Ming Learns the Praying Mantis Kung Fu Technique, Tang Lang Ch'uan
by Anne Spackman
Copyright 2012 by Anne Spackman
All Rights Reserved.
Once upon a time, in a tiny coastal village in rural China there lived a young 10 year old boy named Ming. He was very poor, and his father was a local fishermen. Often, Ming would go with his father on the small fishing boats and help cast out the nets to gather the day’s catch of fresh fish. Ming loved the smell of the sea air and enjoyed helping his father on the fishing boats. He loved to watch the fish jump inside the nets as they were being brought up from the sea. But Ming’s heart was not into fishing. He wanted to become a martial artist.
It had all happened one afternoon, when Ming was walking past the Shaolin Temple in town, where one of the martial artists masters was practicing kung fu. Ming, eyes round as moons, stopped to watch Master Wong. Master Wong moved with the primal grace of a cat as he stepped and gestured through the various motions of the kung fu techniques. His hand was curled into a “mantis hook”, as his body took on the fighting spirit of the praying mantis insect.
Ming was fascinated by the Shaolin kung fu martial arts, and wanted from that day on to become a martial artist himself. At first, Ming was afraid to tell his father about his dream to become a martial artist like Master Wong. Ming’s parents had no money for such training. But one day, Ming’s father received news that his Uncle Hong had died. Uncle Hong had no children, and had left his possessions and wealth to Ming’s father. Ming hadn’t known his uncle, but his father was very sad at the passing of Uncle Hong.
Shortly after the death of Uncle Hong, Ming mustered his courage to ask his father if he could go to the Shaolin Temple to be trained as a martial artist. Ming’s father didn’t answer at first after his son’s request. He was quiet for quite some time.