For the entire interview and the photos, visit the blog at Warrior Body Buddha Mind
Golden Praying Mantis Kung Fu
Interview with Sifu Garry Hearfield about the Golden Praying Mantis Kung Fu system
The following interview conducted with Sifu Garry Hearfield via e-mail and online chats sheds some light on the very rare Golden Praying Mantis Kung Fu.
Chris: What is the Golden Mantis?
Sifu Garry: The name is called Gum Tong Long meaning Golden Mantis or Golden Praying Mantis which is an internal martial arts system that seems to be of Buddhist faith according to Grandmaster Doo Wai. Gold in Chinese belongs to purity and is spiritual in essence, such as how alchemy turns lead into gold, this is what we are trying to perfect within ourselves in the Golden Mantis System.
Chris: What is its origin?
Sifu Garry: Unknown, only that it was handed down inside the Doo family and belongs to a Buddhist temple somewhere in China. I believe he said Goddess of Mercy or Kwan Yin temple in southern China but don't quote me on that. Possibly 200 - 300 years old, it has some characteristics of both the Nam Tong Long and the Bak Tong Long southern and northern Mantis.
Chris: What does Golden Mantis contain?
Sifu Garry: This mantis is very internal, uses the elements just like the insect itself connected to the earth but uses the sun and moon for its rest and feeding habits. It has a morning practice at sunrise with seated meditation and energy exercises and the Golden Mantis Hei Gung which has been closely guarded. According to Grandmaster Doo Wai this set contains many secret keys for health and internal power.
It also contains one long hand set with over 150 moves that is broken down and developed individually to express each hand or force. San Sau is broken down with pad and hanging bags to condition and understand the style. Two-man drills and body conditioning is trained also along with rolling bar and claw bags. It also has a healing side with its energy and Chinese Dit Dar therapies.
Chris: Does Golden Mantis have any weapons?
Sifu Garry: We teach two weapons, the staff and the double butterfly knives, it’s a small system but less is more in this case. I like smaller systems, means I can tear it apart and it’s not redundant in its forms!
Chris: What type of healing does it use?
Sifu Garry: It uses traditional Chinese medicine - Dit Dar but also has its own energy work that is unique to this mantis style.
Chris: How did you learn it?
Sifu Garry: I studied this through Grandmaster Doo Wai and he has allowed me to release certain information at certain times, this is the time for Golden Mantis. This system can be learnt very fast, only a few years, to be very efficient and will bring healthy results. Only took me two years to get it down due to my training in Yau Kung Mun and Bak Mei Pai so was an easy transition. I’ve been doing this system now for the last 6 or 7 years with other information that he has selflessly shared with me, he is a man of much knowledge indeed.
Chris: What would you like to see happen with the Golden Mantis System?
Sifu Garry: Well I would love for it to live on and never die, it’s a true treasure with all my Kung Fu systems I teach, of course, but right now I want to push and promote this very rare style. It’s hard to find dedicated students, even harder to find dedicated and respectful students. We’d rather it not be taught at all to people that will bring it shame or disrespect than to have it out bastardized so to speak. I guess sooner or later it will happen regardless right?? Hahaha sad but true!!! If we can get a nice following and later teachers out there teaching this healthy martial art system with quality and not so much quantity I think there is a chance this system may survive.
Chris: What fighting methods does it contain?
Sifu Garry: It is a close to middle range system, that uses the phoenix-eye fists, claws, elbows, knees, forearms, finger strikes, like most fighting systems. Also has clinch and standing arm locks and submissions. Does not contain ground fighting but added to would make a super MMA system. It uses many trapping and sticking, smashing and destruction techniques.
Chris: What is it you the love most about this system?
Sifu Garry: The Golden Mantis Hei Gung, it’s a real treasure, the core of this system hence the name, very basic set but powerful with its symbology and meaning, breathing patterns and understanding of Yau Kung forces within the body. The set helps cultivate energy through its standing practice which alone is excellent for health regardless of system. It distributes the energy through blocking of energy points in the body with certain postures and movements that resemble the insect itself. To wake up to the sunrise and embrace the force that gives life to all living things on this planet makes this system worth more than gold or wealth. This system is a spiritual path of a warrior monk and I can see why!
Chris: Is there anyone teaching this system?
Sifu Garry: To my knowledge, no, it is only because of my training over the years with Grandmaster Doo Wai that I was picking it up and never spoke of anyone that I know of in BFP family. Although I could be wrong!! He appointed me the BFP representative as well for other Doo family treasures such as Omei Bak Mei Pai, Omei Fo Jeung (Burning palm) and many more methods. I still have a lot to master myself but rather than keep this secretive, he has asked for me to release it to the public now. I know you have been doing this for some years now; maybe you like to share some of your own views on Golden Mantis?
Chris: Thank you very much for taking the time to answer all these questions Sifu!
Sifu Garry: Your welcome brother, we all here for a good time and learning the ancient ways can only make us better human beings. Kung Fu is a life style, not a fad...best wishes to the family!