One night my eight year-old asked to read Sifu Fogg’s book before bed. Awesome, I though. My son loves Kung Fu as much as I do.
We started at the beginning where Fogg talks about our history, where we came from and how the Mantis System was born and developed. As we read, I try to imagine what it must have been like in the beginning.
A monastery in China, Kung Fu, two friends, two Kung Fu brothers. Wait, friends? OK, hold that thought…. One is continually being bested by his Kung Fu brother, long hours of training and work aren’t helping. His brother leaves for a year and Mantis is born by a river from simply being there and through observation.
Our art is deadly and highly effective. We learn techniques that can maim and kill. We learn strikes that can effectively stop an attacker cold. We are warriors, we train to fight, we train to protect ourselves and those that we love. What struck me was HOW our system came to be. My son and his love of Kung Fu showed me that our art was developed by two friends. Friends, not through war or battle but two friends with a mutual love of Kung Fu.
As the story goes the monks’ friend came back after his travels and fought his Kung Fu brother, much to his surprise his Kung Fu brother bested him that day. He was not insulted by this defeat, he was excited. Mantis Kung Fu was born that day and it was born out of friendship and the love of Kung Fu.
Throughout life we develop friendships and relationships with others. We all have family that we are attached to and we love deeply. The relationships that are formed through Kung Fu are some of the deepest bonds that I have seen.
We fight for fun, we hit each other and laugh, we discuss with enthusiasm the technique that just threw us to the ground. Why do we do this? We make each other better, we motivate each other to excel and train harder. We correct each other and accept criticism no matter what rank we hold. We do this with mutual respect and admiration for each other and for the art.
We are the carriers of centuries of knowledge and we have a responsibility to uphold the principals of our Mantis System both internal and external. Everything we do is Kung Fu; how we act, how we accept defeat, how we train, how we treat others.
Two friends developed a deadly art out of mutual respect for each other and the love of Kung Fu. I write this after having spent nearly 3 hours training with friends. We help each other and we critique each other. There is no room in our training for pride or ego, we respect each other as we respect the art.
These are my brothers and sisters and I am ever in their debt and I owe them more than words could express. They are my motivation, my direction, my teachers, my role model, my friends and my family