Chen Da was from Yecheng. He was as strong as an ox, had a loud booming voice and was impatient and fiery tempered. He used an iron spear in combat and was nicknamed 'Stream-leaping tiger' (跳涧虎).
Chen Da, along with Zhu Wu and Yang Chun became bandit leaders on Shaohua Mountain, and gathered an army under their command. Once, the stronghold lacked provisions and the bandits decided to attack the nearby Huayin Prefecture for provisions. Zhu Wu and Yang Chun advised Chen Da not to pass by the Shi Family Village along the way, but Chen refused to listen. Chen had a fight with Shi Jin, who refused to let him pass and was captured by Shi in the end.