Li Xunhuan (李尋歡) (or Sentimental Swordsman) is a character from Gu Long‘s Wuxia novel Sentimental Swordsman, Ruthless Sword of the Little Li Flying Dagger Series (小李飛刀系列). He gained fame in the Wulin for his expert use of his famous weapon The Little Li Flying Dagger, which was ranked third on the Bingqipu (兵器譜), a fictional book of weapons. He was succeeded by Ye Kai (葉開), who inherited his weapon and martial arts. He was merely mentioned by name in the subsequent novels of the series.
Biography; Li Xunhuan was born in a distinguished family of scholars. His father and elder brother were both successful candidates who earned the position of Tan Hua (探花) in the Imperial examination, while Li Xunhuan himself too was no exception. He served the imperial court as an official in his early days but he resigned later to lead his life in the Jianghu. Li Xunhuan gained fame throughout the Wulin through his expert use of the Little Li Flying Dagger and his prowess in martial arts.
He was engaged to Lin Shiyin and wanted to marry her but later when he realised that his sworn brother Long Xiaoyun too was in love with her, he decided to take a step back to repay Long Xiaoyun’s kindness. He indulged in women and wine on purpose as an excuse to keep himself away from Lin Shiyin and eventually Lin Shiyin was happily married to Long Xiaoyun. Li Xunhuan decided to lead a life of seclusion after the wedding.
More than ten years later, Li Xunhuan came out of his life of seclusion and met A Fei (阿飛) and was involved in the Case of the Plum Flower Bandit in which he was wrongly accused of being the Plum Flower Bandit (Sentimental Swordsman). He managed to solve the mysterious case but was also drawn into the feuds between Lin Xian’er, Shanguan Jinhong and Long Xiaoyun. He defeated Shanguan Jinhong and was married to Sun Xiaohong and left to lead a reclusive life again. Although he had made a great accomplishment in his lifetime, he did not leave his name behind so later generations knew little about him.
Successors and Descendants; In The Bordertown Prodigal (邊城浪子), it was mentioned that Li Xunhuan accepted Ye Kai (葉開) as his disciple in his later years and taught him his flying dagger technique. Also, in Flying Dagger, Flying Dagger Appears Again (飛刀，又見飛刀), it was mentioned that Li Xunhuan had a son called Li Manqing (李曼青) who inherited his skills and weapon. Li Manqing later passed on the flying dagger technique and weapon to his illegitimate son Li Huai (李壞) who was the main protagonist of the novel.
Martial Arts; Li Xunhuan was nicknamed ‘Little Li Tan Hua’ and was famous for his use his flying dagger, which was named after him, called the Little Li Flying Dagger. His speed and accuracy in using the dagger was legendary, such that when he threw his dagger at a group of people, only his enemies were hit while the innocent ones always survived. His weapon was ranked third in the Bingqipu.
Weapon; The Little Li Flying Dagger (小李飛刀), a.k.a. Xiao Li Fei Dao is the weapon used by Li Xunhuan (李尋歡), Ye Kai (葉開), Ding Lingzhong (丁靈中), Li Huai (李壞).
The blade of the dagger was three cun and seven fen long and was forged from ordinary steel and iron unlike other fictional weapons which were forged from special types of materials. It was ranked third in the Binqipu (兵器譜), a fictional book of weapons featured in Gu Long’s Wuxia novels.
The weapon’s name had replaced the original title of several adaptations of the novel Sentimental Swordsman, Ruthless Sword (多情劍客無情劍). Source
There are 2 well-known Li Xunhuan movies with staring Ti Lung as Li Xunhuan, and Derek Yee as Ah Fei, dircected by Chor Yuen, these are; The Sentimental Swordsman and Return of Sentimantal Swordsman. Have Fun !