About Chow Gar


Tung Kong Chow Gar Tong Long Pai


East River Chow Family Praying Mantis Kung Fu

‘Respect your parents, respect your teacher, and their guidance.’

‘Learn kindness, learn righteousness, and then learn kung fu.’


Brief Chow Gar History

The Chow Gar Tong Long Pai, or Chow Family Praying Mantis system of martial art originated approximately three hundred years ago in Southern China. The Chow Gar style originator, Chow Ah Naam, was inspired by to create the art after observing the fast and powerful movements of the Mantis insect, which has the ability to overcome creatures many times its size.

Lau SoeiThe modern history of Chow Gar begins in the late nineteenth century with Master Lau Soei who, as a young man, lived in Wai Yearn, a village in the Tung Kong area of Southern China, and was a well- respected martial artist, teaching the local people. Legend states that Lau Soei had a match with a travelling monk named Wong Fook Go, who defeated Lau Soei using a type of martial art style which Lau Soei had not experienced before. This style was Chow Gar Praying Mantis.

Lau Soei was so surprised and impressed by the skill of Wong Fook Go that he asked to learn from him and was accepted as a disciple. After completing his studies under Wong Fook Go, Lau Soei began spreading the art of Chow Gar, moving to Hong Kong around 1913.

Ip SuiThe Chow Gar system became well established in Hong Kong, Lau Soei teaching many students, whose descendants continue to pass on this unique style of Chinese martial art.

One of the more prominent of Lau Soei’s disciples was the late Grandmaster Ip Shui (1913- 2004) who was held in great esteem for his high level of Kung Fu skill and healing ability.  Grandmaster Ip Shui taught many students in Hong Kong as well as teaching the art internationally. Due to his efforts Chow Gar Praying Mantis is now practiced worldwide.

In 2003, on the occasion of his 90th birthday, Grandmaster Ip Shui passed the leadership of the Chow Gar Praying Mantis system on to his son Ip Chee Keung, who continues to promote the art internationally.


The Chow Gar system is a close and middle- range style of self-defence, using fast, aggressive hand techniques, complimented by kicking and leg attacks aimed at the opponents lower body. The system utilises striking with various parts of the arm, elbows, palms, wrists and fingers as well as trapping and breaking techniques. Training in the system develops the famous Mantis “shock power” and “inch force”.


Training consists of: traditional forms, two- person drills and sticky hands. Chy Sau, or grinding hand, is the basic two person method of practice which develops the power in the forearm, stance and correct breathing. Forms help the student to develop technique and proper placement. Two person training develops the timing and judgement required to apply the techniques effectively. The system contains many unique training methods, developing the internal force or “Chi” to enhance the offensive and defensive skills of the art.

Sifu Wong, a student of the late Grandmaster Ip Shui, established the Chow Gar Praying Mantis South Wales school in 1993, to pass on the art. Sifu Wong teaches in the traditional manner, overseeing the development of each student personally. The school also has an active Lion Dance Team that performs regularly throughout the year, and has become central to the Chinese New Year celebrations for South Wales Chinese community.