Hook (Gōu 勾) - 1 of 12 - The Keywords of Mantis Boxing

Hook (Gōu 勾) is the first of the 12 keywords of Mantis Boxing. The keyword formula comprises the principles that define the art. They have been passed down from generation to generation for hundreds of years.

A Praying Mantis seizes it's opponent with it's large arms and hooks. It pulls it's prey off balance and devours it on the ground. When observing the mantis against a larger foe, one can see the mantis pounce, take the back, use it’s legs to hold on, and continually gain control of it's opponent while it bites and gains better hook positions to attack, and keep it safe.

We don't have large mandibles to chew on our opponents, nor would I advocate biting your enemies unless absolutely necessary. What we do borrow from a mantis' tactics is: controlling, seizing, binding up...the hooks!

The Mantis Hook, hand shape (Xiàng (象)) is a key indicator of the style. This seemingly innocuous shape is highly effective and ingenious in it’s design. Other martial arts styles also use hooks: White Crane, Muay Thai, Wrestling (Mongolian and Western), but the Mantis hook places emphasis on the curling of the fingers to strengthen the forearm and the holds.

When a Mantis Boxer latches onto an opponent, the hook has been trained to create a tight clinch. When practicing forms (tao lu 套路, or shadow boxing), they emphasize folding the fingers into the hook hand, engaging the muscles in the forearm. Training with this focus, as well as other tools/drills, increases the hook strength in the arms of the Mantis Boxer, giving them more control over their opponent.

The common hooks are: neck hook, over hook, under hook, arm hook, wrist hook, and leg hook.

Today we’re going to show you the various hook positions used in Mantis Boxing, and other fighting arts found around the globe, as well as some key details on making the hook even stronger. This is the foundation of Mantis Boxing, and it’s namesake.

You check out our videos on “How to Hook” - https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLqqASbKY7NU6XAGVtcyfR_iYwybJHLrbJ - for more details on setting these up while fighting. Thanks for watching, and Get Hooked!

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Randy Brown

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