Bewildered by the many terms and names used in Chinese Wuxia stories? Particularly, the classic novels written by Hong Kong and Taiwanese authors? Here’s a glossary of terms, popular characters, clans and factions, and legendary techniques for your reference!
And if you haven't, please read this Beginner's Guide to Wuxia for an overview of what Chinese Wuxia is.
160 Wuxia Terms, Names, Weapons, and Techniques
A. Commonly Used Terms
B. Names of Factions, Clans, Sects, Etc
C. Famous Wuxia Character Names
D. Famous Wuxia Techniques and Skills
E. Commonly Used Weapons in Wuxia
F. Names of Legendary Wuxia Weapons
A. Common Wuxia Terms and Phrases
- Anqi (暗器): The term translates as hidden or concealed weapons, and is commonly used to refer to projectiles. In Wuxia stories, there exists a wide variety of such projectiles, from darts to daggers, to coins, needles, discs, etc. Some anqi could furthermore be elaborately constructed. For example, a bejeweled box that releases a storm of needles on opening.
- Biaoju (镖局): An escort agency. Armed bodyguards of such agencies are rarely top pugilists.
- Biguan (闭关): To “retreat,” typically for the purpose of mastering some supreme skill. The characters, in Chinese, mean “to close the gate.”
- Binqi (兵器): Weapon. Armament.
- Chaoting (朝廷): The imperial court. The term generally denotes an authoritative, corrupted, or even evil government.
- Dantian (丹田): The human “energy center” in Chinese culture. Also called the “elixir field” or the “sea of chi,” it is located two finger widths below the navel. In Wuxia stories, dantian is described as the source of internal energy.
- Dizi (弟子): Disciple. In Mandarin, the term could be used as a pronoun or a noun.
- Dianxue (点穴): Both Wuxia and actual Chinese martial arts integrate the study of acupuncture points, or xue (穴), into techniques. Dianxue is correspondingly the art of striking such crucial areas of the human body. Executed precisely, dianxue can immobilize or weaken an opponent. Conversely, dianxue could also be used to heal, contain the spread of poison, or enhance one’s internal energy.
- Jianghu (江湖): Another term for wulin. This popular Wuxia term has a more solemn, jaded connotation.
- Jingmai (经脉): Meridians. Best understood as biological “energy paths,” meridians are an important concept in traditional Chinese medicine. In Wuxia, the term is sometimes also modified to Qijing Bamai (奇经八脉). To unblock one’s meridians is often a prerequisite to learning supreme techniques.
- Lianwu (练武): To learn martial arts. The term implies an unspoken mission of chivalry and upholding justice too.
- Miji (秘籍): Secret manual. A recurrent trope in Wuxia stories is the competition for manuals detailing exotic martial arts. Many heroes also gain formidable power after “accidentally” discovering such manuals.
- Mojiao (魔教): A derogatory term for heretic sects, evil gangs, etc.
- Neigong (内功): Translated literally as internal prowess, neigong is the internal body energy cultivated by all Wuxia characters. It is also called neili (内力) or neijia (内家). In all Wuxia sagas, characters with strong neigong are capable of incredible feats such as self-healing and the swift mastering of other techniques. Characters cultivating neigong are also typically shown in a seated, motionless position, with the emphasis being on invisible qi (气) manipulation. (Note: Real-life neijia Chinese martial arts emphasize connected, smooth actions. The focus is on the cultivation of the mind and spirit)
- Qinggong (轻功): Qinggong translates to “lightness skill” and refers to skills meant for agility improvement. In Wuxia movies and drama series, such skills are often exaggerated to endow users with superhuman leaps and temporary flight.
- Shifu (师傅): Teacher or master.
- Tu Na (吐纳): Breathing techniques.
- Waigong (外功): Also known as waijia (外家), waigong refers to martial arts that emphasize strength, agility, or physical hardiness. Such techniques are almost always explosive and aggressive in execution. 70s Hong Kong Wuxia movies are particularly fond of showcasing shirtless male protagonists in arduous rituals of waigong practice.
- Wulin (武林): The world of Chinese martial artists. It encompasses all clans and sects, unaffiliated individuals, and all interactions between these characters and factions. Frequently interchangeable with the term jianghu (江湖), but notably different from lulin (绿林). The latter term means brigands.
- Xia (侠): A gallant, respected hero. Being hailed as one is a great honor in the Wuxia genre.
- Xiuwei (修为): One’s “cultivation base.” The term is easier understood as someone’s accumulated accomplishment in an art or skill.
- Zouhuo Rumo (走火入魔): “To lose fire and invite the demon.” This colorful idiom refers to someone suffering a major mishap while learning a technique. It always results in severe bodily damage. In some cases, psychological harm too.
B. Names of Famous Wuxia Clans, Factions, and Sects
In Chinese literature, the suffixes of pai (派), men (门), bang (帮), jiao (教), hui (会), gong (宫), are all used to refer to factions.
There are subtle differences in meaning, though. Pai and men mean “clan.” Jiao implies some sort of religious affiliation. Bang translates to “gang” and implies a looser organizational structure. Gong means palace and typically refers to factions headquartered within a specific structure.
- Cihang Jingzhai (慈航静斋): A mystical faction in several novels of Hong Kong “modern” Wuxia writer, Huang Yi. The de facto leader of the righteous factions, Cihang Jingzhai consistently played a heavy albeit veiled hand in restoring national peace and determining the rightful heirs to the Chinese empire.
- Diancang Pai (点苍派): Named after the Cang Mountain of Yunnan, Diancang Pai mostly appeared in Gu Long and Liang Yushen Wuxia stories. Their disciples were usually portrayed as skilled swordsmen capable of superior qinggong.
- Emei Pai (峨嵋派): Named after the famous Buddhist peak in Sichuan, Emei Pai featured in many Wuxia movies and stories as a major orthodox faction. Their disciples are typically associated with superior swordplay. In Jin Yong’s stories, Emei Pai was also dominated by females and loosely affiliated with Wudang.
- Gaibang (丐帮): The Beggers’ Clan. Gaibang is a major faction in many Wuxia stories and is often described as having an unmatched network of information and spies. They have both beggar and non-beggar followers, the latter referred to as Jinyi Dizi (净衣弟子, clean-attire disciples). Often, leaders of Gaibang are also among the most skilled in wulin, and are usually deeply respected individuals. Lastly, Gaibang is commonly hailed as the largest organization in wulin. Their organizational structure includes many elders and branch leaders.
- Honghua Hui (红花会): The heroic underground movement in Jin Yong’s first novel, The Book and the Sword (书剑恩仇录). The movement was a gathering of powerful martial artists with the explicit aim of overthrowing the Qing Dynasty.
