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Do you know your qigong from your qinggong?


Or the difference between wuxia and wulin? Glorious Cloud plays shifu with some sage advice.


Straits Times , 19 Jan 2003

by Glorious Cloud


Wuxia Wisdom

"If evil deeds go unpunished, only evil will survive." -Louis Cha's Legend of The Condor Heroes (Shediao Yingxiong Zhuan)


Pop Quiz: Michelle Yeoh heads a biaoju in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. What's that you ask? Read on and find out.

Wuxia (wu means martial, xia means swordsman or chivalry):

Describes a genre of Chinese fiction about wandering swordsmen who are portrayed as men with heroic virtues like justice, bravery, honour and righteousness. They are always getting into fights and forever trying to perfect their fighting skills. There are wuxia movies, books comics, television shows and computer games.


Jianghu (river-lakes):

This refers to the world and setting for wuxia characters. Jianghu folks include swordsmen and others who form their community such as pedlars, medicine-men, beggars, monks and peasants. They exist outside the rule of law. But they have their own unspoken code of honour. They can belong to a sect, but loyalty and honour remains the main values.


Wugong (martial-skill):

This refers to the swordsman's fighting prowess as well as qigong (internal force). Includes skills like qinggong (light-skill), the ability to fly and run on water, and fantastic feats like crashing though walls, transmitting deafening sounds over long distances and producing energy sparks from the palm.


Wulin (martial forest):

The world of martial arts, made up of the wuxia heroes and villains in jianghu.


Neigong (internal-skill):

This type of martial arts uses "inner strength", as opposed to physical "outer-strength" fighting skills. A swordsman strives to perfect both. With inner strength, he can build the skills to transfer energy to another person, and also purges poison from his own body.


Menpai (door-group):

A sect or brotherhood in jianghu. They are bound by a form of martial arts, behaviour, outlook or use of a certain weapon or set of values. Examples are the Shaolin, Huashan (Mt Hua), Wudang and Emei sects, and the Beggar Clan.


Zhang Menren (grasp-door-perspn):

Leader of a sect.


Dianxue (hit-meridian-point):

Hitting a vital nerve point in the body with the fingers or an object like a fan to cause internal injury or to immobilise - even immobilise - someone. Can also be used for healing purposes.


Xiejiao (heretic):

Cult members who break away from wulin mores and who practise unorthodox martial arts and skills such as using poison. They are often weirdoes who commit evil deeds and think nothing of taking a person's life for the slightest reason. But a xie (heretic) individual may not necessary be du (evil).


Miji (secret-compilation):

Manual which records instructions left by a master for a supreme form of martial arts. In wuxia stories, the miji is often lost, guarded fiercely by a sect or passed to a son or disciple. Swordsmen fight to possess it but when it lands in their hands, it may be incomplete, or they may use it wrongly and bring harm to themselves.


Anqi (secret-weappon):

"Missiles" a fighter sends out from within his garment. Often deadly and may contain poison. It may be a dart or seemingly innocuous items like chess pieces. Usually used by villains. If the swordsman resorts to an anqi, he will announce it first, in keeping with the heroic code.


Shifu (teacher-father)
In the wulin, a tudi (disciple) learns martial arts from and pledges allegiance to his shifu (teacher), a martial arts master. The tudi gives the master the same respect -or even more - than that he gives to his parents.


Biaoju (dart-bureau): Agency of armed fighters which is paid to guard shipments or protect officials, Think Michelle Yeoh's role in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.


Exploring the World of Wuxia

  Wuxia Philosophies

  The Origins, East vs West

  Uncovering Wuxia Jargon

  Influence on Hollywood

  Wuxia Fiction

  Familiar Situations


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