The Hao family of Meihua mantis was created by Hao Lian Ru who had previously studied several styles including Shaolin Luohan Quan, Monkey Boxing and Yue Family Boxing. Sources differ as to whether he trained with Liang Xue Xiang or his son, Liang Jing Chuan. He combined Mantis with his previous knowledge, creating several unique forms. These were passed down by his six sons, but the most famous were Hao Heng Lu and Hao Heng Xin, who both made important developments in the style. Hao Heng Lu, who was also known as “the Taoist” as he liked to dress in monk robes, was famous for his weaponry, particularly the sword; while Hao Heng Xin was famous for his iron palm skills. Hao Heng Po, also known as “the Monkey” was also a renowned master.
The name Meihua means plum blossom and is a reference to the fact that techniques are grouped together in fives, representing the five petals of a plum blossom. The system was later renamed Taiji-Meihua and became more popular under that name, but my teacher keeps the old name as well as the old methods.
The forms below are what Master Zhang Kai Tang passed down to my Shifu, but other old forms include Wu Tang Chui (aka Yue Jia Chui), Xiao Fan Che, Bai Lian etc
Mantis 8 Postures 螳螂八式
The eight basic postures of Hao family Mei Hua mantis demonstrated by Hao Heng Lu
Luohan Quan 罗汉拳
This is an introductory form which has a strong shaolin flavour. It gives the student strong fundamentals.
Taiji Pi 太极劈
This form is in two sections and is full of fast chops and wrist strikes. The name of the form was originally Meihua Pi, but was later changed to reflect the philosophy of Yin and Yang with its alternating up and down, right and left. It expands on techniques and concepts of Luan Jie, and has at times been known as “Luan Jie part two”.
Chuan Zhi 穿枝
Chuan Zhi is said to be the cream of Hao Lian Ru’s knowledge, mixing the mantis he learnt with his own experiences in other arts. The set is divided into four sections.
Tanglang Jian 螳螂剑
There were originally two sword forms, Damo Jian, which was a double handed sword and Ba Xian Jian, a single handed form, which were both created by Hao Heng Lu. The sword has 12 keywords.
Meihua Qiang 梅花枪 – spear
This form was created by the founder of Hao family, Hao Lian Ru. His spear skill was said to be so good, while living in Beijing, he was given the nickname “mysterious spear Hao”.