Wuxia Films - Themes, Plots and Settings - Skills and Abilities

Skills and Abilities

The martial arts in wuxia stories are based on real wushu techniques and other Chinese martial arts. However, the mastery of such skills are highly exaggerated in wuxia tales to superhuman levels of achievement and prowess.

The following is a list of skills and abilities a typical fighter or martial artist in a wuxia story might possess:

  • Martial arts (Chinese: 武功; Mandarin Pinyin: wǔgōng; Jyutping: mou5-gung1): Fighting techniques in a codified sequence called zhaoshi (Chinese: 招式; Mandarin Pinyin: zhāoshì; Jyutping: ziu1-sik1), which are based on real Chinese martial arts.
  • Weapons and objects: Combatants use a wide range of weapons in combat. The most commonly used ones are the dao (broadsword or saber), jian (sword), gun (staff), and qiang (spear). Everyday objects such as abaci, benches, fans, ink brushes, smoking pipes, sewing needles, or various musical instruments, are also used by characters as weapons as well.
  • Qinggong (traditional Chinese: 輕功; simplified Chinese: 轻功; Mandarin Pinyin: qīnggōng; Jyutping: hing1-gung1; literally "light function"): A form of real Chinese martial arts. In wuxia stories and films, however, its use is highly exaggerated to the point that characters can circumvent gravity to fly, cover tremendous distances in a single stride, glide across surfaces of water, scale high walls and mount trees.
  • Neili (Chinese: 内力; Mandarin Pinyin: nèilì; Jyutping: noi6-lik6; literally "internal force") / Neigong (Chinese: 內功; Mandarin Pinyin: nèigōng; Jyutping: noi6-gung1; literally "internal skill"): The ability to build up and cultivate inner energy known as qi and utilise it for attack and defensive purposes. Characters use this energy to attain skills such as superhuman strength, speed, stamina, durability and healing as well as the ability to project energy beams and elemental forces from their bodies.
  • Dianxue (traditional Chinese: 點穴; simplified Chinese: 点穴; Mandarin Pinyin: diǎnxué; Jyutping: dim2-jyut6; literally "touching acupuncture points"): Characters use various acupuncture techniques to kill, paralyse, immobilise or control opponents by attacking their acupressure points with their bare hands or weapons. Such techniques can also be used for healing purposes, such as halting excessive bleeding. Real life martial artists do use such techniques to paralyse or stun their opponents, however, their effectiveness is highly exaggerated in wuxia stories.

In wuxia stories, characters typically attain the above skills and abilities by devoting themselves to years of diligent study and exercise, but can also have such power conferred upon them by a master who transfers his energy to them. The instructions to mastering these skills through training methods are often found in secret manuals known as miji (Chinese: 秘笈; Mandarin Pinyin: mìjí; Jyutping: bei3-kap1). In some stories, specific skills can be learned by spending several years in seclusion with a master or training with a group of fighters.

Read more about this topic:  Wuxia Films, Themes, Plots and Settings

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