Chow Gar

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Chow Gar Tong Long
Also known asChow Gar
Country of originChina
CreatorChow Ah Naam
Famous practitionersWong Fook Go, Lau Soei, Yip Shui
ParenthoodSouthern Praying Mantis, Southern Shaolin Kung Fu
Olympic sportNo

Chow Gar Tong Long (周家螳螂) is a southern Chinese martial art and is one of the four major schools in Southern Praying Mantis. It is an aggressive style with emphasis on close range fighting. These skills are developed by utilizing a range of training techniques which have been developed over several centuries.

This style is not related to Jow-Ga Kung Fu(周家), a southern Chinese martial art founded by Jow Lung in the early 1900s.


The history of Chow Gar Praying Mantis was transmitted orally with little supporting documentation until the 1900s. The origins of Chow Gar are similar to other martial arts of the Hakka community with references to the Southern Shaolin monastery and exploits centered around Southern China. Information prior to the turn of the century is speculative at best. In the modern era, Lau Soei is recognized by both the Chow Gar and Chu Gar practitioners as the leading promoter of this style. The leading authorities on Chow Gar are the students of Yip Shui and their schools can be found worldwide.

Chow Ah Naam[edit]

According to Chow Gar tradition, the founder of the style was Chow Ah Naam (周亞南) who lived in the 1800s. He had spent many years in the Southern Shaolin Monastery under the guidance of the abbot Sim See Yan. He created a new style which he called Praying Mantis from watching a fight between a praying mantis and a bird. His style is not related to the Northern Praying Mantis created by Wang Lang (王朗) during the Song Dynasty (960-1279). Ah Naam taught the style to many people in the region and one of his students was Wong Fook Go.

Wong Fook Go[edit]

Wong Fook Go (黃福高) was initially a lay person but later became a traveling monk. He travelled throughout Southern China including Wai Yearn village in the area of Tung Kung (East River).

Lau Soei (1866-1942)[edit]

Lau Soei (劉瑞; 誠初; 劉水) was an accomplished teacher of the martial arts in his home village of Wai Yearn in Southern China before meeting Wong Fook Go. Oral traditions suggested that Lau challenged Wong and was soundly defeated by Wong. Lau then became a student of Wong and became proficient in the Chow Gar Southern Praying Mantis. Using this knowledge, he further enhanced his reputation and earned the nickname as the "Number one of the three tigers of Dong Jiang (東江三虎之一).[1]

In 1913, Lau Soei moved to Hong Kong and established a Southern Praying Mantis school in Kowloon. Initially, he would teach his system only to members of the Hakka community. Near the end of his career, he opened his teachings to the general public. Yip Shui was one of his first non-Hakka students. Lau Soei died in 1942.

Yip Shui (1912-2004)[edit]

Yip Shui (葉瑞; 啟瑞) continued on the tradition of Lau Soei after living and training extensively with Lau Soei. He established a reputation for the effectiveness of the Chow Gar style by meeting all challenges. He worked hard to teach and promote this style. Yip Shui died in 2004.

Yip Chee Keung, the son of Yip Shui, continues the family tradition as a promoter of this system. Chee Keung emigrated to London, England in the 1970s. He established a Chow Gar Southern Mantis School there.[2] Paul Whitrod started his training with Yip Chee Keung at that school in 1974. Paul is now the UK representative for Chow Gar.[3]

Ng Si Kay (吳士麒), Yip Shui's son in law, is the current head instructor for Chow Gar Mantis Association (International) based in Hong Kong.[4] Li Tin Loi (李天來), another student of Yip Shui, is teaching at the Hong Kong Tong Kong Chow Ka-Praying Mantis Li Tin Loi Martial Arts Association (香港東江周家螳螂李天來拳術會).[5] Ng Woon Hung (吳煥亨), also a student of Yip Shui, teaches at the Chow Gar Mantis Kung Fu Association (周家螳螂國技會) in Mong Kok.[6]

Chow Gar Mantis Australian Representative Paul Brennan original student of Yip Chee Keung & father Yip Shui is now a closed door student (入室弟子) of Master Ng Si Kay currently has branches in Queensland Australia.[1]


There are many different forms in the Chow Gar system and each instructor teaches a variety of forms. The name for some of those solo forms include:[7]

