Recreate the Origin of Praying Mantis Kung Fu History
Between 1978-79, I raised European mantis, a two-inch long pale green insect, then like Wang, used a piece of straw to provoke aggressive behavior. I also filmed them fighting other predacious insects as well as male-male, female-female, and male-female mantis fights. After logging 200 hours of videotape and using slow motion playback, I identified 10 stereotypical repertoires of behavioral patterns that mantids employed during attack, defense and provocation. I next created how one could copy those behavioral patterns.
In animal style kung fu, one becomes the animal. Tiger stylists slash with clawed hands, monkey specialists run around on all fours, rolling, flipping and aping monkey facial antics and screams. To be a mantis I stood with a slightly bent legs, back straight, and shaped my arms like jackknives to mimic its highly adapted raptorial (grabbing) forelegs.
Whether for self defense, improving health or wishing to be one with nature, each of the aforementioned artists had their reasons for studying the various animal fighting behaviors. My reason was to recreate the origin of praying mantis kung fu history, and prove that one could learn kung fu from an animal, do a novel thesis project and graduate from college. But had I really successfully recreated martial arts history?