In The Beginning

Chow Gar's Beginnings and Subsequent History

Chow Gar Praying Mantis Kung Fu is one of the few unadulterated, traditional Chinese martial arts available to prospective students today. The development of the style is attributed to a man called Chow Ah Naam...

One day, Chow noticed a bird trying to catch and eat a praying mantis. Try as it might, the bird could not attack the mantis without being struck first. (The mantis' forelimbs are powerful tools, able to strike with force, to impale, to seize and to pull a would-be assailant). The bird, defeated and bloody, left the mantis and went in search of easier prey.  Seeing this, Chow thought he might be able to improve his own kung fu if he learned how to fight like the mantis. He caught several mantis and studied their techniques. From this research, Chow created his art. This is a very abridged version of the story more fully presented elsewhere.

The system passed from Chow Ah Naam down to Wong Fook Go and then to Lau Sui. Lau Sui travelled from China to Hong Kong where he met Ip Shui and passed the system on to him.

Until about 60 or 70 years ago, only Hakka Chinese people (Hakka means "Northern Guest") were allowed to learn it. Relatively recently, the schools have opened their doors to other Chinese people and later, non-Chinese.  Ip Shui is, in fact, one of the first non-Hakka to be taught Chow Gar (Sigung Ip Shui is Cantonese).