According to legend the Praying Mantis Fist or Tang Lang Quan was created by Wang Lang, also known as Fa Ming, during the Song Dynasty. Wang Lang was a Shaolin Temple disciple, who traveled from the Sung Mountain of Henan via the highlands of the Wu Mei and Kun Lun mountains, eventually settling in a small temple in Lao Mountains in the province of Shandong. One day, while resting in the woods after practicing martial arts, he saw a mantis and a cicada engaged in a fierce fight. Despite the smaller size of the mantis, it was able to subdue the much bigger cicada, amazed with it’s unique fighting ability, Wang decided to bring home some mantis for observation. After a period of study, he adapted the many movements of the mantis and combined it with his knowledge in martial arts into creating a unique style he called Tang Lang Quan or Praying Mantis Boxing. He later included the footwork of the ape to infused agility and mobility to this new found fighting style. This style was taught only to the monks of Shaolin temple, later a monk named Fu Chi improved this art by adding the best techniques of seventeen other fighting style. It was a taoist priest named Sheng Shiao who have learned the Mantis boxing from the monk of Shaolin, who was responsible in introducing this pugilistic art to the masses. This propagation leads to the branching out of different style of Praying Mantis Boxing like Seven Star, Eight Steps, Plum Flower, Taiji, Six Harmony and others.
QI XING TANG LANG QUAN
The first known practitioner of Seven Star Mantis Boxing was Li Zhi Jian of the Dao Guang period during the Qing Dynasty (1821-1851),he was from Pengtu district and operates a security bureau in Jinan.He was famous for his martial arts skills and was consequently nicknamed “Lightning Hand Li and Fast Hand Li” .He retired around 1887 and taught a student named Wang Yun Sheng also known as Wang Chun Shan of Foshan District in Yantai, Shandong. Before Wang became the student of Li he studied Mi Zu Chang Quan from Li Yi Chun, a Taoist priest. He was a boxing champion and open his own martial arts school at the age of 23.When Li Zhi Jian first met Wang, he asked Wang to perform some of the techniques that won him the championship. After seeing him demonstrates, Li laughed at Wang saying that he could not have won the championship. Wang was so mad that he attacked, but Li was too fast for him and was easily subdued by Li. Realizing he was no match for the elderly man, he asked Li to be his teacher and after a few years Wang learned the entire Qi Xing Tang Lang Quan system.
Wang Yun Sheng later taught this art to Fan Xu Dong also known as Xiang Shen, who because of his great strength and skill was nicknamed “Big Strength Fan and Ku Yu Li. A huge man , he also excelled in Iron Palm Skill. He once killed two bulls with his barehand, and became famous for winning a boxing and wrestling championship in Siberia.
Fan have several students and among the senior ones were Guo Jia Lu of Laiyang, but died early. Then there was Yang Wei Xin of Penglai, who taught in Jing Wu and Shandong clubs in Shanghai. Next is Lin Jing Shan of Laiyang, who taught in Dalian, Yantai and other nearby places. The fourth student was Luo Guang Yu of Penglai, who was invited to teach at Jing Wu main headquarter in Shanghai and its other branches in Guangzhou and Hongkong. The fifth was Wang Zhuan Yi of Foshan, a grandson of Wang Yun Sheng, who also taught at Shanghai’s Jing Wu at the age of 23 for eight years and in 1952 taught at Dalian. Another student was Chi Zhu En.