The name Buah Pukul is used exclusively when speaking of a root style taught by a Chinese trader who came to Singapura in 1897. He is known by various names, but the most common is Abdul Rahman Al-Yunani with some later practitioners claiming him to be of Chinese-Arab descent (even a descendant of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, PBUH).
Some even add on the title of Sheikh, claiming him to be a Muslim missionary. His skills (and successful defence against Singapura dock workers who tried to fleece him) caught the ear of Sultan Ibrahim of Johor. The Sultan ordered his personal bodyguard, the then High Commissioner of the Mersing district, Awang Daik, to investigate the incident and maybe even court the trader to teach.
Sensing his skills incapable of testing Abdul Rahman's own, he asked that a friend, Pak Long Muhammad Yassin, the Muar Chief of Police to accompany him. In a friendly contest, both of them conceded defeat and managed to persuade Abdul Rahman to come to Johor to teach. It was there that Awang Daik and Pak Long Muhammad Yassin became masters of the style. In Buah Pukul lore, Abdul Rahman disappeared soon after, never to be heard of again.
Meanwhile, Awang Daik and Pak Long Muhammad Yassin modified the style with their own expertise. Awang Daik was himself a Sunting man and Pak Long a Sendeng man.
Buah Pukul was then taught to the Sultan's personal army (Johor used to have its own army separate from the Malaysian Armed Forces up until the the turn of this century) and flourished. To this day, there are still remnants of these army folk who pass on the knowledge and their particular blends to their families and students.
In the palace, Buah Pukul was known as Lian Paduka or Royal Lian, but the art filtered outwards to the kampungs by way of Awang Daik's students and gained names such as Gayang 5, migrated to Pahang, and called Gerak Silat Lian, etc.
One of the more prominent Buah Pukul is LianPadukan [http://silatmelayu.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=23 you have to register as a free member to read this article] which has made strides away from the original Buah Pukul, including incorporating a left side lead and connection to the right side lead and a simplification of the 99 Lian forms into 16 core ones.
In Sabah and Sarawak, there is a particular pukulan style called Silat Spring (sometimes Sapring, or Sepiring) which resembles Buah Pukul. Recently, we had an interesting lead when AB Rahim, one of our research team members posted there, reported that Spring lore tells of a Chinese Muslim merchant named Abdul Rahman Abdullah who came to Sarawak and spread the art. So maybe he didn't 'disappear' as we all thought. We haven't nailed down any chronologies yet but we hope to soon and publish our findings in SMC (SilatMelayu. Com).
The most interesting part is that AB Rahim was himself an intermediate student of LianPadukan and he reportedthat what he saw in Spring is reminiscent of the old Buah Pukul forms, a continuous fist rolling that only exists in LianPadukan as a three-strike barrage. The inquiry is ongoing.
Now, as for Lian Yunan, although some Buah Pukul practitioners use this term for their own variants, I personally know of one strain that claims no descent from Buah Pukul.This Lian Yunan comes from Melaka and was last taught by a Salleh Chik (nee Soh Ah Chee) to Pak Anwar (full name unknown to me).
It is claimed to originate from one of Hang Li Po's bodyguard entourage (she was a 'princess' bride from China for the Malaccan sultan, although some people dispute her royalty for lack of records). Having seen and practised slightly both LianPadukan and this Lian Yunan, I can personally say the difference in method and technique is vastly different.
However, when I described Lian Yunan to LianPadukan guru utama Mohd Hasyim Mohd Salleh of LianPadukan, he seemed pleasantly surprised, saying that that was a really old form of Lian, which he thought did not exist anymore. Curiouser and curiouser.