The praying mantis is the master of footwork and Chin Na. Although the mantis kicks are limited, the mantis’ footwork is the fastest around. In nature when a mantis is prepared to attack, its stance becomes very rooted into the ground. As the mantis pushes its body into a lower and lower stance the tension in its legs becomes tighter and tighter. The mantis’ legs become like spring steel into the ground, the front legs pushing back and the back legs pushing forward. When either is released its body is instantly propelled in that direction. The action is so fast that the mantis seems to disappear from one point and instantly reappear in another.
In the insect world, the mantis is the most deadly of predators. Its voracious appetite keeps it constantly hunting. The mantis is deadly and effective. The mantis knows only one thought and that is to feed.
Because their body has no hips, they cannot turn at the waist. They make all adjustments with their footwork. They will move on and adjust to thier opponent with very small and fast footwork adjustments. Their hooking hands always ready to snare thier opponent.
The praying mantis is also known for its chin na. The mantis’ hooking hands are perfectly suited for hooking and locking out an opponents joints. However the mantis does not use its chin na for submission holds. Because Shou’ Shu is a war art, it would not make sense to go to a submission position. It is better to use the chin na to pull the opponent into a strike or to achieve point of vulnerability. It is possible to use the chin na for submission holds if the situation is less threatening. It becomes useful in this manner if it is not necessary to hurt the opponent. However it’s original use is not for the iron holds but to destroy the opponent and move on, just as the mantis in nature would do.
A mantis shifu is a grappling master. They can lock their opponent’s joints without their opponent realizing the weakness until it is too late. They can achieve numerous strikes in one centerline shift. Although the mantis is linear in nature, it is not the same linear motion of the bear. The mantis can evade and move in three dimensions, they just does so while retaining their stick like nature.