Gou Quan (Dishuquan) meaning ‘Dog Fist’ in Cantonese is a martial arts style indigenous to Fujian province, China. While sharing many similar features to styles like Wuzuquan, Huzunquan, and many others from the same region, this southern style of Chinese boxing has the distinctive feature of specializing in takedowns and grappling while often taking advantage of utilizing techniques from an inferior position. This martial art also teaches Iron Shirt and Iron Palm fighting methods (to help the body and hands withstand blows) as well as rolling movements, scissor kicks, leg wraps, stomping kicks, knee attacks, leg hooking and leaping techniques. Its creation is traditionally credited to Wu Mei a Buddhist nun and martial arts teacher during the 17th century, who developed the style to defend herself from bandits on her travels. She captivated the movements from analyzing dogs fighting to create this dog style Kung Fu system. The system rapidly began to grow in popularity soon after its conception
Other legends suggest that in the southern area of China in Fujian Province, resided the White Lotus temple, where often the nuns who were admitted previously lived secular lives. At that time women were often subjugated to the practice of foot binding. Therefore, any practice that required standing physical exertion was difficult in the least and practically impossible at worst. In reaction to these physical constraints, the nuns developed a system of fighting that they could use to defend themselves from bandits and wild animals. During the Qing Dynasty imperial regime’s annihilation of the temples, a nun by the name of Si Yue had left White Lotus Temple and traveled to the northern areas of the province. Supposedly she had fallen ill in the Yongtai region near Fuzhou, it was there that she was assisted by the Chen Family who took care of her until she recovered. As she was indebted to the Chen Family she remained and taught their son, Chen Biao. The Chen family kept this art a family secret for several generations.
During the early years of the Republic of China, Chen Ayin, a descendant of Chen Biao, fled to Singapore to escape imprisonment for accidental manslaughter when defending a friend against a village troublemaker. He was taken in by one of the Chinese immigrants, Chen Yijiu. Being ever grateful, he taught Chen Yijiu his art.
Chen Yijiu, already having learnt martial arts such as Muay Thai, Dragon Kung Fu and Zui Quan, spent several years refining the techniques in Gou Quan and building himself a reputation in Southeast Asia as the “Iron Leg”. He left Singapore in 1932 and moved to Xiyuan village in Fuzhou, where he resided until his death in 1997. There, he spent the rest of his years teaching Gou Quan, spreading the art around and through Fuzhou.
Another Legend suggests that the famous Fong Sai-Yuk was a master of Gou Quan 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.
The Way of the Warrior: Martial Arts and Fighting Styles from Around the World 15 Sept 2008
by Chris Crudelli