- Huashan Pai (华山派): The actual Mount Hua is the “Western Peak” of the five holy Taoist mountains of China. Within Jin Yong’s stories, though, Huashan Pai was one of the most established and respected swordplay factions. As a testimony to the popularity of Jin Yong’s novels, many Chinese tourists to Mount Hua today brave the dangerous treks at the summits simply to visit locations associated with Jin Yong’s stories. One such popular location is the perilous Cliff of Penance (思过崖).
- Jingnian Chanzong (淨念禪宗): A mysterious organization that featured in several Huang Yi stories. Like Cihang Jingzai, they are regarded as the leaders of the righteous factions, although they refrain from direct involvement. Their disciples are not allowed to engage in political or Jianghu power struggles.
- Jinqian Bang (金钱帮): Translated as the “Money Gang,” this was an expansionist, powerful organization in Gu Long’s signature work, Duoqing Jianke Wuqing Jian (多情剑客无情剑). The gang was headed by the powerful and evil Shangguan Jinhong (上官金虹), the primary antagonist of that story.
- Kongdong Pai (空洞派): Named after one of the sacred Taoist mountain ranges of China, Kongdong Pai is usually one of the orthodox factions in Wuxia stories. In Jin Yong’s The Heaven Sword and Dragon Saber (倚天屠龙记), it was one of the six main orthodox factions and was respected for superior fist techniques.
- Kunlun Pai (昆仑派): The actual Kunlun Mountain Range lies at the extreme western borders of China. Despite that, Kunlun Pai often appears in Wuxia stories as one of the main orthodox factions. Like Emei and Wudang, they are respected for their superior swordplay techniques.
- Lingjiu Gong (灵鹫宫): A powerful, secretive organization led by the unscrupulous Tianshan Tonglao in Jin Yong’s Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils (天龙八部). In control of 36 “cave masters” and 72 “island masters,” and with nine strata of female disciples, Lingjiu Gong was hands-down one of the largest and most powerful factions in all of Jin Yong’s works. Tianshan Tonglao herself is a nonagenarian trapped in the body of a young girl, and one of the most god-like characters penned by Jin Yong.
- Mangshan Pai (邙山派): Mangshan Pai prominently featured in several Qing Dynasty stories by Liang Yusheng. It was established by Dubi Shenni (独臂神尼, the lone-arm nun), the last surviving princess of the overthrown Ming Dynasty.
- Mingjiao (明教): Mingjiao was the primary antagonist in the first half of Jin Yong’s The Heaven Sword and Dragon Saber (倚天屠龙记). They were Zoroastrians, with top ranks populated by extremely powerful martial artists. In the second half of the saga, Mingjiao was revealed to be righteous, with the lofty aim of overthrowing the Mongolian Yuan Dynasty. Of note, the character for “Ming” is the same as that for the Ming Dynasty. The founding emperor of the Ming Dynasty also appeared in the Jin Yong’s saga as a branch leader of Mingjiao.
- Nangong Shijia (南宫世家): Nangong Shijia, or the Nangong Clan, occasionally appears in some Wuxia stories, movies, and TV series as a wealthy and powerful wulin family. In Huang Ying’s Reincarnated (天蚕变) stories, they were infiltrated and utterly destroyed by the wicked White Lotus Sect.
- Qingcheng Pai (青城派): Mount Qingcheng is one of the holy Taoist mountains of China, located in the heart of Sichuan province. In Wuxia stories, it is thus usually described as one of the orthodox factions.
- Qinglong Hui (青龙会): The “Green Dragon Association” was a mysterious organization mentioned in several Gu Long stories; most notably, the Seven Armaments series (七种武器). A ruthless organization, they were described as having successfully dominated all aspects of wulin.
- Quanzhen Jiao (全真教): In real life, Quanzhen is one of the main branches of Taoism. Under Jin Yong’s pen, however, its founder, Huang Chongyang (王重阳), became the top martial artist in wulin. Quanzhen Jiao thus prominently featured in two parts of Jin Yong’s Condor Trilogy. They were also heavily involved in the defense of Song territory against invading Mongolian forces.
- Riyue Shenjiao (日月神教): The “Day and Moon Sect” was the main antagonistic faction in Jin Yong’s The Smiling, Proud Wanderer (笑傲江湖). Their cultish practices and expansionist nature earned them the infamy of a “demonic cult,” and the bulk of that saga detailed their conflict with the rest of wulin. Riyue Shenjiao was furthermore headed by Ren Woxing (任我行) and Dongfang Bubai (东方不败), two of the most powerful characters created by Jin Yong. Lastly, Riyue Shenjiao was implied to be the remnants of Mingjiao. Riyue means sun and moon. When the Chinese characters for these words are combined, they form the character for Ming.
- Shaolin Pai (少林派): The most famous Wuxia faction of all and based on the actual Shaolin Temple in China’s Henan Province. In practically all Wuxia stories, Shaolin is described as the founding place of Chinese Martial Arts and the de facto leader of the orthodox factions. The faction includes both monks and non-ordained individuals, the latter known as Sujia Dizi (俗家弟子).
- Tangmen (唐门): Also referred to as Chuannei Tangmen (川内唐门), the Tangs are a Sichuan clan famous for their anqi making. In Gu Long stories, they are feared for their many deadly and unearthly anqi.
- Tiandi Hui (天地会): An insurgency movement at the heart of Jin Yong’s final novel, The Duke of Mount Deer (鹿鼎记). Translated as the “Society of Heaven and Earth,” the historical Tiandi Hui is the predecessor of modern Chinese secret societies. For example, Hong Kong criminal triads.
- Tianshan Pai (天山派): The Tianshan Mountain Range is located in the extreme northwest of China and is thus infrequently written about by most Wuxia authors. Liang Yusheng, however, places Tianshan Pai as the leading faction of wulin, with many of his most powerful characters related to this faction and renowned for their superior swordplay.
- Tianxia Hui (天下会): The primary antagonist faction in the Hong Kong Wuxia comic series, The Storm Riders (风云). It was led by the egomaniacal Xiong Ba.
- Wudang Pai (武当派): The most famous Wuxia Taoist faction and usually portrayed as a counterpart/rival of Shaolin. Based on the real-life Mount Wudang in Hubei, Wudang disciples are usually shown as superior in swordplay, neigong, and taiji (太极).
- Wuyue Jianpai (五岳剑派): Wuyue Jianpai was an association of five smaller factions in Jin Yong’s The Smiling, Proud Wanderer (笑傲江湖). Each named after a holy Taoist mountain of China, the five factions established the alliance to counter the expansionist threat of Riyue Shenjiao. The internal conflict between these five founding members formed part of the premise for the epic saga.
