I have pursued martial arts since I was a child, and have been in martial arts training for fifty years. In 1981, when I had an opportunity to re-learn the system from my teacher, Lam Sang See, he then encouraged me to go out and teach the system to the public in the United States. During the last fifteen years of teaching I have exchanged visits and ideas with Southern Praying Mantis practitioners worldwide. I always share my knowledge and learning experiences with members of CKFA of Southern Praying Mantis Federation U.S.A. in hopes that we all can advance further. Hopefully, this process can serve as a guideline for those practitioners who participate in Southern Praying Mantis Kung Fu and other styles of martial arts.
Jook Lum Gee Tong Long Pai is an advanced martial art style based on in-fighting training theory. The style is direct, swift, and detail oriented with emphasis on breathing as well as energy. The system combines long, medium, and short power, and strength known as Guen Han Don Gangs. Bo Fat (footwork) correlates with the body posture to thrust out energy from the joints. Yul Kung (soft) technique includes energy-borrowing methods with which to combat physically superior opponents. These techniques relate to inter-cyclical application of Ying Yang Yul Gon (hard and soft) hands. Other techniques of Gop-Sop (Som Bam Kui), Dan-Get, Scissor Hands, and Phoenix Eye Fist, qualify Jook Lum Gee Tong Long Pai to be one of the most effective self-defense and body strengthening systems.
Stance and Energy Manipulation
In the Southern Praying Mantis system, the most important steps involve stance and energy manipulation. In order to complete the basic training, one has to start from Ma Bu (stance) and Sun Yen (body posture). The stance, serving as the foundation of this style, utilizes a triangle shape, Ding Bud Ding-Bot Bud Bot (with right foot forward and both heels pointing outward). The upper body from the waist up is called Sun Yen of Dew Tung Dip Guat Sao Kay Bui (pulling up the chest in a hanging position with the stomach turned inward). This posture will give a natural position with both shoulders locking inwards and with the back of the spinal column slightly bent forward. This infrastructure will balance the center of gravity of the body. With this combination of body coordination, one can exercise his footwork to control mobility. One can execute Bom Bo Gun Ma by pulling up the right knee to approximately waist height and crossing the body's centerline in a distance of no greater than 4-5 inches, stepping forward and following with the left (rear) foot sliding appropriately. Some members of out federation call it "chop stepping #1, #2, or #3." More advanced stance training utilizes the same concept as well as purpose and also incorporates a circular stepping stance and body posture training called Mui Far Bo (Plum Flower Steps). Whether it is the chop stepping or the circular stepping, each movement applies and coordinates the stance of Ding Bud Ding-Bot Bud Bot, with the upper body of Dew Tung-Dip Guat-Sao Kay Bui in order to maintain a center of gravity balance.
In Jook Lum Gee Tong Long Pai there is no fancy kung fu training. For traditional practitioners, combination of footwork stances and body postures in the foundation or root of Kung Fu. Remember that as a true practitioner of this style the bottom line is utilization of defensive and offensive training techniques. The combination of footwork and body posture is a balance of the center of gravity as a mechanical generator. In fact, mobility and strength of Yin-Yang of Jook Lum Gee Tong Long Pai Kung Fu are constructed on that combination of footwork and body posture, and built on speed and strength of power.
Internal and External
The strength training is based on Shao Lum Nong Kung (Hard Chi Kung). Gum Jung Jow-Dit Bo Yee is for external purposes, and Sheim Moon Yuel Kung's Ting Sing Kung (Soft Chi Kung) is for internal purposes. The training theory and concept of this style are Yin-Yang/Yuel Gon of external and internal styles of Kung Fu. Based on this structure of Yin and Yang, external and internal training, the Sam Bo Gin (Three Stepping Arrow) typifies the theory and philosophy of the bow and arrow of yin and yang to develop the movements and techniques in Southern Praying Mantis Kung Fu.
Som Bo Gin involves the basic movements and techniques with the combination of footwork and body posture in this style of Kung Fu in order to execute the movements with the explosive punch of Phoenix Eye Fist and 1-2-3 release. This 1-2-3 power release, called Guen Han Dun Gang, involves the system's three powers: short, medium, and long. The training of Som Bo Fun Non Choi (Three Step Phoenix Eye Fist) serves as the basic combination on Nong Kung form (power side) with the Scissor Hand of Phoenix Eye Fist.
On the soft side of this training, there is a Mui Far Yul Kung known as Say Moon Lok Hop Sao. (The Plum Flower system uses four directions called "Moon" Gates: (1) Sheung (upper) Moon Sao, (2) Chung (center) Moon Sao, (3) Yuh (right) Moon Sao, (4) Jaw (left) Moon Sao; and also the technique of Luk Hop (the Six Harmonies). In addition, there is a soft hand training technique called Sop But Ban or Sop But Mor Kui Sao (the 18 Changing Hands) can be trained in a form or two-man drills, similar to Wing Chun Sticky Hand exercise.
