Forum QuestionsCategory: QuestionsRDH INTERVIEW 001-1: What specifically drew you to Hakka Praying Mantis Kung fu?
tyjobu asked 1 year ago

Your 52 years of research and training, in various Martial systems, is well known, but what specifically drew you to Hakka Praying Mantis Kung fu?

1 Answers
Administrator Staff answered 1 year ago


RDH Answer:

After returning to the USA, from Korea, circa mid 1970s, I was living in Kentucky.  There were Chinese restaurants, but no Chinese Kungfu.  There was lots of TKD and some Karate.  So every weekend I would drive and expand my perimeter, until one day 180 miles away, I found Louie Jack Man Sifu working, as a Chef, at the House of Wan restaurant, in Bowlingreen.  It took me three three months to persuade him to teach me.  His style was Southern Mantis.  I had trained Northern Shandong Mantis, but had never heard of Southern Mantis.  (Even the Wushu Authorities, in Shandong, had not heard of Hakka Southern Mantis, in the late 1980s – I traveled to Jinan to inspect…)

I didn’t like Louie Sifu’s style, at first.  I was used to long stances and wide arcing strikes.  Louie Sifu’s Southern Mantis was upright, a high horse mostly, with direct straight to the target strikes.  I remember telling some friends that Southern Mantis seemed odd.  But, I persisted over the next few years every weekend, with Louie Sifu, and after some 18 months – Southern Mantis began to make sense to me.  It was rooted, yet agile, intent on the targets, soft and hard.  I was Louie Sifu’s first student, in the USA.

Circa 1979, Louie Sifu suggested I move to Minnesota and train with Mark Foon Sifu.  Louie, Mark and I spoke on the phone that year.  And so, I did move to MN and made Ceremony to Gin Foon Mark, in 1980.

Initially I trained with Louie Sifu, because it was the only Kungfu around.  But later, I trained because the Style suited me – it was functional, combat ready, not a “flower hand”.  It was “nothing for show, everything for use”.