  • Sarm Bo Jin (三步箭; 3 step arrow)
  • Sarm Jin Yiu Kiu (三箭搖橋)
  • Sarm Jin Pai Kiu (三箭批橋)
  • Sarm Gong Pin Kiu (三弓片橋)
  • Second Level Sarm Bo Jin (二級三步箭)
  • Pao To Fist (拋吐拳)
  • Leep Kiu (獵橋, hunt the bridge)
  • Gau Si Mun sau (9 seeking hands)
  • Mo Ying Sau Chor Kui (no shadow hand crack the bridge)
  • Bo Sim Sau (searching insect hand)
  • Gen Tung Gen Sau Lin Wa say (shock power hand)
  • Poon loong keok (flying dragon leg)
  • Yau Loong Sau (游龍手; swimming dragon hands)
  • Say Mun Sau (四門手; four gates hand)
  • Bic Saan Quan (迫山拳; lifting mountain Fist)
  • Yin Yang Sau (陰陽手)
  • Fut Sau (佛手; Buddhist hand)

There are also pair forms and weapon forms.


Basic Movements[edit]

There are also 36 basic movements consisting of one or 3 moves, known as San Sau. They include:

  • Bow Chong (cover hand, meaning to wrap up)
  • Gau Choi (hammer fist to come down)
  • Cye Sau (deflect)
  • Doa Sau (spring hand)
  • Narp Sau (hook hand)
  • Got Sau (cut back hand)
  • Saw Sau (lock hand)
  • Chum Chung sau (sinking elbow hand)
  • Yong Sau (upward reach hand)
  • Chuen Sau (transmit hand)
  • Larp Sau (snatch hand)
  • Mut Sau (sweep hand)
  • Kum La Ja Jook (seize and hold hand)
  • Kwor Sau (circle over hand)
  • Yui Sau (shake off hand)
  • Pai Kui (slicing hand)
  • Cheet Jeung (cutting palm)
  • Lau Sau (leaking hand)
  • Dun Chung (back elbow)
  • Ngai Chung (forward elbow)
  • Jin Sau (scissor hand)
  • Din Sau (rivet hand)
  • Soc Sau (Shock pulling hand)
  • Yong Kum sau (upward breaking hand)
  • Yum Yearn Kor Sau (yin yang breaking hand)
  • Lim Chung (elbow picking hand)
  • Tai Sau (pulling Hand)
  • Kok Choi (angular fist)
  • Man Dan Sau (single bow pulling hand)
  • Chup Sau (thrusting hand)
  • Noi Choi fun sau (inside hand and split)
  • Chy Sau (grinding hand)
  • Doy Chong (double arm training)
  • Sarm Bo Jin (3 step arrow)

Shock Power[edit]

The short-range power that can translate into shock power (驚彈勁法) is a basic characteristic of this style. According to legend, this technique was created when founder Chow Ah Naam saw a praying mantis fighting off a blackbird using quick sudden movements.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Hong Kong Martial Arts Masters (香港武林名師)". Hong Kong Wushu & Art Service Centre. Retrieved 2008-02-23.
  2. ^ Yip Chee Keung. "London home of Chow Family Kung Fu". Tung Kong Chow Family Praying Mantis Kung Fu. Retrieved 2008-04-14.
  3. ^ Paul Whitrod. "History". Hakka Chow Gar Southern Mantis Association UK. Retrieved 2008-04-10.
  4. ^ Ng Si Kay. "東江周家螳螂國術協會". Chow Gar Mantis Association International. Archived from the original on 2007-03-25. Retrieved 2008-04-10.
  5. ^ Li Tin Loi. "香港東江周家螳螂李天來拳術會". Hong Kong Tong Kong Chow Ka-Praying Mantis Li Tin Loi Martial Arts Association. Retrieved 2008-09-01.[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ Ng Whom Hung. "周家螳螂國技會". Chow Gar Mantis Kung Fu Association.
  7. ^ Li Tin Loi. "香港東江周家螳螂李天來拳術會". Hong Kong Tong Kong Chow Ka-Praying Mantis Li Tin Loi Martial Arts Association. Retrieved 2008-09-01.[permanent dead link]