The Chinese Praying Mantis is one of the largest of its species. It is known for its ability to prey on other insects, and in some cases even frogs, small birds, and lizards. As with many insects, its natural coloration helps it blend with its surroundings, leaving its victims unaware of its presence until attack.
The most common image of the mantis in forms is with the hands in a praying position. An artist who practices mantis will also develop their ability to sense their opponent beyond what they can just see. In nature, the insect does this through a hollow body that can pick up on sound vibrations. In Martial Arts, the artist must be able to "feel" the movements of those about him and move before the attack happens.
Mantis are very patient, waiting for their prey to make a mistake first. Once the opening has occurred, their attacks are fast and with a consuming motion that overwhelms their opponent.
Just as its natural counterpart, Mantis styles are deadly and able to fight against things equally fast or larger than they are.
Learn more about other animals & elements in Martial Arts as part of our Chinese New Years articles.