of on striking out at an opponent] can be counterproductive toward the actual function of the technique. Due to this feature, I noticed even twenty years ago that my fellow students were making the error of not sending the punch from their waist [instead bringing the fist up and then punching out from the chest in order to make it easier to emphasize striking against the palm]. If it is done in this way, then this characteristic technique is not really being learned.

第二十六式:登山右挫捶
Posture 26: MOUNTAIN-CLIMBING STANCE, RIGHT SUBDUING PUNCH

說明:
Explanation:
循上式,右脚由七星步踏前以成右登山之勢,左手向前由上封下,右拳曲肘由下反衝而上,斯卽挫捶之法,如『定式』。
Continuing from the previous posture, your right foot comes down forward to make a right mountain-climbing stance as your left hand goes forward to seal downward from above and your right fist withdraws and then thrusts upward from below with the elbow staying bent, performing a subduing punch. See photo 26:

功用:
Application:
彼以手來搭我之補捶,我卽進步以求與彼接近,再以左手反封來手,同時轉出右拳反手衝上以擊其頷下。
The opponent sends out a hand to block my filling punch, so I advance to crowd him as I use my left hand to seal off his incoming hand and send out my right fist thrusting upward from below to strike to his chin.

第二十七式:穿手右劈軋
Posture 27: THREADING HAND, RIGHT CRUSHING CHOP

說明:
Explanation:
循上式,先拉起前右脚如跨虎之狀,左手自下穿出如「過渡式」,
Continuing from the previous posture, first your right foot pulls back to almost make a sitting-tiger stance as your left hand threads out from below. See photo 27a:

再踏步進前以成右登山步,左手穿盡,右拳拉歸後,復由後進前自高劈落,當與左手相碰時發出「必卜」之聲,如『定式』。
Then your right foot steps forward to make a right mountain-climbing stance as your left hand threads out to its limit and your right fist pulls back, and then your right fist chops down forward from above, your left hand striking against it, making an audible crack. See photo 27b:

功用:
Application:
彼以手來封我之挫捶,我卽穿之,迨穿去來手,卽運用右拳由後探前劈落。
The opponent sends out a hand to seal off my subduing punch, so I thread out to send away his incoming hand, then use my right fist to chop down forward from the rear.

第二十八式:入環右滾手
Posture 28: KNEELING STANCE, RIGHT ROLLING HANDS

說明:
Explanation:
循上式,左右脚不變原來位置,只用進式化為右入環步耳!同時兩手化掌,右前而長,左後而短,乘進步之便向右方齊撥而出,如『定式』。
Continuing from the previous posture, with your feet maintaining their placement relative to each other, advance to make a right kneeling stance as your hands become palms and deflect in unison to the right, your right palm in front at long range, your left palm behind at short range. See photo 28:

功用:
Application:
如梅花拳第二式之入環掠翅式形狀,不過此式跟住下式則寓有連環性之作用,以是不同耳!左短之掌,可消去來手,右長之掌,則襲擊彼臉部也。
This technique is similar to Posture 2 of Plum Blossom Fists: KNEELING STANCE, SWATTING WINGS. The main difference is that this technique flows right into the following technique, and thus is imbued with a quality of flow. My left palm at short range can deflect the opponent’s incoming hand and my right palm at long range can then attack his face.

第二十九式:進式右漏掌
Posture 29: ADVANCE, RIGHT SLIPPING PALMS

說明:
Explanation:
循上式,(定式實相同)先拉起前右脚,然後全身標前仍為右入環之勢,兩掌向左下兜一圓弧形轉而向上往左撥去,與上式之撥右則成相反之勢矣,如『定式』。
Continuing from the previous posture (which looks identical to this one in the final position), first your right foot pulls forward and then your whole body darts forward, still making a right kneeling stance, as your palms lower to the left, circle around [counterclockwise] upward and deflect to the left, the opposite of the previous posture’s deflection to the right. See photo 29:

功用:
Application:
彼正避過我上式之滾手,我不容彼有規避機會,立卽進前漏手擊之,滾漏手乃螳螂拳之有名手法,滾手轉漏手為一弧形轉法,為柔手中之最迅速者,滾者如大江之水滾滾而來,綿亘不絕,漏者乃塡補空虛之意也,滾而漏,漏再滾,滾滾漏漏綿綿不斷也。
The opponent dodges my rolling-hands technique, but I do not give him a chance to get away, instead I immediately advance to attack him with the slipping-hands technique. Rolling & slipping is a famous combo in Mantis Boxing. Rolling switches to slipping by drawing a circle in the reverse direction and is the fastest of the techniques that involve softness. Rolling is like the surging of a strong river, a ceaseless flow, and slipping has the intention of filling a gap. Rolling and then slipping [reversing to a counterclockwise circle], slipping and then rolling again [reversing back to a clockwise circle], they can follow each other endlessly.

