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It is said that
Once upon a China... there was a young man who liked to observe nature and also to train kung fu...

wang lang
An artistic depiction of Wang Lang at Shaolin.

His name was Wang Lang.

One day, while the young man was meditating in a field after a strenuous training session, he overheard the strange sound of an insect in distress. Investigating the noise he discovered that a large cicada was being attacked by a smaller praying mantis.

Despite their difference in size, the praying mantis was dominating its larger opponent.

Taking pity on the plaintively crying cicada, the young man picked up a small twig and tried to pry the insects apart. The fearless praying mantis insect released its prey and turned to face its new aggressor.

Advancing and retreating quickly it managed to grasp the twig in its powerful forelegs. The young man was fascinated and impressed.

He managed to catch the mantis and take it home with him later that day.

"You have much to teach me, little one," he whispered to the mantis on the way back to the temple.

And it was true...

read onward

Female Mantis Nymph "LadyM"
Female African mantid, nymph stage, happily perched upon a hand.


About Red Mantis

Chinese New Year Televised Performance, 2004
Chinese New Year, 2004. International Village, Vancouver.
Televised Performance of 2 weapons sets and two hand forms.

About RedMantis:


There are many schools of Chinese wushu. The martial trainings in each school encompass numerous technical skills, all of which are based on a variety of philosophies.

Since ancient times, many people have devoted their entire lifetimes and energies to probing the nature and essence of wushu and mastering the skills, but few have succeeded.

However, a learner can improve his skill if he keeps on practising and, through diligence, someday, he will become an expert.


'Drops falling,
if they fall constantly,
will bore through a stone.'




Who is Red Mantis?
What is the RMAA?
Are there really red praying mantids?
Is that a real sword?

RedMantis - Electron Micrograph

Red Mantis: [Manteodea rubidus] An insect (especially of genus mantis) of voracious apetite that clasps its prey with spine-covered fore-legs which are often otherwise held in a position of prayer.

Sifu Josh Schafer: "RedMantis is a nickname that derives from my red hair and my love of Praying Mantis kung fu."

The RedMantis Athletic Association (RMAA): In the fall of 2004, in Winnipeg, I formed the RMAA as a way of expressing my passion for all things praying mantoid.The RMAA has been growing steadily since then, and has evolved into a well balanced, fun, family-like Athletic Organization. It is a venue where people of all ages and diverse backgrounds can come for some exercise, to learn and share self-defense techniques in a practical and safe manner, and to train in traditional Chinese martial arts. What was started as a labour of love continues to develop further into a deeper passion, and has become an integral phase in my own martial arts quest... as well as an important part in many other people's martial arts journeys.

Are there really red praying mantids? Yes, there are some red praying mantids. Praying mantids exist in many different colours and all are naturally camouflaged to blend with their environments. However, most mantids are not red.

Is that a real sword? When one is practicing martial arts in the park, often a crowd of curious observers will be attracted. Typically, this crowd contains at least a few young boys, as they are invariably attracted to weapons. The most common first question, that often breaks the ice is, "Is that a real sword?"

The answer, more often than not, is "Yes."


About The RedMantis Athletic Association


The mandate of the RMAA is to:

  • provide teaching and training of traditional 7 Star Praying Mantis Kung Fu, Tang Lang Ch'uan.
  • explore the history and deeper philosophy of Traditional Chinese Martial Arts (TCMA, CMA).
  • promote praying mantis fist to the public in a non-profit manner.
  • spread a deeper understanding and awareness of the praying mantis insect everywhere in the world that Ursa Major (the seven-star constellation) may be seen.

Sifu Josh Schafer

Sifu Josh Schafer
Sifu Josh Schafer ,Founder of RMKFAA.


More pictures of Sifu Josh Schafer

When did it all begin?


Martial Beginnings

All martial artists' journey must begin somewhere.
The first step on the path can sometimes define the whole direction.

