Sunday, 12 June 2011

Song of Mantis Fist

Song of Mantis Fist


"Tip your head, raise your neck
Hui yin point tucked in, qi in dantian
Shoulders relaxed, elbows sunken
Wrist sitting, fingers raised
Chest hollow, spine stretched
The posture's like a cat poised to catch a mouse."

This is a "song" explaining the correct body posture in mantis. Traditionally once a student mastered the basics of mantis, they were expected to memorise songs like this, to help them remember the internal principles of body posture and movement.

Tipping your head refers to tucking your chin in very slightly, this offers slight protection to your throat and helps you to focus your eyesight directly ahead. Raising your neck means to have a slight stretching feeling in the muscles in the back of your neck, also, you can imagine a string from the top of your head (bai hui point) pulling your spine straight (spine stretched).

The hui yin point is an acupoint just in front of your anus. The meaning of tucking this point in is to allow your hips to drop and tuck slightly forward. The feeling being your tailbone is curved slightly and your lower back is straight, rather than arched in. You should feel like you are perched on the edge of a chair, sitting into your stance, but only slightly, dont stick your groin forward, or it will be an easy target.

Relaxing the shoulders and sinking the elbows creates more power in the arms, while avoiding stiffness. “The elbows never leave the ribs” is another phrase often heard. This provides protection to the core of the body from attack, as the elbows are kept close to the body, following a pathway in line with the ribs as they move back and forth. “Wrists sitting and fingers raised” describes a guard position, a slight tweak of tension in the wrists, keeping them in position and developing potential energy at this point. The wrists shouldn’t be kept totally limp, but should have life, a small amount of tension holding them in place.

Hollowing the chest is a feeling of relaxing the chest. It shouldn’t be stuck out, but at the same time, hollowing means to relax, not to force it in. This allows your Qi to sink to your dantian (mentioned in the beginning), which means to allow your breathing to become deeper using your abdomen. This increases your power, by using this to point to breathe out sharply as you emit power.

Understanding and applying these points to your posture, as well as understanding the correct use of tension and relaxation, will allow you to use your body to its maximum potential in combat, allowing you to use a greater percentage of your bodies natural power and speed. Also, you will feel more powerful, and so will be more confident.

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