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Chow Gar Praying Mantis

Bill's Blowgun


When I first started learning Chow Gar Praying Mantis, Sifu Yip, who was 89 at the time, taught me one on one for the first month.    After the first month he told me that I could join his Saturday group class.  The class was small, there was Bill who was in his 50s, Henry in his 40s and Laap and Ngor who were a couple who were also in their 40s.  I was 21, the youngest in the class.Bill was not tall but he was strong, his chest, back and arms were thick.  Before finishing each lesson we would do very intense two hand drills.  Two hand drills were difficult.  It required two people facing each other, each with our arms crossed, a technical pushing rotation, if done correctly is designed to work on the entire body both internally and externally.  Bill, despite being the oldest, was the best at this drill, no one could beat him.

One day Bill was late to class.  After 10 minutes of practicing the doorbell rang, it was Bill.  We opened the door and he came in, he was very angry.  He told us that there were wild dogs that had barked at him at the bus stop and that this was not the first time it had happened.  He said that he wanted to kill them.  We couldn't understand why he felt so angry and we all tried to persuade him to not do this, it was illegal and he could get into a lot of trouble.  He said that he could do it with a blowgun and a nail and that he could do this with just one shot.  He had served in the armed forces in another country and that was where he learned this skill.  Everyone was quite interested to see this weapon so he said that he would show it to us during our next class. 


To our surprise Bill brought the material to make the gun!  To demonstrate how it was used he took an old wooden chair that was in our Sifu's home and placed it horizontally onto a cabinet with the legs facing us.  He then took out a piece of paper and rolled it into a small cylinder shape and then he placed a sharp nail into it.  He aimed the cylinder shaped blowgun at the chair and then he placed it into his mouth, he took a breath and as quick as lightening it was done.  We heard a 'pon' and we looked at the chair, one third of the nail had penetrated the hard wood surface. Had it been a person the entire thing would have entered the body.  Bill then walked to the window and pointed to the road opposite Sifu Yips building which was about 10 meters away, he said, "This is the third floor, I can shoot it from here to that road and seriously injure someone.".

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