I survived my first Mantis class and I’m only a little sore. I’m pleased to see that my at-home training helped me to maintain a decent level of fitness. However I did slip from the condition I was in for my 1st dan test this past April. This school is totally traditional so it will be very interesting to compare what we are doing to what I had to do in Tae Kwon Do.
Class started with stretching and some interesting calisthenics. The prize for the night goes to what I’d call push-up from an 80% full split position. The first 10 were not so bad. The next 20 started to suck and fast!
Then we move into what my TKD school would call line drills: Basically taking a series of techniques and practicing them over and over again while moving across the room. I’m pretty much “lost” and could barely string these drills together into anything that even remotely looked good. Oh well, give me a few months and I’m sure I’ll look a little better.
Finally, we spent the rest of the night on forms. This version of Praying Mantis has at least 12 forms before you make it out of “basic” (i.e. black belt equivalent). We were told the first three have fundamentals that are common in most of the Northern styles. At four and beyond they become specific to Praying Mantis.
The good news is that if I end up eventually moving from this area in the next two years I’ll not be in too deep. What that means is I’ll probably be Kung Fu “generic” enough to transition into another Northern style–assuming I move somewhere that has Kung Fu offerings. If not, I’m sure I’ll still take with me new “tools” for my martial arts toolkit.
The first form I have to learn is called Tan Tuy (i.e. “springing legs”). Apparently there are many versions of it in the Northern styles. Ours has 12 parts and I learned part one last night. I could not find a video that illustrates how this school teaches it. I chose this one because the narrator does a nice job of explaining the rationale behind this first form. She also explains the 10 Roads version vs. the 12 Roads version: