The Off-Helmet (摘盔) technique is a Plum Blossom close-quarter move that gives multiple options in ending the fight.
When you engage your opponent with your right and he tries to parry with his left from inside towards outside, follow his movement with your right, maintain contact with his arm, draw a half circle in the way of the quarter moon, turn your arm towards yourself and slip pass his guard from the inside and cut towards the back of his neck with the back of your arm.
When you start the movement above, you need to take a left step forward, your left arm needs to shoot in under his armpit like a twisting arrow, and turn you forearm to a vertical position using your joint to lock his shoulder. This is important: the movements of the right, step, and left all happen at the same time, as this would move your body into position, and gives you the necessary momentum.
This will get you to the position where you are locking your opponent on his right with your left, and your right holding his neck. Your flow doesn’t stop there, however, as you need to use the same momentum to perform various moves to take down your opponent or seriously injuring him.
You can hold your opponent’s back neck or by grabbing his hair, and with the aid of your left, perform a clockwise circular motion take-down, and this is called the Picking Hair (取髮), as performed in the form of The Essentials, 1st Route (摘要一路).
If you opponent resists by holding his balance back, then you can pivot your right to elbow him on his throat and maintain tight contact there. Hook the back of your left around his right leg, pull with your left arm and twist you body counter-clockwise to perform another take-down.
Suppose you feel he is able to resist this as well, then you can try to execute the Picking Hair (取髮) again, because his would be off-balanced by your rocking him back and forth. Otherwise, you can also simply hold the back of his head again, pull him downwards and knee him in the head or stomach. This is the same as the Peach Thieving (偷桃) move in the form the Peach Thieving White Monkey (白猿偷桃).
“Peach stealing” is commonly perceived as the groin attack in Chinese. We don’t know why this kneeling move is called Peach Thieving the Mantis Style. Perhaps the knee could be used to attack the groin, or perhaps this kneeling move is preceded by a Groin Palm (撩陰掌) in its most original form, as it is the case in our short form practice. Or the general population has an erroneous idea of what martial artists mean by “peach stealing”. We just can’t tell for sure.
The “White Monkey” refers to the Monkey Steps (馬猴步) of the Mantis style. There is also the ancient legend of The “Old Man Monkey”, who pretended to be a Mr. Yuan and had a sword sparring match with the Virgin of Yue. The family name Yuan is pronounced the same as ape or monkey, 猿 yuan, in Chinese.
To conclude, the Off-Helmet (摘盔) is one of the more advance techniques in the Plum Blossom branch, because of its sheer complexity, the close-quarter nature, and the variations, including wrestling moves, one need to know in order to account for different situations. It is also very effective because of its idiosyncratic angle of attack.