the author is an 8th generation student/descendent in the Wah
Lum Praying Mantis system. The Wah Lum Style from Shantung can be traced to the
Shaolin Monastery in Northern China (Chan, 1980). The techniques of this style
were handed down from Wong Long, founder of the praying mantis system. Legend
states that Wong Long mastered the Shaolin system but sought to further improve
his fighting abilities. This quest for improvement transpired after he observed
a praying mantis fighting a cicada. Even though the cicada was much larger in
size, the mantis had better skills and movements which lead to its victory.
Impressed and enlightened by the great performance, Wong Long incorporated
variations of the mantis moves into his kung fu techniques. As a result, the
kung fu system of Praying Mantis was born.
Grand Master Lo Kwang Yu demonstrating
the traditional technique of "Mantis Catching the Cicada"
Mantis techniques were eventual handed down to Abbot Ching Yeung, at the Wah Lum
Monastery in Shangtung province (Chan 1993). At this point, Ching Yeung became
the 4th generation descendent of the original Praying Mantis system.
In the early 1900ís Lee Kwan Shan sought refuge at the Wah Lum Monastery where
he committed himself to a 10-year discipleship in the Praying Mantis system. He
was also an accomplished martial artist in his family system of Tam Tui (seeking
leg). After leaving the monastery, Lee Kwan Shan incorporated the Praying Mantis
techniques from Wah Lum with his family art of Tam Tui. In 1948 and before his
death, Lee Kwan Shan took in his last and youngest disciple. This student was
Pui Chan. Grand Master Chan is responsible for bringing the Wah Lum Tam Tui
Northern Praying Mantis System to the United States.
Lee Kwan Shan (Left) picture from Wah
Lum Member Handbook
Grand Master P. Chan (Right) picture
from Wah Lum Kung Fu Tornado Broad Swords
As the Wah
Lum System spread throughout the United States, it eventual made its way to
Columbus, Ohio. This is where the author began his studies in the Wah Lum
System. To do heuristic research on the martial arts, the author
was required to immerse himself into the combat arts. What a better way to
understand what transpires during training than to start a new martial system.
This was one impetus why the author began his training in the Wah Lum Praying
Mantis (Jut Sow) system. The other reason was his strong and long lasting
desired to train in a traditional Chinese Kung Fu system. This training is in
its 4th year and is continuing beyond the authorís doctoral
research requirement. The author is also training under Yang Shu Ton a 10th
generation descendent of the original praying mantis system and a 4th Generation successor
of the Baat Bo (Eight Step) System of Praying mantis
Edward Overchuk, Ph.D. (Left) and
Master Yang Shu Ton (Right) picture taken at the Wu Tang Center for Martial
Chan P. (1980) Wah lum kung-fu: Tornado broad swords. Orlando, Hanny P. Chan
Chan P. (1993) Wah lum kung fu of usa: Member hand book. Orlando, Wah Lum
Kung Fu Temple.