- Xiaoyao Pai (逍遥派): Xiaoyao means “carefree” in Chinese, and in Jin Yong’s Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils (天龙八部), it was the name of a secretive and powerful faction. Though with few disciples, the top ranks of Xiaoyao Pai all count among the most powerful characters ever written by the Hong Kong author. The techniques of Xiaoyao Pai are furthermore noted for their unorthodox, almost devilish nature. For example, Beiming Shengong (北冥神功) cultivates inner energy by absorbing those of others. Xiao Wuxiang Gong (小无相功) allows a practitioner to mimic the techniques of others.Tianshan Zhemei Shou (天山折梅手) is a set of grappling moves that could be endlessly varied to counter any attack.
- Xueshan Pai (雪山派): The “Snowy Mountain Faction” was mentioned in several Wuxia novels, most notably in Jin Yong’s Ode to Gallantry (侠客行) and Wo Longsheng’s Feiyan Jinglong (飞燕惊龙).
- Yihua Gong (移花宫): Yihua Gong was the primary antagonistic faction in Gu Long’s The Handsome Siblings (绝代双骄). It was headed by two sisters with phenomenal martial arts accomplishments, their deadliest skill being the ability to redirect any form of attack. Yihua literally means to switch/move a flower.
C. Famous Wuxia Characters
A selection of the most famous and beloved Wuxia characters from Hong Kong and Taiwanese sagas. With an emphasis on characters from the “classic” Wuxia novels of the 1950s to the 1980s.
- Bu Jingyun (步惊云): One of the two protagonists of the popular Hong Kong Wuxia comic, The Storm Riders (风云). Bu was a sullen youth taken in by the murderer of his father and feared for his Cloud Sweeping Palm (排云掌, Paiyun Zhang). In the 1990s Hong Kong movie adaptation, Bu was portrayed by pop singer Aaron Kwok.
- Chen Jialuo (陈家洛): The title character of Jin Yong’s first novel, The Book and the Sword (书剑恩仇录). He headed the Honghua Hui, which strived to overthrow the Qing Dynasty. Within the story, Chen was revealed as the half-brother of Qing Emperor Qianlong too. He also attempted unsuccessfully to convince his half-sibling into restoring Han Chinese rule.
- Chu Liuxiang (楚留香): One of the most beloved characters of Gu Long, Chu Liuxiang was a Chinese Robin Hood of sorts, renowned for his qinggong and resourcefulness. Together with his band of loyal friends, he embarked on many thrilling adventures that saw him challenge the deadliest and the most feared in wulin. In Hong Kong Wuxia drama series, Chu was also famous for his “flickering finger” technique (弹指神通, Tanzhi Shentong), a snazzy move that releases a deadly projectile with a simple finger flick. Lastly, Chu Liuxiang’s gallery of rogues count amongst the most colorful in the Wuxia genre. For example, there was Shi Guanyin (石观音), the “Stone Guanyin,” whom all men are powerless against. There was also Shuimu Yinji (水母阴姬), a lesbian whose’s strikes were alike tidal waves. There was the blind Bianfu Gongzi (蝙蝠公子) too. The “Prince of Bats” was a shady conspirator whom even Chu Liuxiang was unable to defeat.
- Duan Yu (段誉): The youngest of the three protagonists of Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils (天龙八部), Duan Yu was a crown prince of the Dali Kingdom, compassionate and gregarious by nature, but also geeky, excessively talkative, and often lost in his own world. After a series of misadventures, he mastered two of the devilish techniques of the Xiaoyao Faction, and later on, the incredible Liumai Shenjian technique too. The character was based on the real-life Emperor Xuanren, the 16th ruler of the Dali Kingdom.
- Fu Hongxue (傅红雪): A tragic saber user who appeared in several Gu Long stories. Lame in one leg, epileptic, and trained by his mother to enact vengeance against many, Fu was a fearsome killing machine that few could survive. His signature technique also epitomizes the terse writing style of Gu Long, a style that markedly avoids verbose descriptions of fights. In Fu Hongxue stories, hardly anyone survived one slash from him. In the 70s, Shaw Brothers actor Ti Lung also portrayed Fu in several Western-inspired movies. For example, The Magic Blade.
- Guo Jing (郭靖): One of the best-known heroes under Jin Yong’s pen, dim and stoic Guo Jing was born to Han Chinese parents but grew up among Mongolians. His righteous character then won him the admiration of several top martial artists, and later in life, he was also shown to be a talented military strategist, successfully defending the Song Empire from numerous Mongolian invasions. A major protagonist in the first two parts of the Condor Trilogy, Guo Jing’s death established the premise for the events in The Heaven Sword and Dragon Saber (倚天屠龙记). At the end of Return of the Condor Heroes, he was also hailed as the “Northern Hero,” a recognition of his skills and character. His most famous skills include Xianglong Shiba Zhang (降龙十八掌) and Shuangshou Hubo (双手互搏). The latter allows Guo Jing to use different techniques with each hand.
- Hua Wuque (花无缺): One of the two protagonists of Gu Long’s The Handsome Siblings (绝代双骄). Hua Wuque was separated from his twin brother at birth by the evil Yaoyue Gongzhu (邀月宫主), the latter intended on manipulating the twins into fighting to their deaths. His name translates as “flawless.”
- Huang Rong (黄蓉): Devoted wife of Guo Jing (see above) and the only daughter of Huang Yaoshi, the “Eastern Heretic” of the Wujue. Intelligent and witty, Huang Rong was an interesting contrast to Guo Jing in the stories she appeared in. Like her husband, her death also set the premise for the events in The Heaven Sword and Dragon Saber (倚天屠龙记).Huang Rong’s skills included the best of her father’s vast array and those from Gaibang.
- Hu Fei (胡斐): The protagonist of Jin Yong’s Flying Fox of Snowy Mountain (雪山飞狐). Renowned for his saber techniques, Hu’s difficult life never escaped the family feuds he was born under; for example, how his father Hu Yidao (胡一刀) was accidentally killed by “Golden-Face Buddha” Miao Renfeng (苗人凤). His romances with Yuan Ziyi (袁紫衣) and Cheng Lingsu (程灵素) were also doomed to fail from the beginning. The novel itself is also famous for ending on a cliffhanger.
- Jin Shiyi (金世遗): One of Liang Yusheng’s most memorable male characters, Jin Shiyi accomplished what was thought to be impossible in Liang Yusheng’s Wuxia world—he successfully tamed the “evil” neigong he mastered, thus not only avoiding painful death but also reaching new heights of prowess. Of note, Jin Shiyi’s personality subtly paralleled this accomplishment. When young, he was cantankerous and antagonistic. As he matured, he became more worldly and dignified.
