Chow Gar Southern Praying Mantis Summer Intensives & Seminars Madison Wisconsin

Madison Wisconsin

ORTHDX Natural Fitness is proud to host an annual Chow Gar Southern Praying Mantis Kung Fu Seminar and Intensive Training Camp every Summer in Madison, Wisconsin USA. Sifu Steve Tansley, an instructor under internationally known Chow Gar Master Paul Whitrod, conducts a yearly training gathering that is open to the public and serious martial art practitioners. We would like to invite you to come and join us for our next event!

ORTHDX Natural Fitness
Chow Gar Southern Praying Mantis



Details: Seminar & Intensive

First of all, we want to welcome anyone who is interested in attending the Seminar or Intensive. Practitioners from across the martial art spectrum come to train in this rare and power art. We promote a no-ego environment during training. Everyone that participates is on equal ground regardless of their background. Southern Mantis training can be an intense experience and we want to make sure that everyone feels welcome and gets the most out of their time. Come to train, learn, and make friends.

The Chow Gar Seminar is great if you are curious about the art and want to learn more. It is great for new and experienced Southern Mantis practitioners to deepen their training with a different group and to connect with other practitioners that may not be part of their lineage. This event generally runs 4-6 hours per day for two consecutive days. The training is broken into two sessions per day: a morning session and an evening session with some breaks in between. Questions are recommended and encouraged to help attendees develop a solid understanding of the content they are learning.

Chow Gar Intensive

Typical Seminar content includes:

  • Mantis QiGong to open up the body

  • Traditional warm-up and foundational exercises for strength, speed, and flexibility

  • Two-person drills aimed at strengthening the body for combat

  • Iron body exercises to toughen muscles and sinews

  • Forms to develop proper mechanics and visualization

  • Combat applications to develop practical mental and physical skills

Chow Gar Intensive

The Chow Gar Intensive is a much deeper, more immersive experience than the Seminar, taking up 6 to 8 hours per day. (Often the Seminar training time is included in the Intensive schedule.) The Intensive is not intended for martial arts novices due to the pace of training and its inherent physical, mental, and emotional demands. Having prior martial art experience is required. The nature of Chow Gar training depends on a lot of two-person drills that require good physical awareness and understanding of training culture. (Sportsmanship) This will ensure that everyone will get the most out of their time.

An important feature of this course is the "how to train" principle. Successful martial arts training utilize a method of progression that constantly draws you out of your comfort zone. Participants will gain a deeper understanding of how to scale training intensity, use visualization, and focused intent to achieve a higher standard of martial ability. Listen to some participants talk about their experience here.

Steve Tansley: Chow Gar Southern Praying Mantis

Intensive training days include everything listed for the Seminar and more.

  • Warm-up and stretching

  • Strength training (Chy Sau)

  • Iron body drills

  • Grappling

  • Pad work

  • Weapons & weapons sparring (depending on the module)

  • Forms

  • Combat applications

  • Sparring drills

Expect to train to your physical edge and work up an appetite. During the Intensive we all share a community lunch that is included in the tuition. The morning and evening meals are not included. The Intensive is not recommended if you have injuries, heart conditions, or ailments that could be aggravated by intense physical activity. Participants must provide documentation of health insurance and a clean bill of health from their primary physician to participate in the Intensive. Once you sign up for the Intensive you will be sent an e-mail with the required documents you will need to fill out in order to participate.



Coming from out of town?


Madison’s a great town to visit. There is a reason it has been consistently ranked as one of the top places to live in the country. It is slower, less dense, and more laid back than, say, Chicago, and it’s pretty easy to get around here and believe it or not there’s plenty of things to do when you’re not training.

If you’ll be looking for a hotel or AirBnb, the city usually has plenty of space over the Summer that is unless the Crossfit Games are going on which have been hosted in Madison since 2017. Then it can be a bit challenging. If you'll be joining us we recommend securing your housing ASAP. You’ll be able to get around by foot, bike, or bus, or via a handful of cab companies/apps, Lyft, or Uber. ORTHDX Natural Fitness is located on the city’s “North” side, not far from the Northeast end of the isthmus that comprises most of the city proper.

