According to the legend, Praying Mantis takes origin from Shandong province, China . It was created by a renowned swordsman named Wang Lang around the end of the Ming dynasty.
Wang-Lang was a gifted child who loved martial Arts since he was little. Therefore he started training at a very early age. His goal was to perfect his Martial Arts, therefore, through the years, he had learned from different well known masters of the time.
He was good friends with the Abbot of the Shaolin temple. He paid visits to the temple once in a while and met with the Abbot to discuss Martial Arts. Each visit ended with a friendly match but as always, he lost to the Abbot. One summer day, on his way home after losing the match with the Abbot, he rested under a tree. Suddenly, he heard the loud noise of a cicada from a branch close above his head. He looked up and saw a praying mantis had seized a cicada, which was twice the size of the praying mantis but unable to get a way from the praying mantis powerful claws. Wang Lang tried to save the cicada by separating the Praying mantis and the cicada using his short sword. But as soon as the dagger reached close to the mantis, it used its agile claw to catch the dagger and in a blink of the eyes, the praying mantis jumped on to Wang Lang’s hand and attacked him with its sharp claws. Amazed by the quick reaction, of the claws and vicious attack manner of the Praying mantis, he brought the praying mantis home. He used straw to battle with the Mantis and carefully study and imitate its movement of defense and offense.
A year later, with his new discovery, he visited the Abbot of the Shaolin temple and as usual, a friendly match started. Wang Lang fluently executed his Praying Mantis techniques and surprised the Abbot, but at the end he still lost to the Abbot. The Abbot complimented him on his new techniques and then the two continued their martial Arts discussion about Wang Lang’s new techniques. During the match, Wang Lang’s powerful hand strike techniques and vicious attacks did overwhelm the abbot but he was unable to seize victory. Wang Lang took the advice of the Abbot and left the temple for home.
Through this match, Wang Lang was excited and at the same time frustrated with his ability. When he passed by a forest, he took a rest under a tree and fell asleep. But not long after that, he was awakened by a monkey who was stealing his belongings. Wang Lang tried to take it back but the monkey jumped a couple of steps back and then stood there seeming to teasing Wang Lang. Every time Wang Lang tried to catch the Monkey, it moved back and forward, left and right, up and down. The monkey was so agile that while he was only a couple steps away Wang Lang was still unable to reach the Monkey. Suddenly, Wang Lang realized something. He laughed out loud and left the forest.
One year later, he revisited the temple and as usual a friendly match started, and this time he won. The abbot was amazed with Wang Lang’s ability and asked Wang Lang what kind of Kungfu is that. Wang Lang said that’s “Monkey step Praying Mantis Kung Fu” in which he had combined the agile foot work of the Monkey and the fast and vicious Praying Mantis claws. So Wang Lang told the Abbot the story of the Praying Mantis and the Cicada and chasing the Monkey in the woods.