The Praying Mantis style of Kung Fu is believed to have been originated in the 1600's at the Shaolin Temple in the Shandong area. A young monk named Wong Long created the system after observing the quick and devastating techniques of the Praying Mantis.
Legend begins with Wong Long started his training as a young boy training at the Shaolin Temple. He was a very passionate and disciplined martial artist and well respected within the temple even though he was smaller in size than many of fellow monks. He grew up at Shaolin practicing techniques and sparring with the other monks to improve his skills. It was at this time that Wong Long found that he had reached a plateau with his martial abilities and had a hard time advancing beyond a certain level with his fighting ability.
Frustrated with his performance Wong Long regularly left the temple grounds and went to the mountains to train and work on improving his skills in solitude. During one of his many trips to the mountains he happened upon a praying mantis engaged in battle with a much larger Cicada. Wong Long was astounded by the speed and agility of the praying mantis that he captured it and kept it in a bamboo cage. The praying mantis fascinated and inspired Wong Long so he continued to study its reaction as he poked at it. Over the next months Wong Long observed and mimicked the movements of the praying mantis and adapting the insect's fighting abilities into his own training regime he had already mastered from Shandong Shaolin Temple. He diligently worked to integrate these movements into his own Shaolin fighting style to improve his techniques
After training in solitude, Wong Long finally felt confident with this new approach to fighting that he decided it was time to test his effectiveness with the Abbot. He returned to the temple and engaged the Abbot in a sparring match to test his skills. In the past, the Abbot had always defeated Wong Long quickly and easily. However, Wong Long was now able to fight to a standstill in combat with his own teacher. So impressed was the Abbot with Wong Long's new fighting style that he offered some suggestions to help Wong Long improve further on his new skills and invited seventeen masters to all contribute their best technique to this new style. Over the following months and years, the monks at the temple worked with Wong Long to improve his new style, the Praying Mantis style, which evolved and became one of the Shaolin Temple's systems.
Wong Long's efforts provided the foundation for modern day Praying Mantis Kung Fu. Over time Wong Long's original style evolved into at least twelve distinct styles of Praying Mantis Kung Fu.