Food Carts

If you’d like something to do aside from training (or good places to recuperate between sessions), we have plenty of those, too. Madison is a great food town, with restaurants specializing in fare from all over the world. Food tours are a great way to sample a bunch of restaurants at a reasonable price. A lot of the best restaurants are situated along Williamson St (Willy St), Washington Ave (Wash), and State St – all pretty close to the Capitol building, southwest of the gym. The food carts down on Library Mall are not to be missed and the Memorial Union Terrace is a locally famous place to get a drink or some food, right on Lake Mendota, and often has live music. Wisconsin is also famous for its microbreweries and Madison has more than a few worth checking out.


Photography by Funk Factory Geuzeria

There are some great options in the immediate vicinity of the gym as well. Willy Street Co-op is a local grocery store 2 minutes’ walk from our front door. Beef Butter BBQ is within sight of the gym and Bierock is just next door if you want a meal and a good cold beer.


Madison has lots of public space, too, from beaches on the two lakes that dominate most of our geography to public museums. Olbrich Botanical Gardens, the UW Arboretum, and Vilas Zoo are all free ways to take in some nature. MMoCA and a number of other art and history museums are on or near the Capitol Square, and most of those are also free admission. There are plenty of venues for live music and shows as well – check out the High Noon Saloon, the Sylvee, the Majestic Theatre, or the Overture Center for just a start.

ABOUT ORTHDX Natural Fitness

ORTHDX Natural Fitness

ORTHDX Natural Fitness gym is developed around the central movement themes of – Pursuit, Escape, and Attack. Each theme manifests in a broad range of classes, including Olympic Lifting, Tactical Fitness, Obstacle Course Training, Traditional Yoga, Tai Chi, and Martial Arts. Success in any movement discipline starts with the (ortho) "correct" (doxa) "view" of where to begin. True skill development begins with strong fundamentals. If you're training for Olympic Lifting, Parkour, Yoga, or Combat Arts it's important that you have a coach to help you begin with the necessary core skills. Ultimately we want to train our bodies according to the essential movement principles that will translate to other disciplines. Natural Fitness lessons about body structure, how to generate power, or how to breathe to bring down your heart rate are often universally applied. Integrated cross-training is a big part of what is behind ORTHDX NatFit's movement philosophy. All the opportunities here are based on the idea that most physical disciplines share important principles that are interconnected and by training good technique and breath control in one area you will also improve other areas of your training simultaneously. This method will greatly increase your physical awareness and overall athleticism without having to learn new things all the time.

Iron Pagoda

Mr. David Welther is co-owner and an instructor at ORTHDX Natural Fitness. He is the host of this yearly gathering and is currently the US representative under Master Paul Whitrod's lineage of Chow Gar SPM. It is his goal to share this rare remarkable art in the United States and to build a strong community of practitioners within its boarders.

Chow Gar Southern Praying Mantis
Chow Gar Southern Praying Mantis: USA

To: Chow Gar practitioners residing in the USA

Every year our community grows with people coming from all over the country. They even come from various martial art backgrounds to train together in Chow Gar Southern Mantis because it is rare and powerful. I can't tell you how many people ask me if there are Southern Mantis practitioner or teacher in their area. They want to train. They want to practice with someone. For some that come to the gathering, Chow Gar is the only art they practice and for others it is their second or third art. Regardless of the reasons, we come together not only to to improve our skill but to grow the community. I know there are many Chow Gar practitioners and even instructors living and training in the US. Gathering and training together, regardless of lineage, only strengthens the awareness of our clubs. We honor our teachers this way. Everyone is welcome to come join us here in Madison Wisconsin for our yearly gathering. I hope to see you there.


David Welther

Chow Gar Instructor

USA Representative (Paul Whitrod lineage)



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ORTHDX is a group training facility providing classes in the themes of Natural Fitness: Pursuit - innovative fitness, Escape - obstacle course racing, and Attack - combat arts.









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