- Li Xunhuan (李寻欢): Li Xunhuan only appeared in person in one Gu Long story. However, the character and his signature flying daggers were made famous throughout East Asia by a popular Hong Kong TV adaptation in the 1970s. So it was written, and shown on TV, Li never wasted a shot (例不虚发, liebu xufa). There was no way at all to dodge his deadly daggers, once they have left his hands.
- Linghu Chong (令狐冲): The wine-loving protagonist of The Smiling, Proud Wanderer (笑傲江湖). An elder disciple of Huashan Pai, Linghu Chong’s carefree, laid-back nature enabled him to transcend the many power conspiracies surrounding him. His ability to look beyond faction loyalties ultimately also won him the respect and love of all. Linghu Chong’s signature technique is Dugu Jiujian (独孤九剑). This complex set of swordplay theories enables him to instantly counter any form of pugilistic attack.
- Ling Weifeng (凌末风): One of the founders of Tianshan Pai in Liang Yusheng’s novels. Though talented, he could be rather acerbic, and thus not always a pleasant person to be with. Nonetheless, the heroes of Liang’s mythos all celebrate him as one of the most talented and heroic swordmen to ever lived. He also created the Daxumi Jianshi (大须弥剑式), which could be executed even in confined spaces.
- Long Jianfei (龙剑飞): The title character of the Rulai Shenzhang movies (如来神掌, usually translated as The Buddha’s Palm). In Hong Kong cinematic history, Rulai Shenzhang was one of the first Wuxia films to feature substantial visual effects. Till today, remakes still tend to utilize heavy visual effects.
- Lü Siniang (吕四娘): The most famous of Liang Yusheng’s heroines, Lü Siniang is famous for accomplishing the astonishing, i.e., she assassinated Qing Emperor Yongzheng. Till today, this incredible “accomplishment” remains a popular myth in Chinese pop entertainment.
- Lu Xiaofeng (陆小凤): One of the most beloved heroes created by Gu Long, Lu Xiaofeng was like Chu Liuxiang in many ways. He was dashing, incredibly popular with women, and very fond of intervening in wulin crises. Lu’s defining feature was also his mustache, which earned him his nickname “four eyebrows.” Last but not least, he was feared for his Lingxi Finger (靈犀一指, Lingxi Yizhi). This was a miraculous technique that could stylishly trap and immobilize any weapon between his fingers.
- Nian Nishang (练霓裳): Liang Yusheng’s Nian Nishang is better known as The Demoness with White Hair (白发魔女). A brigand, she fell in love with Zhuo Yihang (卓一航), a leading Wudang disciple, but the romance was impossible because of their backgrounds. Heartbroken after various tragedies and misunderstandings, Nian’s hair whitened overnight. She then spent the latter part of her life as a feared recluse in the outer reaches of the Chinese empire.
- Nie Feng (聂风): One of the two protagonists of the popular Hong Kong Wuxia comic, The Storm Riders (风云). Nie was a gregarious youth taken in by the murderer of his father and renowned for his Wind Deity Kick (风神腿, Fengshen Tui). In the late 90s Hong Kong movie adaptation, he was portrayed by veteran actor Ekin Chen.
- Qiao Feng (乔峰): The eldest protagonist of Jin Yong’s Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils (天龙八部), Qiao was a Khitan who grew up in Song Dynasty China. Before his ethnicity was exposed, he was the leader of the Beggers’ clan, widely respected for his chivalrous nature and unmatched mastery of the “Dragon Subduing Palm.” Thereafter, he was ruthlessly persecuted and even branded as a murderous barbarian. Through him, Jin Yong discussed the ambiguity of nationality and race. Some readers also consider Qiao Feng to be Jin Yong’s most tragic character. In the novel, Qiao Feng committed suicide. He did so after refusing the Khitan emperor’s order to invade Song China.
- Shen Lang (沈浪): The hero of Gu Long’s Wulin Waishi (武林外史) and the only son of a prominent wulin leader, Shen was not only undefeatable, he was popular for his carefree, easy-going nature. His descendants and disciples furthermore feature in several other Gu Long stories, always as deadly characters too. For example, his son, A Fei (阿飞) was a close friend of Li Xunhuan and widely feared for his lightning-fast sword pierces. His disciple Gongzi Yu (公子羽) was an arch-enemy of Fu Hongxue.
- Shi Potian (石破天): The simpleton, illiterate protagonist of Jin Yong’s Ode to Gallantry (侠客行). Kidnapped as an infant, Shi spent his childhood under different forms of neglect and abuse. As a young adult, his simple nature made him the target of various conspiracies too. Ironically, however, his illiteracy ultimately enabled him to master a whole array of incredible skills. At the end of Ode to Gallantry, he solved a decades-old mystery, and because of that, mastered an entire array of near-divine techniques.
- Wei Xiaobao (韦小宝): The title character of Jin Yong’s final novel, The Duke of Mount Deer (鹿鼎记). Among all Jin Yong’s protagonists, Wei Xiaobao stands out for never mastering any formidable kung fu. He was also uneducated, foul-mouth, a cheat, uncouth, lascivious; in general, a lowlife through and through. Despite these unpleasant traits, Wei survived for years as a double spy, assisting Qing Emperor Kangxi while also helping Han Chinese insurgents. After threading a razor-thin path for years, Wei was finally tired of everything. He then vanished with his seven wives to live a life of luxury.
- Wu Jue (五绝): The top five martial artists in Jin Yong’s The Legend of the Condor Heroes (射雕英雄传). Based on the cardinal directions, they are “Eastern Heretic” Huang Yaoshi (黄药师), “Western Poison” Ouyang Feng (欧阳锋), “Northern Beggar” Hong Qigong (洪七公), “Southern Emperor” Duan Zhixing (段智兴), and “Central Divine” Wang Chongyang (王重阳). Each character has his own set of unique, fearsome skills.
- Xiang Shaolong (项少龙): The title character of Huang Yi’s time-traveling Wuxia epic, A Step Into the Past (寻秦记). Xiang was a 21st-century special force trooper who time-traveled to Ancient China after an experiment. With knowledge from the modern era, he then thrived in those times and even played a crucial role in the wars leading to the establishment of the Qin Dynasty. In the epic, it was written that real-life warlord Xiang Yu was his godson.
- Xiao Longnü (小龙女): The teacher/wife of Yang Guo (see below). In her story, Xiao Longnü was described as possessing an unearthly beauty. She was also stoic and formidable in skill, thus establishing the classic Chinese Wuxia archetype for many heroines.
- Xiao Yuer (小鱼儿): One of the two protagonists in Gu Long’s The Handsome Siblings (绝代双骄). Xiao Yuer grew up in the notorious “Valley of Villains” and was skillful in all forms of skullduggery and trickery. He was also separated from his twin brother at birth by the vicious Yaoyue Gongzhu (邀月宫主). The latter was hell-bent on manipulating the two brothers into fighting to their deaths.
