CRUSH (Bēng 崩) - 9 of 12 - The Keywords of Mantis Boxing

Crush (Bēng 崩)

Crush (Bēng 崩) - to ‘collapse and fall into ruin’. Also known as 'crushing' in many Chinese Martial Arts usages. Bēng is used to attack the vital targets in the midsection of an opponent. Effective strike targets such as: the liver, stomach; ribs, and the real treasure - the solar plexus, or central palace in Taijiquan. All of these targets can disable an opponent with one hit. This is seen in countless boxing matches, UFC battles, Muay Thai fights, and Kickboxing bouts. What happens when you land a good strike on an opponent in one of these locations? They "collapse and fall into ruin".

Bēng, as a principle, can use a fist, a knee, a kick, all to accomplish the goal of - causing the opponent to - 'collapse, and fall into ruin'.

Aligning the Strike

If you examine the height of many of the stances found in Chinese Martial Arts forms, and in this case Bēng Bù, you'll see that the strike does not align with the opponent's face but rather with the solar plexus/lower rib region of a ‘standing’ opponent.

Dropping the stance aligns the punch to the effective strike targets (liver, stomach, solar plexus). Mantis Boxing uses the Horse-Riding Step (Mǎ Bù 吗步), Bow Step (Gōng Bù 弓步) to accomplish this alignment of the attack.

Punching to the face is certainly an effective attack, but it also hurts the striker if they aren't wrapping their hands, or wearing gloves. Styles of Karate have Makiwara boards, and Chinese Martial Arts has Iron Palm/Iron Fist to train the hands so as not to break/injure the bones while connecting with someone's hard skull.

Iron Fist training takes months/years to train. Conditioning the bones and skin is only accomplished through extreme dedication and commitment. It is faster to teach someone a technique to strike the vitals, meanwhile working on conditioning the hands for longer term strategies.

Keeping in mind: the human skull has evolved over millions of years to protect the brain inside of it. It's hard, and not meant to crumble at the first hint of danger. Quoting a bike-helmet study published in the Journal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics, "235 kg (520 pounds) or 2,300 newtons of force would be needed to crush a human skull, almost twice as much force as human hands could possibly muster."

Plainly speaking, anyone who has punched another human in the skull with a bare hand can tell you - it hurts when you hit. Knowing this, it is easy to see why a striking principle like Bēng, is so prevalent in the martial arts.

One might be better served destroying an enemy in a soft target, rather than risk the injury of straight on face punching. This can be seen in other Mantis Boxing techniques aimed at the head region using alternate hand shapes: White Snake Spits Tongue, Spear Hand, Thrust Palm, Ear Claw, Slant Chop.


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Randy Brown

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