Soutnern Praying Mantis

Maximizing Your Training Time

Using a Random Number Generator

by Philip Bridges

As your training progresses, you find yourself with a wealth of Mantis material to practice.  Even setting aside a specific time each day, you may feel that you are ignoring some skills, in favour of others.  Add in that life has a habit of getting in the way with work, families, studies, and more recently Covid 19, all requiring time, and the issue becomes how to make the most of your Mantis.

Once you have completed the Fundamental Courses, and have completed at least 10 other Courses, such as Som Bo Gin Hard Bridge, Som Bo Gin Soft Bridge, Dan Zhuang etc. practicing all the skills can be problematic.  Obviously, whichever Course is your current focus should remain your primary objective.  So, if you are currently working on Som Gin Yu Sao, most of your energy and efforts will be directed towards developing that skill.  However, that may mean that you only have a little time for other skills, and struggle to decide which skills to practice, on any given day.

I’m 51 this year and have lived in Taiwan the last 10 years, completing a Ph.D. and work full time, with an hour commute each way.  I also have additional employment hours outside of my regular work.  In order to practice everything I have learned, I would have to forgo sleep and meals.  My approach has been to use a random number generator.  This is how it works:  In addition to the currently released HMBI Online Course I am working on, I select the items I want to train as extra training, and then number them. I use a random number generator online, and select 3 skills or more depending on how much time I have to train today. 

This is how it works:  In addition to the currently released HMBI Online Course I am working on, I select the items I want to train as extra training, and then number them. I use a random number generator online, and select 3 skills or more depending on how much time I have to train today.

Let’s look at some examples:

Today I am using the Chu 12 Basic Hand Skills and Chu 12 Combination Hands.  There are 24 days, 12 Days in each Course, and these are numbered 1-24.  That is to say, Numbers 1-12 are Chu 12 Basics daily Lessons.  Numbers 13-24 are Chu 12 Combinations daily Lessons.

I select 3 skills to train right now, today, and generate 3 numbers.  The Random Generator returns the numbers 3, 14, 24.  (If I have more or less time, then I select more or less numbers for the Random Generator.)

Number 3 is day 3 of the Chu 12 Basic Hand Skills, Number 14 is day 2 of the Chu 12 Combination Hands, Number 24 is day 12 of the Chu 12 Combinations.  Today I will train the lessons from those days.  If I have time and privacy during the day, I may select one or two extra skills to practice as well.

Hakka Mantis Courses Online

You could do the same with the 18 Buddha Hands Upcoming Course.  It is possible to list the different footwork, and first generate a Hand, then generate a Footwork, and combine them.  Maybe today will be Returning Chop Step with Choc Shu.  You can play that Long Bridge, Short Bridge, and Double Bridge in line drills with different Turnarounds.  Mix the 18 Hands, 24 Footwork Patterns, and 8 Attributes and the possibilities are nearly endless!  See what the Random Generator asks you to train today?

Perhaps you want to focus on Som Bo Gin Two Man Form.  There are 3 lines and 60 postures.  Today you decide to generate a posture to really spend time on. You enter numbers 1 – 60 and the Random Generator returns the number 55, the Monkey Kick.  You drill the Monkey Kick, and then time permitting you add on the next posture, a lateral spin with monkey step and double palm strike.  Using the Random Generator to train specific skills, in this way, is also limitless!

You could even choose to hone a very specific skill, such as one day of a particular form.  For instance, if you choose Som Jian, it has 12 Day’s of Lessons.  You select a number between one and twelve, and really focus on that one day of Form training.

You can narrow the focus even further, from a day to a specific Lesson, of an individual course.  If you select a form, in this case we will say Som Bo Gin Soft Bridge.  There are 30 lessons, and and the Random Generator returns lesson 21.  That would be Day 5, Lesson C.

You can use the Random Generator approach to choose Forms, Footwork, review of Fundamental Courses, or even which Course you’ll train today from your total number of Courses trained to date, just to stay sharp and add some variety.

It is all up to you what you wish to choose from.  Over time you’ll randomly train all the skills!

There is a saying in kung fu that goes something like:  “One day’s training is like one penny in the bank. One day not training is like taking ten pennies from the bank.”

Have you paid a penny into your Mantis account today?

Click here to a Random Generator.

Hakka Mantis Courses Online

Lop Sao Grabbing Hand
Short Bridge Foream Gop Sao

Hakka Mantis Courses Online

Philip Bridges
is an HMBI Member and a lifelong martial artist, and has taught Hakka Mantis and Thai Weapons (Krabi Krabong), in Taiwan.   He can be reached by email.

Hakka Mantis Courses Online

USA Kwongsai Mantis
Loose Hands One Two Man Set

Further Reading

Phil B. has repeatedly traveled to train, in the Hakka Mantis Hometowns, China with RDH.  Visit the links below:

2017:  Training Mantis in Pingshan with RDH; what’s it like?  

By P. Bridges

Hakka Mantis Courses Online

2018:  More Hakka Mantis & Skype Training

By P. Bridges

Hakka Mantis Courses Online

From RDH:   Endorsement and Invitation

Phil has a novel approach to randomly train the various Courses.  As you progress, time will be your deciding factor on what you choose to train.  In the beginning, train what is least comfortable to you, and as you progress toward advanced boxing skill, train what suits you best:  your body type, your temperament, your need for defense or your need for health, or your interest to promote Hakka Mantis Culture.  Whatever suits you, traditional Hakka Mantis will have skills in the tool box, suited for you.  You only have to train them.

Contact Phil by his email above.  In the future, he can assist you to travel and enjoy China’s beautiful landscape and teach you traditional Hakka Mantis boxing.

All HMBI Members are welcome to submit articles, for this SITE.  Random or specific you are welcome to share your thoughts and experience here.  And feel free to comment below on Phil’s suggestion or other SITE articles.

Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.

In training, play all variations.
In teaching, follow the standards.  Stick to the roots.
In combat, do what is necessary.  Avoid excess.

You can still Make 2021 your BEST YEAR of Mantis yet!

Be diligent.
Train daily.
Mantis Onward!


  • Eric Lewis

    That, indeed, takes a particular and extra mindset. If you are of a simpler mindset as I, train whatever form you are presently training as independent hand training (with all steps learned here), and train it with the 3 different principles that are learned from the 3 Branch Hakka Mantis. Also, train the hands internally by incorporating the PRINCIPLES of zhang zhuang and yiquan. REMEMBER:
    Function over Form; Nothing For Show.

  • Philip Bridges

    Hi Eric,

    Yes, whatever course you are currently training should be your primary focus. This is used for additional skills training to add variety. Training becomes a habit, and habitual skills require less thought. This is one way to ensure the mind is fully engaged.

    As for the internal component. I agree that is important. The Mantis 18 internal points should be ever present.

  • Daniel Robbins

    When I read this article I immediately thought of my introductory programming course where we had to incorporate pseudo-random number generators to make simple games (like dice rolls). I never really considered using them for real life. This method would help by relegating decision making to the machine (I suffer from mild neurotic choice paralysis lol). And ensure that all moves are trained. Thanks for sharing. Good luck on the dissertation!

  • Chris Hayhurst

    I like this a lot! Thank you for sharing this!