第三十式:撤式左統捶
Posture 30: WITHDRAWING, LEFT THRUST PUNCH

說明:
Explanation:
循上式,左後脚先動往後方作原步不變之撤退,同時右手封之,然後收回腰部,再以左拳衝出乃成如『定式』矣。
Continuing from the previous posture, your left foot shifts back [making a right mountain-climbing stance] so that you are retreating without moving from your position, your right hand doing a sealing action, and then your right hand withdraws to your waist as your left fist thrusts out. See photo 30:

功用:
Application:
彼以手來架我之漏手,我卽跟住以右手封之,再乘撤步之勢以左拳直統之,我旣連續標進二式之後忽有此一着小撤退,實乃螳螂拳之妙着也,或有一生不經意而苦練螳螂拳者,對此前人創造之佳構而不識如何發揚光大之為可惜耳。
The opponent sends out a hand to block my slipping hand, so I go along with it by using the same hand to seal off his hand as I withdraw a step, then send my left fist thrusting out. After two continuous actions of darting forward, I suddenly switch to doing this small retreat. This is actually one of the cleverest techniques in Mantis Boxing. Unfortunately there are some practitioners who have been training hard at the art for many years and yet are indifferent to its contents, having no appreciation for these beautiful compositions of movement created by our predecessors, and do not comprehend why such techniques ought to be celebrated.

第三十一式:馬式右補捶
Posture 31: HORSE-RIDING STANCE, RIGHT FILLING PUNCH

說明:
Explanation:
循上式,原步標前以成騎馬式之勢,同時右拳自腰部直出以成補捶之勢,如『定式』。
Continuing from the previous posture, with your feet maintaining their position, dart forward into a horse-riding stance as your right fist goes straight out from your waist with a filling punch. See photo 31:

功用:
Application:
彼以手挑去我統捶,我卽進馬用補捶法直取其胸部。
The opponent uses a hand to carry away my thrust punch, so I advance with a horse-riding stance, sending a filling punch to attack his chest.

第三十二式:跨虎捕蟬式
Posture 32: SITTING-TIGER STANCE, CATCHING A CICADA

說明:
Explanation:
循上式,由左轉身拉回左脚以成左跨虎式,兩手轉為捕蟬式,如『定式』。
Continuing from the previous posture, turn around to the left, your left foot pulling back to make a left sitting-tiger stance, as your hands arc to make the “catching a cicada” gesture. See photo 32:

功用:
Application:
凡習螳螂拳者多知之矣。(完)
As a Mantis Boxing practitioner, you surely already know what this signature posture is for [having been explained in Huang’s books Eighteen Elders Boxing Set and White Ape Leaves the Cave]. (This completes the set.)

– – –

[As a bonus, included below is a chapter from Huang’s Notes on the Mantis Boxing Art (1951) that is relevant to the themes of the three Plum Blossom sets.]

