Master Longfei Yang is a world-renowned expert in the Seven Star Praying Mantis style of Kung Fu, a branch of Northern Praying Mantis. Yang trained under Grandmaster Li Shusen (李樹森), a fifth-generation practitioner of Seven Star Praying Mantis, and was the first certified instructor of this technique to establish a martial arts school outside of mainland China.

In addition to his unrivaled command of Seven Star Praying Mantis, Master Yang’s experience and training also encompass a variety of other martial arts techniques, including modern wushu, Jeet Kune Do, and Chen-style taijiquan. In this post, we explore the properties and characteristics of each of these Kung Fu styles.

Shaolin wushu masters Shi Deru (left) and Shi Deyang

Jeet Kune Do emblem

Modern wushu

In contrast to traditional wushu, which focuses on self-defense theory and real-life combat applications, modern wushu (現代武術), also known as contemporary wushu (當代武術), tends to emphasize aesthetics, precise movements, and fixed routines. Today, modern wushu (often referred to simply as “wushu”) is an official event at the Asian Games, Asia Pacific Masters Games, World Combat Games, and several other multi-sport events.

Jeet Kune Do

Jeet Kune Do (截拳道), literally “the way of intercepting the fist,” is a hybrid fighting system founded by Hong Kong-American movie star and martial artist Bruce Lee in the mid-1960s. The key characteristic of Jeet Kune Do is its dynamic nature, which enables practitioners to adapt to the perpetual fluctuations of live combat.

In a now famous quote from a 1966 interview, Bruce Lee invoked water as a metaphor for fluidity and adaptability, prominent qualities of Jeet Kune Do that he regarded as essential to any combat situation. Lee stated, “Be formless, shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup; [if] you put water into a bottle, it becomes the bottle; [if] you put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Water can flow, or it can crash. Be water, my friend.”

Chen-style taijiquan

Taijiquan (太極拳), literally “taiji boxing,” is named after the word taiji (太極)—an ancient Chinese term for the ultimate state of infinite potential that existed before the creation of the world. In English, taijiquan is also known as tai chi chuan, or simply tai chi. The original form of this martial art is Chen-style Taijiquan, which dates back to the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644), although its exact origins remain unknown. Chen-style taijiquan is famous for its alternating sequences of fast and slow motions, coupled with decisive bursts of explosive power.

Tai chi
master Yang Chengfu, circa 1931

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