Sifu Josh Schafer has been involved in training of self-defense and in the development of effective combat strategy ever since he was first bullied by a gang of kids when he was seven years old. Returning home on foot after kindergarten was often an adventure in his neighbourhood in Winnipeg, Canada. Early on he learned several valuable lessons in life, including: the art of stealth and deception; camouflage; the value of self-confidence when facing 'bullies' or one's fears; and the merits of outsmarting your opponents. All of these lessons would later be reinforced by his training of 7 Star Praying Mantis Kung Fu.


Standing up for oneself against bullies at an early stage in life can lead to the development of personality traits which last throughout a lifetime:

  • cheering for the underdog;
  • a desire to protect those who cannot protect themselves;
  • an inherent sense of fair play;
  • an incessant desire to perfect one's own defensive skills;
  • a desire to share those same teachings with others of all ages so that they may be equally empowered.

All of these characteristics are in alignment with the goals of the peaceful Shaolin Monks. It is an irony that Shaolin-derived kung fu is one of the world's most effective and devestating forms of battle art and yet was devised by humble pacifistic monks.

Sifu Schafer found himself drawn to the study of the esoteric art of Ancient Chinese, Shaolin-derived, insect-based Praying Mantis kung fu (Qi Xing Tang Lang Quan).

Sifu Schafer entered into his 'official' martial arts training at age fourteen when he enrolled in the Tiger Claw Gong Fu school in Winnipeg, Manitoba.


Tiger Claw Gung Fu

Tiger Claw Gung Fu (fu jiow pai gong fu) is a special blend of martial arts which combines aspects of four different traditional Chinese martial arts systems:

  • Wing Chun (Eternal Spring),
  • Hung Gar (To 'Keep Straight With Integrity' Clan),
  • Bagua (Paqua, 8-Trigrams Palm), and
  • T'ai Chi Chuan (Taijiquan, Supreme Ultimate Fist).

Encompassed within the style of Tiger Claw (Fu Jiow Pai may be translated from Chinese as 'Tiger's Claw') are movements which may be considered both soft and hard, internal and external, yin and yang. It is a complete martial arts system and encompasses a spiritual and philisophical nature as well.

Exponents of the Tiger Claw system of martial arts seek, through emulation of the tiger, to generate great power, ferocious speed, and feline intent.

The beginnings of the way of the warrior.

Sifu Schafer trained at the Tiger Claw school in Winnipeg from age 14 to 19, achieving his brown sash shortly before he moved to the west coast of Canada to pursue his academic studies. He attributes his martial arts foundation to the Tiger Claw style.

I have an immense amount of respect and appreciation for my Si Gung, Pat Gallagher, and all of the incredibly talented martial artists he has trained in over 4 decades of teaching. -Sifu Josh Schafer

The training methods to which Sifu Schafer was exposed in that school were dynamic, organized,creative, and thorough.

At the Tiger Claw school in Winnipeg, along with training in the physical aspects of martial arts and self-defense (external Kung Fu), came training in the areas of mental discipline, breathwork, focus, respect, and some of the deeper aspects of the philosophy behind the martial arts (internal Kung Fu). A balance between the inner and external martial arts is a key component to traditional Chinese Martial Arts.

Sifu Schafer enjoyed immensely all of the extra-curricular activities that were associated with the Tiger Claw school as well. For example:

  • weapons weekend training seminars,
  • week-long martial arts summer camps,
  • kung fu 'olympic games',
  • special banquets and social events.

All of these combined amidst an atmosphere of discipline and respect and contributed to the strong feeling of family and loyalty within the school.

A testiment to the nature of the Winnipeg Tiger Claw school is its longevity. Si Gung Gallagher's school has now had more than 40 years of operation. This is a feat which is rarely accomplished by martial arts establishments.

The institution of the "martial arts school" must negotiate the fine balance between 'school' and 'business', often through challenging economic times. It is an unfortunate fact that 'fly-by-night' is a phrase commonly applied to martial arts schools. The Winnipeg Tiger Claw school is the exact opposite of 'fly by night'.