Sheim Kuen Training
The style encompass the explosive big punch with the Phoenix Eye Fist training, Sheim Kuen Sop But Dim (the 18 Pressure Points Striking System of Jook Lum Gee Tong Long Pai). The training of Sheim Kuen involves six punches: (1) Sheim Kuen Yat Lo (Jet Choi), (2) Sheim Kuen Yue Lo (Yul Choi), (3) Sheim Kuen Som Lo (Shing-Chung-Har Choi), (4) Sheim Kuen Say Lo (Dan Choi), (5) Sheim Kuen Ng Lo (Ben Choi), and (6) Sheim Kuen Luk Lo (Guo Choi). The unique external strength Tong Long Luk Gang (the Six Powers of the system) are: (1) Guen-Han-Dew Gang (the upper body strength), (2) Guen-Han-Jet Gang (the straight forward strength), (3) Geun-Han-Har Gang (the power of the lower body), (4) Jaw Moon Gang (the power of the left side), (5) Yuh Moon Gang (the power of the right side), (6) Chung Moon Gang (the power of the center).
The six punches of Sheim Kuen are the system's powerful strikes with the Phoenix Eye Fist, and are based on to this style of Kung Fu in Luk Gang. And that combination training techniques of Chung Moon Sao, Yuh Moon Sao, Jaw Moon Sao to combine with the system theory of Ying Yang Yuel Gon. To the Yuel Gon (soft) techniques Dai, Bow, Mor, Yel, Au, Tuo, Hi, Nor, and to the hard side (the power side) of Jet, Park, Belt, Kem, Don, Hih, Sog, are the training theory of Sheim Kuens.
Deadly Strikes to the Blood Flow
Sheim Kuen Sop Bot Dim is also called Dai Heu Tao (Strike the Blood Flow). The theory of this deadly traditional Kung Fu is based on the localized pressurization of the nodal points of the human nervous system. Relying on the verbal details and written materials passed down from my teacher Sifu Lam Sang in 1984, Jook Lum Gee Tong Long Pai Sheim Kuen 18 Dim or Dai Heu Tao is derived from the empirical theory of the human blood stream flowing at different time frames on a daily basis. For example, blood flows with the movement of dissolved oxygen is similar to a 24 hour clock. The Sheim Kuen theory utilizes the concept of blood flows, in Yin Yang manner, to different locations at different time periods during a day. With the traditional Chinese time calculation, each basic time unit is equivalent to a period of two hours. Based on that time scale, a day has a total of twelve spans/ periods with the starting time at 11 p.m. For instance, the period from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m., in a span of two hours, is called Zhu-Shuh.
According to Jook Lum Gee Tong Long Pai Sheim Kuen's theoretical and conceptual bases, a human being's internal organs, 14 meridians, and 36 main pressure points are interrelated to blood circulation flow movements. With Sheim Kuen techniques of Dai Heu Tao, it is believed that the blood flows around the body like waves of the ocean. In every span or period there is a concentration point of blood which rolls into a certain section of the body. For instance, at Zhu Shuh (from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m.), the blood flow concentrates in the face near the center of the upper lip and under the nose (in the 18 Dim Point) Sheim Kuen System, this point is called Zen Zhong. Another example is, at Hai Shuh (from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m.), the ocean of blood flow reaches at Yongquan point (situated at the bottom of the feet).
Strike at the Right Time
The Sheim Kuen theory is based on these "points" of blood flow in the Chinese traditional time clock of spans or periods. The striking points in association with the blood flow time to the body's 36 main pressure points comprise of 18 pairs of points, which is why it is termed 18 Dim (points) Sheim Kuen. With the knowledge of the techniques of 18 Dim Sheim Kuen Striking Points, one knows the pressure point locations and the time frames of the body's circulation system. Each strike at the right time and right place will cause blood blockage, and the results will be paralysis or death. The reasons are very simple. The impact of the force will change the direction of the blood flow or even stop the blood flow, which will prevent oxygen from reaching the brain. Even if it is only for a second, it will cause serious damage.
As a practitioner in hopes of reaching Sheim Kuen level, one has to have persistence as well as the guidance of a proper teacher, step by step advancement in daily training, proper footwork and an understanding of the system's concepts of training. Each level of advancement relies on the various theoretical and conceptual bases. One must know the purpose of the relationship between footwork and body posture, the purpose of various forms of training, and of course, the ability to use Jook Lum Gee Tong Long Kung Fu both defensively and offensively.