- Xie Xiaofeng (谢晓峰): A top swordsman in Gu Long’s Wuxia mythos. Undefeated throughout his life, Xie eventually tired of jianghu and hid himself in a brothel, masquerading as a menial worker. He later also severed his thumb to prevent himself from ever using the sword again.
- Ximen Chuixue (西门吹雪): A supreme swordsman in Gu Long’s Lu Xiaofeng novels. His most famous accomplishment was to defeat Ye Gucheng (叶孤城), another top swordsman, in a duel that took place at the rooftop of the Palace of Supreme Harmony in the Forbidden City. Often clad in white, Ximen Chuixue was notorious for his cold nature and unflinching devotion to his art. To focus on refining his skills, he even abandoned his wife and child.
- Xu Zhu (虚竹): One of the three protagonists of Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils (天龙八部). Described as a lowly and physically unattractive Shaolin monk, Xu Zhu’s life was forever changed after he unknowingly solved a chess puzzle. Selected as the new leader of the Xiaoyao faction, Xu Zhu then mastered several otherworldly techniques, transforming him into one of the strongest characters in the saga. Later, Xu Zhu even became the new leader of the Lingjiu Palace, as well as the sworn brother of Duan Yu and Qiaofeng. Lastly, he married a princess of Western Xia in the final chapters of the story. This made him the only protagonist to have a completely happy ending.
- Yang Guo (杨过): The protagonist of Jin Yong’s Return of the Condor Heroes (神雕侠侣) and one of the author’s most enduring characters, rebellious Yang Guo was the son of a Han Chinese traitor. After escaping from enemies, he grew up in the ancient tomb of a wulin master. As an adult, he constantly had to deal with the legacy of his father too, as well as widespread disapproval of his love for his teacher, Xiao Longnü. Despite these hardships, Yang Guo thrived and became one of the strongest defenders of the Song Dynasty. At the end of the novel, he forever vanished with Xiao Longnü too. Leaving behind only his legacy and legend.
- Yan Nantian (燕南天): An important supporting character in Gu Long’s the Handsome Siblings (绝代双骄), Yan was a swordsman described as the “most powerful godly sword” in all of wulin. Famously, he was ambushed and paralyzed by villains, but recovered and even mastered the supremely powerful Jiayi Shengong technique. Widely recognized by Gu Long fans as one of the Taiwanese author’s mightiest characters.
- Ye Kai (叶开): The disciple of Li Xunhuan is the hero of two Gu Long Wuxia stories. Compared to his melancholic master, Ye Kai was cheerful and optimistic. He was also renowned for his superior qinggong.
- Yun Feiyang (云飞扬): The protagonist of the Reincarnated (天蚕变, Tiancan Bian) Hong Kong Wuxia drama series. The illegitimate son of a Wudang leader, Yun’s mastery of the magical Tiancan Shengong (天蚕神功) resulted in him being “reborn” as one of the most powerful pugilists in the story. With there being different sequels and movies to Reincarnated, Yun’s later life also differs depending on which version you’re reading/watching. In one version, he was ultimately ambushed and killed by the leaders of the White Lotus Sect.
- Zhang Danfeng (张丹枫): The protagonist of Liang Yusheng’s The Wanderer Chronicles (萍踪侠影录) was a master swordsman described by the author himself as his most satisfying creation—one that embodies all the ideals of a righteous wulin master. He was loyal, patriotic, and compassionate. He was also supremely talented in his skills, ultimately creating his own set of techniques. Within the Wuxia genre, Zhang is widely acknowledged as the prototype for many Wuxia heroes in subsequent works.
- Zhang Wuji (张无忌): The protagonist and hero of Jin Yong’s The Heaven Sword and Dragon Saber (倚天屠龙记), Zhang was the only son of a forbidden wulin union, and was heavily persecuted during childhood. As an adult, he then mastered astonishing kung fu and became the respected leader of Mingjiao. Notably, and unlike most Wuxia heroes, Zhang was woefully indecisive in character. While he was a reasonable leader, he made many errors in his personal life, some of which resulted in lifelong repercussions. Despite this, Zhang remains one of the most enduringly popular Wuxia characters ever. Since the 1960s, the character was depicted by no less than 12 Chinese actors, with the depiction by Hong Kong actor Raymond Lam in New Kung Fu Cult Master (2022).
D. Famous Wuxia Techniques and Cultivation Methods
- Anran Xiaohun Zhang (黯然销魂掌): The “Despondent Palm” was Yang Guo’s most powerful technique in Return of the Condor Heroes (神雕侠侣). Conceptualized during his 16-year wait for Xiao Longnü, proper execution of the technique requires Yang Guo to be melancholic, thus the name. Expectedly, after his reunion with Xiao Longnü, Yang Guo was unable to use the technique again.
- Bingchuan Jianfa (冰川剑法): Translated as “Glacier Swordplay,” this technique appeared in several Liang Yusheng stories, and was one of the author’s more colorful creations. Mimicking the movement of glaciers, the swordplay emphasizes slowness of movement and concealment of vast energies. The technique was occasionally paired with the Glacier Sword (冰魄寒光剑, Bingpo Hanguang Jian) too. The sword was an icy armament that vast;y enhanced the potency of the swordplay.
- Dabei Fu (大悲赋): A miji that featured in Gu Long’s Moonlight Blade (天涯, 明月, 刀). It was described as a collection of the most heinous martial arts known to wulin. Gu Long, however, never fully introduced all the techniques. Only two were described in detail.
- Dagou Bang (打狗棒): In Jin Yong’s stories, Dagou Bang, or the “Dog Beating Staff,” was a weapon, a technique, as well as a scepter. It was also the symbol of authority for the leaders of the Beggers’ Clan and had a jade-like rod appearance. The technique itself was one of the two supreme techniques of the beggars. By ancestral laws, only the clan leader was permitted to learn the technique.
- Damo Jianfa (达摩剑法): In Liang Yusheng’s Wuxia mythos, the “Swordplay of Bodhidharma” was one of the three supreme sword techniques of wulin, famed for its sophistication. It was also renowned for its emphasis on compassion, with strokes intended to incapacitate rather than cripple.
- Daomo Zhongxin Dafa (道魔种心大法): In several stories by modern Wuxia writer Huang Yi, Daomo Zhongxin Dafa was one of ten demonic techniques known to wulin. The potential for massive power aside, mastering the technique requires three persons. One of which would become the thrall of the practitioner, and dying at the end of the process.