My training of Tiger Claw style has never ceased, even as I have trained in other styles and studied new footwork patterns. I continue to practice the Yang Form of T'ai Chi daily as well as my Tiger Claw open hand and weapons sets regularly. I have also been back to train at my old school for short periods over the past decade and remain in touch, although sporadically. -Sifu Josh Schafer

Training In Vancouver

When Sifu Schafer moved to Vancouver in 1991, he sought out a teacher who could expose him to new martial arts challenges and who would help him to progress on his 'kung fu journey'.

He expended much effort, looking all around Vancouver, Richmond, and Burnaby for a full year, investigating various schools, speaking with different Masters, taking introductory lessons at a whole variety of clubs. Sifu Schafer sampled many different styles before finding the Seven Star Praying Mantis Kung Fu Academy, and his next instructor Sifu Jon Funk.



Yang T'ai Chi

Part of the rich cultural heritage of China, T'ai Chi Chu'an is an art in whose gentle movements are embodied an intense vigour and force. Classified as an internal style, T'ai Chi encorporates the philosophy of Yin and Yang, Daoism, the "Tao" into every action and movement.

'Inside the cotton is hidden a needle.'

Sifu Schafer was introduced to the art of T'ai Chi Chu'an at the age of 14, and considers it to be one of the greatest gifts he has been given in his entire life.

Of all of the martial styles to which I have been exposed, T'ai Chi is the one which has settled closest to my foundation. It forms most of my base or my rooting. The peace and calm that it brings to my mind has served me innumerably throughout my life in times of stress or challenge. In addition, application of the principles of T'ai Chi to every martial arts form I have learned has helped me to improve my control and my rooting.
-Sifu Josh Schafer



7-Star Praying Mantis Kung Fu

Sifu Schafer currently trains and teaches Seven Star Praying Mantis Kung Fu.

7 Star Praying Mantis

Some praying mantis insects possess markings on their abdomen which look like stars.

Seven-Star Praying Mantis kung fu is a complete martial arts system that originated in China more than four hundred years ago. In fact, the roots of the style stretch back even farther in time to a much earlier age.

Our Goal

Our goal at RMAA is to provide as much information as possible about praying mantis kung fu and about the praying mantis insect. Additionally, we hope to facilitate the networking of praying mantis practitioners throughout the world.

Martial Arts Web Linkages

You might like to find out more about:

Martial Arts in Vancouver

The martial arts culture is thriving on Canada's western coast. Many world class martial artists have decided to make their home in this scenic and temperate region. If you are lucky, some of them may consent to share their learning with you...

Vancouver Chinatown Gate

Vancouver's Historic Chinatown Gate

Vancouver's Chinatown

When Sifu Josh Schafer moved to Vancouver in 1991 he was immediately impressed by the size of the city's Chinatown region.

Walking the crowded streets I was enthralled by the exotic foods on display, the active shopfronts, and the strange smells emerging from the apothecaries. Little did I know that I would some day soon end up performing on those streets as well as marching in parades, participating in lion dances, entertaining crowds during the night market, and competing in tournaments at the Chinese Cultural Centre.
-Sifu Josh Schafer


For the first few years after moving to the west coast, Sifu Schafer was primarily occupied with his studies at the University of British Columbia. However, in the back of his mind he was always interested in seeking out a new teacher who could help him learn a style of martial arts which would reinforce, yet supplement his previous training. He sampled the training of many different schools and spoke to a number of different instructors before selecting Sifu Jon Funk's Praying Mantis Kung Fu Academy.

mantiskungfu dot comSifu Jon Funk's Praying Mantis Kung Fu Academy.

Vancouver has a wonderful selection of martial arts schools and instructors. Every local community centre has a variety of martial arts on offer, and Chinatown is seeded heavily with different schools. At all of the local tournaments there is a diverse representation of many different styles of martial arts.

Having had the opportunity to train with Sifu Jon Funk for many years I have been exposed to both the physical side and the political side of martial arts. Sifu Funk is highly involved within the community, both locally and internationally, and he actively promotes martial arts to the public. Included in these efforts is the promotion of one of the largest tournaments in the Pacific Northwest, the Tiger Balm International Martial Arts Tournament.
-Sifu Josh Schafer


Martial Arts Associations

As an instructor in Jon Funk's school, Sifu Schafer has participated in the martial arts association called Wushu BC.

