The forms in the Six Harmonies Mantis are designed to train the soft power, and that is why it is called the “soft Mantis” and rarely shows ostensible power. The soft power of the Six Harmonies is a progression from the hardness of the Plum Blossom Mantis. The main theme of the Plum Blossom Mantis is striking hard and fast, while using softness to make the movements flow fluidly. The Plum Blossom Mantis uses softness like the silk in the lotus root; it has to have soft tissues connected to all the hard strikes and with tension. The Six Harmonies Mantis follows the same principle but with different and seemingly reversing effect. Its main theme is the softness, and it is using the soft silk to wrap around around its hardness to create an incredible amount of force. We call this “iron wrapped inside cotton”, or “hidden stiffness”.
To use an analogy, the Plum Blossom Mantis is like a rocket lifting off. While we can see the effect of gravity pulling on the rocket, the more obvious picture is when the parts of the rocket detach from the main body and the payload being thrown into orbit. The Six Harmonies Mantis is more like a planet wanders into the gravity well of another planet and crashes into it along with the gravitational pull and all the mass combined. The Plum Blossom and the Six Harmonies, instead of being treated like two distinct styles of the Mantis system, should be better seen as different interpretations of force and momentum of the same system. In this sense, the Six Harmonies is deeper than the Plum Blossom in its understanding of forces, and this understanding is based on the foundation built by the Plum Blossom. That is why one must understand the softness of the Plum Blossom and do it will before moving onto Six Harmonies.
The Plum Blossom emphasizes more on the techniques and the connectiveness of them. In contrast, the techniques in Six Harmonies are very simple, because its emphasis is on the body movement, the momentum, and the exertion of control. Take the “Double Closures” here for example, its main points are the idea of the closures, the stickiness, and using the pressure created by the body movements. The Six Harmonies looks slow and simple, but it is actually a lot more difficult than the hard and fast Plum Blossom, if one is to fulfill its demanding requirements on the hidden power.