Dog Kung Fu is one of those rare martial arts that one hears stories of but…nah, something like that can’t be. That’s an art out of a comic book ad, strictly for kid’s imaginations! But, truth, the fighting discipline not only exists, it is nasty and gnarly like, well, like a junk yard dog!
Perhaps using the term junk yard dog is really fair, for the art, though down and dirty, is also elegant. And history has it that it was put together, or at least spread, by a woman! And it really isn’t nice to call a woman as a junkyard dog, am I right?
History has Dog Boxing making its first appearance at the White Lotus Nunnery in the east of QuanZhou. A nun, SiYueDaShi, is said to have taught the art of dog boxing. Though not many people know of the art, it is a long lasting art, and this is because it is so effective.
There are two specific and striking features of this fighting art. One, it teaches the student how to relax, this so the rigorous training will not result in the student being injured. Two, it teaches the kung fu practitioner how to bind an opponent without getting bound.
Binding is the practice of trapping or locking an opponent up. So binding without getting bound means one has to be able to trap and lock, and this without getting oneself trapped or locked up. This is something the best martial artist is going to want to study!
An interesting aside, the term binding also refers to the ancient practice of tying up women’s feet in old China. A woman with feet bound in such a manner would certainly be unable to float like a butterfly, but would rather have to fall to the floor and rely on whole body movements to trip and wrap and coil around one’s opponent. This interesting similarity of language may be at the heart of why a nun would be credited with teaching and spreading the this exotic discipline.
A Dishu Quan lesson would normally start out with extensive stretching and and leg lifting and squatting drills. Second, the student would do a series of patterns (martial arts forms) and two person exercises. Third, the student would do a series of rolling, diving and coiling exercises.
There are more things than just what are mentioned here, quite a bit, for the art is very full featured. It is also a very intense martial arts work out, for the practice is frequently done on concrete floors! Thus, there is a common saying concerning the training in Dog Kung Fu…‘The Hardship of Dog Boxing.’