Red Mantis Kung Fu Athletic Association is a member school of the International Seven Star Praying Mantis Kung Fu Federation.

While helping to coordinate the Tiger Balm International Martial Arts Tournament in Vancouver over the past 15 years I have enjoyed the opportunity to interact with martial artists of many different disciplines. With an open mind, one can learn many things when surrounded by such peers as one encounters at tournaments and other such events.
-Sifu Josh Schafer


'Only when the mind is calm,

then can it receive wisdom.'


Find out more about 7-Star Praying Mantis kung fu.




RedMantis Definitions:

The following definitions are intended to clarify any semantic confusion arising from the anglicization of a traditional Chinese martial art (Tang Lang Ch'uan) and it's deeper teachings on this website.

Please explore further definitions of the following terms by websurfing through the resources on our links page.

Wushu: Generic terminology. Taken from the Chinese (Mandarin), meaning 'martial arts'. Also translated as 'way of the fist'. Other ways of defining this concept involve the use of terms such as kung fu, or gong fu. Many people associate "wushu" with the modern form of playing kung fu in mainland China. Modern Wushu, a demonstration sport at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, is very well structured with fully defined technical criteria. It is also highly physically demanding.

Kung Fu / Gong Fu : Literal translations of these terms from the original Chinese are closer in meaning to 'skill obtained through hard work or effort'. In this online venue, wushu and kung fu and gong fu are taken to be equivalent and interchangeable. In other venues there may be more differences attributed to wushu and kung fu.

Fu Jow: Also 'fu jiow'. Chinese for: 'Tiger Claw'. Fu Jiow Pai. Tiger Claw Fist Style. As the shaolin teachings spread southwards within China a number of practitioners of the Fu Jow Pai carried this style to the area of Canton and became quite famous. Many southern Shaolin temples arose and legends of the exploits of the '10 Tigers of Canton' spread throughout the country and beyond.

T'ai Chi Chuan: Supreme Ultimate Fist. Balance. Yin Yang Harmony. Silk-reeling waist power. Rooting and uprooting. Soft and hard. Ever-yielding, always circling to return the force to its source. Perfect neutralization.

When practiced daily, this martial art/philosophy bestows benefits upon its practitioner beyond the mundane and into the sublime. Classically, T'ai Chi (Taiji) is referred to as an internal martial art. It is widely believed that the highest heights of external martial arts cannot be realized without a corresponding development of the internal martial arts. T'ai Chi is best practiced beneath a tree and near to running water.

Bagua Chuan: (Pa Kua, 8 Trigram Fist, 8 Diagram Way). Bagua is an internal style of martial arts which draws upon the I-Ching for its philosophy. This style is often characterized by its emphasis on circularity and the development of linear movements in tangents off of circle-walking positions. There are 5 animal styles associated with Bagua in some systems.

Hung Gar: Hung Gar is a martial art which was perfected by a large Clan in southern China. Its practitioners (Wong Kei Ying, Tit Kiu Sam, etc) were leading members among the Ten Tigers of Canton. The Southern Shaolin monastery is considered to be the birth place of most southern kung fu styles, including Hung Gar.

Wing Chun: Translated from Chinese as 'Eternal Spring'. Wing Chun is a system of wushu derived from the Shaolin tradition. It was named "Wing Chun" in honor of its historical first disciple, a woman named Yim Wing Chun. One of its most popular exponents was the immortal Bruce Lee who trained with Grandmaster Yip Man and who then derived Jeet Kune Do from Wing Chun. Practitioners of Wing Chun often employ the Mook Jong or wooden dummy to practise their method of simultaneous blocking and striking. Wing Chun also has its own special brand of Chi Sau or Chinese Wrestling. In praying mantis kung fu this Chi Sau practice is called Sticky Hands and is practiced with a partner.


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