- Duoming Shisan Jian (夺命十三剑): In Gu Long’s Wuxia mythos, the “13 deadly swords” was the family heirloom of legendary swordmaster Yan Shi San. Considered one of the most powerful sword techniques ever created, Yan eventually created a fourteenth and even a fifteenth stroke. So that the deadly new strokes would not endanger posterity, Yan eventually suicide.
- Dugu Jiujian (独孤九剑): The “Nine Sword Strokes of Dugu” was the supreme swordplay mastered by Linghu Chong, the hero of The Smiling, Proud Wanderer (笑傲江湖). Notably, the name of each stroke begins with the Chinese character for “break,” and was not a movement but a countering method for a specific family of Chinese weapons. In other words, Dugu Jiujian is a set of theories that enables a swordsman to counter any attack.
- Guiyuan Miji (归元秘笈): A compendium of supreme Buddhist martial arts in Wo Longsheng’s Feiyan Jinglong (飞燕惊龙). The novel isn’t particularly famous, even though it was adapted into several movies and drama series. However, the enduring Wuxia trope of wulin masters fighting over a secret manual supposedly began with this story.
- Jiayi Shengong (嫁衣神功): Considered by Gu Long fans to be the author’s strongest neigong technique, Jiayi Shengong was unparalleled in power but near impossible to master for a crucial step involves the painful destruction of one’s original neigong. The words “jiayi,” in Chinese, mean dowry. The name is, in turn, an idiom for the process of “surrendering one’s worth in exchange for a future greater.”
- Jian Ershisan (剑二十三): A fantastical sword strike in the Hong Kong Wuxia comic, The Storm Riders (风云). The creator died right after creating it, and so his soul took physical form to execute the strike. The attack then decimated the Tianxia Hui.
- Jile Shengong (极乐神功): A supreme technique in the Stephen Chow Wuxia comedy series, The Final Combat (盖世豪侠, Gaishi Haoxia). While the series isn’t particularly famous outside of Hong Kong, this strange technique is memorable because a user dies after using it. That is, unless the user also masters the “additional” secret chapter.
- Jiuyang Shengong (九阳神功): In the earliest editions of Jin Yong’s stories, Jiuyang Shengong was the twin of Jiuyin Zhenjing (or Jiuyin Shengong), and both were created by Bodhidharma. Later editions, however, retconned Jiuyang Shengong as a set of Buddhist neigong techniques. As a “pure” neigong method, mastering Jiuyang Shengong doesn’t make one a powerful fighter. However, the technique is still highly useful for healing. It also vastly hastens the learning of other skills.
- Jiuyin Zhenjing (九阴真经): Jin Yong’s most famous martial arts compendium and a major plot device in all three parts of his Condor Trilogy. Written by the vengeful Huang Shang (黄裳), the compendium contained supreme Taoist neigong secrets and several sets of vicious kung fu techniques. For example, the deadly Jiuying Baigu Zhao (九阴白骨爪).
Kuihua Baodian (葵花宝典): Translated as the “Sunflower Manual,” this compendium of exotic martial arts secrets was written by an imperial eunuch. Because of this, male practitioners must first castrate themselves before commencing training. As befitting the “lifestyle” of a eunuch, the compendium emphasizes speed too, as well as the use of “feminine” instruments such as sewing needles as Wuxia weapons. Misinterpretation and competition for the compendium further resulted in some of the events in Jin Yong’s The Smiling, Proud Wanderer (笑傲江湖). The ghostly, lightning-fast Bixie Jianfa (辟邪剑法) was also derived from the manual.
Liumai Shenjian (六脉神剑): In Jin Yong’s Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils (天龙八部), this was described as the supreme technique of the Duan family, the rulers of the Dali Kingdom. In contrast with Yiyang Zhi (see below), which has only one stroke and is limited to dianxue, Liumai Shenjian has six complete sets of swordplay, each executed by the releasing of “sword aura” (无形剑气, Wuxing Jianqi) from one’s fingers. Some Jin Yong fans consider this to be the deadliest technique penned by the author.
- Longxiang Bo Re Gong (龙象般若功): The Tibetian neigong technique of the evil Jinglun Fawang in Return of the Condor Heroes (神雕侠侣). So it was written, the skill was so phenomenally difficult to learn, no one ever fully mastered all 13 levels; even Jinglun himself only made it to level ten. With just that accomplishment, though, Jinglun was already able to battle all other characters in the saga. Even Yang Guo could barely hold his ground against Jinglun.
- Mingyu Gong (明玉功): The technique of the “Radiant Jade.” In Gu Long’s The Handsome Siblings (绝代双骄), this was the supreme cultivation technique of the feared Yihua Palace rulers. Not only was the technique capable of preserving youth, it also generates an “internal” whirlpool—one that’s capable of sucking away an opponent’s energy and body heat.
- Qiankun Danuoyi (乾坤大挪移): The supreme treasure of the Zoroastrian Mingjiao, this strange technique was famously mastered by Zhang Wuji in The Heaven Sword and Dragon Saber (倚天屠龙记). The name itself hints at the function of the skill. Nuoyi means to subtly move. Qiankun is a lyrical name for the universe. In movies and television adaptations, Zhang Wuji is often shown effortlessly redirecting the attacks of his opponents with this skill.
- Qishang Quan (七伤拳): A Kongdong Pai fist technique that was stolen by “Golden Lion” Xie Xun in The Heaven Sword and Dragon Saber (倚天屠龙记). The name means “seven harms” and originates from how each strike can contain up to seven types of energy. The technique also requires substantial neigong to learn, failing which, the user will suffer seven types of bodily harm.
- Qixuan Zhan (七旋斩): A flashy technique in the Rulai Shenzhang movies. It is usually shown as deadly flying palms.
- Rulai Shenzhang (如来神掌): “The Buddha’s Palm” was the supreme technique in a series of similarly named movies and TV drama series. Rulai Shenzhang was never written as a novel, although it did draw inspiration from a Liu Canyang story. Depending on the movie or television version, there are at least nine stances too, with Wanfo Chaozhong (万佛朝中, The Congregation of Ten Thousand Buddhas) usually the final stance. In Stephen Chow’s homage to Wuxia, Kung Fu Hustle, Rulai Shenzhang was the technique used to defeat the final antagonist.
- Sanjue Zhan (三绝掌): In older Rulai Shenzhang movies, The “Three Extreme” palms were three evil-doers feared for their palm strikes. Their respective techniques also have different names. However, these techniques are always differentiated by a “Heaven” palm, an “Earth” palm, and a “Human” palm.
- Shendao Zhan (神刀斩): Ding Peng’s deadly saber slash in Yuanyue Wandao (圆月弯刀). Possibly derived from Fu Hongxue’s saber strikes, the slash is described by author Gu Long as encompassing all possible transformations and variations. It is also viewed as a cursed technique, as it will inevitably invite tragedy.