力與勁
STRENGTH & POWER

舉凡各種動物皆有其本身之動力,雖螻蟻之小,其活力比其本身重量强數倍者,人為萬物之靈安有不及哉,余有遠戚本廣州西關之世家子也,然以乏生人術之故,遂逐漸中落,繼且生活逼迫幾無以存活,因驕縱之故,連起碼常識學問皆付缺如,雖欲出而謀生其奈乏術何,後得其族叔吹噓引荐,始覓得一米肆之送貨役,初祗任送二、三十斤者亦覺力竭筋疲,綦年竟能負整包百七十餘斤之米,其力固非生以俱來者可知,吾人練拳苟能以個人應有之力,持之以恆,不兩三年間便異於常人矣
然力與勁之分別何在哉?
力之為用是有形者,如(力能舉鼎)或(力負千鈎)皆為形容力之詞句也,但勁則虛而無形者,雖具有洞牆穿壁之功,亦不能如普通之表演使之實驗也,必須身體力行始知其中之奧妙,至練勁之法頗為簡單易練,但欲求遍體皆勁則繁難矣,除發出之襲擊勁之外,尚有抗拒勁,假如我胸部受襲,我以一收一挺之勢,發出中心之勁,由內達外,雖被擊着,但能抵抗來勢也,練至遍體各部俱能如是,則內勁之效著矣,單就拳勁方面約分三種,曰長勁,尺勁,寸勁是也,長勁者亦曰大勁,又名陽勁,蓋此勁必先蓄拳脇肘之間,再藉轉步力撑後腿之勢,使直達腰際,由腰直透肩膀,更利肩窩大筋旋轉而發出拳鋒則長勁成矣,習練旣多便可隨意所之,固無須分別集合之煩難也,尺勁是由肘至腕而達於拳,雖不及長勁之强,唯比之速,與長寸二勁較,頗收中和之效,施用機會亦比長寸二勁為多,寸勁,又曰陰勁祗藉腕間五筋並連之處,畧一旋轉其勁便成,施用拳技必有距離,然後始克施展,惟寸勁則雖抵貼敵體亦可施用,斯則非長尺二勁可望其項背也,勁亦有剛柔之分,各派拳術多採一種而已,惟螳螂拳則剛柔相等,集全部之大成,非有相當時日練習,恐難臻妙境,尚望各同道深研其中玄妙,早登大雅之域。
Animals all have their own special abilities. Although insects are small, they can carry many times their own weight. But if indeed [from Book of Documents, document 27:] “human beings are the highest of all creatures”, how than can we be so inferior in this regard?
  I have a distant relative, from an aristocratic family in the Xiguan District of Guangzhou, who had no means of exercise and gradually fell into such a decline that if he continued in that way, he would not have survived. Arrogant and lacking common sense, he had no idea what he should do, and then on the recommendation of an uncle, he took a job in a granary. Initially feeling fatigued from lifting just twenty or thirty pounds, after only a year he was able to lift sacks of over a hundred and seventy pounds of grain at a time, and no one knew where his strength had come from. For those of us who practice boxing arts, if we can build on the strength that we have and persevere, then we will easily surpass the strength of ordinary people within a few years.
  What is difference between strength and power? When strength is used, there is shape, such as in the case of “strength can lift a cauldron” or “strength can carry a heavy weight”, which are both phrases that describe strength. However, power is empty and formless. Although both have the capacity to break through walls, this cannot be tested based on an average level of performance. It is necessary to build up the body to a certain point to understand their subtleties. Methods of training power are simple, but developing whole-body power is difficult.
  Apart from power for attack, there is also defensive power. If my chest area receives an attack, my chest hollows and then sticks out, expressing a centered power, sending it outward from within. Even though I have been struck, I can nevertheless withstand the incoming force. When you have trained so that your entire body can behave in this way, the result is internal power. There are three kinds of power in boxing arts: “long-range power”, “foot-length power”, “inch-length power”.
  Long-range power is also called “large power”, as well as “active power”. This kind of power first requires the fist to be chambered by the ribs. Then there is a transfer of strength from the rear foot to the waist, from the waist to the shoulder, and with the rotation of the large muscles of the shoulder, the knuckles shoot out, thereby fulfilling the long-range power. Once this has been trained, you can usually do as you please and thus do not really need to go to the trouble of differentiating between the ranges [since this one passes through all of them].
  Foot-length power goes from the elbow to the wrist and reaches to the fist. Although not as powerful as long-range force, it is quicker. Compared to long-range power and inch-length power, the effect may be somewhat less dramatic, but there are more opportunities to use it.
  Inch-length power is also called “passive power”. It travels merely from the wrist to the fingers and involves the slightest rotation. To apply boxing techniques requires some distance, but inch force can be applied even if you are already touching the opponent’s body, meaning that long-range power and foot-length power would not be able to catch up with it.
  Power also divides into hard and soft. Most styles tend to emphasize one or the other, but Mantis Boxing uses both hardness and softness in equal measure, combining them to greater effect. Unless they are practiced equally, I fear it will be difficult to achieve the best results. I hope that my fellow practitioners will deeply study the mysteries within the art so that they can ascend to a level of elegance that much sooner.

– – –

[View an original Chinese edition of Plum Blossom Hands, provided by the Ravenswood Academy.]

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