Legends and Folklore
Dishuquan which is also known as Dishuquanfa or Gouquan is a martial synonymous with Fujian province yet unique amongst the other styles practiced in the province by incorporating many kicks and ground fighting methods. Dishuquan is said to have been created or practiced as early as the Ming Dynasty.
Another Legend suggests that the famous Fang Shiyu was a master of Dishuquan and had passed his skills to monks in the Zhuyuansi Temple (nowadays known as Guanyuan Temple), this was passed through various generations until a monk named Hui Kai taught the style to Zheng Yishan (from Nantai, Laoyaozhou Zhuang).
Venerable Si Yue (四月大师, 1762-1850), a nun from the White Lotus Temple (白莲庙) the south of Fujian (Quanzhou area), near the Southern Dongchan Temple (said to have been related to the Shaolin Temple) there was a nunnery known as Bailian Temple. The nuns having often come from a non monastic life had the remnants of bound feet and as a result practised a martial art which required specialised leg sweeps and on the ground combat methods. Due to involvement in anti Qing activities (likely White Lotus temple was associated with the White Lotus Society), she is said to have left Quanzhou injured and had later fallen ill whilst in the Yongchun county of Fujian, it was there that she was assisted by the Chen Family who took care of her until recovery. As she was indebted to the Chen Family she remained and taught their son, Chen Biao Dishuquan (Dog Boxing). The boxing remained within the Chen Family of Yongfu and was not taught to outsiders.
Chen Biao (陈彪, 1810-1902) was the son of the Chen Family merchant whose family originated in Fuzhou but moved south for business settling in the Yongchun county areas. Chen Biao had received tuition from local boxing masters (Huzun Quan, Tiger Boxing) since his youth. His father was regularl,y absent on trading business and from young and he was taken care of from his mother who had helped the Nun Si Yue. From such as basis, he studied Dishuquan for over 10 years with the nun Si Yue and later enhanced the techniques with his other boxing methods formulating a very thorough system of combat.
Chen Aiyin (陈阿银, 1858-1942), son of Chen Biao and one of the Chen family inheritors. It is said that after a dispute he had killed a bandit and therefore fled from authorities in Fuzhou to reside in Singapore where he lived in the chen families district. Chen Aiyin was an expert of both his family's Huzunquan (Tiger Boxing) and of Dishuquan (Dog Boxing). In Singapore he was a private coach and ran a small business, teaching elementary Huzunquan to locals. Dishuquan was taught to only a select few in Singapore he taught few students including Chen Zhenzai, Chen Yijiu and Chen Yuanhu. The most famous of which became Chen Yijiu.
Chen Yijiu (陈依久,1902-1997) an exponent of various martial arts (Houfa - Monkey Method, Longzhuang - Dragon, TaiQuan (Thai Boxing) which he had studied in his youth. As a result of this basis he learnt the Dishuquan style from Chen Aiyin quickly and unlike other students he did not have to study tiger style. He was originally from Fuzhou and moved to Singapore in 1921. The story was that one day when he was passing outside Chen Ayin's store there was some brawls and disputes, suddenly, Chen Ayin appeared in the seen and in a matter of seconds defeated all the gangsters. Chen Yijiu being extremely impressed then sort out the great master Chen Ayin, so as to learn the Dishuquan.
In 1929, a Russian fighter came to Singapore and challenged the local masters after having defeated experts from over 11 countries. Master Chen Yijiu watched as many fellow martial artists were defeated by the big Russian. As he could no longer stand it, he challenged the Russian and as the duel commenced large powerful blows aimed at Chen Yijiu's upper body met without target and suddenly, Chen Yijiu fell to the ground and applied some shin kicks and a series of lower body attacks. A large 'crack' was heard followed by a scream as the Russian champion fell broken legged to the ground. Since then Chen Yijiu became famous and was nicknamed 'Iron Leg Chen' throughout South East Asia. In 1932, Chen Yijiu returned to his hometown in Fuzhou (XiYuan Village) where he taught many disciples (over 5,000 students in his lifetime) throughout his long life and passed on the skills of Dishuquan. His son Chen Zhenglu (陈政禄) is the current keeper senior of Dishuquan.
Another monk known as Hui Kai and a fellow of Si Yue was also an exponent of Dishuquan and passed this skill onto Zheng Yishan who was originally from NanTai in Fuzhou. Master Zheng taught very few students and the key proponent of this style was the medicine trader Zhuang Zishen.
Zhuang Zishen (庄子深, 1913-1988) was an esteemed practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Martial arts. He was fortunate to receive tuition from many masters in a variety of styles and became an important figure in Fujian martial arts holding posts such as President of the Quanzhou martial arts research society and the Fujian provincial martial arts bureau.
He had many students in his lifetime, some of various specialities including Dishuquan (Dog Boxing). In 1988, he commenced the Jianying martial arts Institute which is now led by his son Zhuang Xicong.