- Shizi Hou (狮子吼): The “Lion’s Roar” appeared in several Wuxia stories and movies as a deadly sonic skill. Typically, a user is shown releasing a devasting howl through the skillful manipulation of neigong. In recent years, this was paid homage to in Stephen Chow’s Kung Fu Hustle.
- Sizhao Shengong (四照神功): A supreme, almost magical neigong technique in the lesser-known Gu Long novel, Jianxuan Lu (剑玄录). Successful mastery can transform a person into an almost god-like entity. However, true mastery can only be achieved by virgins.
- Taiyin Zhi (太阴指): The “Taiyin Finger” is a macabre technique in an old Shaw Brothers Wuxia movie. Victims are transformed into zombies under the control of the user.
- Tiancan Shengong (天蚕神功): A legendary technique in several Huang Ying (黄鹰) Wuxia stories, with the tales themselves based on two popular Hong Kong TV series in the early 80s. Tiancan Shengong, or the “Heavenly Silkworm Technique,” was the most powerful of all Wudang techniques. Other than imbuing great neigong, the final stage reincarnates the practitioner. It is particularly useful in saving the lives of the seriously wounded.
- Tiancan Tui (天蚕腿): The “Heavenly Silkworm Foot” is easily the most hilarious technique in the Wuxia genre. In the Rulai Shenzhang movies, the wicked user enlarges his leg to supernatural portions, before using that to stomp his enemies to death. The only way to survive an attack was to pierce a weak point in the middle of the gargantuan foot.
- Tianlong Bayin (天龙八音): One of the most unique Wuxia techniques ever written about and the scourge of all wulin in Ni Kuang’s Deadful Melody (六指琴魔). The user devastates his enemies using the sound of a Chinese zither called the Tianmo Qin (天魔琴), either by manipulating emotions or shattering bodies outright. In recent years, this strange technique was also paid homage to in Stephen Chow’s Kung Fu Hustle. The name of the zither and technique furthermore vary depending on whether you’re reading the novel or watching an adaptation. Technique names stated here are from a 1994 movie adaptation.
- Tianmo Jieti Dafa (天魔解体大法): The suicidal ” Demonic Dissection Skill” featured in several Liang Yusheng stories. Through the self-destruction of blood veins, a user momentarily amplifies his neigong, in hopes of mutual death with an opponent.
- Tianshan Jianfa (天山剑法): Unlike other Wuxia writers, Liang Yusheng did not feature Shaolin or Wudang as the leading orthodox factions in wulin. Instead, this role was fulfilled by Tianshan Pai. In Liang’s stories, the swordplay of Tianshan Pai was also recognized as one of the three strongest of all orthodox methods, and consisted of several types of distinctively different styles. Examples of such styles included the lightning-fast Zhuifeng Jian (追风剑, wind chasing sword), and the slow and ponderous Daxumi Jianshi (大须弥剑式, Mount Meru swordplay).
- Tianwai Feixian (天外飞仙): Translated roughly as the “Soaring Fairy/Deity,” this technique only appeared in one Lu Xiaofeng story. In short, it was an unstoppable sword thrust created by the diabolical Ye Gucheng, one that was so immaculate and magnificent that an opponent would be rendered completely defenseless. Thanks to Wuxia movies and television dramas, Tianwai Feixian is till today, still the most beloved sword technique penned by Gu Long. The lyrical name, which could alternative mean celestial meteorite, likely contributed to this popularity.
- Wanjian Guizong (万剑归宗): A phenomenally powerful sword strike in The Storm Riders (风云) Wuxia comics. In the movie adaptation, it was shown as a blizzard of swords.
- Wuliang Shenzhang (无量神掌): A powerful palm technique in the Wuxia comic, Chinese Hero: Tales of the Blood Sword (中华英雄). It has ten moves, the most famous of which is Dahai Wuliang (大海无量). In movies and drama series, the “boundless sea” move generates an energy wave that can easily decimate entire groups of enemies.
- Xianglong Shiba Zhang (降龙十八掌): The “Dragon Subduing Palm” was one of two supreme techniques of Gaibang in Jin Yong’s stories. Hailed as the most physically aggressive technique in wulin, all eighteen strokes were named after phases from the I’Ching, with all names containing the Chinese character for dragon too. Two of Jin Yong’s most famous heroes, Guo Jing and Qiao Feng, were renowned for their mastery of this incredible technique.
- Xiantian Gong (先天功): The supreme neigong technique of Wang Chongyang in The Legend of the Condor Heroes (射雕英雄传). Described as capable of integrating one’s might with that of nature, Xiantian Gong could furthermore be paired with Yiyang Zhi to perform miraculous healing.
- Xiuluo Yinsha Gong (修罗阴煞功): The deadliest demonic neigong technique in several Liang Yusheng stories. Mastering it radically strengthens one’s Yin or negative energy. Liang was fond of describing victims of this technique as literally having their bloodstreams frozen solid.
- Xixing Dafa (吸星大法): In the Chinese language, xixing could mean a black hole or magnet. This diabolical technique appeared in Jin Yong’s The Smiling, Proud Wanderer (笑傲江湖), and was used by the megalomaniacal Ren Woxin to “absorb” the neigong of opponents. While this would theoretically make Ren Woxin undefeatable, the technique came with dire repercussions. Absorbed neigong, which vary in nature, would later conflict within one’s body, ultimately resulting in agonizing death. Lastly, Xixing Dafa is generally accepted by Jin Yong fans to be a degraded version of Beiming Shengong (北冥神功). This Xiaoyao Pai technique similarly absorbs energy. However, it also comes with a way to safely “integrate” and “transform” absorbed energy for one’s safe use.
- Xuannü Jianfa (玄女剑法): The “Swordplay of the Heavenly Maiden.” In Liang Yusheng novels, this technique was created by the Lone-Arm Nun and passed down to Lü Siniang. Hailed as one of the three supreme sword techniques of wulin, Xuannü Jianfa emphasizes dexterity over strength and is thus particularly suitable for females.
- Yiyang Zhi (一阳指): The “Solar Finger” was the secret technique of the Dali Duan family in several Jin Yong’s stories, described in the novels as a superior method of dianxue. Television and movie adaptations, however, tend to showcase it as a laser-shooting technique.
- Yihua Jieyü (移花接玉): Yihua Jieyü is a Chinese idiom for devious or clandestine swapping. In Gu Long’s The Handsome Siblings (绝代双骄), it was the signature technique of the murderous Yaoyue Gongzhu. Through blazing speed and immaculate precision, Yaoyue utilizes the Chinese martial arts concept of “borrowing strength” to divert attacks. The miraculous way she does this with then creates the illusion of magical swapping. In Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils (天龙八部), a similar technique was called Douzhuan Xingyi (斗转星移).
- Yijin Jing (易筋经): Yijin Jing is an actual set of Shaolin Qigong, believed to have originated from Bodhidharma. In Wuxia stories, however, it is typically portrayed as one of the strongest neigong techniques in wulin. In real-life, Yijin Jing is but one of many stretching techniques used by Shaolin monks for physical conditioning. The most popular version consists of just twelve positions.
- Yunü Xinjing (玉女心经): This translates rather awkwardly as the “Exquisite Virgin Sutra.” In Jin Yong’s Return of the Condor Heroes (神雕侠侣), this was the secret art of the Ancient Tomb Faction and practiced by both Yang Guo and Xiao Longnü.
E: Commonly Used Weapons in Wuxia
- Bian (鞭): Whip.
- Dao (刀): Saber.
- Feidao (飞刀): Flying dagger. Note that these are only used as projectiles. A normal dagger is known as Bishou (匕首).
- Fu (斧): Ax.
- Gou (钩): Hook. These aren’t like the hooks of western pirates. Instead, they are typically sword-like, with the “hook” at the end of the blade.
- Guai (拐): Crutch. Many Wuxia stories have lame pugilists using their crutches as staff-like weapons.
- Huan (环): Circlet.
- Jian (剑): Sword.
- Panguan Bi (判官笔): “Judges’ Pen.” In Chinese periodic movies and tv series, these are shown as oversized, metallic Chinese brushes.
- Qiang (抢): Spear.
- Shan (扇): Fan. The ribs are typically made of metal. Some are capable of firing projectiles too.
- Xiao (箫): Flute. The character 笛 (di) could also refer to a Chinese flute. In either case, these weapons are wielded as batons. Music played with them could also be deadly.
- Zhang (杖): Staff. In the Chinese language, this character refers to heavier and thicker staffs. Thinner, rod-like ones are known as gun (棍), while cane-like scepters are called bang (棒).
F. Legendary Wuxia Weapons
- Baoyu Lihua Zhen (暴雨梨花针): This legendary anqi, translated roughly as “Tempest Pear Blossom Needles,” was mentioned in several Gu Long stories, most famously in the Chu Liuxiang adventures. Released from a small casket, the weapon spews forth a rain of needles with astonishing speed and force. Gu Long described it as the king of all anqi.
- Bawang Qiang (霸王枪): The “Despot’s Spear.” One of Gu Long’s Seven Armaments (七种武器), this powerful weapon was a metaphor for bravery.
- Biyu Dao (碧玉刀): The “Jade Dagger.” One of Gu Long’s Seven Armaments (七种武器), the priceless artifact was a metaphor for honesty.
- Changshen Jian (长生剑): The “Sword of Longevity” and the first of Gu Long’s Seven Armaments (七种武器). Wielded by the roaming swordsman Bai Yujing (白玉京), the sword generates a vortex of energy when imbued with neigong. Gu Long used it as a metaphor for the potency of optimism.
- Da Gou Bang (打狗棒): See the above technique of the same name.
- Duoqing Huan (多情环): The “Circlet of Lingering Emotions” was yet another of Gu Long’s Seven Armaments (七种武器). The deadliness of this Circlet was that once it locks over another weapon, it never detaches. Gu Long used this nature of the Duoqing Huan as a metaphor for how the hunger for vengeance never leaves, once embraced.
- Gelu Dao (割鹿刀): The “Deer Cutter” was an exceptionally sharp dagger that appeared in two Gu Long Wuxia stories. In these, the dagger resonated with its final owner, Xiao Shiyilang (萧十一郎), thereafter imbuing him with great prowess.
- Jiusuo Feiling (九索飛鈴): A formidable “flying bells” weapon in the Rulai Shenzhang movies.
- Kongque Ling (孔雀翎): The most famous of Gu Long’s Seven Armaments (七种武器), the “Peacock Plume” releases such a dazzling glory upon execution, victims die while still mesmerized. In its eponymous story, it was also revealed that while the weapon was long lost after a duel, descendants of the owning clan continued to benefit from fear of it. The Peacock’s Plume was thus intended by Gu Long as a metaphor for the powers of trust and myth.
- Libie Gou (离别钩): The “Hook of Departure” and the last of Gu Long’s Seven Armaments (七种武器). In its eponymous story, the hook was feared for its capability to force one’s “departure” from life. Gu Long intended this as a contrasting metaphor for the potency of reunions.
- Shenghuo Ling (圣火令): There are two sets of “holy flame scepters/tokens” in the Wuxia world. The first set consists of 12 unbreakable tokens wielded by the Persian leaders of Mingjiao in Heaven Sword and Dragon Saber (倚天屠龙记). Described as forged by Hassan-i Sabbah too. The second is a pair of mythical Wuxia weapons featured in the Holy Flame of the Martial World (武林圣火令) movies.
- Tianshan Shenmang (天山神芒): Tianshan Shenmang was both the anqi and the title of Ling Mofeng (凌未风), the founder of Tianshan Pai in Liang Yusheng novels. The projectiles were made from a plant unique to the Tianshan Mountain Range.
- Tulong Dao (屠龙刀): The “Dragon Slayer” or “Dragon Saber” is the most famous saber in Jin Yong's universe. It was unmatched in finesse. Its blade also hid several metallic tablets pinpointing a great treasure. Forged by heroes of the doomed Song Dynasty, this incredible Wuxia weapon was meant to rally wulin heroes determined to overthrow the Yuan Dynasty (Mongolians). The dragon to be slain therefore referred to the Mongolian Khan.
- Wuding Feihuan (无定飞环): An astonishing, flying circlet weapon in the Rulai Shenzhang movies. Up to 81 circlets could be released at one go and “remotely” controlled.
- Xiaoli Feidao (小李飞刀): See above entry under Li Xunhuan.
- Yitian Jian (倚天剑): Translated as the “Sword of Heaven’s Will”, or “Heavenly Sword,” the most famous sword in Jin Yong's universe could break any other weapon. Within it was also several metallic tablets pinpointing a great treasure. Forged by heroes of the doomed Song Dynasty, the sword was intended as a safeguard, i.e. assassination weapon, should the Yuan Dynasty be replaced by a Han Chinese tyrant. “Heaven’s Will” was thus a metaphor for the triumph of the common Chinese people over imperial tyranny.
- Youlong Jian (游龙剑): The superior sword of Liang Yusheng’s Tianshan Pai, and usually wielded by the current leader. Its name means dancing/swirling dragon.
- Zaiyun Jian (载云剑): A superior sword found by Jin Shiyi on a barren island. One of three treasures left by a legendary evil master, the sword was described as superior to any other sword in Liang’s stories.
© 2016 Ced Yong